Last month, in Australia, a prominent educator on disabled children is under attack from the deaf community after reports that she described deafness "as a scourge in our world" during an awards ceremony. The remarks by Dr Dimity Dorman (see photo), director of Brisbane-based organisation Hear and Say, which teaches deaf children how to listen and speak, were made when she was named Telstra's Queensland Businesswoman of the Year on Tuesday and got on stage and started to speak.
Dr Dornan could never have imagined, as she rose to accept her award that she was about to be accused of genocide! Nor could she have imagined that Telstra, in naming her for this prestigious award was about to censor her for a crime against multiculturalism or for just general offensiveness. I doubt you'll quarrel with a words of what she said.
According to the Brisbane Times, Dornan gave a reved-up speech that included this: "I think deafness is at the same stage as polio was a few decades ago. It is a scourge in our world but it can be almost completely eradicated." Oops!!
Within 48 hours, Deaf Australia, Deaf Victoria and the Deaf Association of New South Wales all demanded Dr Dornan apologise for insulting deaf people, while hundreds of other assholes denounced her on a Facebook page called (if you can believe it) STOP DEAF CULTURAL GENOCIDE, with other deadshits demanding she be sued for vilification!
Gutless Telstra, which makes a fortune from people communicating, snipped Dornan's own words, removing from its website and YouTube a video of her speech on the grounds her comments could offend. It was, of course, to have the nerve to say deafness was an illness, a scourge, and something that should be eradicated. It was to treat the deaf as disabled and not just another of our multicultural minorities. BooHoo!
Hear it from Sharon Everson, head of the Deaf Society in NSW; "People just find it SO offensive that hearing people still want to cure them...that hearing people aren't willing to value, I suppose, what is a deaf community." What Everson is hinting at is that there is what some fanatics in the deaf community call "a Deaf Culture". (cult for short) As a lobby group Aussie Deaf Kids puts it: "For culturally deaf people, to be deaf is a natural state of being...to express sadness or regret (god-forbid!) for a person's deafness can be considered a lack of acceptance of who they are." You wouldn't want to hurt their self-esteem, now would you...it's pathetic!
The Way I See It....this is political correctness gone mad. Soon we'll have the RSPCA attacked for calling female dogs "bitches"....give me a break! Surely any normal, sane (no offence to the fruitcakes out there) individual can comprehend she wants to get rid of the scourge of deafness, not that deaf people are a scourge. Even Blind Freddy (oops!) could see this.
I don't think deaf people should be "proud" of being deaf any more than an alcoholic should be proud of their excessive drinking. Sure, be proud of what being deaf has taught you. Be proud of how you have overcome the obstacles being deaf creates. Be proud of the innovation and tenacity of the deaf community and the help it gets from wonderful people like Dr Dornan. But does anyone seriously suggest that the "Deaf Culture" should be reinforced with cries of villification if its possible to consign this disability to the history books?
Note: Federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, said he can't understand the deaf community's silliness about the speech but reminded them that Australia had no disability vilification laws and thus there was no basis to lodge a complaint. Mr Innes said, "I have no argument with Dr Dornan's right to hold her opinions and I hope I don't hear anything more about this."