This is something activists of any stripe get hit with, I’m sure. You can watch the below story and apply it to being deaf, being a woman (that one’s even harder to recognize), being queer… the list goes on.
Hello. I’m Adrean Clark, and this vlog is “The Angry Deaf.” I’ve been thinking this week about emotions, especially anger. I’ve noticed that some Deaf people who speak out on issues are labelled as “angry.” Are they always angry? No, but where does that emotional burst come from?
The word “mystification” comes to mind. It is often used in family therapy. For example, late at night, a parent may tell their child, “You’re tired. Go to bed!” The child doesn’t actually feel tired and protests. In this situation the parent has put their thoughts and feelings onto the child, disregarding the child’s reality.
This also applies to deaf people. Often with mainstreamed deaf children, parents (and educators, doctors, etc.) tell the children that speaking and reading English has primary importance. They tell the children not to be like the other “lesser” deaf people who sign. The child gets cochlear implants and oral training in the name of being educated and a “success.”
That twists reality. It is a terrible thing.
I understand why deaf people, as they become older, realize what their parents and others said don’t match with reality and become very angry. Some people never come to that point, their emotional development stunted. Others recover. Still others repeat the cycle they learned from parents, educators, and the like.
Now that we’ve recognized mystification, we can catch its subtle machinations. We can catch it in action and change it, working with others for the better.