Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Generalizations

I went to an education conference over the weekend. It was there that I observed one rather esteemed professor/researcher make the following generalization:

"Deaf people learn differently than hearing people."

Now waitjustaminute here....do you mean to tell me, Mr. Professor, that ALL deaf people learn alike? And that ALL hearing people learn alike? And therefore, ALL deaf people learn differently than hearing people.

Wow. How Kantian.

Dear Mr. Professor,

I take offense to your generalization. Implying that all deaf people think the same is tantamount to saying that all white people are the same, and that all black people are the same. Are all women the same? Are men? I think not. I hope you would agree, too.

While many deaf people do learn through visual means, there are plenty out there who can and do utilize auditory input for learning. And there are hearing people who learn differently. Just walk into any bookstore and look at either the education/reading or disabilities section(s). I know that you know this, being such an esteemed researcher and all, but why did you have to lump deaf people into all one category?

I am not a "typical" person. For that matter, what IS normal? (See Blog title above.) Every group has their oddballs, their outliers, their abnormalities, their quirky people, and yes, their norms. When you have "norms" you also have standard deviation.

The only thing that every single person on this planet has in common is this: we are all unique.

Now, I don't mind if you say N=100 and that of those 100, 50 say they prefer to learn by seeing (watching interpreters or teachers signing), 25 say they prefer to learn by reading, and the other 25 saying they prefer to learn by osmosis. But don't simply say "[all] deaf people....."

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

DC Deafie

Apologies

First of all, you have my apologies for being absent. I certainly did not intend to post one blog and then leave y'all high and dry for a couple weeks. I had good intentions. Really, I did. But then I got busy with:
  • teaching/creating powerpoints for class
  • accepting another class midway into the semester as a "substitute" (don't ask)
  • going to a conference -- more about that later
  • trying to actually see friends and be more communicative with them
  • realizing that i've been a horrible relative and not seeing a family member in months even though we live 30 minutes apart. Sad, really.
Also, for those of you who are curious, I have decided not to reveal my identity publicly, for one reason: the way we respond to one another is influenced by what we know of that person. So, for now, I'm content to be anonymous and see what happens here.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

~DC Deafie

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kiss My Thin @$$!

No, I don’t drink Slim-Fast. No, I don’t eat diet bars. No, I’m not anorexic. Or bulimic. Or vegetarian. I’m a carnivore. I love meat. I don’t like fruits and vegetables so much. I love food – especially filet mignon, roast potatoes with herbs, chicken fajitas, etc. As I write this, I’m eating 3 pre-packaged egg rolls for lunch. (Yes, they’ve been heated up.) My current favorite snack: Tostitos with salsa or queso dip.

So, why then, do people feel the need to comment on the fact that I’m thin? If you saw an overweight woman walking down the street or coming into a store, you wouldn’t say, “wow, look how fat you are!” Would you? And yet, I get variations of the following comments:

“You’re SO thin!”
“I wish I was as skinny as you. You’re so lucky!”

Yes, I’m thin. Thankyouverymuchforpointingouttheobvioustome, ma’am.

But let me point this out right back at you:

Any time you comment on my size, you make me ├╝ber self-conscious. Why is this society so hell-bent on complimenting and rewarding those who are ultra-thin? I consider myself healthily thin. I may be at the bottom end of the appropriate weight for my size (which is a range of about 10 pounds), but I’m not underweight. I have as difficult a time gaining weight as many people have losing weight – we all know it’s metabolism-related. I was blessed—or cursed—with a high metabolism. Whatever the reason, I’m thin. If I were eight inches taller and a lot prettier, I might qualify to be a model. Or would I?

Recently, the modeling world was turned upside-down. In September 2006, the Spanish Association of Fashion Designers, who organize fashion week in Madrid, banned models with a body mass index (BMI) of 18 or below. The United Nations’ health experts recommend a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (source: BBC.co.uk, Sept. 13, 2006).

According to CNN, “Madrid's regional government, which sponsors the show and imposed restrictions, said it did not blame designers and models for anorexia. It said the fashion industry had a responsibility to portray healthy body images” (Sept. 13, 2006). Thirty percent (30%) of the models who showed up for the fashion week were not allowed to participate. Well, that took care of the starving models, but…

Far be it for a model to gain weight! Oh, the horror! Such actions should not be tolerated! Models must simply be “perfectly” thin – no more and now, no less.

Last month, former supermodel Tyra Banks was lambasted in the media for gaining weight, and for being 5’10” and weighing 161 pounds. Good lord! If that’s fat, then I’m not thin – I’m simply bones covered with a bit of skin. I’m proud of her for basically telling the world to “kiss her fat ass” if they had a problem with it.

As a society, we project images of beauty and perfection to teens and tweens. Who exactly determines that 5’8” and a BMI of 18 is representative of stunning beauty? Who determines that being a bit on the curvy and meaty side is just simply not acceptable? Who made it possible for women of all ages, heights and sizes to walk down the street and state the obvious to me?

Time to go eat some leftover hunan beef. Mmmm!