Saturday, 15 March 2008


This is a lovely photo of a parent and child signing "I love you" together. It is made up of the ASL alpahbet I, L, U and is used by BSL users as well. Sign Language is a beautiful and richly expressive language that exists in the way it does because Deaf people exist. As I worked for many years within the Deaf community I got to know many families where Sign Language was the first language used and English was secondary.

In this weekend's Catholic Herald Mary Kenny writes that she knew a Deaf family in Dublin with two deaf and two hearing children. She makes the observation that I suspect is inaccurate that they were less noisy than other families in their home. Ha! Deaf people are the noisiest people I have ever met...but I digress.

She goes on to say that she knew many families where parents ..."had a disability, such as deafness, blindness or multiple schlerosis. The main outcome for the offspring, in my experience, is that they develop more patience, more insight and more understanding of the rich variety of possibilities that characterise life."

She goes on to say "But we are moving into an era when the entitlement of disabled persons to have children of their own is being increasingly questioned. Mr. Thomato Lichy, a deaf artist, wishes to have children of his own, who may in turn suffer from inherited deafness: and he is being asked, now, what right does he have to "impose" deafness of any children he may have."

She goes on to say these "normality-fascists" (I like her term) would insist he screened out at embryonic stage any deaf children his wife might carry and have them killed.

I am assuming this is somehow linked with whatever Mac was talking about happened on Radio 4.

It would seem that 'The Media' that thoughtless jumble of incredibly boring people are appalled and even alarmed that a Deaf couple might be pleased to have a Deaf child. It is however, not unusual for members of the Deaf community to feel genuine joy and even relief to find their children are also Deaf. They will grow up with Sign Language and as part of a community in which they can be proud. But it seems those in the Media are not at all interested in Mr Lichy's cultural self-understanding. No. They see a subnormal man saying he is more than happy to pass on his sub-normality to his children.
In some ways I think this is manufactured as only Deaf parents would actually go so far as to say they 'hoped' for a child with the same disability as themselves and this is to do with the unique aspect of the Deaf community in it being a linguisitic group. Other deaf people who are not Deaf with a capital 'D' might not think the same way.
Nevertheless the particular aspects of this couple's life are being misused by the Media to say that disabled people should be screened out, and that those of us who are disabled should not be allowed to have children in case we pass it on.
When I was pregnant with my 4th child a doctor told me straight out that she thought I should not be having children as I am disabled. I have been treated with downright rudeness and agressive shouting from doctors and midwives because I use a wheelchair and am having children.
I have been TOLD more than once to get sterilised.
The 'normality-fascists' want people like me got rid of. They want my little 3yr old daughter to be screened out of existence before she is born.
I have seen hospital staff trained to care for sick children thrown into confusion about what to do with a very sick child in the arms of a woman sitting in a wheelchair. WHY is my need for a wheelchair such an issue to them? Since when did the fact that my legs don't work that well make me a worse parent?
My legs don't work but I would rather be like this and have my sick 3yr old and half blind 5yr old and dyslexic 14 and 16 yr olds than be as 'normal' as those people want us all to be.
The 'normality-fascists' want everyone to be the same, to be cogs in a great meaningless state managed machine. The sheer banality of their secular (anti) humanist vision is astonishing. Perhaps there is a gene for heartless-imaginationless-grunts that can be 'screened out' eh?


Anonymous said...

We're quite pleased with our bipolar children thankyou very much!

antonia said...

Yeh, I know what you mean. Society is very materialistic and superficial.

On the side of the angels said...

if killing off anyone who doesn't look,think and act like them is 'normal' ?
please God don't ever make me normal !

swissmiss said...

This is sad and it makes me angry and I sensed you were a wee bit too! My nephew is deaf and the trait is in our family (I have hearing loss and we are still uncertain to what degree, if any, my daughter may suffer from hearing loss too).

My husband has allergies and asthma. Soon people will be wanting to eliminate those children because of what they perceive to be a diminished quality of life. My daughter was born with spina bifida. She no longer has it. God can work miracles, but the greatest miracle is life itself regardless of where one falls on the "quality of life" spectrum.

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Marie said...

I call it 'the Mengele syndrome' where the 'normal' get to judge what is deemed subnormal..who made these 'judges' God?

To these people they live the Nazi Credo..'murder all who are not like us.' *shakes my head*.

Bravo WhiteStoneNameSeeker for the headsup in this crazy mixed up world:).

Wishing you a Holy & Sacred Easter:).

Marie xoxoxo

MaggieClitheroe said...

Excellent post! I am really enjoying the beginnings of our journey in learning sign language. I have been afraid of learning it for years and years, and it's only since another home schooling family were having lessons from a local deaf lady, that my son and I started to join in. I was SO moved by the sign for Jesus - it just seemed to say it all! and it didn't take me long to learn the alphabet (I still can't "read" it at full speed yet!) that I wondered where my fear of trying to learn came from all these years. The lady teaching us is an Anglican, but she has been teaching us to sign the Hail Mary, and it's wonderful. She is brilliant, and such a good teacher, it makes me so angry that people should feel they have a right to tell others whether their lives are worth living. I hate this stupid society's obsession with what is "normal" - everyone has some kind of "abnormality" - it's just that they need to learn to acknowledge it, and stop making judgements about the people who don't come within their own limited framework. (We've been treated as abnormal because we're Catholic, and we homeschool - so I'd say 3 cheers for being abnormal!!!)
God Bless you and your family, and may you enjoy the Peace of the Risen Christ Alleluia!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Enjoy the SL> It is a beautiful language.
And may normality never be yours!
It seems 'normal' people are unusual. hehehe
Happy Easter.