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?