Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Deaf-resistance" hearing people and a bridge


Hello again. I got positive comments about my previous video clip about how to deal with hearing people. Thank you for your positive comments. Some of their comments asked me if they meet a hearing person who doesnt want to work with deaf people, what they should about those hearing people?

It was a good question. I've faced that kind of hearing people before. I will give you some tips and share my ideas with you.

First, I want to tell you some important things before I give you my ideas on how to deal with those hearing people. Remember this world has so many different kinds of people which means there are so many different groups of people based on their beliefs, values, culture, et cetera...

Sometimes there are some people willing accept another person that is different from them so they can learn more about their cultures which is great.

However there are some people not willing to learn about another culture. They rather focus on their culture only. Those people do not want to accept any diversity people which is their choice. We don't have any control over those people or over their choices.

What kind of control we have? Our actions. You also have a control of how you want hearing people to remember you as a deaf person. Do you want a hearing person to remember you as a confident deaf person with a pride in their language who signs freely and creating curiosities for hearing people in your language? Or do you rather want a hearing person to remember you as a fragile deaf person with no confidence and no pride in your langauge who is looking for some pities from hearing people. How you want them to remember you is your choice.

Ok. I'd like to discuss about a pride and to compare our culture with another culture, use Hispanic/Latino culture as an example. Now lets look at hispanic people. Some of hispanic families moved to America from Mexico to start a new life and to get a job in America. Does that mean those group of hispanic people would drop their language, drop their culture, and forget about them because they live in America? No. This is not true. Those hispanic people would still preciously pass down their culture and their language to their young people because of their family history and their identity. We should have the same kind of pride for our culture and our language.

Ok. I want to discuss about the Deaf community. I applaud the Deaf community for having Deaf-related events, Deaf clubs, et cetera... which is a nice thing for us. I noticed a thing about Deaf people at social gatherings. They were proudly using their language at the gatherings. But when they went outside of those gatherings, their attitude and their pride of their language changed. Their level of pride dramatically dropped when they went outside of a social gathering. Why cannot we keep our pride at the same level outside of a gathering to show the world who we really are? We need to show the world who we really are. It is important for us to do it.

Ok. Why is it so important for us to do it? It shows hearing people that we have no shame to be a deaf person. We need to teach them that. If you go to a store and use the "pointing to your ears" approach to a hearing person, how can you teach them about our langauge and our culture with that approach? With that "pointing to your ears" approach, you teach them nothing about our culture or our language. With that approach, it seems it's a good way to ask for their pity. That was what I was talking about in my previous video clip. Your pride is the key.

Ok. Now I am going to give you tips on how to deal with "Deaf-resistant" hearing people. What I tend to do before I go in a store is I always have my Sidekick with me all the time. I tend to type what I need on my Sidekick's notepad, save it, then put it in my pocket before I go to a store.

When I see a hearing employee walks by me, I usually would sign to them directly. Sometimes when a hearing employee knows how to sign, I usually end up having a nice chat with them.

Sometimes when a hearing employee attempts to use the "a pen and a piece of paper" method to show some efforts, I usually give them a credit for putting their efforts in it and let them communicate with me through this communication method.

Sometimes when a hearing person cringes or resists me, I usually sign to them directly one more time to let them know that it doesnt make any dent to my pride or it doesnt make me feel ashamed to be a deaf person. If that hearing person continues to be stubborn about it, then that is when I will use my sidekick with a note ready for them to read it. It will put their frustrating at ease. It also will help them to expand their knowledge of how to work with deaf people better next time. Once they have that kind of knowledge, it will help our community a lot. Because once you expose a hearing person about our language and our culture, they will learn from you. Then they will be able to deal with next Deaf people better in the future. This will extremely help our community a lot.

Ok. Why am I standing here in front of bridges? Ok. There are 2 different groups. One hill on my right represents our group, another hill on my left represents another group. How can we expose ourselves to another group? We need to proudly introduce ourselves and teach them about our langauge and our culture. You also need to show your pride in yourself to them. This will start to build a bridge from our group to their group. They will learn from us about our culture then we will learn about their culture. Then the bridge between us will be completed.

Some bridges are easy to build. It depends on some hearing people. Some hearing people are willing to accept us and eagerly to learn about us which is a good thing. With those hearing people, it will be easy for us to build a bridge between us.

But some bridge are tough to build especially with "Deaf-resistant" hearing people. With those "Deaf-resistant" hearing people, it is harder for us to build a bridge with them just like the bridge behind me. Some bridges in a middle of an extreme canyon are hard to build. But this did not stop us from building a bridge in a middle of canyon. We need to go across a canyon just like we need to go through hearing people's head. It is the same idea.

Thank you. I want you to look at the bridge behind me for a minute and think about stuff that I just told you.


Anonymous said...

Eric, why need to pause holding ur hands like pray, I am annoyed. Just sign through ;)

I have lived there I knew it, and now I am here in different city, different state. I have seen/met many not only knows ASL almost everywhere also interested in ASL. Last other night I went Fred Meyer I tried to sign when the guy came to me to ask any help I just pointed the back of my blackberry "I look for 101 or 2 GB micro card". He realized I am deaf, asked me to followed him to cashier's desk and he called, huh. In few minutes the lady came and signed knowing ASL, so cool. I m sure Brent has told u there's DMV the lady one of 3 clerks knows ASL, at SAM's club cashier knows ASL and many we have seen around here.
And I read KH about driving, other day, last fall, 2 lanes turn right the guy was on the right lane to turn right so I was on left lane to turn right too, as we turned right he moved to left lane almost hit me I gave him a honk he was scared or disliked my honk he was yelling and I signed to him "pay attention, 2 lanes turn to right!" he stopped yelling, then said he is sorry. =)

LaRonda said...

Hi Eric.

YOU are a "bridge builder!" (See my blog post on this topic:

I have enjoyed your v/blog since you started. I find it very positive and empowering. You set a good example for others in the deaf community. You speak from a place of high self-esteem. You speak from your heart.

Consider me a new fan! :)

(I also think I know you and your brother. You guys go to WSD? I worked there as a school counselor from 1990-1999.)

~ LaRonda

kira said...

before u talked abt bridge, i planned to put my thoughts abt the bridge, but u already said it lol

keep deaf-resistance vlogs in future!!! :)

jwomick said...

WOW!!!! i remember ur other videoclips they taught me something about proud for being to be deaf not being pity. i did change that way and it's DID WORK! thank for sharing ur point and help advice for deaf culture. keep up with ur videoclips i like it. i have a lot thing learn something about deaf culture. it's help me to get better for who i am and i am pride of deaf!

Joshua Womick

Anonymous said...

hello there eric
very well said, i totally argee with what you said, i grew up in the hearing world and same time in a deaf world, to make friends with hearings and to be able to work in their world and for them to do the same in ours we just got to give them the light and from there the results will be amazing too many deaf people out there is cowards to do that, its up to them to be strong and i hope this vlog of yours will give them that stregenth, once again well said
your friend
Joe Jones

Susan said...

Thank you for your encouraging words and for showing us how we can make bridges with hearing people.

I enjoyed your video clip :) said...

Howdy Eric,

I enjoyed your first two vlogs on the everyday life dealing with hearing-people. It's time for us to turn the table and make em to deal with Deaf-people, the topics was inspiring and wonderful idea to pursue the new purpose of Deaf way!

I would like to share with y'all on my experience, I am born Deaf and raised Deaf family lip-reading and Orally fluent is not my fortress.

However, several years ago I was formerly restaurant server when customer sits down my station and would already start speaking out their orders without attempt making any eyes contact to me. They would start realize that I'm not responding until they make eyes contact with me and I'd start signing " Hello My name Jason and I'm your server." At first Hearing-people would be startled and realizes that I'm Deaf server.

That! The table has turned and their everyday life is on other side of fence and leave them with no choice but to deal with me in order to get their orders served.

The bridge was building throughly the night and Hearing-people would walk out with new prescriptive on Deaf-people also generous 20 percent tips heh!

I applaud ( hand waving preferably)
on your Deaf revolution movement!

Jason Quinn

drmzz said...

Thumb up for review on socio-cultural and communication issues. Off point, I dug the train via the bridge bit. A train of thoughts?

Eric Babb said...

Mira: Im glad that you've met some employees who know some signs to assist with you at stores. Hope it was a great experience for you. You will never know when you bump into an employee or someone who knows how to sign. :) Sorry about my holding hands pauses. I had to think for a bit before I made some statements.

LaRonda: Wow I really like your post about bridge builders. Thanks for sharing the post with us. I am glad that you enjoyed the vlog. :) Yes Brent and I went to WSD when we were young. I only went there for a quarter.

Kira: Heh you can still post your point of view about building bridges on your b/vlog if you wish. :)

jwomick: I am glad that you're proud to be a deaf person. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed to be a deaf person. You are here on this planet for a reason.

Joe: Thanks for the kind comment. I am glad that you agree. Maybe you can help us to give other deaf people that strength too. Like Jay Krieger said in his vlog, it takes a village to make a difference.

Susan: I'm glad that you enjoyed the clip. :)

Jason: Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'm glad that you got the generous 20% tips from them for building bridges with them during your years at the resturant. :)

drmzz: Yep it was a train of thoughts. ;D

Anonymous said...

Eric, I remember you from WSD.You were a neat kid and you have grown up to be well thought out person. Wow you have impressed me. Consider me a new fan.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post !
I am hearing but have worked at learning ASL (not SEE) for years because I love the language. It is a beautiful language full of life and expression. Be proud of how who you are !

Anonymous said...

Well said. I am so impressed, as a hearing person barely scratching the surface into your world, at the great courage and willingness of the deaf community to build bridges when most of the time they are the only ones working at it. Hearing people just dont "get it" till you teach them. Be patient with us. We can be taught.

Anonymous said...


I have been reading your post and find it so interesting. I am hearing but I grew up with a friend who is deaf and he taught me English sign. I am trying to change it all up and do asl but it is hard after being fluent in English sign for 20 yrs. I just opened a new free site I would love for you to check it out. It is I need feedback It is a place for the people of the deaf community to get together and chat have spaces and everything thanks for checking it out. I saved your blog to my fav.

Woo said...

Your vlogs are excellent. As a "hearing" in a place where there aren't many Deaf, I don't encounter this much, but one time I was at Disneyland and saw a couple, and since then I became inspired to volunteer and learn ASL.

Please continue to make videos. It seems like you've taken a long break, but you have all this support. Thank you.