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I’m a deaf chick. And I can hear you.

April 16, 2009

Deafness is the inability to hear.
If hearing is the ability then deafness is the disability.

I choose not to use my vocal chords to speak.
If speaking is the ability, then muteness is the disability.
Still yes?

Couple not hearing with not speaking and what do you have?
A communication disability?
A deaf mute?
A disabled chick?
A dumb blonde?

Do you think so?

Come on: Label me.
You can call me what ever the hell you like:
I can’t hear you.

Got it?


Now try this on for size:

If AusLan is the ability, not knowing AusLan is the disability.
If lip reading is the ability, staring blankly at a moving mouth is the disability.
Still yes?

If you can’t hear my lips or speak my signs:
What does that make you?


You can hear.
I can’t.

I can speak AusLan and read lips.
You can’t.

Are you disabled?
Am I?

Just whose “communication disability” is it?

Is it anyone’s to be owned?


Now there’s a thought.

Here’s another one:
Next time you want to call me deaf:
Don’t be offended when I call you dumb.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2009 7:09 pm

    Hi Sammi

    I don’t think labelling people is ever helpful. Deaf, dumb, disabled, white, male … whatever. Any labelling of people prevents me exploring their uniqueness.

    None of us are able to do everything. Some of the things I’m not able to do I can learn. Some I can’t.

    Right now I live in Poland and I can’t speak Polish. I could learn. I tried for 15 years. Just couldn’t get it. Many people write me off as an arrogant English guy and don’t take the trouble to find out who I really am. Some do.

    I have no idea how you experience not hearing. I imagine sometimes it’s a real pain in the ass?

  2. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 16, 2009 7:18 pm

    We are all labelled.
    The difference is choice.
    I choose to be a ‘graphic chick’.
    I like that label.
    I identify with it.
    It is empowering.

    The labels we don’t choose are the problems.

    Tis not my non hearing that is the pain in the arse:
    It’s the rest of the world’s non signing.

  3. April 17, 2009 5:35 am

    Well said!!!

  4. April 17, 2009 6:31 am

    Ta Jay.
    Glad you heard me.

  5. Alison permalink
    April 17, 2009 7:09 am

    You tell it, woman!!! LOVE your ways. I am so glad to see you out in the big wide blogging world and I can’t wait to read more (and more and more) posts from you!!!

  6. April 17, 2009 8:03 am

    Ta for the push Al.
    I’m no kewl blogger yet but I’ll give it a go.

  7. April 17, 2009 8:41 am

    I can throw you a couple of labels…..and none of them are dumb deaf chick!!!! lol,….where will I start???????

    Yeehaww, Sammi is speaking with her fingers again. Go, Sammi, go!

    Sammi, I want to hear the sound of your deaf accent because I am happy to experience all of you (well, not actually all of you, not in the literal sense). I accept you for who you are – perhaps that defines me as dumb!!!!!

    Welcome to the parallel world where digital communication can be heard by all. I am very glad to have you in this world too.


  8. Victor permalink
    April 17, 2009 10:11 am

    Emotions Running HIGH. Def or not one can still be rude. I cant parallel park.

  9. Ciro permalink
    April 17, 2009 10:39 am

    I stumbled upon your Blog. Congratulations! You are an inspiration! I admire your character!

  10. dan permalink
    April 17, 2009 10:55 am

    ahh angst

  11. rokhel permalink
    April 17, 2009 11:32 am

    Absolutely, 100%, RIGHT ON!!!

    What good the best surgeon in the best hospital without a custodian to sanitize the operating room.

    What good a 5 carat diamond ring in the jungles of Africa

    What good a grand piano if you are a gypsy

    How does one measure worth – it is all perspective.

    And random luck of right place – right time – Bill Gates, prior to the invention of the transistor – ???? Would he have a dime?

    Each and every one of us serves a purpose to which nothing would be the same without – we are all equally valuable to the potentiality of the world regardless of station, creed, or power.

  12. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 17, 2009 12:42 pm

    Megan: Dumb is the last thing I would define you as.
    Ta for the welcome.
    Now stop thinking about my fingers.

    Victor: Are you calling me rude?
    Ace. I like that label.
    A parallel disability: huh: interesting.

    Ciro: Ta muchly.

    Dan: Who’s angst?
    I won’t own it.
    Why do you have it?

    Rokhel: We are each valuable to the world, yes.
    But tis the world that creates disability.

  13. Corey permalink
    April 17, 2009 1:18 pm

    Stumbled upon the blog post and thought it was interesting. I’m hard of hearing myself, so I can somewhat relate to you. What do you call someone who can both hear (although quite limited… but it’s nice) and read lips?

    Regardless, it’s nice to see someone who has the same thoughts I do.

  14. Leah LaDeau permalink
    April 17, 2009 1:29 pm

    Sammi….I MUST ask this question…when you read (b/c you can’t hear) do you “hear” words? You must just KNOW. Or do you think or them like you would sound them out with the mouth. (For instance…what about rhyming). Hearing folks, me included (though we all hear what we want to hear), like the sound of similar, well, sounds. What constitutes Rhyme for you?
    Maybe that is dumb. Right now i am HEARING my shoes rattling around in the dryer. Though I would rather not Listen!

    : )

  15. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 17, 2009 1:39 pm

    Corey: Not quite deaf and not quite normal.
    You must just be a person then, yes?

    Leah: A question! Yummy!
    I can speak verbally I only choose not to.
    I don’t “hear” words: rather I “feel” them.
    They mean a particular mouth shape/movement/air flow.
    You can feel a rhyme without hearing one.

    You hear your thoughts as well.
    Sometimes very loudly.
    Other people’s words are much like thoughts to me.
    (No wonder it gets fucking loud in here!)

    Ta for your question πŸ™‚

  16. d4ve permalink
    April 17, 2009 1:57 pm

    Hey Sammi,

    Take it easy.

  17. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 17, 2009 2:07 pm

    You calling me easy?
    Hey yourself.


  18. Ella permalink
    April 20, 2009 1:08 am

    Thank you for this.

  19. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 20, 2009 3:00 pm

    Ella: You’re welcome.

  20. April 20, 2009 11:17 pm

    Wow! I love that you have the ability to choose your words well and wittily (if that is even a word) and that you’re sharing them πŸ™‚

  21. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 21, 2009 8:07 am

    M&B: Ta muchly.
    Choice, ability and witillily in one comment.

  22. April 21, 2009 6:50 pm

    I’m so glad you decided to participate in Heads of Tails…and this was such a wonderful, informative post. I thoroughly enjoyed my learning experience.

    My “Once Upon a Time” is more a ‘fairy [and gnome] tale….come by and smile a little if you can find time.

  23. April 22, 2009 12:14 am

    I enjoyed your post, and I got a giggle out of the “Bye Virginity.” πŸ™‚

  24. April 22, 2009 5:15 am

    When I was growing up, my best friend was deaf, and couldn`t speak…and I hated the way people assumed that deaf=stupid….
    I remember going with her into a Zellers once when we were 13, and because we were signing the cashier autimatically assumed I was also deaf, and she spoke to us really slowly and loudly…

    I got mad, and told her `Being deaf doesn`t mean we are stupid too…
    Never forgot that woman..

    My friend got a good laugh though…LOL!

  25. April 26, 2009 6:07 pm

    Hi Sammi
    Glad you stopped by, it gave me a chance to find you.

    I’ll be back.

    You give great voice.

  26. sammispeaks permalink*
    April 26, 2009 6:19 pm

    Ta for dropping in HOTters.

    Elijah: It makes me laugh when hearing people speak slowly to me.
    If only they could see they are the ones who look like dumb shits.

    Rhubarb: “You give great voice”
    I love you!

  27. May 1, 2009 4:19 am

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….consider this: deaf people are samething as hearing people. only deaf cant do is “HEAR CLEARLY”. or cant understand the people well because of their hearing aids wasnt tranmitt the perfect sounds from outer of deaf’s ears into their ears and they are transmitt through the hearing aids and then the aids change the soudns into something….obscure little bit. and thats why we, deaf people arent dumb either. for example… a machine cannot transmit a real sound only machine sounds. a human cannot speak “machine” talk out of them onyl machines. machines cannot talk likely as humans. make senses? and thats positively why we deaf doesnt understand people well…. because of obscured sounds while transmitting the sound waves. and im not ear expert. im explaing it from my experiences….

  28. Gypsy Jo permalink
    May 6, 2009 2:49 pm

    You tell it honey.
    Shout it from the roof tops.
    Go on. I dare you.

  29. No Hablo Ingles permalink
    January 3, 2010 9:53 pm

    I’m not particularly fond of angry rants. There /are/ stupid people, and you /do/ have to deal with them.

  30. Lizzifer permalink
    January 31, 2010 5:43 pm

    Do us all a favor and kill yourself, Hitler would appreciate it.

  31. October 13, 2010 8:06 am

    Enough with the rant.

    Technically you are disabled, you have conditions that impede on the natural and innate abilities of the human body, whether it be physical, cognitive, or etc. When I say that, I’m not saying you are less than human, I am not stereotyping you, I am not labeling you, and I am not saying your less capable than anyone else. That condition is part of who you are. Whether it you make it a big part of your life or not, its up to you and not anyone else to decide or say so. But you do have a disability. Don’t hate the word, just the ignorant stereotypes.

    You can’t hear, but like you said, it doesn’t mean you can’t understand. Not being able to hear IS a disability, but I do agree with you that not being able to understand another language, whether it be AusLan or English or German or etc., isn’t.

  32. Barelycopingwiththeworld permalink
    August 12, 2012 10:47 pm

    I am jealous of you.
    So many times I have wanted to close my eyes and shut people up.
    When can we be in your presence, do you tour?

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