Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
Deaf Not Dumb
Would love some disability justice analysis.
I found this video really compelling just wondering about the refrain "deaf not dumb."
From what I can tell, this video is essentially playing off the oppression of people with intellectual disabilities ("dumb") to make their community seem more acceptable in comparison. You know, "we may be deaf but at least we're not disabled in a differently stigmatized way!"
In the end, that kind of activism is counterproductive because it privileges the state of not being disabled, which isn't in the best interests of deaf people at all. Additionally, it's outright harmful to people whose disabilities would and have gotten them labeled "dumb [which is pretty much a slur]" because it implies that those people don't deserve our accommodations or empathy.
This video is also inaccessible to blind folks who use screen readers as well as people with specific learning disabilities (see: Kantala's post).
ETA: It just occurred to me that "deaf not dumb" is probably a throwback to "dumb," meaning "unable to speak." Which, doesn't make it any better—especially because "not dumb" in English will always have connotations of "not stupid." Also, obviously, it's an acceptance of "dumb" meaning "unable to communicate" when really people who are "dumb" can in some cases communicate just fine, to people who know sign language.
Thank you for this commentary and resources!