Mojo Mathers Raises The Politics of Deafness
“I am just as deaf as I am blind. The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus– the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir, and keeps us in the intellectual company of man. Blindness separates us from things but deafness separates us from people.” ~~Helen Keller
Any form of disability impacts on your quality of life so if your hearing is okay or you only suffer occasional temporary periods of impaired hearing you should take proactive steps to protect this second of the recognized five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch) before it negatively impacts on your healthy lifestyle.
Historically, the Deaf community has been self-sufficient and resilient despite the hearing community’s perception that deaf people are less capable than they are.
Deaf adults typically do not like the term “hearing impaired” because it implies that they are broken and need to be fixed rather than simply being deaf. They prefer the terms “deaf” or “hard of hearing”. In general, deaf adults view themselves as a linguistic minority, and not a handicapped group.
- Are those afflicted with this disability any less capable of adding value to society?
- Should they be valued less in society than those who have perfect hearing?
- Should they be given the necessary assistance to live useful lives and contribute to society?
These are questions that need to be addressed by politicians controlling the health system purse strings. Ironic perhaps that this disability issue should be brought home to politicians in New Zealand by a newly elected representative.
“Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing,
nobody listens and then everybody disagrees.” Will Rogers
New Zealand’s first deaf MP Mojo Mathers is being told
to pay $30,000 just so she can participate in Parliament
Mojo Mathers made history on Wednesday, when she delivered her maiden speech to Parliament — in sign language. It was an inspirational moment for the entire deaf community. But the elation didn’t last long.
She’s just been told she’ll have to pay $30,000 for electronic note-taking that she needs to do her job. Student Merrin Macleod thinks it’s unbelievable discrimination — in the last three months of 2011 Parliamentary Services paid $3.1 million for MPs’ travel and accommodation perks alone, yet it’s refusing to support Mojo Mathers’ participation in Parliament.
Merrin’s started a Change.org petition calling on Speaker Lockwood Smith to grant the funding immediately. The issue is attracting intense media attention, and the Speaker’s refusal is being condemned as discrimination against the hearing impaired. If thousands join Merrin now, while he’s under the spotlight, he’ll have no choice but to listen.
This week should have been a triumph for Mojo Mathers and the deaf community — a powerful symbol of progress for a community that has often been marginalized in public life. But the Parliament’s refusal is putting that progress in jeopardy.
Mojo Mathers says the case would set a “dangerous precedent” in a system still weighted against people with hearing impairment and other disabilities. Funding the note-taking will drain her office budget — she’s essentially being asked to choose between fully representing her party and paying to participate in Parliament.
And the issue doesn’t end with Mojo Mathers. Electronic note-taking would eventually lead to the captioning of television coverage — enabling 700,000 hearing impaired people in New Zealand to access the Parliament they pay and vote for. Ensuring she’s supported by Parliament would be a powerful gesture towards equal access and opportunity for every one of these 700,000 people.
Who is Change.org?
We’re a website that allows anyone, anywhere to start, join and win campaigns about issues that are important to them.
We put the best social change technology in the hands of passionate people everywhere. You can use the Change.org platform to have email automatically sent to a decision maker every time someone signs your petition. You can recruit more people to your cause, and regularly update your supporters on the progress of the campaign with our easy to use website. More than 50,000 petitions have been started on the site, and every day, people are winning campaigns on important issues.
Change.org is a non-partisan organization that empowers anyone, anywhere to start and win campaigns for social change. Every day, people who start petitions on Change.org win meaningful change using the most easy-to-use & powerful grassroots organizing tools on the web.
Tagged with: Change.org • deaf • deaf culture • deafness • hard of hearing • hard of hearing phones • hard of hearing products • hearing aids • hearing impaired • hearing impairment • hearing loss • Mojo Mathers • petition • Politics of Deafness • sign language
Filed under: Hearing Loss
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!