Monday, March 10, 2008

Deaf and mad...

Taking a break from the foibles posts, might as well go back to the serious rants. There was an article in the paper yesterday about a deaf couple in England who have a deaf child and are trying for a second child but they want to use genetics to make sure their second child is also deaf. To me it's another case of PC madness. Hearing is such a fantastic sense it would be outrageous to purposely deprive a child of it. There's one thing empowering people with disabilities, it's another thing forcing them on unsuspecting others.


  1. I haven't heard anything about this case but from what you say I'm imagining they are not "depriving" a child of hearing. I'd reckon, though I don't know, they are attempting to choose an embryo of theirs that would be deaf if born anyway (if that makes any sense).

  2. This is a massive deaf community issue, as to whether deafness is a disability or not.

    There's a lot of politics about it - whether coclear implants are a good thing, whether to speak or not, how everyone should sign. Of course it's going to get to this level, given what genetics can do.

    There's a huge deaf community out htere. I think a lot of little people would prefer little children.

    You may think it's just PC but I think it's a lot deeper than that. Is it realistic to be so dismissive?

  3. I met an amazing american lady on Saturday night, deaf, but lip reads, training to be a psychologist. Amazing waoman, her son is with her ex in america while she studies here, he is hearing, but signs, he is 13 living with the ex husband and new wife who she loves, says they are all great friends, but she comes from a family of deaf parents and 6 deaf sisters.
    I think maybe the family in the case you mentioned want their children to be on a par, we think of deafness as a disability, they don't, why should you or I have anything to do with their decision, now i have a problem with the messing around with genes, you should if they wanted to be sure thay had a hearing child the medical staff would support and help them....
    Problems with messing around with DNA is who decides what is ok, what is acceptable? iF DEAF PEOPLE RULED THE WORLD WOULD WE ALL BE DEAF! Why do we get to decide what is "the norm"

  4. Jo - yes 100%. If you accept social context to be more important than human one, then depriving hearing is in the same bracket as female circumcision and honour killings.

    Dress it up the way you want but the sense of hearing is a very important part of human life and if that's purposely taken away it's a serious evil.

  5. Well, playing Devil's advocate here, but people who've never heard, and see themselves as whole and happy, presumably don't see it from your hearing perspective.

  6. It's where you set the bar. If I was born with the ability to fly would I want it taken away just cause the norm is not to have it and everyone lives their lives happily without being able to fly? answer is no.

  7. It's hard being different though. I think for me what this comes down to is MW's point about it being a question of selecting the deaf child rather than genetically engineering a deaf child.

    Milan, you have no idea how natural a standpoint I take on children, I don't think I'd do fertility drugs let alone gm - but I do see their point of view, not that I particularly agree. But I think you need to walk a mile in the shoes of the deaf community before you can bang down the sceptre on this one.