No matter what reputation we uphold, people like you and me will always pass some kind of judgment. If you, by any small chance, believe that you do not judge, then you are simply a hypocrite, in denial, ignorant and/or delusional. Every history, media, and social aspect have proved time after time that we ALL pass some kind of judgment towards people. Don’t believe me? Then read on…
Judgment and reputation are two words that constantly revolve around us. There’s no way to avoid it unless you isolate yourself from the world. First, let’s clarify the definition of judgment. Judgment is the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing. There’s a saying that we shouldn’t judge people. What they mostly mean is we don’t have the right to say someone is right or wrong in a subjective situation. This includes nice or rude, smart or stupid, humble or egotistic, pretty or ugly, awesome or suck, and so on. Ultimately, the sentimental value should hold true, but realistically, has anyone ever kept their end of the bargain? Think for a moment: your subconscious is the one and only thing that determines judgment and that is based on your own personal experience. In that area, there is an insurmountable number of opinions formed in every second, intentionally or unintentionally. Simply put, it is human nature. We judge.
Next, we have reputation which is the opinion of the public toward a person, a group of people or an organization. Reputation is an important factor that let people define who we are, but it is also entirely up to us how we reflect ourselves. Here’s an example, there is a video game called Mass Effect (a role playing game). It allows you to build and control your main character as well as the outcome of the game. There are groups of non playable characters (NPC) which you can converse with. In each dialog, three major choices are given in order to respond – positive, neutral, or negative. Every response you choose, NPC react accordingly. What’s revealing is how NPC behave differently towards a character depending on its reputation. The more positive you respond, the more helpful they are and vice versa if there is a negative response. The kind of reputation varies depending on the action we all make. Now imagine us in the real world, we all have our own characteristics and decide how we carry out our lives. The characteristics and the type of judgment we exhibit determine our own reputation.
The combination of judgment and reputation go hand in hand. People judge on the result of what you do, what you say, and what other people say about you. It’s not the question of who you are, but a question of how you conduct yourself towards others. The nature of those two aspects has a mysterious way that affects people. They can break or make you. When a topic gets mentioned about deaf community, there’s something that needs to be said as a group regarding reputation. There are certain things that rub people the wrong way and others who enjoy our culture. Granted, it’s not just only deaf, but hearing as well. However, we are the minority and we get a lot more attention than others. Therefore, we are scrutinized much more than hearing. Here are a couple of links that came to my attention from twitter related to deafness. What caught my eyes wasn’t so much about the news, but what was said in the comment section. Some of them were harsh, but certainly understandable.
Ive Bartended about a dozen ASL parties. I am a tolerant person and have no beef with any religion, race, group, ect. But in 10 years behind the wood deaf people were by far the most rude and ungrateful patrons I have served.
I was working an event for HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) in Nashville, TN recently. Their Gala Ball started with a tribute to the founder of the HLAA (formerly SHHH) who had recently passed away. His widow was there. There were people who had been with the organization for 20 years giving eulogies. Except, nobody would stop talking!
These people knew that the event had started, they just didn’t care. You have to understand that they have a myriad of hearing assistive technologies at these events: open captioning, sign language interpreters (on huge screens so everyone can see,) IR systems to plug directly into hearing aids and cochlear implants – hooked directly up to the sound system. These people were asked to stop talking 5 times before the program started, and it still took 5 minutes into the presentation before people quieted down……….I don’t hate deaf people, but I do lack sympathy. If you want to be treated well by the world I have some advice: stop acting like an asshole.
What I noticed from experience is they seem to think society has wronged them. I’m sure society has wronged them, but it also wronged many other people. Furthermore, they make it confusing and virtually impossible to not offend them. Half of them think it’s offensive to be called hearing impaired. Half of them think it’s offensive to be called deaf. Then, they retaliate by calling people who aren’t deaf, “hearing people”. It just all seem very childish to me. You don’t see blind people being offended for being said to be blind. It is what it is. If you can’t hear, you’re deaf. I eventually settled and decided I am going to call them deaf, whether they like it or not. If they don’t they can just suck it up, because that is who they are.
I used to volunteer at a place on the weekends that had several deaf people, and its always weird, One minute they will just be a little standoffish and the next complete jerks. I’ve only met one nice deaf person. The rest for whatever reason have been really rude.
One might ask, why should we bother to care what others think? That’s probably a typical response that most of you would answer. The attitude of “I’ll do what pleases me and if you don’t like it, then you can shove it” is common with the kind of people that like to believe that they live in their own world and nothing they do affects anyone. There is more concern about self and less concern about others. In retrospect, why should hearing people even care about us in the first place? Imagine ourselves asking these people for help and they just don’t give a hoot about deaf community itself. We just may never have the luxury of technology, services or whatever it is we need to survive. The judgment we make and how we establish ourselves should be delicately handled.
This isn’t to say that we should conform to please others. It is more of an obligation to seize, correct and educate deaf and hearing. The last thing we need is to create more bitterness and stereotypes that could potentially taint the image of deaf community and/or possibly hinder any progress to better the community. There’s no real easy solution. But before we can solve the problem, we first must correct our line of thought and change our attitudes. Bottom line, quit being a jackass, build up patience, develop a method to communicate–not just for yourself but others as well. Respect one another, educate, and whatever it is that we can do to help each other. Whether you like it or not, we all need each other. Everyone is connected in one form or another. We may not see it, but it is there if we look beyond the superficial.
In the end, you have to ask yourself – define your own reputation or let others define it for you. The choice is up to you. If you choose to inject your negative attitude around you, then you can certainly expect the same treatment from others. Best practice is do onto others as you would want others to do to you. How you conduct yourself and the values you live by are what define you and our culture. YOU are the most important influence in today’s world.