Discrimination is quite an upsetting and outdated reality in our society. Deaf people around the world face discrimination on a daily basis, even with Equality laws in place. I’ve seen and heard many stories about discrimination in my life and also during my time of being Deafie Blogger and it saddens me to see that very little is done about it.
Having a hearing loss is challenging enough as it is. Deaf people don’t need to be told that they can’t do something just because they can’t hear. Just because our ears don’t work doesn’t mean our body doesn’t, and that our feelings don’t matter.
Some deaf people aren’t always strong enough to stand up for themselves, or may end up believing that what the person is saying is true. This means the person gets away with it and it’s wrong. Discrimination can really lower deaf people’s confidence, independence and self-esteem.
Unfortunately, I too have been a victim of discrimination a few times in my life, including at school, where I’ve experienced discrimination in the classroom. I find that people often discriminate because they don’t know what it’s like to be deaf. I’d thought I’d share my story with you.
Before I do, I’d like to say; please don’t feel sorry for me as I really want to emphasize that this is about overcoming obstacles, proving others wrong and showing the world what deaf people are capable of. What one may lack for in one area, they might make up in another. The motto I go by is: ‘Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support. If there’s an obstacle, there’s always a way around it. Never give up.’
My teacher told me I shouldn’t… because I am deaf
At the start of A Levels (secondary school) in 2013, I chose Media Studies as one of my subjects. I love movies, TV, print media and learning about movie production, so I figured it would be an interesting and fun subject to study.
At the end of my first lesson of Media Studies, my teacher called me to stay behind after class. I thought I was in trouble, even though I couldn’t recall doing anything wrong. They asked for my support assistant to step outside of the classroom, leaving my teacher and I in private. I thought to myself, how am I going to cope without my note-taker?
My teacher then had the decency to tell me the following:
“You shouldn’t be doing Media Studies because you’re deaf.”
I was shocked. How could she say such thing?! I was quite taken aback and angry, but I simply said “OK” and left the room. I was furious. Unlike most people, I wasn’t upset or demotivated, in fact I was quite the opposite. I wanted to do something about it.
I told my support assistant, the Head of Sensory Support, my parents and everyone about the incident, and they were all very sympathetic and surprised about my teacher’s remark. In the following weeks, a few meetings were held, but shortly thereafter – without any clear reason to me – the teacher left.
I continued studying Media with new teachers, who were very supportive and helpful. I found ways around the difficulties in my assignments; such as being unable to edit music videos or movie trailers, so I created a magazine and newspaper instead. It was very interesting for me and it’s contributed toward my career in Marketing.
Upon receiving my results, I was happy to have been awarded an “A” Grade.
If I see the teacher again, I would love to tell her what I managed to achieve.
The moral of the story, is to think about what you are saying before you upset people’s feelings. For other deaf people, just remember: ‘Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support. If there’s an obstacle, there’s always a way around it. Never give up.’
Please help me to spread the word about hearing loss and share my motto with others and also help me to inspire other deaf people!
If you’re happy enough to share your story, why not comment below and share your story?!
Ellie was born profoundly deaf, uses verbal communication, lipreads and wears Phonak hearing aids. She is currently learning British Sign Language. Ellie hasn’t let her disability stand in the way and embraces every new challenge. Her deafness didn't prevent her from achieving major accomplishments in her life, such as excelling in her education, working as a Marketing Executive for a Spa & Health Club, Events and Promotions Staff for a local newspaper as well as blogging for Hearing Like Me. She is passionate about deaf awareness, campaigning for equality and helping others through her personal blog as Deafie Blogger.