Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No Culture is Entirely Righteous

No Culture is Entirely Righteous
By Zack Tritsch

As the world has known for millennia, every nation, people, and culture has a dark side to their way of life; terrorists, religious extremists, criminals, dictators, tyrants and oppressors that reign with blood and terror. Today, I learned that even deaf culture has its own demons.

In class (MTC), we were shown a video on the computer about two deaf parents who gave birth to a healthy son, but they were dismayed to learn that their son was hearing. The parents had hoped to have a deaf child and start a generation of deafness in the family. For four years, they were disgusted by the fact that their child could hear, and wished/prayed that one day their son’s hearing would degenerate and become deaf like his parents. Finally, one night, the father decided to sit down with his wife and talk about his feelings. To his surprise, she had the same feelings, and they both decided to do something about their son.

This is when it starts to get very very wrong.)

The man called the local doctors about deafening his son. Not surprisingly, such a procedure is strictly illegal in the United States and many places, but one doctor knew a contact in Brazil who could do the procedure well within the legal boundaries of their government. The man said, “fine, give me his number”.
Within a week, everything was set. The ecstatic parents informed their son that he would be deaf soon. However, the boy resisted the idea that he would lose his hearing.

“But Daddy, what about my music?”

“It will be all right. You will not hear music, but you will still feel it.”

“But Daddy, what about my favorite Saturday morning cartoons?”

“It will be all right. They will have closed captioning.”

“But Daddy, what about my friends?”

“You can make new friends, or your friends will have to learn to use sign language.”

Plaintiff pleading was to no avail. The parents would go ahead with the surgery anyway. They were informed that the operation would cost roughly $150,000. You’d think that would deter them from doing such an action, but stubbornness, selfishness and pride won out. They all flew to Brazil. The deed was done. The child had his hearing unwillingly taken away from him. Finally, perhaps as a insult to injury, the parents suggested that their son and they all go to a beach to celebrate.

If anything, this was deaf pride in its most extreme form. The deaf parents callously gave little regard to their son’s future and natural development. The only thing they cared about was that their son has become deaf like his parents. Then, perhaps the most disturbing of all, they earnestly believe that their son becoming deaf (and paying $150,000 to do so) was a God given miracle. Obviously their choices and actions, including the choice to tell the whole story on YouTube, inevitably brought public scrutiny and the attention of social workers across the country.

God gave all of the trials and challenges in this life; that we may learn to overcome the obstacles which He had placed for us, and be able to improve ourselves and those around us. By making their child become deaf, they defeated the purpose of God’s plan for all of us.

And then something hit me: limitations.

Because the parents took away their son’s hearing, they not only took an inherent ability away from him, they took away a lot of opportunities and possibilities that came with this natural development. For all intents and purposes, deafness is not something you give to someone, but rather what results from what you take away. A true parent should love their child no matter what and teach them to embrace all opportunities to their way of life, statures, and already existing limitations. Parents should adapt to their child instead of forcing the child to adapt to their parents. The deaf mother and father did jus the exact opposite, out of selfish concern for only themselves.

In the grand scheme of things, people like them will be held accountable before God for their actions (A Proclamation to the World). Please understand that I don’t hold this insight against all of deaf culture, but I believe it is wrong for us to forcibly assimilate people into our culture, especially when it concerns innocent children.

If I have hearing children in the near future, I would teach that child to embrace hearing culture. I would give my child music. I would encourage him/her to have all kinds of friends. I would help my child discover all the opportunities in life.
I would provide what’s best for my child.
I would ensure my child’s utmost happiness.
I would help my child succeed.
And most above all, I would do it with all the love in my heart – and do you know why?

Because it is the right thing to do.


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