People who are deaf have to deal with oppression and discrimination almost every day. It’s hard for us to get good, well-paying jobs, not because we aren’t capable of those jobs, but because those around us assume we are incapable. Then, because people rarely see us in those jobs (how many deaf teachers, nurses, pharmacists, doctors, lawyers, politicians, CEOs have you met?) they assume that we probably don’t have authoritive positions because we can’t. It’s a vicious cycle, and those of us who try to break it face many challenges.
Read Lucy’s story about the obstacles she faces to become a nurse. It’s very illuminating of the sort of prejudice we face every day.
‘I was asked to wear a badge saying ‘I am deaf,’ what gives my mentor the right to request this? You wouldn’t ask a person of different race to wear a badge saying, for example, ‘I am black.’ It is wrong.’
‘I was told that it was unsafe for me to work on the ward because I may not hear the emergency bells and would not be able to cope in an emergency situation. There was no evidence of me not being able to carry out this task.’
If you are hiring, consider hiring a person who is deaf or has a disability, and ask them what you can do to meet their needs. Many people who are deaf or have a disability are used to working extra hard to prove themselves – unfortunate as this is, you as an employer can benefit from this. Help change the status quo.