Thursday, July 05, 2007

Do We Need Unorthodox Deaf Advocates?

I present you the question;

Do we need more unorthodox deaf advocates?

In the past 20-30 years we've had well paid deaf advocates following traditional methods to answer the question of human survival. Sure they have been swimming in big funding coffers but has the deaf communities fared any better?

What were seeing nowdays are deaf schools closing, deaf clubs and organizations crumbling, and the deaf communities completely balkanized. That's happening because these deaf entities are following traditional approaches to the human question. The 'traditional approaches' the deaf people have been taking are just like the blinders people put on horses.

When people put blinders on horses, they do it so the horses can act predictably. When deaf society goes on with blinders, the hearing people can herd them out of existance. Using many methods they do it because with the blinders on the deaf society as it is now can act predictably to the hearing people.

Traditional deaf advocates are responsible for things like deaf schools closing, deaf clubs and organizations crumbling, and the deaf communities ending up completely balkanized. They only saw what was within the blinders not outside.

Unorthodox deaf advocates are like horses without blinders. They jump easier. Theyre more reactive to situations than traditional deaf advocates. They support ideas that traditional deaf advocates wouldnt dare think of. They make the results expected of the stakeholders faster, YES FASTER!!!!!

Take this for example.

Years ago I went to one of the Employment Development Department (EDD) office in Santa Ana. It was in the Santa Ana Transportation Center facility where the buses and trains makes their stops. The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD) had the deaf employent counselor's seat in that particular EDD office and I asked him the train station has 12 pay phones and none of them has a tty with it. I explained to the deaf counselor my plan to get the tty there. He responded that he had been trying to get that done for the 2 years he's been working there and my plan was 'not the professional way' (I never forget that) that he was 'the professional' to do it and he can get it done for me. He distinctively sounded more like a talker than a do'er. He really had the blinders on himself.

I executed my plan and 3 months later I got a tty there. Yes right under GLAD's nose. Whats the difference? 2 years failure using the traditional approach? Or 3 months success using the unorthodox approach? Which one gets the results faster? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

Of course the unorthodox approaches do not come without flak. Take a look at the results of my "Playing The Deaf Card In The Free Enterprise Game" blog entry. The approach really works, people dont like it because its too unorthodox. The people who reacted negatively to the blog entry are the types that are responsible for the demise of deaf schools, deaf clubs, deaf organizations, and the internal rifts in the deaf society. That's because they dont support unorthodox deaf advocates they prefer the deaf society to go on with the horse blinders on.

Interestingly the traditionalists reaction to my getting a TTY right under GLAD's nose was strong too. They copied my face from the pictures I used to brag about this particular TTY success and pasted them on pornographic images. This is how the traditional deafies react to the successes of unorthodox deafies.

It's really time to take the blinders off the deaf society and let the unorthodox deaf advocates do their things their way because it leads them away from the situations already faced by deaf schools, deaf clubs, and deaf organizations. And they can do it faster too!

Now do we need more unorthodox deaf advocates?


Richard Roehm


  1. excellent. i for one agree with you. We need more people like you who want to step in and try many things while others do not.

    and my answer is... yup.

  2. Before I consider withdrawing further support for organizations (e.g. GLAD) I need to see evidence that your photograph was copied and put into association with pornographic entities online.

  3. Not only that, one of the the TTY victory pictures was also put on a flyer accusing me of many things that are not true I will too post that online once I get into the archives.


  4. Richard,

    Where are the details describing the "unorthodox" method you used to get a TTY in that particular location? Many of us do not know what you did to get it there. You described it as being done "right under GLAD's nose." This sounds a little sneaky. Care to elaborate?

    As I continue to read your approaches to advocacy, they sound more and more Machiavellian - results, not matter what the method....

    While I'm not against creative thinking outside of the box to support d/Deaf people, I do have a problem with deceit, playing on pity, illegal or simply unethical approaches.

    Before I make further judgments though, I ask you to clarify what exactly you did that was unorthodox to get that TTY there under GLAD's nose. Was it legal?

    ~ LaRonda

  5. It was legal and it is a trade secret and it's something I'll do again soon. The photos are uploaded in today's blog.


  6. Yes I have to agree that Deaf Advocates have to think outside of the box. I am a Deaf Advocate myself but I think entirely different than those who keep their traditional beliefs and ways. I am about equal access to communication technology.

    so much has changed since the dawn of the hearing aid, closed captioning decoders, as well as tty's and video phones. Still there is work that is still needed to be done.

  7. Excellent article! We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.