Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Facebook NOT a deaf leveller

Image result for VOTE !Much is made of Facebook power to influence elections and 'empower' deaf people, the latter doesn't ring true. Only 10% view social media as a positive thing.  

Deaf Facebook in the UK was overwhelmingly Labour oriented, mainly because of cuts to sign support etc. The first casualty was the lack of equal coverage, so deaf could make informed decisions.

A democracy area in which deaf and others with hearing loss were able to debate the issues, did not happen, because the Deaf social media has its own 'rules' and entrance qualifications to its own sites.  The biggest anti-democracy areas are Deaf Facebook and Deaf Twitter, once you saw BSL there was nowhere else to go, no other issue to talk about..  There is no desire or will to take interest outside own sphere.  In the first instance those who disagree with the deaf stance on political issues tended to get isolated, ignored, and banned from BSL sites very quickly.  

The deaf aren't really able to go in depth and discuss issues because they have been in own world so long and cannot or won't engage.  Facebook does not reveal almost zero local involvement by deaf people in their own areas/issues, or know the local representations they are being asked to vote for, because they live in a deaf world not a mainstream one. 

Some deaf went to the polling booth and complained Jeremy Corbyn was not on the list of people to vote for, not aware they were being asked to vote for their own LOCAL MP. Where the connection is, is via swinging cuts to BSL support, and work help, or the arts, deaf areas.  Things that tend to affect that world, because deaf support is amid the most expensive support in our country, it was and is a prime target for cuts.  

Image result for facebook sites operating censorshipThe power of social media is undeniable, but we also know how social media can be manipulated and how 'Fake News' is not confined solely to the hearing areas.  The Deaf social media e.g. is still a 'closed' shop, look at any UK deaf site and see, a number 'vet' a person prior to acceptance, hardly conducive to freedom of speech.  Other's issue a warning to posters to not oppose a BSL view or be accused of attacking 'deaf people'.  

It seems somewhat hypocritical claiming democracy and free speech when they close sites to open debate, and in depth discussion, or insist their site is for 'BSL deaf' only, immediately excluding others.. The ultimate Clique.

The list of 'banned' posters to deaf sites by proportion, seems much higher than it is with other disability sites, and they can maintain bans for years. It's all done under the guise of preventing deaf people being 'attacked' by others, but the only 'attack' is a challenge to what they maybe claiming as fact, or them insisting they speak for others when they haven't that mandate. The deaf v Deaf v disabled v oralism v CI's etc is ignored, but drives the whole thing. Fresh air into  Deaf social media is desperately needed to flush out the dodo's, the vested interests, and extremes, we are a more closed 'society' since social media.. and to pretend we are more than we actually are, seems rather desperate. ASL isn't BSL, and British aren't Americans.

Image result for only deaf allowedFactually, Deaf media had little or no coverage of hearing loss issues during the recent campaigns.  What there was, centred around BSL users, the minority with loss.  It was all about 'How Tories were cruel to the sign user..' as if the austerity and cuts were solely aimed at them and no-one else, 65,000 HoH lost their welfare alone.  By proportion the BSL user suffered less in the welfare areas... If nothing else, the assault on the UK's vulnerable and the rest was pretty equal, we all suffered the same, there was no specific targeting.
  
Many complained the conservatives offered no signed output, but all the updates on UK TV were fully accessible and still are, those who wanted sign-only access, lacked the majority support for that, but they had viable alternatives, we had political coverage on a scale not seen in recent times, you would have to be from Neptune to be unaware of the pros and cons of the various parties (Or live in a closed 'Deaf' world).   Not a single unified approach to the issues of oppression to the deaf, disabled or the HI took place in the election.  Most pro Facebook activity comes of course from the active few, not the majority, most of whom did not actually vote.  Deaf are notorious for not voting.  

They criticised ATR for wanting ACCESS to politics on Parliament TV,  because it was a subtitle-based campaign.   The same people recently lauded another UK charity blog for attempting the same, it seems it is who you are, not what you do that decides if you are right or not..

The result of ATR's campaign in Wales saw sign coverage included too. ATR also lobbied for deaf access to the welsh assembly, so far virtually the sole deaf area to do so, and got 1st Minister questions accessible on YouTube for the deaf.  The deaf approach was to utilise BSL access in local and Health authorities and refuse to include captioning.  Where it counts ATR was pushing for political access, and equal representation, but could not unify the Deaf and HoH areas to enable pressure to succeed because BSL areas were intransigent, and HoH areas totally apathetic.   It's a perennial problem.

At this time ATR has a petition going to enable access to the political areas of Wales.  At this time no deaf or HoH area is even asking to be represented.  Less social media bullshit, and more focus and honesty would help.  Deaf just saw the election as an opportunistic way of raising own issues, not taking the real opportunity of forming a united front on access for all.

Deaf activism mobilised behind the Labour party.   So deaf were given a pretty one-sided view of things.  Maybe more young people did vote, not more young deaf people, so more focus needs to be put on accurate reporting, sadly bias is endemic in the deaf world.  Time the 'Deaf' came out, and stopped playing Greta Garbo.  Preaching to the already converted won't increase more following.

The biggest loss is to deaf people, is being corralled into a  deaf corner and being overseen by amateurs, the biased and those who want to be big fish in a small pond, all they do is suck all the oxygen out depriving the smaller fish of breathing..

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