Secretly Being Filmed?

Holly Scott-Gardner, 22, filmed the staff at PGR Restaurant in Coventry and uploaded the video online, where it has been shared over 70,000 times within 24-hours.

Despite the university student insisting it was illegal to turn her away, the staff refused service.

Why, was she secretly filming them in the very first place? Especially if it was on business premises, surely, regardless of it being a private or public space, she would have to ask them for their permission or give notice as to why / who she was intending to film?

What were her real intentions?? It may be that she was advised to do so, perhaps by someone else who experienced being turned away, at the same or different restaurant whose reasons then, for turning them away was due to “Health and Safety”. This I can understand since dogs are perceived as unclean in many cultures and do dogs really need to assist their owners in eating? Especially in communal spaces? If you go to Italy or Greece, you would find cats and dogs living as pets, outside in the gardens of their owners – they too would not be allowed indoors.

She is not the first to be turned away and there have been others who have been even more aggressive. Seriously, remain respectful in the course of educating others face to face, at least. You will both gain experience and respect which is all part of the ripple effect, instead of appearing stubborn and a deterrent.

Secretly being filmed….

Should we all invest in a go pro camera and film everybody, lying in wait for a sucker to fall into our traps and then broadcast it for all and sundry – would this actually be permitted? Why then, is okay, for people to potentially entrap others and then accuse them of treating them unfavourably? Quid pro quo… One rule applies to all, not one for some and another for others.

Assuming we would accept that one does not know what a guide dog is, is plain naive of them as everyone knows what a guide dog is and what/who for. They potentially save lives. Working dogs are obliged to indicate thier roles on their harness or jackets which they have to wear whilst “working”…They have been highly trained and some, even genetically bred to not moult.

This leads me to believe from experience, that there is more to this. Not everyone gets the honest truth from all sides of the story.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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Dehumanization, Genocide & Apartheid

ethnocide

When one reflects upon several excerpts from the book, “Native American Justice” by Lawrence Armand French and several (recent) events of our world, the truth becomes worryingly evident.

Such a complex topic deserves to be explored in great depths backed up with what sadly seems to be endless, occurrences worldwide for our references. I sincerely apologise in advance for roughly scratching the surface here, in brief with a couple of examples.

Israel recently re-introduced a ban barring Palestinian worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem for Friday’s prayers under the veil of “security reasons”. It is another measure to cut the young Palestinians off from their cultural heritage. They also went on to introduce a policy to ban Palestinians from travelling on the same buses as the Israelis. On the other hand, such acts should be defined as another form of apartheid. Of which, South Africa is slowly recovering from.

These types of measures are stark reminders of what went on in the past by Colonial masters

The white settlers in America once implemented similar tactics in dehumanizing and removing the Native American tribes from their lands. They had also been banned from their places of worship. The non-Indians who wanted to move in onto their land very sadly supported this atrocity. This can also be reflected in the current ethnocide of the Australian Aboriginals and so on.

Laurence French (Native American Justice)
Laurence French (Native American Justice)

There are tribal communities all over the world who have seen their lands being invaded, finding themselves being stripped of and banned from practising their own culture, religion and languages. One of the common tactics used in the olden days was to send a religious missionary ahead of an invasion, to convert the people of the land to the proposed religion yet by converting them, they were also being taught a foreign language, to get them “ready” unbeknownst to them, for the invader’s hidden agenda.

Laurence French (Native American Justice)
Laurence French (Native American Justice)

The people of our world have oftentimes found themselves resisting attempts at their race, cultures, identities, religions and so on, being bred out. All the tribal communities at various stages in our timeline inevitably soon found themselves a minority. It is criminal, to invade another’s land, strip the natives of their culture and impose your culture, your language and your religion unto them to satisfy your greed.

Laurence French (Native American Justice)
Laurence French (Native American Justice)

Algeria fortunately in time managed to defeat the occupying French. In North Africa for quite some time, the main language at places of education was French, not Arabic, as one would have expected. A native Arabic speaking student had to go to school, to learn subjects via the French language. If they did not know French, they did not fare well so in order to do well at school, they first had to learn a foreign language, French, to carry out their studies within their native homeland. Fortunately, this is not the case today, the governments in time overhauled the education system and Arabic was re-inserted, replacing the teaching methods being taught in French.

If we keep venturing on back in the history of the world, one would find the invader or the oppressor has systematically introduced laws or policies to strip the indigenous people of their ethnicity by way of dehumanization.

History is vitally important to the people of the world who have much to learn from it and its faults in order not to repeat the same mistakes once more yet it still recurs to this day. These cunning tactics and mistakes are not new – mistakes are meant to be learnt from, not repeated. If ever the opportunity arises to right a wrong, take it.

It does not help either, when the media turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the truth on what is happening to the people of the world, today.

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

There’s No Place Like Home…

Oftentimes, I wonder where one’s home is because I have questioned myself if somewhere can really be ‘home’? As I was sent away to boarding school, ten going onto eleven years old, I lost that vital ‘homely’ and ‘family’ sense. Moreover, I do not really like to complain because…

Some people or children I dread to think do not even have a home. People here in the UK and elsewhere can be so ungrateful and inexplicably arrogant; they have a roof over their heads and free medical care. They concern themselves with having the best garment or the latest gadget when an older child overseas could be going without food for days at a time so their younger sibling does not – Their parents having passed away. It is children like them who you need to pay your respects to and be mindful of, not some sociopath looking to gain popularity to feed their ego and vanity.

Unfortunately, there is a level of such hypocrisy and ignorance amongst us also. There was a Polish family in the Valley and so there happened to be an Afghanistan family too. I scanned around me to gauge people’s reactions as I sensed an interesting moment. Most were happy to respect one another’s personal space and continue as they were yet the Polish adults clearly from their body language, facial expressions and directional glances did not want this Afghanistan family sharing the same albeit very public playground as their children or their space. One of them even tried his luck to take a photo of the women as they were in their full gear. He pretended he was looking at the menu on his camera but then he felt braver and so the camera was lifted higher and higher until he felt confident enough to brazenly photograph them.

I felt fury seething away at me yet my husband held me back from standing in front of his camera to obscure any further potential frames and to prevent him from being so disrespectful – making a point of his/their attitudes. How dare they take photos of another family and be racist about them when they are immigrants themselves?! The bloody cheek of them.

Once, someone from the very same vicinity told my husband, my children and I to go back where we came from… If only they knew that, I came from down the road to them. There was no way my family and I was going to keep quiet about these bullies so we complained to the local councillor and several others who at their next residents meeting had their voices heard on our behalf. They were rather embarrassed and somewhat apologised.

Many also tend to have one rule for themselves and another. I knew someone who did not want anything to do with anyone who was in a negative state yet he did not practise what he preached “Be kind always for you never know what that person is going through”… What another hypocrite.

The difference between the people of the North and the south of England is clearly diversity and tolerance. In London, anything goes – everyone is different and easily tolerated whereas in the North, most people are spoilt and do not like change.

Nevertheless, I have come to sense a certain emotion being ‘at home’ in the North East of Yorkshire. Being out in the wide open, the rolling moors, and the golden beaches of which is the surfers’ paradise. Up above are birds cherishing their flight and the wind beneath their wings. Bags of Cinder Toffee testing the strength of one’s delicate teeth. The mouth-watering aroma of the traditional fish and chips, especially in Whitby… Forget Parmesan! Discovering an abundance of fossils here and there. My childhood becoming my children’s’.

The glistening of in the sunlight and the relative unique sounds of the seashore reminds me how it feels to be at peace, to be in awe of Mother Nature and its designs. Trivial issues be it political or personal and wealth turn ever more meaningless. The meaning of Life is clear.

However, Italy and North Africa is also in my blood so it is only natural that I feel a certain connection to these places and their cultures. Ever since I was a child growing up in the UK, I have never felt at home or accepted, not even, for who I am. How could I ever feel “at home” amongst all the conflicting angst being imposed upon myself?

As the delight in my children’s faces matches that in my heart, I know that as long as we have one another, I determine that I will be ‘home’… For ‘home’ is where my heart is.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Deaf Community – An Important Message.

Many years ago, deaf people were not considered to be in a position where they could be a proactive member of society. For at times, families would hide their deaf child away because they felt ashamed simply because they had a child who happened to be deaf or even worse, were not diagnosed as deaf but for want of a better word, dumb. Some of these people were mistreated, abandoned and abused.

Looking around us today, it is a completely different picture. It is not yet perfect but the deaf now have a community which has come a long way and I am using the word “community” and not “culture” because the word “culture” is rather complex and divisive. When one uses the word “culture”, it is in reference to customs, habits, language and many other factors that belong to a particular group of people who are different to others.

Sign language alone should not form the basis for a “deaf culture” because deaf people are born into a culture that already exists – if you are born into the British culture then by default you are British. Bearing in mind, that sign language is derived and based on our mother tongue. Both deaf and hearing people as well as monkeys and apes can use this form of visual language. On the other hand, it would be wrong of us to assume anyone who may be hard of hearing, deafened, deaf or deafblind automatically know sign language. To presume that everyone deaf can sign is not correct and it is misinforming our society of today.

A baby who has been born deaf into a British hearing family, growing up with the family’s customs and ways, can he suddenly deny his family’s culture and refer to himself as deaf only? Insinuating, that because his family is hearing, they do not belong to a “deaf culture” despite having tried their very best to provide their child with an enriching and balanced upbringing, encouraging him to speak, sign and integrate with his peers regardless of whether they were deaf or hearing.

It would be extremely hard for me to separate myself from the people that taught me everything I know and in the process hurting them in return by secluding myself to another particular culture, especially one that we find difficult to define.

To put it simply, we have habits (no, not those long brown gowns!) which is interpreted by some as “deaf culture”, or more appropriately termed as learned behaviour. On the contrary, we can learn it, be aware of it but it does not mean we have to adopt it.

Sadly, there are deaf parents who hope their child will be born deaf because they believe they belong to a deaf culture only and by having a hearing child, they would break that familiarity to what they only know. This is an extreme stance to have and it is one that is potentially damaging.

By simply saying to hearing people “If you do not make the effort to communicate with me then I will separate myself from you all together” is so not the route to take; the more they see of you, the more they are forced to understand you. I say forced because hearing people have the option to learn at least some basic sign language like finger spelling which should at least be made part of today’s school curriculum.

One (i.e. Paddy Ladd and his Deafhood book) could argue that residential schools for the deaf is the main continuity for “deaf culture” being learned – perhaps forty years ago but not today. Because forty years or so ago, the differences in technology, segregation and concentration then and now could not be more evident unless influenced and taught otherwise by the older generations.

As stated on NDCS website, “90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no experience of deafness or knowledge of how to communicate with a deaf person”. The other 10% would probably grow up with sign language as their first language in cases where the deaf parents also sign rather than having to wait until they have contact with other deaf children, which is normally the experience of the other 90% at school. Approximately, nowadays, 90% of those deaf children born severely or profoundly deaf are likely to be implanted before their second birthday – More than 60% of the children at Mary Hare School now have implants.

Where hearing aids and implants are concerned, people have feared deaf identities and the linguistics will be lost, “I am still deaf” one may remark. Of course, you will still be deaf because your hearing aid(s) or implants will not be in use 24/7 and you will have grown up as a deaf person, lip-reading, signing (if able to). The deaf majority at present, thankfully, now sees a CI as a superior hearing aid, which actually has very little bearing on “deaf culture” despite a tiny percentage that are anti-CI and vehemently trying to turn people against CI’s by using an excuse along the lines of “social cleansing”.

There is a term albeit rarely used, which is the “hearing brain”. I understand this to mean when someone loses hearing later in life after growing up living life to the max as a hearing person possibly could, has been fortunate to receive a cochlear implant, only to characteristically revert to whom they grew up as. Do we or rather, should we put that down to “hearing culture”? When it is whom they have learnt and happen to be, within themselves and society just as we are who we are and that others have taught us who to become.

My fear of seeing people belonging to one culture and denying everything, everyone else around them is that there is a danger of separating ourselves from the mainstream culture we have to live in and share.

In being exclusive, this will undo all the hard work that has been achieved before us, by the many generations of deaf people. They are the ones who struggled and fought hard to finally be accepted within the mainstream society today. If anything, we should continue to strive albeit much harder to keep this sense of inclusion and integration developing but there is a cycle, especially where learnt behaviour is concerned, reoccurring in many senses that people need to break out of this habit, especially if they want to advance further as an inclusive and diverse community.

There is a still a lot that has to be done, in terms of educating society that we are all equals and just as capable but not by creating and realising any further divisive ideas. With positivity, forward thinking and unity, this can be achieved by the deaf community but only if the will is there.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

What Is “Deaf Culture”?

E. Adamson Hoebel’s book of Anthropology: Study of Man. “describes culture as an integrated system of learned behaviour patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance.”

Ask a British person “What is British Culture?” and they may struggle for the very first few minutes before trying to answer with possibly the majority using examples due to characteristics based on tradition, customs, habits, cuisine and environment they live in. Ask a deaf British person and most likely he will give the same answer as a British person who happens to be hearing. My question is as deaf people do we actually have a separate set of customs and traditions to the British who are hearing?

How did the deaf community start using the term “Deaf culture” when it is actually a subculture – a particular social group within a national culture? If “Culture” is not supposed to be applied to biological or genetic inheritance – is there such a thing as a hearing culture?

Are we making it hard for ourselves if we are excluding ourselves from the world around us by creating this “Deaf Culture” or is it a positive thing that should be celebrated?

Being deaf makes those of us unique in the sense that it is a hidden disability but there is a percentage who corner themselves even more so expecting the hearing world to understand them, to learn sign language and come totally their way. Those who think that, do so because they believe there is nothing wrong with them – that the negative lies within the hearing world and so they should make that effort. This again is sometimes not of their own doing when they have been so immersed with their own surroundings and peers for so long. But there are those who may go to an extreme when so proud to say “Deaf Power!” – Even several hope their children will be deaf too. They have on occasion been branded as Fascists. Yet with that kind of mentality nothing will be achieved in terms of improving services and access for deaf people in general.

Those who are able to wear hearing aid(s), have a cochlear implant or learn/choose to speak do so in order to improve the quality of their lives and in an attempt to be able to engage with the hearing world better. This is not a bad thing to want to do. To meet half way and for this reason I believe parts of the deaf community should not be looking down on these people as some sort of traitors who in their eyes are betraying the so called “Deaf culture”. The hypocrisy of these people is very clear when they rely on a hearing person or their own hearing children to be their interpreter and will not accept anything less when they can make the effort to meet half way. My point is, the more we isolate ourselves from the hearing world – the harder it will become for the hearing people to make any effort to understand us.

Extreme views are never a positive thing in any walk of life so you can only imagine (for some to an extent) my utter disbelief when someone arrogantly once said “Interpreters should be grateful to the deaf community for providing them with a job”. Some may also say that providing interpreters, and the time it takes to get one is drainage on the tax we all pay.

Just because we happen to be deaf, deafened, HoH, deaf-blind and so on, it does not mean certain attitudes, chips on shoulders etc. exist only in one part of the world that we are in – this behaviour will manifest regardless, wherever one may be. Except that it does not give anyone the right to disrespect, degrade and/or humiliate another.

There are also those who dictate to us still that we should be using the “big D or little d” to identify and potentially divide within the deaf community – once again, would you use a big H to identify and describe certain hearing people or their world? I do not even feel comfortable using the term “hearing world“ because this is everyone’s world supposedly united – for each and every single one of us. So why impose that onto our own? Or accept it even especially when it is not grammatically correct?

Sadly, people are far too easily influenced by others around them. People have for so long been telling others what to do and/or who to be and it is high time for that to stop. For people to think for themselves and stand on their own two feet, to not follow the flock just because of peer pressure. To be true to yourselves and do what you feel is right – ask questions and seek knowledge, for knowledge is power whilst striving for equality – as equals.

“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people”
“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people”

Now ask yourselves wherever you may be, what is “deaf culture”?

– SJ (Sara Jae)

Many thanks to SLFirst for publishing this article in their magazine.