I was reminded of an incident that happened to me some years ago, by the actions of this hateful woman who very recently hurled verbal abuse non-stop for about five minutes at a pregnant woman because of her religion. Not only that, she threatened to kick her in the stomach. The only thing I feel able to say in response to this offender is to “Take a look in the mirror”. For people to realise such hypocrisy. Her ancestors are neither white nor British – how dare she tell this innocent woman, to go back where she came from.
My memory of a potentially hateful incident serves as follows…
I was shopping one day in a maternity shop, for a gift to purchase for my sister who was expecting her second baby. I spied some pyjamas in the sale for my young daughter so I stretched my hand out to pick it off the rail. However, this woman snatched it from my hands and said it was hers. It was on the rails so how could it be hers I exclaimed. She refused to let go of the hanger and the garments I had picked up. There was a battle of words and anger took hold. She was absolutely vile.
We were in a maternity store and there she was, kicking me in the stomach with one aim, she obviously assumed I was pregnant and aimed to maim. The security guard and my husband rushed to pull us off one another yet she continued to kick me in the stomach. I had a life-saving operation on my stomach 2 years before and had to see the GP to be on the safe side.
It was more than clear to the shop’s staff that the instigator was, along the lines of not being respectable, good mannered and well-behaved. The contrast was rather apparent.
I was looked after while this vile woman was escorted off the premises, I had asked the shop’s manager for the police to be called so I could have it ‘on paper’ what happened in case the, let’s say… ‘ABH’, actually did some harm or long-term damage to my already fragile stomach. The police were not called but the shop very kindly put me into a pre-paid taxi for my safety, homeward bound.
Should my request then, for the Police to be involved, be respected or not?
Did my deafness hinder my opportunities to keep on top of the situation regarding what happened?
In addition, is it a positive thing that my deafness hindered me from understanding / knowing what was actually said to me during the incident? I feel somewhat fortunate that my deafness prevented me from being as exposed to the verbal abuse from her and her acquaintances.
Just to clarify any notions that this incident may have been along the lines of hearing vs deaf or vice versa. This is not the case as most people were not aware of my hearing impairment until after the incident, due to a hat I was wearing which covered my ears, therefore my HA’s.
I had to take it all in my stride as with everything else, as a good experience and challenge.
One of the problems with being deaf is that everyone else knows who we are yet we do not know who they (the hearing people) are.
All they have to say / think when they see us, ‘that’s the one who is deaf’… they can identify / recognise us.
We can change how we look, our names but not our disability, which at times, renders us vulnerable. Disability hate crime does exist.
I have since bought several personal alarms (key-ring pull ones) for my children. I already had one at the time but was unable to use it during this particular experience.
It is quite unfortunate my children were with me at the time and they were extremely distraught.
Advice given to me by a friend at the time was that I could always “go along to the police station and ask to speak to someone about it. They can still go back to the shop, ask questions, and if necessary take action. It is not always the best idea to call the cops in the heat of the moment as it can escalate hostilities” so they assured me I did right there.
To quote him;
“What is a hate incident?
When a person or group of people treats someone badly just because they do not like whom they are.
Why does this happen?
Some people bully or hurt other people who are different from them because:
#They are disabled
#they have a different colour skin
#they wear different clothes
#they are old
#they are young
#they are gay
#they go to a place of worship e.g. church or mosque
If this happens to you or someone you know tell someone. There is nothing wrong in being different.”
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 of mind yet he did not practise what he preached “Be kind always for you never know what that person is going through”… What another hypocrite.
One of the things about being deaf is being able to relate to how a foreigner is made to feel, since we are made to feel like outcasts also. Social cleansing happens much more than people realise.
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 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.
Life in itself is one big challenge, testing us daily to see how we fare. The results of which moulds us over time into whom we are and for some who we do not want to become. It is up to us, as and when to introspect, seeing the errors of our ways if any, to tackle and improve on these traits. It is also up to us how we deal with these daily challenges. Do we react instinctively or take a step back and contemplate? The latter is not so hard to do.
More often than not, reacting instinctively leads to destruction, sending one into a negative state of despair. Almost certainly sending you on a downwards spiral towards a quagmire, which can be a very dark place to be?
Once that point of “trying to stay afloat” is reached, be it by another’s hand or words, it is time to review the situation why, who or what got you there in the first place and nip it in the bud. Find the negativity and turn it a positive because even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln.
In order to get the best that we deserve, we need to give and do our best otherwise; one will get what they give. To react constructively comes, positivity in the knowledge and confidence that we have tried our best whilst remaining dignified in the face of justice. Only then, can we reflect and feel positively rewarded.
I always say, “Keep on smiling – it is free and does wonders” so take the first step in being positive by smiling. To strangers, to your friends and families – in smiling, you are instinctively changing your outlook, your moods and the glow on your face.
By smiling, you could be helping someone else – without even realising it. It takes an extremely special someone to rise above giving what he or she got, in order to be kinder on themselves and others.
You too can be this person.
Carpe diem. Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules!
Because it rocks.
Wishing each and every one of you best wishes for the new year – wherever you may be.
-cracy. Denoting a particular form of government, rule, or influence:
I quite like the logistics behind “Democracy” and tend to do my best to advocate equality and free speech in many senses as possible– regardless of our medical histories, cultures, ethnicity and religion. I would also prefer to see democratically elected leaders to oversee and represent us, retaining the right to choose what we, the people, really want.
John Lennon’s song/phrase “Power to the People” comes to mind, or as ‘Wolfie’ from Citizen Smith would also say.
As a supposedly democratic country, we would naturally assume our neighbours would relate, practice and support this system or it’s principles too. In order to empower one another. Unfortunately leaders may turn unduly oppressive due to power trips and relatively oppress their people via acts of unjust treatment. This can also inevitably lead to dictatorship and then possibly autocracy (God forbid!) If society chooses not to comply in any sense they have been instructed to, they will be punished for it. One has no rights at all because it is one rule for those in charge and another for the rest.
Media seems to be censored and of a propagandist nature. People are therefore not exposed to hard facts occurring on a daily basis here and elsewhere in the world because those facts have been suppressed and deemed politically unacceptable. The West can go on about spreading democracy and human rights around the world but will turn a blind eye to their dictator friends purely for financial gains. This is hypocrisy not democracy. Unfortunately this hypocrisy trickles down to our daily lives be it your right as a minority or a disabled person – in my case as a deaf person. If it is not financially viable then our right is left for debate or simply denied altogether.
As citizens of a democratic country…
A friend of mine recently posted a video out of frustration which started a ripple effect within the deaf community. English is not his first language therefore he naturally feels restricted in terms of written language but he overcomes this by producing videos in BSL (British Sign Language) for us to watch. I really like this particular video because he is practising his right to freedom of speech. Please note, these are his views and his words which I have transcribed for you in order to include you. I have tried my very best to keep the transcription tone and language as him, out of respect to him and his rights.
Why am I here? I want to talk about BDA. B for Britsh, D – Deaf, A – Association.
Remember my last video thanking BSL Act (over see hear etc). Some people made comments on the video regarding BDA. Some said BDA campaigned MP’s and some disagreed. Everyone has their own different views and experiences.
My experience so far is like this. BDA themselves have been organizing for the past 10 years but nothing has happened. It’s the same story – same, same, same.
Where is our access, to improve our skills? There is nothing since 122 years ago to now. Some deaf people have terrible access, experiences of facing barriers and brick walls. How can we overcome this? We have to contact BDA for advice but they say they cannot help and back off. This makes the deaf people feel small and lose confidence.
It is interesting, why? Let’s compare the differences. BDA themselves campaign MP’s. If there was a problem and we asked for help from fellow deaf community, they show respect and help each other out. Giving information, details of names and addresses to contact quite quickly. I applaud them.
Yet it is the opposite situation for the BDA. They cannot help. Why? There is plenty of BDA offices in Scotland, Glasgow, Manchester etc around the UK.
I would like to tell you something that happened. My wife was pregnant and due to give birth last December. I was angry with the hospital due to poor service and difficult problems. I searched on the internet and found the BDA website, they could help. So I made contact with them via SMS and it was perfect. Where? In Holloway, London.
When we met face to face, I explained my reasons why I was there and shared my experiences. The BDA told me that they can’t help. I asked. “what do you mean? Cant help?!” I needed to know legal information, how to go about things. I don’t know what it is like or anything about the equality act. I don’t know and wanted this information. BDA “Can’t help!” They only wanted to have a face to face brief meeting. That’s all.
This made me feel small and lose confidence. Hmmmm.
“Okay” I said… I tried to sort it out myself. Was in the newspapers etc with positive results. I realised and understood how other deaf people felt about the BDA.
Recently I went to, on 18th or 19th March, Russell Square a hotel called Inn Hotel. I paid £70 for a ticket and lots of other deaf people turned up. (He’s referring to the BDA Symposium)
Honestly, I was feeling frustrated and wanted to ask the BDA about their poor service.
We have a right, we are in the UK – a right to be ourselves and to speak. It’s allowed?! I wanted to ask a question but someone told me I could not stand and speak but had to write a letter and post it into the comments box. “What?!” I asked… “Yes, box is for BDA panel to read out the comments or questions such as “How can we improve the BDA etc” then discuss.”
That’s all! This left me feeling perplexed and wondered if that was ok as I felt it was not right.
Really, lots of deaf people sent me messages to my inbox about the BDA and that it was true the access etc is crap. In Glasgow, Manchester too. I could now really understand and empathise with them. I asked them if they were willing to make a BSL video but they felt not confident enough to sign in a video.
I understand how it feels. Did the BDA help when my baby was being born at that time? No! Who helped me to sort it out? I did it myself. With the help of BSL Act when I asked for more information. Sylvia helped me a lot via facetime.
Please remember, I am not criticising BDA or its name which is beautiful. It is the access, service and people which is spoiling it. I have to be straight to the point – it’s poor.
Where are the improvements for deaf people? Nothing. Benefits cut, lots of things being cut, campaigning is down. BDA being put on the spot and sending out letters (not clear)
Legal have power and this can be done via BDA. The British have power so you can do this yourself.
I feel if I was in their position, I could do this myself. But the BDA say no, have to follow procedure ie write a formal letter and post it. What next? After that, what? If successful, then what? It is very important for deaf people to be heard, to ask questions and speak. For the BDA to listen to the deaf people, hold discussions with them and if there is any problems, to give advice. For example, children – family protection, social workers, facing barriers etc. For the BDA to have consultations which the deaf people would be very grateful for and feel confident to sort out themselves.
If no advice, no consultations, how will deaf people manage? Will they be successful? Deaf people need to know this information and it is important for BDA staff/service to show respect for us all.
If it was the other way around and they asked for our support, from the deaf community with their campaigns ie MP’s but deaf people chose not to give their support. BDA would be really disappointed.
Honestly, I am angry.
Because BDA have a good name but they are hiding a lot of things behind scenes.
Hope all enjoy weekend with family and Half term.
A response to David’s video was provided by the CEO of BDA that anyone with concerns could email him on email@example.com. As he is inviting you to email him, please do so because you have an ample opportunity to be “heard”.
Having said that we still suffer from the hypocrisy of certain people in charge, this does not mean we do not appreciate what is good about this country. We need to appreciate and remember those in developing countries especially where there is evidence of corruption, bribery and lack of rights for the residents there. Those who face difficulties and challenges a hundred fold due to their disabilities. I have seen with my own eyes how their governments have neglected them and believe me, some people in this country take for granted just how lucky they are. To have roofs over their heads, warmth, comforts and food. Free NHS and plentiful medicine. I have no issues with those who want to strive and improve on what we already have in a positive sense. Yet we should not rest on our laurels. It is important to keep the people in charge in check otherwise the standards will inevitably drop. As a consequence, I have taken a dislike to people who are negative about anything and everything and argue for the sake of arguing without any constructive input. We should appreciate the fact that we can speak, without any fear.
Imagine what it would be like, if you could not express yourselves via spoken/written word or sign language?