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There was an article about Deaf worker at a store. It was about struggling to understand lip read because the hearing customers are wearing masks due to Coronavirus. Must depend on lipreading! The hearing co-workers and manager supports the idea that the Deaf worker wears a T-shirt that says: “I AM DEAF. I READ LIPS.”

After reading the article, it is about pleasing the hearing customers. They are the one who comes into Deaf space. Using hand gesture, like common sense with those basic and common signs. For example, using the finger “ONE”, thumb up, thumb down, use strike sign, etc. Why must work hard enough to do lip reading? Lip reading can spread Coronavirus while the gestures do not spread Coronavirus. Don’t we rather use mask and gesture to worry less about Coronavirus?

I worked two jobs similar like this. 1999. I was 23, 24 years old. I worked at a liquor store where I do the stocking (beer, wine, whiskey, etc) and inventory to make sure it would be ready for the next shift. On 3rd or 4th day of my employment, there were some customers who had no patience, my manager had this idea and asked me to use the vest that says “DEAF. I READ LIPS.”

Then I informed that I do not prefer lip reading and yes, I am Deaf. When hearing customers sees a jacket that says “I am Deaf” would often lead to profiling and avoid. Why? Culture of fear. It is best for the customers to learn how to do gesture with a Deaf employee, less fear. Less anxiety.

Gesture is not that hard, right? Come on. Why give the hearing customers the pleasure when Deaf employee forces to lip read? Years later, I worked for IKEA, a massive big store, with thousands of hearing people every day, I worked there for three years. A year and half after my employment, IKEA and I had been in disagreement that I was asked to wear the vest that says “I AM DEAF. I READ LIPS.”

Why? The managerial team informed me that there were some hearing customers complained that I am Deaf and cannot handle that. I said, “Too bad” and in my performance report, I was asked to improve lip reading or else. I refused to obey the rules. Why? I refuse to be a human doing. I am a human being. Good enough that I did not get pay raise because of my refusal to improve lip reading.

I would politely ask hearing customers to write on notes, gesture, or type on the computer right there. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of hearing customers were avoiding eye contact with me as a Deaf person even in the front line, and I’ve been attempting to be rejected, but that does not work well on me. There were few co-workers who were attempting to help me out and that is not necessary. The hearing customers comes into my Deaf space needs to be patient and learn gesture.

Sometimes, my boss would bicker at me and ask me to be an expert in lip reading, and I boycotted. Yes, that is AUDISM in the making! I feel that the article gives the hearing community the satisfaction. For example, giving them the authority. No one should violate the Deaf space and decides to tell Deaf employees what to do and lip-read. The article is missing a lot of facts.

For example, lip reading is not 100% skill for a Deaf person to catch it all, it is 35% lip-reading “skill” thinking that the Deaf people can lip read 100%! That is dangerous framing and would lead to a greater misunderstanding!

What is wrong with gesture? Less Coronavirus. Lip-reading as in breathing could easily spread Coronavirus. What is the difference between them? Gesture might be the easiest job in the world. Again, I feel that the article gives the hearing community more power.

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silentgrapevine

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