A group of people tried to use the term “audism” to ban others from DeafVIDEO.TV and DeafRead. There were people who were vlogging about deafhood and cochlear implants. To the group’s disgust, deafhood was not supported and cochlear implants were supported.
The truth is it wasn’t about audism at all. It was about censoring them. I’ll tell you how I know.
A walkout was staged at DeafVIDEO.TV. The first few were silent walkouts, meaning they did not publicly announce their departure. They didn’t even say why specifically they were leaving in their e-mails to me. “Personal reasons,” they said. People join and leave DeafVIDEO.TV all the time, so I didn’t know they were the beginnings of a walkout. Then the vlogs started popping up announcing their departure. The first few said how they felt DeafVIDEO.TV was unhealthy. A few more walkout vlogs later, the word “oppression” turns up. Finally, the term “audism” shows itself. If there were a badly planned walkout, this was it.
Before long, audism was being used as the primary reason of their walkout. I had not heard of any complaints about audism on DeafVIDEO.TV before this. When I vlogged, “DVTV is for everyone“, I said that I had not gotten any e-mails complaining about audism occurring at DeafVIDEO.TV. So the walkouts were premature. There was no dialogue about audism. Of course there wasn’t, because it was not the reason of their walkout.
After my vlog where I said I hadn’t gotten any communication about audism, I started to get them. To my surprise, the e-mails were saying that audism was when someone disagreed with deafhood. I quickly responded by making a vlog, “Audism and Deafhood” . The vlog basically reminded that audism was oppression toward the deaf, not deafhood.
That’s when I realized there were people who did not understand the term audism. I acknowledge that there are different ways of how audism is interpreted as a term. But no way can audism be interpreted to be oppression against deafhood. I explained in the vlog that deafhood was a concept, a theory. Something that people choose for themselves. Deafhood can be persecuted, discriminated, or oppressed upon, yes, but that is not audism. Deaf and deafhood is separate.
In the “DVTV is for everyone” video, I stated that audism was not allowed at DeafVIDEO.TV, that it falls under the harassment rule. That was not enough for them, because it would not get these people banned. That said to me, it’s not about audism. The term audism was being abused and manipulated.
All the while they were trying to censor, they were oppressing. Censorship is a form of oppression. Oppression of the freedom of speech. Right to their opinion.
Because I lack the experience, knowledge and authority, I refuse to embed the term “audism” into the guidelines. Doing so would have significant impact on the deaf community and would not be able to bear the responsibility of forcing the wrong interpretation upon the community. Until there is greater consensus on “audism”, therefore having less room for it to be abused, the guidelines will protect DeafRead by the “excessive negativity” clause and DeafVIDEO.TV by the harassment rule. Following this fiasco in which audism was exposed to be both widely misunderstood and abused, I retracted my committment to Patti to add it to the guidelines. As Patti and I agreed more recently, I will instead work with the DeafRead team to incorporate a broader term that will offer tighter protection than that of the “excessive negativity” clause.