Hearing Fragility-See you later

ID: A white bald, bearded man signing a vlog in ASL on a black background.


Hi, I want to discuss the concept of hearing fragility. I want to be clear that we do not support or endorse the usage of the phrase “hearing fragility.” That phrase comes from white fragility. That meant that deaf people observed behaviors from hearing people, especially interpreters and educators of deaf children, drawing parallels between those behaviors and white fragility. There was this idea that the behaviors were the same so the words and ideas were interchangeable as well. We suggest that shouldn’t be the case because the logics and the structures that animate race and disability are different. We examined those behaviors labeled as hearing fragility to understand the logics, structures, and ideologies that drives those emotional responses from hearing people toward deaf people. What we found was that those behaviors and the driving logics were different from that of race and white fragility. So this means we need to have a better understanding of what is behind those behaviors we know as “hearing fragility” and to more accurately name those behaviors. Do we need a fancy esoteric term or a cute euphemism for this behavior? Hearing fragility, abled resistance, abled arrogance? Nope. This is good, old-fashioned ableism. This is how ableism functions. Must we encapsulate all of this behavior, guilt, explosive losses of temper, defensiveness, tears, and resistance into a single word or phrase? Well, if we had to, why not just call it ableism? Do we need an euphemism to make you, hearing people, feel better about your behaviors, your loss of temper, defensiveness, tears, until we concede the floor and coddle your feelings while dismissing your structurally-enabled ableism with a cute little euphemism? No. We’re beyond that. See ya later. 

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