The Diversity Speaker Newsletter: January 2012
Sent Thursday, January 5, 2012
The Diversity Speaker Newsletter
A Message from Maura
Happy New Year to you and yours!
This past year I took my very first cruise, a memorable three day excursion
with my two sisters to the Bahamas. Although I enjoyed the voyage, I have
a feeling that I am not the cruising kind so this was a one-and-done
experience. In June, Dawn and I headed to beautiful Costa Rica for our annual
summer vacation followed by our 29th annual family reunion in Misquamicut, RI.
Work wise, there were three amazing Diversity Student Summits that were hosted
by Westfield State University, Kansas State and Texas A & M. We are
looking forward to the upcoming Summits at the University of Illinois in
February and the University of Rhode Island in March. Be sure to check out the
Summit's website for registration or to get information on how to bring the Summit to
Most of all, I am grateful to each of you for your support personally and
professionally. I have a job that I love and am passionate about, while meeting
amazing people along the way. I leave you with an Irish Toast to the New Year--May you live as long as you want and never want as
long as you live!
Registration is Open!
March 03, 2012
University of Rhode Island
If you want to increase the diversity competence of students or staff in an engaging and fun format, then don't miss this unforgettable event.
Register 10 or more and receive a free advisor registration.
Recently, I viewed a You Tube video (seen above) of a baby
who had just received a cochlear implant and was hearing sound for the first
time. It was incredible to watch the
baby and parents reactions to this miraculous device. A cochlear
implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense
of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing (Wikipedia). My first
thought was that all people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing should get one of
these things. After all, wouldn't everyone who qualified as a good candidate
for the surgery want cochlear implants? The short answer is no.
As a hearing person, my perspective was uninformed and naïve
on so many levels. I recall reading an article years ago about the controversy
of cochlear implants and concerns raised by many in the Deaf community. The
conversation is complex and contentious.
Below is a description of the
different perspectives of the controversy from Wikipedia and CBS News.
(CBS News) Mary Koch, who started the children's
rehabilitation program at Johns Hopkins' Listening Center, says the medical
world and the deaf world were split at the outset.
(deaf community's) perception is that there's nothing wrong. There's nothing
that needs to be fixed. Our perception is there is something that needs to be
fixed. So from the very foundation, we're diverging in our perspectives," Koch says.
Cerf became deaf at the age of three, but grew up outside the deaf community,
speaking English and lip-reading. She remembers the strain of trying to grasp
the subtleties of spoken English.
received a cochlear implant when she was 53, but says she understands the deaf
deaf community is a culture. They're much like the culture of the Hispanic
community, for example, where parents who are Hispanic, or shall we say deaf,
would naturally want to retain their family ties by their common language,
their primary language, which is either Spanish or in our case its American
Sign Language," Cerf says.
difficult to accept something that would take someone's entire culture into
some in the Deaf community,
cochlear implants are an affront to their culture, which as they view it, is a
minority threatened by the hearing majority.
implants for congenitally deaf children are considered to be most effective
when implanted at a young age, during the critical period in which the brain is still learning to
interpret sound. Hence they are implanted before the recipients can decide for
themselves, on the assumption that deafness is a disability. Deaf culture
critics argue that the cochlear implant and the subsequent therapy often become
the focus of the child's identity at the expense of a possible future Deaf
identity and ease of communication in sign language, and claim that measuring
the child's success only by their mastery of hearing and speech will lead to a
poor self-image as "disabled" (because the implants do not produce
normal hearing) rather than having the healthy self-concept of a proudly Deaf
cochlear implants are more likely to be educated orally, in the standard fashion, and without access
to sign language (Spencer et
al. 2003). They are often isolated from other deaf children and from sign
language (Spencer 2003). According to
Johnston (2004), cochlear implants have been one of the technological and
social factors implicated in the decline of sign languages in the developed world. Some of the more
extreme responses from Deaf activists have labeled the widespread implantation
of children as "cultural genocide".
continues today but is softening. As the trend for cochlear implants in
children grows, deaf-community advocates have tried to counter the "either
or" formulation of oralism vs manualism with a "both and" approach; some
schools now are successfully integrating cochlear implants with sign language
in their educational programs.
For further information: http://www.cochlearwar.com
Each month we will post a survey.
Next month we will let you know the results!
How did you ring in the New Year?
If a child is considered a good candidate for a cochlear implant,
when, or if, the device should be implanted?
Tennessee lawmakers have a change in store for the Anti-Bullying law. The proposed law change would allow students to speak out against homosexuality without punishment if that's what their religious beliefs call for. The bill is reportedly a top priority
for the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee-- as the Chattanooga Times Free Press notes, the group's December newsletter says it hopes "to make sure [the law] protects the religious liberty and free speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality. Added conservative activist David Fowler, a former Republican state senator who is now Family Action Council president: "The purpose is to stop bullying, not create special classes of people who are more important than others." Read more here.
This is very sad and disheartening. Religion should never be misused as a
weapon to justify violence of any kind, including bullying. Kids are literally
dying and non-sense like this needs to be confronted. Religions are meant to
build spirits not to break them. I'm
pretty certain God wouldn't advocate bullying a gay kid.
You are welcome to reprint or distribute any of the material found in this newsletter. The only requirement is that you include the author's name, a copyright statement (copyright Dr. Maura Cullen) and the web site address www.TheDiversitySpeaker.com.