Archive | 6:01 AM

Fix Me

6 Mar

The decision to correct deafness with a cochlear implant is not simple.  At first, I just thought good technology and medical advancement were good, good, good.  I didn’t even fathom people wouldn’t want to take advantage of it.  But seeing the social ramifications made me think twice.  It’s a real conundrum.

In order to sort it out, let’s compare deafness to something else.  Say, another minority group discrimminated against in society.

Race.  Should everyone be made white? No!  Of course not.  There are no better or worse colors of skin, and shame on anyone that might think so.  It would be an appalling suggestion to say the African Americans typically have a harder time in this country, live in dilapidated areas, are poorly educated, have worse financial situations, worse job prospects, and are involved in more drugs and violence, so we should change their skin color to alleviate that.

The suggestion to make them white?

It wouldn’t go over well.  The color of their skin is not the problem–society’s prejudice and treatment of blacks is the problem.  BUT–I can’t personally speak for racial minorities.  Maybe my offense is a product of white guilt.  I look white enough not to be questioned or have to deal with any sort of discrimination that way.  Also, skin color is a social impediment, but it isn’t a true handicap.  Let me try to compare the situation with something I know better.

Eyesight.  Remedial vision is almost the same as poor hearing.  What if someone could fix MY vision?  I have had eye correction since I was 3-4 years old.  First, I had extensive therapy to correct my lazy eye.  Then, glasses.  I was known as the kid with glasses from age 4 to 17 (and intermittently now).  Then, I got contacts.  And with them, I learned what it feels like to have a constant tree in my eyes.  They are high maintenance, expensive, and make my eyes feel more dry and sensitive.  Aside from a lifelong history of sketchy vision, both my parents, and I think every single relative I have wears glasses.  Sub-par vision is all I have ever known. . .  And yet–I would jump at the chance to permanently correct it.  In fact, my dream is to get Lasix one day.

But there is no real culture of bad eyes.  Society accommodates people with poor vision pretty readily.  Aside from being a pilot or shooting, I would say I can do everything anyone else can do with my bad prescription.  Poor vision is a sort of disability, but it is not quite like deaf culture.  So it’s not as comparable.  So let’s look at something else that makes me a minority, that society doesn’t understand/accommodate, and comes with a cultural component.

Sexuality.  What if some doctor came along and said they could “fix” me by making me straight?