The Rebuttal – Editorial Comment

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The Rebuttal is an independent and community conscious newspaper that raises issues and information for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Australians and those who service and support them.

Comments expressed by the authors of articles in The Rebuttal do not necessarily represents the views of the publishers of The Rebuttal. All views expressed are the sole responsibility of the authors alone.

Paul Creedon on Dissent

The article, The Pursuit of Truth, focuses on a minority perception – but a perception common to many people who are members of, or work with or around community organisations. Community organisations are generally those that have a membership, Boards of Directors and who generally provide services for no profit.

Organisations like the Australian Association of the Deaf (AAD), all of the Deaf Societies, Deafness Forum and thousands of other cultural, disability, environment, sporting and special interest groups operate in this way around Australia.

Usually these community groups are created by people who value different things to the mainstream. They might believe in a different path, assert things are unfair, seek to challenge the way things are to create a better future for themselves and people like them. This ‘difference’ is what they are all about.
So why is it that while these groups live or die based on their success at dissenting with the mainstream community many are so unable to accept or manage dissent in their own ranks? Why do so many exclude people with a different view, who ask different questions, people who challenge, who debate, who dissent?

What is it about us, even when we want to break down an old system, that makes us want to produce a new world that is as intolerant as the old? What is it about these organisations and about us as a species that is so resistant to real openness, and real change?
At the core of this article are those sorts of questions.

Albert Einstein is reputed to have once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. In other words, if you really want things to change then you have to do things in a different way yourself. The argument as logically applies to organisations as it does to individuals – if an organisation wants a different world then it needs to be a different organisation. If it wants the world to be more inclusive and accepting of its members’ differences, then perhaps it needs to be accepting and inclusive of others as well.

Agree or disagree with the views of this author, we bet that you have felt that your voice hasn’t been listened to by one organisation or another at sometime in the past.

You might have been told “you aren’t a member”, “you will get sued”, “you don’t know what you are talking about”, “you don’t have a right to know” or something similar – we have all heard something like this at sometime in the past.

It’s frustrating, it’s scary, it’s belittling and often it’s just wrong – but more importantly it prevents open discussion and debate. If Deaf/deaf/hearing impaired/HoH (or whatever definition you choose) people are really to have a say in their futures then open debate – of all stakeholders – is the only way.

Unfortunately, the Rebuttal seems to be the only forum that currently allows and encourages that debate. So like always have your say – like this author has!