When she was 5 years old, Heather Artinian’s parents, both Deaf, held firm in their decision to have her remain Deaf rather than to be given cochlear implants that would likely enable her to hear well enough to “cross over” into the Hearing World with ease. Had the decision been private, or even contained within her family and community, the impact of it would have reamined a “family matter.” Yet, the family battle over Heather’s parents’ decision was intimately–and disturbably–portrayed in the Academy Award-winning documentary entitled, “Sound and Fury.” By movie’s end, I predicted her parents, uncle and aunt, and grandparents would drift apart over the issue given the opposing sides’ intense and dogmatic views about which of the two worlds, Deaf and Hearing, was best. Interestingly, if not surprisingly, Heather now argues for a tolerant and accepting, open-minded and communicative, and nonjudgmental world where people can fit comfortably in whatever community they choose–and not be limited by others’ prejudices. She advocates self-determination and a strategies for facing life’s difficulties, and currently has her sights set on a seat in the US Supreme Court. After hearing her message, I hope she’s serious about her dream and to be able to witness her appointment!
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