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Survivor: The Amazon - Heated Debate About ChristyPage 2
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Because of incidents where I know people want to dismiss the hearing-impaired, I have a great lack of sympathy for those who accuse Christy of "using her handicap" to gain an advantage over the others. It is the same mentality that suggests wheelchair-bound individuals are "lucky" to have parking spots so close to the stores, little realizing that many of those same people have to live in those chairs the rest of their lives. There is nothing fortunate about having a disability; the only good side of such things is what the individuals themselves do in order to rise above them.
Nor do I have much sympathy for some of the players who keep repeating that they dislike Christy but not because of her handicap, when it is clear on the show that they are extremely bothered by her handicap and wish she would just go away. Meanwhile, after moving into the new "tribe," Christy has had a new group of people who are willing to spend an additional half-a-second when talking with her in order to make sure she understands them. No special equipment was needed, no interpreters, no forced participations - just people working together to help each other.
Of course, there are always cases of individuals who go out of their way to use their misfortunes to take advantage of situations, but I think it is wonderful that Christy has taken the effort to show the tribes and viewers at home that having a hearing-impairment does not limit someone from having an active life. She can do anything that these other individuals can, as long as she can compensate for the hearing-disability. There are those who insist Christy is at a disadvantage because she cannot read lips in the dark. But, really, how often does that affect anything with the game they are playing? Is every "alliance" made in the dark? If she cannot read lips from across the fire, does that mean she cannot communicate at all with the person sitting next to her? Besides, as seen in another episode of the series, she managed to catch up on what had occurred during the night by simply asking someone. One minor problem dealing with lip-reading at night should not be the end of her time in the camp.
The only thing that does bother me about the whole lip-reading brouhaha is that they make the function sound like a miracle for Christy to use. Having read lips all my life, I can say truthfully that lip-reading is not the end-all for deaf individuals when it comes to understanding speech. There's much more to it than that, and I think the producers of this show are playing up the image of lip-reading in a way that does little justice to what a deaf person has to go through in order to understand what a hearing person is saying. There is much, much more to what needs to be done than this one ability.
As to the outcry that Christy should have a sign-language interpreter with her, my question would be, why? Christy had asked that no one in the "tribe" tell the other team that she is deaf. A sign-language interpreter would certainly be the death of the secret she is trying to keep from the others. Now that this need has disappeared (with her induction into a new tribe with some of the men), it is also apparent that it is not necessary for her to play the game, nor does she appear to have major problems in understanding the others. More importantly, the main goal of the show is about "survival" of a group in the jungle without many provisions. In a real life situation of survival, communication between Christy and the others would be established simply because everyone's survival depends on it, deafness is just a factor in the equation. Rather like in real life, actually.
Saying that, I've found over the years that there are two tough lessons the physically-handicapped have to learn in life if they want to function in normal society. Oddly enough, I believe that they are also lessons people without a physical handicap must learn at some point in life as well, only it is not as readily apparent to them.
1) You can do things yourself, and nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. It may sound clichéd, but then again, we get clichés because they tend to be true. Christy is proving that just because she is HOH, it does not mean she cannot do anything. The downside from the original tribe she was in is just the same as in the real world - in that people not handicapped in a traditional sense tend to treat those who are either as young children who must be handled delicately and supervised at all times, or with resentment that such individuals somehow have a secret advantage over others (as if a blind person will instantly become gain "hyper-senses" and turn into a blind superhero like Daredevil). This leads to people believing that because Christy is near-deaf, she cannot function as part of the group; the only difference is whether those thoughts are with good or bad intentions. For some, they see her as being unable to function within the group; for others, she appears to be getting "special privileges" that the others do not receive. Where these "special privileges" are, however, I have no idea. Nor is Christy asking for any other favors than ones that simply help her better serve the tribe(s) anyway. Which leads to the second lesson to be learned:<--Previous 1 2 3 Next-->
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