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Survivor: The Amazon - Heated Debate About ChristyPage 3
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2) Sometimes you do need the help of others. Although nearly anything is possible for someone who is deaf or HOH, sooner or later you realize that you need to be able to depend on others to help you with certain things. For example, at work I advise people to email me instead of calling me on the phone, because I can give them a quicker answer that way. At graduate school, I sometimes use a note-taker for a class so that I do not miss any of the professor's teachings. When reviewing a musical piece for an article or book I am writing, I sometimes ask my wife or a friend to give me their descriptions of the piece as I know that I may not catch some things in the music due to my hearing. Does this mean I need someone to hold my hand and/or do everything for me in order to function? Of course not. Yet, as a HOH individual, I have to realize that I will not be able to hear things as others will, and sometimes things that involve having greater hearing-capabilities than I have cannot be avoided.
As to Christy, the goal of the show, of course, is survival. The tribe has to learn to work with Christy's near-deafness so that they can communicate with her and make sure they do things as a group in order to persevere. Some seem to resent that they have to do things differently with her than they would with a "hearing" person. Nor do they understand that she comes from a different culture than they do. There was a bit of an uproar over the second episode when Christy told the group that she was tired of having to work on creating the shelter by herself. It was shocking to the others (who appeared, at least by the editing on the show, to simply be lying around and not doing anything as productive as Christy was), because it was so abrupt. Yet, in the deaf community, it would not have seemed so out of the blue, as you tend to be more forthright when communication is done in sign. The simplest answer to the bad feelings would have been to simply ask Christy why she felt that way and what could be done to get past the problem. Instead, the attitude of many of the other women was one of resentment that they had to put up with Christy's talk, yet none ever bothered to try to actually work with her about it. Why? Obviously because they didn't want to bother trying to work with Christy.
On the other side of that, Christy needs to reinforce to the others that they have to talk to her in a certain way in order for her to understand. Perhaps even teach them some sign-language so they can communicate better (after all, they probably do have some free time in order to have such lessons). It is certainly not simply a one-way street, although I think Christy understands this more than the others in the tribe. Ironically, once she was with the new group, things appeared to be headed this way, although there is still talk of Christy being voted out.
In reflection on the show so far, I think it is a case of the communities reacting to something where the sole one to really say anything is the person who this situation actively involves. Some hearing people think Christy should not be there because she has "special rights" over the others. Some in the deaf community feel that she is not being treated right because she deserves special rights over the others. Some in the deaf community even feel that Christy is taking advantage of the situation because she is not truly "deaf" (after all, she can hear some sounds with her hearing-aid). Either way, the only one that can actively say if she thinks she is being treated fairly is Christy herself.
While I applaud her for her earnestness to be on the show, I still have something nagging about me about the situation Christy has fallen into. One of the main components of Survivor since the very first season is that of people building "alliances" and stabbing each other in the back. It is supposed to be one of the "fun" factors of the show (and actually is one of the reasons I do not particularly like the program). Everyone in the "tribe" was set to perform the show with that in mind . . . and here comes Christy to throw a wrench into the works by forcing them to actually have to work together. I think Christy has upset more people's plans than anything the producers of the show could have thrown their way and they are resentful because of that. There are other factors involved, of course, but Christy has forced the "tribe" to interact in a way the people never expected, and it has given a new dynamic to the mix that hasn't been seen on the series so far.
But isn't that what happens in real life when those of different abilities and backgrounds come to work together? Maybe this Survivor really isn't that far off from real life after all.
You can e-mail Dale about this column or his other projects at email@example.com. His book, The Urban Legends of Rock and Roll: You Never Can Tell, is finally out! You can click here to buy that one and any of Dale's other books.
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