Thursday, 11 December 2008

RNID New Trustees.

RNID recently announced the arrival of five new trustees onto the board. I don't seem to recognise any of these names from the deaf world. Can anybody enlighten us? Are they deaf or hoh? What is their connection/interest to/in deaf people?

From what little information there is, it doesn't sound as if they have that grassroots empathy with deaf people and thus an understanding of our issues and priorities. Do they know what it's like to be treated as inferior or ignored because you are deaf and/or don't hold the "right" opinions? Do they know what it's like to spend years on the scrapheap? Or to be made to feel that your voice counts for nothing?

If this is yet another extension of paternalism then it won't be enough to say that RNID are not listening to deaf people. It would be fairer to say that they are deliberately ignoring deaf people, even some of their members. After all, we have in many different ways been expressing our discontent about this 'everything about us, without us' approach for years.

If you have any information or comments, please let us know.

Edit: Here's the response from RNID: Of the five trustees, two have hearing loss, one has a deaf brother, one is a Professor of Audiology and the other owns a nightclub chain and has worked with RNID on protection of hearing for his employees and customers.

Whether or not that is satisfactory is, as always, a matter for deaf people. My opinion is that it could be worse, but I would like to see at least a few people from more humble or grass root backgrounds who understand things like disempowerment and unemployment.


MM said...

I think the point to remember here is WHY they were co-opted. It isn't because they have hearing loss experience or relatives, but they have corporate know-how, profile, and the ability to raise money.

This is WHY the RNID doesn't co-opt deaf people direct, or employ or train them, they haven't these skills. Pessimistically this just re-enforces the way the RNID operates, as a service PROVIDER and not a grass-root led organization.

Social Services without the same guidelines really.... support on the cheap, and as a charity not bound by the same rules as SS are... I really do feel they have no right to advertise as a Charity, they are a fully business and sell environmental aids as well. The Charity commission is being nobbled by the government in collusion with the RNID because otherwise the state has to provide, and if they did, we would have ten times more clout taking them to task.

tim said...

Yes, MM, it seems that they just pick and choose when they want to be a charity for money-making purposes. It's against the spirit of what charity is supposed to be about. I certainly feel that deaf people are being used.