Sunday, 11 January 2009

RNID and Discrimination.

One of the principles that RNID like to adhere to is that of non-discrimination. They tend to state that they will always pick the ‘best person for the job irrespective of disability.’ Outwardly this sounds very noble and high-minded, but of course the real test is whether or not it withstands a close examination based on facts and reason. Once you have peeled away the gold plating, is this approach really as good as it sounds? Let’s see if ‘discrimination’ really is such a dirty word when placed in the context it is being used.

I would have thought that RNID saying that they pick the ‘best person for the job irrespective of disability’ is a bit like saying that we will pick the best person for the job of doctor irrespective of medical qualifications! It presumes, incorrectly, that the ‘disability’ – deafness – is irrelevant to the job. On the contrary, personal experience of deafness is an important involuntary qualification. Put simply, if you are deaf, you will know better about deaf matters.

But even if deafness were irrelevant to the job, would this approach be fair? I think not. All the evidence, including RNID’s own research has shown that deaf people face glass ceilings at every level of employment, thanks to discrimination. So by insisting that we compete with those who don’t face such discrimination, they are actually discriminating against deaf people!

And isn’t RNID supposed to discriminate in favour of deaf people? Where does it say in their stated objects that they are working for the ‘better treatment, employment and training’ of everybody, ‘irrespective of disability?’ RNID are very selective about when they are a charity. They insist on their right to exist as a charity and certainly to collect money as a charity, but all of a sudden they suspend their charitable status when it comes to giving out the jobs, especially the best jobs! This is why I have said time and time again that deaf people are being used.

On the surface, RNID’s ‘non-discriminatory’ approach seems noble and high-minded. But a quick examination of it in context shows that it is counterfeit, sham, bogus, phoney. I am not advocating that deaf people should be charity cases, but if RNID are going to insist that we are, they cannot pick and choose when to be a charity as it suits them.