Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Has charity forgotten who it is for?

You may be pleased to learn that the Third Sector now has a forum. I thought that it was only fair to be able to make my point there. Below is my latest response, please feel free to chip in; we could always do with some more support to ram-rod these points home.

The ‘best person for the job’ argument is a tired old chestnut that most certainly does not convince me. I think it is using the pretence of fairness to keep deaf people away from employment. We are rejected left, right and centre by other employers and then RNID uses that as an excuse not to employ us. Nice(!)

RNID was set up with the express purpose of helping deaf people, and their own stated objects include the ‘better training and employment’ of deaf people. If they are not going to be an exemplar employer in that respect, then how can they convince other employers that it is good to hire deaf people? What right would they have to lecture other organisations on the issue?

Secondly, the ‘best person for the job’ argument assumes that being deaf is irrelevant to working for a deaf organisation when nothing could be further from the truth. A first hand knowledge of deafness and the immediate implications should be considered a critical ‘involuntary’ qualification for understanding our needs and priorities.

Thirdly, there is the issue of self-determination – people should be able to speak and act for themselves, not have somebody else do it for them without their permission or involvement – THAT is what I call patronising! Imagine a Women’s organisation with no women in their senior management team and only 10% of their staff women. Outrageous!

Fourthly, there is the issue of taking advantage of people who have been held back. Rattling tins, saying ‘please help those poor deaf people!’ only to turn around and spend the proceeds on very well paid jobs for people who have never been deaf or hoh in their lives; sounds very much like taking advantage to me – I certainly feel used.

Fifthly, I do not think that they are attracting better people, but worse, people who are out of touch and want nothing to do with deaf people. If you do not consult with the people you work for, you cannot do a good job.

No, RNID has forgotten who it is for.