Street Safety Dress Code For Deaf Pedestrians Upsets
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 26, 2005
JABALPUR, INDIA--Authorities in Jabalpur proved earlier this month that listening requires much more than the ability to hear.
District administrators decided recently to cut down on the number of traffic accidents involving deaf and hard-of-hearing pedestrians by coming up with a way for drivers to identify them and avoid running into them.
Their solution: Distribute 200 bright blue jackets -- with the word "Mook-Badhir" (meaning "deaf-mute") across the back -- to people gathered at an event last week.
The well-meaning officials didn't understand the reaction when many refused to don the new jackets.
According to the Daily Pioneer, disability rights campaigners first complained that the dress code further stigmatized people who are trying to blend in with society and avoid being alienated.
"The basic tenet of disabled care is to provide them a chance to lead as close an approximation to normal life as is allowed by their impairment," says Jamil Ahmed of the advocacy group Suno.
Secondly, the groups were upset that the jackets were given to all of those considered to have a hearing loss, regardless of their degree of hearing ability.
Advocates said they had objected, but that administrators simply hadn't listened.