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Wedding Woes

Then say no, but what is with the extreme word choice

I have two children, the younger of whom is Deaf. Though some Deaf people consider themselves disabled, still others do not and instead consider themselves part of a cultural minority. My husband and I (both hearing) are working hard to learn American Sign Language and integrate ourselves into the Deaf community. Through our son we are connected to a local school for the Deaf, and herein lies the issue.

Recently I came home to find that a nearby church had sewn quilts for all of the children at the school. A sweet gesture … but my older son, who is hearing, has never come home from child care with more than some fun art projects. The school wants us to take pictures of our children with these quilts to send along to the church, but I really balk at this—I’m worried my children are being used as “inspiration porn.” I’d much rather these churchgoers spent the time to volunteer at the school or learn ASL instead of making quilts and asking for photos demonstrating their charity. Am I being overly sensitive?

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Re: Then say no, but what is with the extreme word choice

  • I think you simply don’t do this, and tell the school that it makes you uncomfortable and why. They should be acting as a gatekeeper here. 
    ShesSoColdshort+sassyMesmrEwe
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    I think you simply don’t do this, and tell the school that it makes you uncomfortable and why. They should be acting as a gatekeeper here. 
    I agree with this. I don't think LW is wrong here and like you said, Starmoon, the school is the organizer here and if a parent isn't happy about something, they should be informed. I definitely wouldn't use the phrase "inspiration porn" but if LW doesn't express that they're uncomfortable with the pictures and why, then they can't expect the school to know or change anything. 

    This, to me, falls into the category of "you don't get to bitch if you don't do anything". 
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    STARMOON44Casadenashort+sassy
  • I really didn't like the tone and attitude of this letter.

    The LW absolutely, 100%, without even one iota of guilt can tell the church, "Thank you again for the quilt, but I'm not comfortable with photos of my child being distributed."

    I even think it would be fine for her to throw out a general, "If any of your parishioners are interested in volunteer opportunities, the school is always looking for help with XYZ and/or contact Principal Jane Doe."

    But where does she get off DICTATING how people should do their volunteer works!  I was super offended by that.  You know what, lady?  Just like I'm sure you wouldn't want people assuming the challenges your son faces.  You don't know a f**king thing about these people either and the crosses that they might have to bear.

    Maybe it's a 90-year-old grandma.  Who no longer has the memory to learn another language like ASL.  Or isn't physically fit enough to go traipsing around your son's school doing volunteer work.  But she can still quilt.  And she likes to quilt.  And that's her way to give back to the community she lives in.

    Or maybe it's a perfectly healthy 23-year-old guy.  Who has a pesky thing called a job and isn't available to volunteer at the times your son's school is open.  But he relaxes in the evening with quilting.

    Or maybe he's unemployed living with his parents.  And sits around all day watching soap operas while he quilts.  And doesn't have any desire to volunteer at your son's school.

    But maybe just because you want to do something doesn’t make it necessary or appropriate or helpful. I don’t think she should say a single thing to the church or the volunteers but I think it’s totally fine to tell the school you’re concerned about giving your child the feeling that he needs charity because he is Deaf, and to ask the school to be more thoughtful. I love baking but I’m not entitled to just go ahead and roll up with my pastries because I want to. 
    MyNameIsNotCasadena
  • I agree with the "I'm not comfortable with my child's image being circulated for this" is an appropriate response.  It also says a lot about her belief structure in a lot of ways and being around a lot of kids with life threatening conditions I "get it" that this is a different ability, not life threatening disability and she's confused about the "why" aspect when there are kids in the Children's Hospital that could use the quilts more.  

    Could use it as an opportunity to suggest to the Principal at the deaf school that the kids make tie quilts for kids at the Children's Hospital as an activity...
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  • I agree with the not doing it and informing the school why. I also agree that she doesn't get to dictate how people volunteer.

    However, I don't feel like her feelings are entirely wrong.  I live in a heavily religious area.  Churches here prey on marginalized populations of all kinds to make themselves look better to the community at large and to get more parishioners in their churches.  I see the practice in the LGBTQ+ community.  I have a friend who is a certified ASL interpreter as a career, and she talks about this same issue w/in our local deaf community.  So, mom's feelings that her kids might be used as inspiration porn is incredibly valid and possible.  I completely own up to being cynical and jaded b/c of where I live, but I've seen it here, in practice, in lots of different churches and I don't care for it and have spoken out against it at times.
    MyNameIsNotSTARMOON44mrsconn23MesmrEwe
  • I really didn't like the tone and attitude of this letter.

    The LW absolutely, 100%, without even one iota of guilt can tell the church, "Thank you again for the quilt, but I'm not comfortable with photos of my child being distributed."

    I even think it would be fine for her to throw out a general, "If any of your parishioners are interested in volunteer opportunities, the school is always looking for help with XYZ and/or contact Principal Jane Doe."

    But where does she get off DICTATING how people should do their volunteer works!  I was super offended by that.  You know what, lady?  Just like I'm sure you wouldn't want people assuming the challenges your son faces.  You don't know a f**king thing about these people either and the crosses that they might have to bear.

    Maybe it's a 90-year-old grandma.  Who no longer has the memory to learn another language like ASL.  Or isn't physically fit enough to go traipsing around your son's school doing volunteer work.  But she can still quilt.  And she likes to quilt.  And that's her way to give back to the community she lives in.

    Or maybe it's a perfectly healthy 23-year-old guy.  Who has a pesky thing called a job and isn't available to volunteer at the times your son's school is open.  But he relaxes in the evening with quilting.

    Or maybe he's unemployed living with his parents.  And sits around all day watching soap operas while he quilts.  And doesn't have any desire to volunteer at your son's school.

    But maybe just because you want to do something doesn’t make it necessary or appropriate or helpful. I don’t think she should say a single thing to the church or the volunteers but I think it’s totally fine to tell the school you’re concerned about giving your child the feeling that he needs charity because he is Deaf, and to ask the school to be more thoughtful. I love baking but I’m not entitled to just go ahead and roll up with my pastries because I want to. 

    I agree with all of this also.  But then it would have been up to the school to turn down the donation, if they felt it was inappropriate.  They did not do that.  In fact, it sounds like she didn't even return her quilt to the school or the church.  Or donate it elsewhere.

    I can understand her POV, as far as feeling offended that people think her son needs charity.  But, just because she feels that way, doesn't mean the majority or any other parents at the school do.

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  • Do kids want quilts?  My oma knit me a blanket when I was little (which I love), but in general I don't think a lot of kids I know really care for quilts.  My church has a quilting group and they sell the quilts and give the money to charity.  Sadly, none of the quilts were a queen size, so I bought no quilt ...
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    STARMOON44flantastic
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