Geronimo Cardano is my favorite, Aristotle is a jerk

by Megan

(Arizona)

My favorite person from deaf history would probably be Geronimo Cardano because he was the first person to recognize that just because a person was deaf didn’t mean that they were also incapable of learning. Before this discovery, deaf people were written off as stupid and (this breaks my heart) “non-persons” because no one had given them a chance to learn. Of course a person who can’t hear isn’t going to learn a spoken language. Duh! Geronimo Cardano had an open enough mind to give deaf people a chance. In a way, he was the catalyst for the progression of deaf people into society.

Another thing I like about Geronimo Cardano is that he was working with his child, and helping his son defy the expectations that society set up around him. One thing I believe that adults too often forget is that children are the future. There was a quote I read once that said something like “the world is not a gift from our parents; rather it is borrowed from our children” (sorry if I got the wording wrong, but I believe that it is some sort of Native American proverb). He was being, simply put, a good parent. He was helping his child reach his full potential. By helping his child reach his potential, he was also setting the world up to be a better place, and to have a better future.

It really makes me sad, the irresponsibility that adults, the people that children are supposed to look up to, treat our world with. They create messes that we have to clean up. Aren’t parents supposed to want the best for their children? It’s not just the environment, but also the education system too. Americans are known for being proud, and being able to back up that pride. So then why am I sitting in a classroom with 34 other kids, listening to the same lecture that my teacher has given for the last twenty years? And really, can you blame that teacher, who holds the future of the 150 students that she teaches in her hands, for not caring about the children that she teaches? Would you care about your job when it pays well below what it should? Can you blame that teacher for not caring because there is NO incentive to do well? That teacher can’t make ends meet with her wage, and can barely feed her two children. A tree is only as strong as its roots. Teachers are our roots, and are therefore the roots of our future. So why not have the best teachers teaching? Why not pay well enough to afford the best teachers? The future is too important to lose because children weren’t given the proper stepping stones to create a better future. The price of a lost future is too high to pay, no matter how much money you have.

Back to the article. For being such a great thinker and philosopher, Aristotle was incredibly close-minded about his views of deaf people. When the pioneer thinker of the times is not willing to open up his mind to the idea that deaf people can learn, even if it’s not by the usual standards, is very disappointing, and had some very negative ramifications. Deaf people were then labeled as “non-persons”. Think about how humiliating and demoralizing that must have been for these otherwise normal human beings. Just because a person is different does not mean that they aren’t equal. In his defense, it seems that Aristotle was simply succumbing to the human condition. All through the ages, people who are considered “different” have been victims to inequality, whether it was deaf people, African-Americans, women, etc. Even though people are supposedly getting smarter, things still are unequal, hence my calling it the “human condition”.

Okay, so right now I am positive that I rambled, and I am sure that most stopped reading after half way, but if you read the whole way through, thank you for listening to my two cents.

(P.S. I am a high school student, which is why there are a lot of ‘us’ and ‘we’s when talking about children, and a lot of ‘them’ and ‘they’s when talking about adults.)

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