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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture 510

Posted by samzenpus
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First time accepted submitter Maddie Kahn (3542515) writes "Deaf culture has its own language, its own social norms, its own art forms, its own theater. But it's under threat. Why? Because most parents of deaf children now choose to use technology to help their kids hear. This piece explores why a revolutionary technology stands accused of killing a culture."
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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

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  • by EmagGeek (574360) < minus painter> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46709555) Journal

    What a travesty! We can't allow deaf people to hear! It will destroy their culture!

    Why don't you tell this woman you want her to be deaf again and see what she says: []

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46709567)

    Or hell, keep using sign language on your kid even after getting the implant.

    It's only dying because people are lazy.

  • I've got mod points (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bob_super (3391281) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:57PM (#46709611)

    but I can't find how to mod TFS as troll.
    Glad the comments are unanimous so far...

  • Parallel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:59PM (#46709635)

    For fear of being modded down into oblivion, I'll post anonymously.

    "The very existence of cochlear implants wrongly presupposes that a deaf person is in need of fixing."

    This just smacks of self-conscious defensiveness. It is wrong.

    The very existence of cochlear implants presupposes that some people who cannot hear may want to hear - much in the same way that the very existence of prosthetic limbs presupposes that some people may wish to use [some limb]. Even better, the very existence of wheel chairs presupposes that the paralyzed may wish to move around from point A to point B.

    There is no presupposition of defectiveness in any of those products, only the presupposition that someone may wish to add new functionality to their life. If eye-implants that enable me to see in UV or IR come available, I'll jump! Not because I think I am defective, but because I think it'd be nice to enhance what I am already capable of.

    A friend of mine is an interpreter, and she has expressed many of the same concerns -- but I'd be interested in seeing numbers regarding how many in the deaf community are getting the implants. If there's already a stigma in the subculture against them, I can't imagine that this technology really poses a significant threat to the subculture.

  • by JDAustin (468180) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:07PM (#46709701)

    I will get down modded for this, but how about a testimony from a actual user of a cochlear implant (Rush Limbaugh in this case).

    CALLER: Hey. I'm just wondering, when you listen to music with your hearing aid, how's it sound?
    RUSH: Music?
    CALLER: Yeah, like if you're listening to music on an iPad or something?
    RUSH: Well, not very good. I cannot listen to music that I've never heard before and identify the melody.
    CALLER: Oh.
    RUSH: I have a cochlear implant. It doesn't have nearly the sensitivity of the human ear, it's not even close.
    CALLER: I was just wondering.
    RUSH: Like violins or strings sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
    CALLER: Oh, well, I was just wondering.
    RUSH:What I have to do, I can still listen to music, but it has to be music that I knew and that I've heard before I lost my hearing. And what happens is that my brain, fertile mind, provides the melody. I actually am not hearing the melody, and the way I can prove this to you, sometimes it will take me, even a song that I know, it will take me 30 seconds to identify it if I don't know what it is. Now, if I'm playing a song off iTunes and the title is there and it starts then I can spot it from the middle, but if I'm listening to a song from the beginning, and I don't know what it is, it sometimes can take me 30 seconds to recognize it, if I knew it before. But the quality of music that I hear is less than AM radio, in terms of fidelity. I can turn the bass up on an amplifier and I don't hear any difference at all. I can feel the floor vibrate, but I don't hear any more bass. I can turn highs up and I can hear the difference in the highs, but on the low end I actually cannot -- (interruption) I'm getting a note here that says: "You're not missing anything. There aren't any melodies in music today." (laughing) At any rate, you adapt to it. I've adapted.

    The worst part of my hearing is being in a crowd. Like right now, I hear myself as well as I heard myself when I could hear. If I'm talking to one other person in a quiet room I can comprehend 90-95% of what they say depending on how fast they're speaking. There are some words that sound alike. But you add room noise, like if Kathryn and I are watching TV and she wants to talk to me about what we're watching, I have to hit pause or the mute 'cause I cannot hear what she's saying. Even if she's sitting two feet away I will not hear as long as there are other noises there. Any room noise when added to other room noise is gonna be louder than the one voice that I'm trying to hear. I've got the implant on my left side so if we go out in a public place, anybody on my right side, it's hopeless. I'll have to literally turn to them, and sometimes as I turn to them they turn with me. They don't know what I'm doing so we'll do pirouettes 'til I finally say, "No, you stay where you are. I'm trying to position my ear so I can hear you."

    The way I look at this, though, because when I tell these stories, "Oh, that's really horrible." No, it's not. 'Cause if you look at the timeline of humanity, however long it is, 10,000 years, a million, billion, whatever the number is, my little time on it is not much larger than a grain of sand. And yet I happen to lose my hearing at the same time technology had evolved to the point where cochlear implants had been invented. If I had lost my hearing 15 years ago, it would have meant the end of my career. I would not have been able to hear. And the doctor said you might think that you could speak normally just by virtue of memory and feel, the way voice feels when you speak, but eventually your speech would deteriorate, and it would sound to people as though you had a speech defect. It would just be automatic no matter how good you are, no matter how professional you are at it. So that's really fortunate. It's almost miraculous that my being afflicted with this autoimmune disease happens to coincide with technology. Some call it divine intervention. Some call it the age of miracles. We're all one way or anot

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:13PM (#46709745)

    Some parts of "Deaf Culture" do not foster literacy. They've wound up isolated, culturally and economically, by this lack. Much like the Amish, who refuse to participate in a great deal of modern technology, they wind up profoundly hampered in education and employability by their steadfast isolation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:20PM (#46709795)

    i went to a deaf magnet grade school. i was a hearing kid just filling the rest
    of the building. there is such a thing as deaf culture, and it's a culture of arbitrary
    difference, just like racism defines a certain kind of (unacceptable) culture.
    and the battle ax deaf teachers sure made sure we didn't mingle with the deaf
    kids. which sucked, since one of my best friends was deaf.

    i found the same thing later on living near the deaf uni in washington dc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:24PM (#46709821)

    It looks like khe's wearing a Nucleus device. Those.... suck, in many ways. They basically measure *power levels* of different frequencies of sound, and transmit it to a selection of 5 out of 22 electrodes. The result is a gross undersampling of the original sound, and there is *no way* to digitally refine it back into the original information. In particular, the fine grained temporal information about "zero crossings" is completely lost.

    Robert Licklider demonstrated, around WWII, that simply using a one-bit transmission that preserved the zero crossings worked much better. Basically, turn up the gain on the signal until it clips, then limit the maximum volume, and even speech is over 90% still comprehensible. The old Ineraid device used to work this way, and frankly did a much better job of handling music. It was a purely analog design, with a set of 4 bandpass filters stimulating 4 out of the 8 electrodes, and was connected directly to a jack in the person's head with the electrode wires directly stimulated. The Nucleus design, and others since then, rely heavily on an implanted transceiver. But the fundamental theory that they use is basically *wrong*. Transmitting power levels can get you some information, but it throws away most timing information becuase of the roughly 16/second transmission rate for the power signals.

    It's like trying to read Braille with a baseball bat. It's amazing the silly thing works at *all*.

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brainboyz (114458) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:40PM (#46709929) Homepage

    It's not the culture, it's the supportive society and power they're lamenting the loss of. The more deaf there are the more pressure they can exert politically for support, the more people the deaf have with which to share something in common, and the more they can feel special/different/unique/etc. It's 100% selfishness on the part of the deaf community; particularly for those which cannot utilize the implants for various reasons. They're attempting to use political correctness to equate handicap to beauty instead of individuality to beauty.

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:44PM (#46709951) Homepage

    I dated a girl who was a "deaf studies" major. She even got her Masters at Galludet, and is a signer somewhere on the East Coast.

    I really dodged a bullet when she broke up with me. I was seeing myself having to agree with her as to the validity of "Deaf Culture" to maintain peace in the house.

    But, seeing as she stomped my heart flat, I can say this without fear of reprisal: It's a support group, not a culture. Once technology has advanced such that it is no longer an issue, it will fade. Take that, Carrie Coffey (nee Rogers)!

  • by davidwr (791652) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:01PM (#46710051) Homepage Journal

    Back in the days of race-based "red-lining" and "Whites-only" legally-enforced racially-segregated neighborhoods, rich and middle-class African-Americans had to live in the "non-white" part of town, along with the poor African-Americans and other non-Whites.

    Once the zoning laws, deed restrictions, and race-based morgtage- and homeowners-insurance redlining disappeared, non-Whites had as much choice as white people when it came to where they wanted live. Money or lack of it still limited their choices, but their skin color was no longer a barrier.

    Now, middle-class African-Americans who move into a city are likely to move into a "middle class" neighborhood, not a "Black" neighborhood.

    We went from a society that had a more distinct "Black middle class" that was created out of racial discrimination into one where if there is a "Black middle class" that's distinct from a "Middle class" the distinction is much weaker than it once was, but where there is no legally-enforced racial discrimination and much less (and someday soon I hope, no) racial discrimination denying African-Americans and other non-Whites the same rights and opportunities enjoyed by White people.

    I for one don't want to undo the last 50 years of racial desegregation just to bring back the distinct "Black middle class."

    Likewise, I don't think we should deny today's children the ability to hear - albeit in a limited way - just to preserve "Deaf culture."

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:12PM (#46710107) Homepage Journal

    Alexander Graham Bell's central interest of his life was deaf education or that he was one of the most prominent proponents of oralism in the United States... After emigrating from England to Canada in 1870 Bell began to teach speech to deaf students using a universal alphabet invented by his father called "Visible Speech." In 1872 he opened a school in Boston to train teachers of deaf children.

      Bell's second chief interest was the study of heredity and animal breeding, - you can see where this is headed...
      Bell warned of a "great calamity" facing the nation: deaf people were forming clubs, socializing with one another and, consequently, marrying other deaf people. The creation of a "deaf race" that yearly would grow larger and more insular was underway. Bell noted that "a special language adapted for the use of such a race" already was in existence, "a language as different from English as French or German or Russian." Some eugenicists called for legislation outlawing intermarriage by deaf people []

    Found that by accident. I was searching for mass killings of the deaf; due to the mentioning that "the deaf can't have faith" - I would assume the Catholics alone would have a history of it.

    Only came across the Holocaust where they were treated very badly (considering).

    Could be the deaf weren't found in large numbers in the past.

  • by gnoshi (314933) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:36PM (#46710255)

    This certainly is a valid issue (but the solution is not to leave people deaf, although that isn't what you're saying).

    There are people who are unable to receive cochlear implants (CIs): people who have damaged auditory nerves (nerve aplasia or hypoplasia, Neurofibromatosis Type-II (NF2) [] or other auditory nerve tumors [], severed auditory nerve due to accident etc) or abnormal cochlea (calcification due to meningitis sometimes prevents implantation, etc). There is one type of alternative implant for these individuals - the Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) on the Cochear Nucleus - but performance of the ABI implant tends to be quite a bit poorer than the CI. This may be because of the problems which lead to needing a ABI rather than a CI but the evidence isn't yet clear on the matter. One group (NF2) almost always do more poorly than other with an ABI but no-one is quite sure why.

    There are also two experimental implants (that I know of) which have been or are being tested in humans: the penetrating ABI implant (stabs electrodes into the cochlear nucleus whereas the current commercial device puts electrodes on the surface) and the penetrating Auditory Midbrain Implant (AMI). The penetrating ABI testing looked pretty good, but actually getting it in place was damn near impossible because the cochlear nucleus is basically wrapped around the brainstem in the middle of everything. The AMI seems like a cool idea, but the Inferior Colliculus (where the implant is places) is a pretty complex structure and a lot of processing has already happened by the time input would get there in a functioning auditory system. As a result, people with the experimental implants get things like having hearing at the beginning of the day that tails of across the day but returns the next day and so on.

    The result is that the number of people who can't get cochlear implants or brainstem implants and are deaf from birth (which are the people for whom the deaf community is most important) is pretty small and quite geographically distributed which makes it quite isolating. As you're saying, there is a real issue with an inability for normal-hearing people to communicate with these individuals. Speech-to-text and text-to-speech engines will be helpful as they improve because it will mean that someone can use their phone as a 'translator' of a sort. As people get faster and faster at typing on phones, using a phone for textual communication can actually be pretty good too. Ideally, you would want two devices with real-time duplex transmission between them and people able to glace at the phones when typing and reading so facial expressions can still be used.
    Hell, maybe that is a use for Google Glass. I type to you (where you are deaf), and you can look at me and my facial expressions while what I'm typing appears in your field of view. You then respond the same way. Or something.

    Wow. That turned into a massive blag.

  • Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:19PM (#46710825)

    Close, but there's a more powerful factor than feeling "special/different/unique/etc." Money. The vast majority of the Deaf Culture advocates come from the ASL-oriented* state schools for the deaf and universities like Gallaudet. There is a very cozy relationship between the state schools and the state early intervention specialists who visit parents with informational materials. Most of these people are basically recruiters for the ASL state schools who downplay cochlear implants and related educational pathways. If the parents instead chose a cochlear implant and a (usually) private school that specializes in teaching their kid to speak and listen, then the ASL state school has one less student, less money, etc. This is big money in some states. Just drive past the local school and look at their grounds, buildings, and vehicles. My local ASL-oriented state school has a coach bus that rivals most sports teams.

    Now, look at the stats. Numerous longitudinal, NIH-funded studies show that kids who get implants early enough to take advantage of the language development window (before 5 years old, and preferably before 1 or 2) and receive intensive speech and listening instruction [] are mostly mainstreamed into regular classrooms by the K-2 range. This has a secondary effect since mainstreaming into regular schools at this age is one of the strongest indicators of literacy in deaf kids, regardless of communication method. As we all know, literacy impacts employment and independence. (Side note, Gallaudet almost lost accreditation due to poor student literacy.) Unfortunately, many ASL kids end up in the ASL state schools and generally have poor literacy when they graduate 13 years later. Remember, ASL is not English and has a completely different linguistic structure.

    The second major stat is that 90% of the kids are born to hearing parents. Aside from the better life outcomes, forcing deaf kids into ASL schools to learn a language and culture differing from their parents essentially removes parental choice from the equation. As a parent, this is seriously messed up. I should have the right, and access to information, that will allow me to raise my kid with my language and culture if I wish. This isn't an immigrant language issue either since I grew up in my society's culture and a native speaker of my society's predominant language.

    I have deep knowledge of this, both personally and from a scientific perspective. So why am I posting anon? There are Deaf Culture advocates who are particularly nasty. I have a friend who received death threats at home and wears a flack jacket in certain venues. People find their windshields greased, tires deflated, etc. Proud parents who post videos of they child's cochlear implant activations and progress on YouTube are targeted, insulted, and told they are horrible parents. Extremists pretend to be academics and reporters, but then twist interviews out of context on blog posts. The list goes on.

    Again: it comes down to money and parental choice.

    * Some state schools claim to be Bi-Bi or Total Communication. This is just propaganda. These are basically ASL instruction with token instruction in lipreading, cochlear implant use, and speaking. Imagine trying to learn to speak or listen with only a couple hours of instruction each week from instructors who are not experts in the topic.

  • by Pfhorrest (545131) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:14AM (#46710985) Homepage Journal

    Mental issues are different from physical ones. I can't rightly comprehend how someone who is physically unable to do something that other people can do (like see or hear) could consider that something worth preserving, but there are large communities of people with autism spectrum "disorders" who consider the way that they think and feel to be not less capable than how other people think or feel, but just different.

    It's more akin to if society said raw strength was the standard of physical ability, and agility or stamina were neat bonuses to that, but not really important; and then there were other people who were weak by the social standard but had their own physical talents less-valued by that standard, elegant dancers or endurance runners in a world where only power lifters were valued, who refuse to accept that their body's different kind of physical ability is a "disability". (We've actually got something akin to that in body-image discrimination: different healthy body types are usually adept at different kinds of physical activity, but we tend to call e.g. the stocky guy who can lift a car or walk for many miles without even tiring "fat", because he doesn't have a lean body built for running and jumping that we think of as "fit").

    In the end, if someone doesn't suffer intrinsically from a trait (thus excluding suffering due only to society's reactions to that trait), then the trait shouldn't count as a "disability" or an "illness".

    And whether it does or not, the person with that trait is still a person deserving of the same respect either way.

  • Deaf Culture? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cmorgan503 (2592675) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:26AM (#46711029)
    8 years ago I went and got myself implanted, and never looked back. I had lost 100% of my hearing in my left ear and 90% of my hearing in my right ear at 8 years old, when I was hit by a car. Despite losing so much, the deaf culture never really accepted me, since I was never really considered truly deaf. I wasn't born into it, and spent a better part of 26 years kind of stuck in between the hearing and deaf world. I could sign, I could speak, and often I found myself interpreting for some deaf friends while I was growing up. But never, during that entire time, was I ever really accepted by the deaf culture.

    These friends I lost, when I decided to go ahead and get myself implanted. They couldn't understand why I wanted to be a part of something I never could have been, and I reminded them that the deaf panthers (same vein as the black panthers) never really did accept me as a part of the deaf culture, and I was really sick of being neither "deaf" or "hearing".

    They viewed their deafness as something to be proud about. I viewed it as something that was holding me back. They day I let them know I was going to get implanted, and hoped that they would understand, they looked at me as if I was something disgusting. Being called a traitor, could have been nicer than some of the things they called me then.

    Deaf Pride? Deaf Culture? Pshaw. While I have nothing really to compare the quality of the sound that the implant has given me, I can compare them to the $1200 digital hearing aid I had purchased an year earlier. When I left the store, and fired up my car, the song I was listening to before sounded completely different. It sounded better, and I realized I was hearing things I never really could with the old crappy hearing aids I had before. Then when I got my implant turned on, there was no comparison. I've tried listening with both my hearing aid (right ear, 90% loss) and my implant (left ear, previously 100% loss), and found that I could not stand the hearing aid any more. It's been sitting in my desk drawer in the 8 year since I had my implantation.

    If some people wants to fool themselves into thinking that Deafness is something to be proud of, then by all means, let them. I'm going to get my right ear implanted soon, and while I'll never truly be a hearing person, at least, I'll leave a major part of my deafness behind.
  • Re:Follow the money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:15AM (#46711187)

    Speaking of Gallaudet University, in 2006, a deaf woman named Jane Fernandes was chosen to be president of Gallaudet. There were student protests because the students thought she didn't fit into their culture, and her appointment was rescinded.

    According to Wikipedia [], her family "chose to raise her in an oral education program, meaning her education focused on teaching her to speak." "The generations of white deaf and hearing people in my [her] family have never signed; they have always been oral people." She didn't learn sign language until she was 23.

    According to the Washington Post, one reason for the protests was the fact that she didn't grow up using American Sign Language.

    I think being able to communicate easily with hearing people is be a good thing, and is something that a school for the deaf should teach.

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KozmoStevnNaut (630146) <> on Thursday April 10, 2014 @03:28AM (#46711623)

    My ex-girlfriend is a certified sign language interpretor. Becoming one obviously requires you to immerse yourself in Deaf culture, and all of the teachers at the schools are deaf. I have met a lot of them, and while they are extremely friendly people, they are also staunchly conservative when it comes to things like cochlear implants and what they see as the erosion of Deaf culture. They truly do not see being deaf as a handicap, some of them even consider the ability to hear an unnecessary burden, as bizarre as that seems. An enormous amount of misinformation around implants is also constantly spread around the Deaf community, probably in a desperate attempt to keep people deaf.

    Nothing quite like it exists among the blind, because being deaf is an enormous burden, and a much larger handicap. Deafness causes linguistic isolation, unlike being blind, which still allows you to communicate effectively with non-handicapped people.

    The Deaf community needs to wise up and accept that being deaf is a handicap. We have the tools and technology to mitigate and almost eliminate this handicap.

    There is a reason we don't see "Blind culture" or "Wheelchair-bound culture" or "Scoliosis culture" or whatever, and it's because creating an insular, conservative and backwards culture based on a handicap, and then claiming that particular handicap makes you superior to everyone else, is a monumentally stupid idea.

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PseudononymousCoward (592417) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:09AM (#46712287)

    Well, "evidence" is hard to provide, but to (accurately) invoke the old saying "The plural of anecdote is data":
    My older brother, his wife, and their son were all born profoundly deaf. I have a number of relatives that were born profoundly deaf due to an inherited genetic defect in my father's family line (which was identified by researchers in part by sequencing my brother's family's genomes--his wife is a distant relative)

    Neither my brother nor his wife all. They both learned to read lips (they are in their 40s) so they could interact more fully with society. My sister in law briefly attended a university that is very popular among deaf culture and she left after one semester. She was ostracized because she saw lip reading as a superior alternative to ASL. She was ostracized because most of her friends were hearing.

    The stories they have about their own interactions with deaf culture are astounding. To a great extent, they will have nothing to do with it if possible. My brother is a well-known athlete in the deaf community, and so he interacts with many more of the deaf than he'd prefer. Not because they are deaf, but because of their attitude. When my nephew was born, there was never any doubt that he would have a cochlear implant. At one point, they prepared to pay cash for it (50k+) because of a fight with the insurance company (this was ~16 years ago). When this decision got out, they received more scorn from the community for 'betraying' it.

    They can regale you with stories about 'deaf culture' advocates angrily leaving restaurants when confronted with a waiter who doesn't sign. Or about the lack of grammatical structure in ASL, which leads to a serious deficit in the writing abilities of most signers.

    The list goes on. That you aren't aware of 'deaf culture' doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And that it exists in not necessarily a bad thing. But technology has provided an amazing cure for this condition, yet instead of embracing it, they reject it as an assault on their culture. Can you imagine this from the blind community? Or the wheel-chair bound community?

  • Re:Let it die (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:51AM (#46713467) Journal

    Black culture has escape clauses, as in so many subcultures. Becoming rich but still being a hood rat--assuming you live in an area where blacks are generally hood rats and not just people with darker skin--makes you a celebrity. You got a good job--a real one, not pimpin' or drug dealin'--that makes you a traitor; but if you got a good job, flash your cash around, get highly flashy suits, drive a pimped-out car, and blast rap music, you're that rich nigga down the street that stick it to da man!

    We can see this again and again. Remember every fucking band that ever changed their music? All your songs sound the same, you suck. Oh shit look! Metallica changed the way their songs sound! THEY ARE SELL-OUTS TO THE RECORD COMPANY! I liked them before they were cool, but now they're just RIAA mafia shills.

    Remember gays? Those people? I had a gay friend once. There was a pride parade on campus, he went. He came back almost immediately, bitched about how they were marching into classrooms half-naked and screaming at people taking tests, and acting like militants (i.e. not-gay people are the enemy). In gay pride parades, they've historically been hostile or passive-aggressive to bisexuals. He came back with all this new information from his first participation in a gay event, and also with the experience of people shouting at him and getting angry when he said maybe they shouldn't be such assholes. Gay traitor.

    Try being in IT and going into management. For that matter, try being an IT guy and going into infosec. Holy living hell, do IT muggles hate security engineers! These dudes used to be your crew, now you are a fucking traitor.

    Keep towing the party line.

  • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joey Vegetables (686525) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:22AM (#46713847) Journal
    It mirrors ghetto (NOT Black) culture. Not all Black people subscribe to the idea that victimhood is superior to empowerment, although, unfortunately, many of their self-appointed "leaders" do. And you will find plenty of the same attitude among underachieving members of the white and other minority communities as well.

Programmers do it bit by bit.