Is London’s transport a secret Audist enclave? And more….

The entire London tube & bus system is so completely audist. Despite ‘increased’ accessibility the easiest thing to do is speak through the window or press a button to vocalise an announcement rather than type in a message to be displayed across the system or use one of the many standard messages available over the system wide dot matrix indicators. It’s not just TfL it’s the national railways too (as are a host of dozens and dozens of British institutions!)

Despite TfL’s notions of increased accessibility, and disabled people complaining that this accessibility only serves part of the tube system (around seventy stations wholly or partially), at least accessibility serves wholly the bus network. Audism imposes the defining factor by denoting messages across the entire bus and tube network is such that only those with speech can hear. So we can say the entire bus and tube system’s essentially 100% audist. That puts seventy or so ‘accessible stations’ into extremely pale significance and knocks TfL’s claims into deep water. Bet you never thought of it that way eh?


The 100% really inaccessible tube map!

As a past member on the accessibility committee for London’s transport, (the days of the LRPC when Sarah Greenwood was our secretary, a role she held to an untimely early death), we often saw the many attempts to improve London’s transport as not much more than a tokenism gesture. I mean the idea of the long gone, but very short lived ‘CareBus’ network which we derided was one thing. That name was so patronising!

The dot matrix indicators, whose introduction we compelled London Regional Transport to install across the network – even on trains – some twenty five years ago, was these should also serve as a communication tool for deaf people. This was written in stone. We made sure of that. They should not just display train times, but also a host of other information. Yet I have barely ever seen LRT, TfL and the rail companies actually use these as fully intended. I mean, its so nice to grab a microphone, speak into it and relay an important message network-wide. Just so easy!

These pre-prepared messages have been in the system for years. You’ll see examples on You Tube where many of these unseen messages are scrolled through just for the curious. Like those on the trains (both underground and national rail) barely anyone seems arsed to key the right numbers in to enact these special in service messages, some of which are very important indeed, again just grab a mike, everybody hears and speaks no worries there!

Say what you want and its booming all over the network. That’s why we see all the stations with these tube/rail staff speaking into microphones/relays that boom their messages over the stations tannoys (including poems, well wishes, daydreamers’ stuff and jokes which many of us will never hear.)

Here’s one example. Supposedly the best tube train announcer! The video’s not even subtitled so that’s most helpful, a plus for the system in question, and the guy’s announcements can only be heard…. need I say more?


Different types of indicators. Full potential not utilised! Credit: diamondgeezer

Diamond Geezer complains the fact that ‘Edgware Road struggles on with some vile red LED display.’ We had it put there. It was an experiment to see which stood out against the bright daylight – red or orange. Its not meant to be a permanent fixture but the fact it is shows TfL views these indicators with the utmost disregard.

Its clear to me TfL doesnt even want deaf people to know whats going on. Its a massive slight against the DDA1995 and the Equality Act 2010. Why do deaf people not complain? Because its too tiresome, we know they’re gonna say ‘yeah sorting it tomorrow’ and they never do – not in a million years. Besides what when one needs to ask station staff advice or directions. They’ll speak to you directly with speech. And they’ll expect you to speak back. That’s despite the many times we have insisted staff have proper training with regards to deaf AND deaf blind people.

‘You said what? I’m sorry, I’m deaf (pointing to my ears) can you clarify?’

The response from the said platform staff? Totally unintelligible! One points to the dot matix indicators and asks why they cannot show more important stuff. The staff look up at it blankly and offer yet further unintelligible muttering before shrugging their shoulders.

Its the same old story. NOT going to change. Never wanted to change. Speech is just too damn convenient. Here’s a song’s lyrics with a couple of lines sensitively taken out:

We’re not gonna take it,
We’re not gonna take it!
Never did and never will!
And as far as we can tell,
We ain’t gonna take you!
Never did and never will,
We forsake you,
Let’s forget you better still!

Although I took one line in particular out, I’m sure many of us do feel raped by audism – even forgotten by it.

TfL have been doing their bad for years. Inspectors chased and shouted after us on the tube as we passed through barriers & ignored calls to stop and show our fares, id, whatever. Its almost like announcing to the world ‘person caught, person has communication problems, down arms, no need for alarm or the police.’  I dont know ANYTHING AT ALL about other passengers on the tube at all but these revelations magically inform dozens of others I have a disability (and its not just deafness) and whats more they make out we’ve been trying to escape the ticket inspectors’ clutches. Oh I wish! We’re paraded as deviants, might as well put it on the front page of the Standard!

It seems to me TfL has at least learned a tiny little bit as they will largely now check on trains and buses themselves. That is so much better as it removes the audist sabre rattling which was the norm at stations/ticket barriers and created enormous problems. Perhaps TfL has by now forgotten these older tactics. I haven’t forgotten them at all.

Everytime there’s some potential improvement its eclipsed by the need to speak. Technology helps deaf people enormously but gives hearing people a massive lift-up mile over us. We’re the tortoise and we’ll never beat the hare. We have dot matrix indicators yet the technology to facilitate station announcements is surpassing that of the dot matrix indicators by the minute. Who wants that old crap? Let it describe train times, next train in one minute, the one after in four minutes, we’ve done that and we’re ‘doing our job.’

Not very honest is it? It does not matter how or where audism hides, and what excuses it proffers, it comes out of the woodwork so easily. The lies, the attempt to delude deaf people. They know its hard for us to respond effectively or defend ourselves and so  the massive upper hand is theirs.

As US professor Harlan Lane says, hearing people’s attitude towards deaf people is just one of cruel deception.

Some more shocking stuff about audism….

(Plus a bit more about TfL & others later….)

There are so many failures right across the board when it comes to deaf people. The big problem is knowing how to challenge these, knowing the right words, tactics, to challenge the crap excuses people come up with, and even prevent the hate, the sneering, the violence that too comes with audism.

For example a deaf person gets asked for directions and when they try to explain they are deaf (or reveal the deaf voice) comes a massive punch and a bloodied face. The hearing person didnt like it one bit that their nice speech query got so rudely defiled by a miserable specimen of a human…..

The other problem is some might say get recordings of these incidents and prove to us this happens, it’s a question of being able to use these effectively as proof. I can’t listen and say at that point it was then ‘they said they hated me and told me to clear off.’ Or they hit me. Even using sign language and interpretation requires extra technology or support. You see to even begin to start challenging audism one needs massive resources, that is often freely available for hearing people with very minimal resources. I mean, a hearing person can record another and then say immediately ‘I got you there. You claimed otherwise. That was a lie.’

Its not easy for us to forcing the other into a climb down or at least an attempt to restart and reason on a different level. They will run on with their audist prevarications and make out that one is the problem. A fantastic catch 22 system for us but not for them.

I’ve had Victim Support, NAS, the National Black Police Association and others do it – it shouldn’t be a surprise audists come from the most unexpected corners and from all walks of life – they try to wiggle out of it using contrived and banal excuses touted as official pass jail free cards – or alternatively don’t respond to my concerns hoping I will be both compelled to doubt myself and hereby find it very difficult to prove their discrimination exists.

Its like the Cheshire Cat. You see the teeth, you cant see the rest of the cat, but you know its all audism. The smile is a deflection, it can be likened to Billie Whitelaw’s 15 minute stint of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Not I.’ From my viewpoint a dreadfully boring video! I often think this video should actually be re-made and reflect audism. People should be compelled to watch it. The lips moving, the teeth gnashing, asserting ‘I am NOT audist!’ Really?? Sadly Billie’s no longer with us, perhaps Lisa Dwan can by any chance help out?


Whitelaw’s teeth in Not I – an audist bigotry.

The sad thing is millions of liberals don’t care. Racism and creative # hashtags are fine becos it’s about using speech to assert rights but they don’t want to lose that right to a subset, a minority, whom they barely even give a fuck about. I mean when there’s been police in the US shooting Blacks, there’s massive outrage. Ferguson for example. When its Deaf Blacks who are shot by US cops, few bat an eyelid. That shows a gigantic misogyny, a huge gap in any ‘care’ for certain types of Blacks, a massive reveal of the intent behind billions of audists. Audism carries notations of racism too.

Hearing people regularly think those who are silent must be terrorists, planning terror attacks even, or like the Met sees us, planning pub fights and atrocities, but let’s face it, terrorists, or people fighting wars, shout, yell bloodcurdling screams such as at Culloden, epithets on on London’s bridges, or in modern war like ‘let the fuckers have it’ or one of the many boring medieval words used by hearing people to indicate the start of war or conflict.

We don’t go round screaming ‘die audists.’ I think if we were even to do that we’d have to start with BSL interpreters at our side. Who would want that task, and even if they did enlist, audism would laugh at us. It’s not our prerogative to want to embarrass ourselves in the slightest or sink into the depths of that very system’s cesspits. I would at this point mention some things that truthfully happened in conflict driven parts of the world, but if I did, audists would be so outraged they would claim these were massive lies and that people with speech do not create the many divisions that are encountered in the world. But the sad thing is, they do, and we know it.

The scary thing about audism is it’s progenitors come down even harder upon any threat perceived by them from us. Hordes of police vans stationed outside pubs that deaf people were using and police dogs everywhere, officers keeping an eye on each of us and making sure we we are not going to lob any asides at hearies. Imagine if the Met did the same with Blacks who gathered in certain pubs? (Hypocrisy again reveals.) In fact when trouble did occur it was hearing people (yes the audists) who began these. But the police, the dear old Met does not want to know. We were most definitely the troublemakers, no-one else, people with speech cannot be the troublemakers when it comes to deaf people.


Waterloo’s The Wellington. One of the Met’s favourite hang-outs for its audist practices.

On another level this society is essentially a veiled threat against us and collaborative lies will be procured in order to ‘correctly’ identify the elephant in the room, something the Met & other police forces are so fond of doing. Hearing people claiming ‘them deaf fuckers did it’ the police of course understand that no problems and help out enormously by apprehending innocents who cant communicate. Perpetrators easily convince police through the discourse of speech the deaf are culprits. Speech is evident enough despite what PACE stipulates. Remember the magic word ‘STATEMENT.’ Need I say more?

Police rub their hands in glee. Victims, victims, victims, lovely unspeakable victims! Its a bit like slapping tickets on parked cars without any justification. Ooh look our stats on arrested offenders have risen…. it’s about protecting audism, a system the police too are part of.

One of the biggest problems for deaf peoples is how to stop a gaggle of audists – it does happen you only have to ask some of the authorities who deal with deaf issues and rights, yet the problem is trying to convince the hearing authorities these issues do exist. Anyhow a gaggle of audists (see I made that up, hope it sticks) are those contributing and comparing spoken perspectives that ensure ‘truthful collaborations.’ An illegal but terribly effective way of securing a bunch of lies which double up as helpfully identifying the elephant in the room.

I have no interest in running down the streets causing mayhem and destruction, that’s just so boring. I prefer to stand and assert my rights and try to cite the DDA1995/EA2010, after all these are the few recourses of rights that I and others have. Yet the armies of hearing, speaking people procure every attempt to nuke our rights out of existence. You see, audist rights, unwritten as they are, are massively powerful.

The crocodile tears come as audists fatuously claim, ‘its the deaf’s fault! Boo hoo we wish it wasnt them, we liked them but they lie and cheat, they’re such deviants!’ Speech is so often used to osbcure the fact audism is being practised.

Its much like white people being racist and then when challenged they simply apply dark face paint and say ‘see, I’m not a racist.’ Black and white minstrel philosophy exists in audism. The problem is how does one challenge these so easily purveyed, regular, and tiresome excuses that are part and parcel of one’s daily encounters with audism.

A bit like Black Lives Matter becoming All Lives Matter….. the real ism becomes hidden.

Some of you might be reading this and say, ‘but I cant see that we do these things at all.’ Exactly! We can!

The best thing for audists is to recognise and stop practising this biased system. Speech is not that mighty clever though most would assert there’s just no substitute for speech! Audists claim they are speaking for millions in Britain and even more millions around the world, when clearly they are not in a million years even ‘speaking’ for us.

Like those shops or organisations who don’t do what they say, TfL doesn’t announce (or admit rather) ‘we’re not going to make visual announcements ever – apart from a few scribbled boards at stations which will delight those with a poetical taste.’ Yet this is what they actually do!


Fantastically informative saying at a tube station!

If they say that in print they’d be screwed under the barebones protective legislation (the previous DDA1995 and the current EA2010) which are meant to give us a tiny bit of teeth and skin, but the fact they don’t do it, yet do it, is just like, for example, the Met. Neither confirm nor deny. DO IT BUT DONT CONFIRM IT! We know audism across the board is a world wide denial system that happily practises what it does not appear to preach. There are no peoples going around shouting ‘long live audism’ and there are no manuals that teach audism, but its there, all taken like a duck to water.

I’m only describing what many deaf people do see and encounter, just saying that the said encountered system is so biased. Next time you stand on a tube platform or in a train station and hear that voice booming out, ‘this is the train for Harrow’ or ‘Barrow’, just think to yourself – who is that system actually for? The hearing? The deaf? Or when one hears police officers speaking into their radios, ‘Bravo Oscar Foxtrot Two, the culprits have just moved over the road,’ ask yourselves once again – who is that system for?

Its an audist’s world!

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