I am writing an email about what happened in the cafeteria on November 10th at 7:45pm.
While we were eating and we were offended by seeing other table with all senior interpreter students speaking to each other and using Sim-Com. There’s that certain girl, AK, who talked all the way without signing. Our group had a discussion how to make the right approach without cause a lot of hassles because we already knew several stories about AK and her attitude problem.
KO, who is currently on her second year at Gallaudet for the interpreter programs, was willing to tell them to sign without finger pointing. She waved to get their attention and told all of them to nicely please sign for our equality access of communication in the public. However, AK’s lack of responses ended up hurting us even more and she only replied, “Do you have problem with that?” KO ended up again told her to please sign in public. AK decided to make an unnecessary attack statement, “She has a right to use English because it is her first language.” I looked away because it did really burn me off. I tried to figure why she would want to become an interpreter if she refused to respect Deaf culture. Why would she want to be an interpreter in the first place with all Deaf people here?
After three deaf students stood up and told her repeatedly to respect us and use sign for the sake of our equality access. We also friendly mentioned to her of how we understood that English is her first language. She got silent and we thought the argument was over. However, she rolled her eyes and continued to talk with voice, just to rub in our faces and that made me even more upset. I stood up, out of my anger and told her, “This is not first time. Can you just simply respect us? How is that so hard for you?!” She smiled….disgustingly smiled. To be honest, I didn’t remember what I said to her that much because I was very angry. I told her that she clearly is only coming here for money and didn’t care about Deaf culture. I told her bluntly, “Look at KO, she also is an interpreter student and she never uses her voice around us, ever. Oh, you didn’t know that? This exactly is what we need from interpreter that really into deaf culture, not just for money!” At that point, KO jumped in between of us and told her, “Why wouldn’t she sign and Gallaudet is the only Deaf university in the world and she can’t sign…?” She yelled at us, “You can’t tell me what to do because I am here for 5 years!!” She literally tried to walk toward to me but the person who sat beside her intervened. The argument gradually became out of control. The nice guy stopped our argument and explained to us how he understood our feelings. That was when everyone cooled off. After that, we decided to leave the table in peace.
That is why I felt this entire argument was unnecessary. All of this went out of control just simply because of her disrespectful attitude. We cannot tolerate that. She just doesn’t care about our feelings or living as Deaf people. She doesn’t care about this very much. If she could have the privilege of getting a well-paid job as an interpreter but does that change her behaviours? No, it doesn’t because it’s irrelevant to the profession of interpreting. We Deaf people are experiencing much pressure on language barriers, discriminations and such in the hearing world on daily basis. We do not want her to feel she has the privilege to oppose our well-valued culture. Again, we cannot tolerate that.
This contrasts to the goals of Gallaudet University where everyone, both hearing and Deaf, lives together and preserves our Deaf culture and language. It would be reasonable if she can set aside her own language for some time and socialize with the Deaf people on campus with sign language. From what I’ve heard a lot of stories about her unprofessional behavior including my recent situation, that proved to us that we cannot trust her as an interpreter for the sake of our community in future. What is the point for her to continue studying and become interpreter if she’s still being disrespectful with unprofessional behavior as an interpreter? Suppose if I go to see doctor with her being there as an interpreter, it would be considered highly inappropriate in regard to the issues of trust and attitude. Therefore, I am certain that an interpreter with attitude problem like AK is unsuitable for the future job. PERIOD.
Copyright © Jason Tozier
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