It is just disheartening to see that once in a while that Deaf people would be mocked for their own language choice: American Sign Language (ASL). When Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former governor for the state of California has mocked ASL front of the audience promoting them to laugh. I was shocked to see what he has done. I had respect for him.
I’ve seen all of Arnold’s movies, of course, The Terminator, but one movie gave me a lot of laughter, Twins with Danny DeVito. Memories were good! Arnold was the one who vetoed AB 2072 in 2010, he saved Deaf community. But…. after what he did couple of days ago, he did not save the Deaf community instead of mocking them. No compassion.
So, I went ahead and find out when the Twins were produced and surprised that it was made in 1988, the same year Deaf President Now won the hearts of American people to pick its first Deaf president in history. Respect!
Where is the compassion? Is it a right word? A compassion is a moment of sudden clarity on a dank day whether it was morning, neither afternoon nor evening.
We all are the same. We are all Deaf. We are all the same. Though, our stories are not the same. We live in a very oppressed world dominated by hearing people. The hearing world has forgotten that Deaf people have been contributed to the society. Did Arnold even know that the mirror said to him?
Each day, Deaf people face challenges–discrimination in all spheres of public spaces wherever they go to. The nation that has named United States of America was supposed to live in a peaceful space. When Laurent Clerc arrived on the soil of America in 1816, we all need to remember the old mantra of Deaf progress. It makes Clerc as an immigrant just like all of us. Arnold was an immigrant, too. America was built with immigrants.
Clerc’s America was supposed to be seen as “grandfather clause” meant to protect Deaf people. After infamous 1880 Milan Resolution, thousands of Deaf people even today–I meant, a countless number the last two centuries were targeted for bullying.
Soon, few weeks away from the month of March–the National Deaf History Month. Never mind Alexander Graham Bell’s birthday on March 3rd or Sleep Awareness Month that Deaf people were supposed to sleep peaceful without being bullied. We will not forget what AGBell or Arnold has done to us. Deaf History Month is filled of Deaf people pushing us for future and build stronger foundation at every forward step.
Have Deaf people suffered enough hate from cruel people? The scourge of hate speech about ASL has been built enough reputation. ASL might be seen as homeless to hearing people who laughed just like what Arnold did. ASL, arguably the most marginalized and forgotten group in the United States promoted by AGBell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, is constantly either ignored or encouraged by its laughter.
How in the name of ignorance can it be misunderstood if one does not hear or know it? If you were in the same room, talking on the same objectives, then why was the laughter not very much part of us? Laughing is contagious if it shared and understood.
It is about the moan of pain. Will hearing people accept Deaf people in America today? We will need to continue to stand up against hate speech. ASL and the intellectual life of the Deaf have become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between two educators: Laurent Clerc, and the Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. That is why it is important to celebrate 200 years anniversary with the arrival of Clerc.
Before closing this post, Deaf people have given plenty of contribution to the society and recognize them as human beings with inherent rights. Arnold needs to apologize for mocking ASL. We do not need a Terminator to mock us. If Arnold refuses to apologize then he’s terminated! Where is California Association of the Deaf’s action and tell Arnold not to do that?
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
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