ASL Interpreter: Hate Speech or Freedom of Speech?


As of March 2nd, 2017–The event: Islamophobia Within Deaf Community held at Gallaudet University, the world’s only academia hub for the Deaf—I refuse to add “Hard of Hearing” for couple of reasons. The stories are important to be seen. All the panelists are storytellers.

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”- Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

One of the panelists has shocked the halls of Gallaudet about an ASL interpreter who has committed a flagrant disregard for intersectionality. The panelist has requested for an ASL interpreter to come and interpret for the event when the interpreter asked the panelist what the event is all about. As soon as the interpreter found out, made a nuclear war statement against Muslims, “I do not work for terrorists.”—I repeat, I do not work for terrorists. That behavior is not rational or safe.


The interpreter is a disgrace to the interpreting community and RID (Registry of Interpreters for Deaf). That statement is hate speech. We let you know that we are fighting back with any efforts to stop hate speech.

Interpreters were supposed to be the nation’s officials for Deaf—as I understand that RID-certified interpreters took an oath not to discriminate, the whole discrimination and nothing but the discrimination. Given the fact that the interpreter preached a hate speech, it is clear that the interpreter violated the oath, do you agree or not?

Interpreters work for Deaf have been around for many years before RID was founded in 1964—the interpreters have been living in the world of oppression to heal the Deaf community in any kind of form. Are the interpreters necessary in order to acknowledge the existence of discrimination? Why not? The question calls for a clear answer, it does propose whether there is a hate speech against people of color or Muslim in this matter and we need to challenge hate speech in interpreting community.

The interpreter needs to be terminated—no longer represents RID and Deaf community. RID needs to be become more committed to higher education in support of intellectual freedom, the search for social justice, respect for differences, and a belief in collective responsibility for the welfare of all the Deaf people. We also do not need deficit thinkers.

Saying I will not work for terrorists—that is not an important role to play in public. The interpreter does not set a good example for campus unity and pride by means of intersectionalilty to promote its own propaganda. Hate speech is not acceptable.

Are you with me?



Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message

12 thoughts on “ASL Interpreter: Hate Speech or Freedom of Speech?

  1. Although I disagree with the spirit and intent of the interpreter, we are all allowed -no, obliged- to turn down jobs for which we are not suited. If that interpreter felt that way (we can silently make judgements here if we are so inclined) then that interpreter should have just said, “I am not the appropriate person for this assignment”, and left it at that.
    To make a disparaging comment such as was reported, is not only unwarranted, but unethical.
    Bear in mind that we all have biases, spiritual/religious convitctions, and get our news from SOMEWHERE. In other words, none of us is without prejudices of one sort of another. This interpreter unfortunately had no filter, and if he/she cannot work with a large segment of the population, needs to evaluate why he/she wishes to remain in this field.

    1. Yes, spirit and intent as in mean-spirited–any kind of hateful statement is quickly unethical. He/she need to evaluate its own errors and trials. If still ignorant then call for termination and be justifiably quashed by RID.

  2. Whatever is this author talking about? The panelist is saying that they have had interpreters say this, when asked to do their events. He does not specifically name this event, or one interpreter who has said this. You are grossly conflating and exaggerating the point of the speaker, in ways that are dangerous and inflammatory. I FIRMLY stand against bigotry and hatred – that language should NEVER be used by anyone, at anytime. I’m glad there is video of what the panelist reported, so we can see with our own eyes how you have made a sad and disappointing story into a piece of sensationalist rhetoric that serves nobody but yourself.

    1. Nobody but myself? LOL! You are acting as a bystander. Please feel free to see the video. It’s right there. 1:54:38. Grins. I would never “grossly conflating and exaggerating the point of the speaker”–stop patronizing me.

  3. I am sad to hear that an interpreter made such a negative, biased comment. It makes me think that maybe the interpreter was not qualified, trained, professional and RID certified. If the interpreter was asked to work for the panel and said “no, I am against Muslims, because of terrorism” that is mean and ignorant. But better the interpreter did not interpret the panel event if they disagree or don’t understand the topic of the event. If they DID work for the event and disagreed with the panelists, they would have a difficult time interpreting honestly and give accurate interpreting with such a bias.

  4. The said interpreter most certainly has the right to decline an assignment for whatever reason.The professional avenue would have been to decline assignment,no excuse needs to be shared. A personal reason is just that… personal and it should remain as such. The comment by said interpreter should not have been voiced.

    1. As in what professional avenue would it be this time? The interpreter is not even human. What kind of training the interpreter received? That’s the question to be seen.

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