There was a story about Deaf returnee settled down for $125,000 in Multnomah County Courthouse (Portland, Oregon). The reason: No interpreters were provided during his well being for the last two nights and deny his right to American Sign Language (ASL) in mind, heart, and respect. The root of respect defines in Latin, ‘respectus’ meaning “regard, a looking at,” what happened for the last 48 hours? Sure, it is not the first time anywhere in America. I’ve seen enough cases. Some were much worse.
We understand public relations and media, having spent time spinning with Deaf community. The county claims that the former Deaf inmate can read and write at own expert guesses. Accessible to ASL interpreters are important, no matter what. While Deaf community is being educated about general news like this story, we must pay close attention to stand up for our rights to access ASL interpreters without bias for communication in the legal system. Justice is being tested.
In Ancient Greek, dike as in ‘justice’ means something like behaving in accordance with nature as the former Deaf inmate reserves the right to behave in accordance with nature professionally and legally where he have the rights to access to ASL interpreters, no matter what.
Being neglected and rejected for seeking for ASL interpreters is considered a legal responsibility, becoming a challenging task. Deaf former inmates/returnees are as much a part of inclusive landscape as anything else and it is ridiculous to ignore our language, ASL. This is a language that needs to be included a lot of time to start and empower through training, because there is less space, Deaf inmates, legal rights to access ASL, more and more honest communication of what is needed. How do we combat it without a notion of what respect is?
Deaf inmates and Deaf returnees live our language, ASL. We can call it Deaf Culture but basically justice of the Deaf, been dealing with oppression of ASL–the lack of ability to respect language and culture with an important human meaning.
However, we need to take a hard look at it as a reality to be dealt with in terms of language oppression, which I realize, is a challenge, and then there is no mutual respect. We cannot forget Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution: Nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Why should neglect knowledge of ASL interpreters and what would it benefit the legal system?
Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.