I had a mind-bogging conversation with Deaf professor who works at Gallaudet University and prefer ASL for communication, information, and knowledge this evening. The professor had been working there for long time, and one day, the professor was required to attend a departmental meeting. The Chair of the department is also Deaf. The department has the majority of hearing teachers. The chair had asked that Deaf professor to use voice for hearing teachers’ sake. The professor is not required to do it. Despite the professor never used voice before. Why now? Right there, it is very much oppressive and hostile environment. We all must remember: Gallaudet’s most complicated motto: “There is no other place like this in the world.” It is supposed to be most safe place in the world.
This is 2018, and Gallaudet University is practicing language bigotry and language aversion against ASL. The worst thing was coming from the chair who is Deaf has ordered that professor to use voice—do you think it is double oppression? Deaf people who uses ASL have led lives of suffering and emotional distresses within an unforgiving, if not hostile, hearing social hierarchy in the environment where ASL is marginalized and visual modes of communication forever ignored at Gallaudet University.
At the same time, we must remind ourselves that Gallaudet University is a well-known reference to the attitude of honest acceptance for the state of being Deaf. In our own language, ASL stands for much more than just ASL. It is deeper meaning is our culture, that is, Deaf culture. As we the Deaf people at Gallaudet University continue to struggle by being forced to use voice, the university becomes attuned to erratic priorities for the Deaf people.
The Deaf chair who ordered Deaf professor, where is the leadership power for empowering bias-free, stress-free, hostile-free, and success at Gallaudet University? By forcing to use voice has destroyed many Deaf people in the past to benefit not only themselves, but ASL continues to be oppressed today.
Simultaneous Communication known as SimCom will be less workable if ASL was allowed. Deaf people using ASL are smarter. SimCom will not change the foundation of ASL society; Deaf people could never adapt to a new order of the Deaf. Gallaudet University MUST never endorses any attempt to force Deaf professors to use voice. It would be like blaspheme because being state of Deaf is divinely endowed with manifestation for ASL.
That Deaf professor should not deal with emotional distress and the majority of hearing teachers in that department build their case against ASL entirely on their own speculations. These people value speculations and are serious about making academics out of them. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what ASL does and does not.
Their communication speculations have been misused to defend educational bankruptcy; to support linguistic and cultural colonialism; to persecute ASL against Deaf people; to support the oppression of ASL; to oppose ASL as their first choice to use language every day; to condemn Deaf people to use ASL;
We must be open to new truth about ASL at Gallaudet University. We must stop language hegemony against ASL. William Shakespeare once said, “Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
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