Random Thoughts and Musings by moi

Musings by a feisty, opinionated Deaf gal who wants nothing but the best for her community and her people

lundi 6 novembre 2006

"I wanna go to Gally, but I don't wanna sign."

There is an interesting discussion going on at DeafDC.com. Christopher Brown wrote this thoughtful article designed to spark discussion about how to fix Gallaudet, but the discussion has strayed to other items. I actually feel sorry for the dude, 'cause his article was thought-provoking and deserves to be discussed. I was very surprised by one discussion thread. Apparently there is a small but very strong and vocal group that believes that Gallaudet should NOT require everyone to learn how to sign - not students nor faculty. I don't think fluency should be required to enroll at Gallaudet, but I do think fluency should be the goal upon graduation. I thought everyone agreed. But nope, apparently not. Here's what I posted in response.

(#32170) | 2006-11-04 14:59:45
Christopher, I apologize for not answering your question at this point. I just need to respond to this phenomenon of people who actively resist learning ASL and about deaf culture who still attend Gallaudet. As people who read my blog know, I’m very accepting of various backgrounds and communication modes. I didn’t grow up in a deaf school, I didn’t grow up signing ASL, my family is hearing, and so on, so a militant Deaf Culture stance is not where I’m coming from.

I’m not going to criticize or attack this stance - that would undermine the open dialogue we all need to have. But I really, really do not understand this perspective. If people don’t want to learn ASL, that’s okay. They have hundreds of other options for college, and some of them have sizable numbers of deaf students. So it is possible for these people to find a community and socialization opportunities outside of Gallaudet. Why, then, would they want to go to Gallaudet at all? What does Gallaudet have to offer them that they can’t find elsewhere if they aren’t interested in signing/learning how to sign or interacting with deaf people who want to sign?

Furthermore, why can’t we be allowed to have just ONE place where we sign, can expect professors and other employees to sign with some level of competence, and where we welcome those who did not grow up signing but are willing to learn, and so on? Why do we have to give up the only option we have if we want sign?

Again, before anyone flames me, I respect people who don’t want to learn how to sign. I’m just confused at the idea, “I don’t want to sign, but I want to go to the only college that has signing everywhere, even though I could go just about anywhere else.” Please help me understand rather than shooting me down.

So what do you think, Teeming Millions? Any thoughts? Any nuggets that can help me understand this phenom?


  • At 07:33, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    I noticed this small and extremely vocal group and was wondering the same thing, too. It doesn't make sense to me, either. This university was created to meet the needs of students who won't have the full access of communication in other universities.



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