Folks are encouraged to exercise good courage and to share their truths with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf. For those that do not know the AG Bell Association (AGBAD) – it is an organization that was born on the bedrock of promoting and propagating pure Oralism (banning of American Sign Language from the school rooms and living rooms of Deaf children). AG Bell Assoc. continues today to espouse its falsehood that one is made independent through listening and talking and that to hear and/or behave as a hearing person is superior to being Deaf. This notion is known as audism and audism has been very destructive to the lives of Deaf folks and those who interact with Deaf folks – just as racism, sexism, heterosexism, antisemitism etc are destructive to the oppressed, the bystanders, and the oppressor.
Many Deaf lives have been interrupted due to the AG Bell Association’s promoting an exclusionary method and propagating the falsehood that to be Deaf is bad and ASL is an inferior language. We are all interdependent folks and no one is superior to anyBODY.
Its ok to be Deaf folks – it really is ok. and at times its dandy and handy to be so. So…
It is not ok to deny folks a fully natural and accessible language or to judge folks based on what their ears and mouths do and not the content of their character (that is a prejudice folks and that is not cool).
Help AG Bell Association do right. Send them a message of truth. See brilliant and beautiful example below.
Alexander Graham (CEO) firstname.lastname@example.org 202-204-4671 x 107
Susan Boswell (director of communications and marketing) email@example.com 202-204-4687 x 127
Jen – thank you for your courage in creating this letter and for allowing us to share it here.
Making the invisible visible folks. Every Deaf life is precious as is all life.
To ALL – if you send something to AG Bell and you would like it shared here – pls just let me know and will get it up.
————–Letter below by J. Witteborg ———————
On Sat, Jul 30, 2011
(Not so) Dear AGBAD,
From all the hearing people in my life – they tell me that I speak SO well – as if I were a hearing person. That said – let me tell you how I really feel.
I am a Deaf film maker, and not a hearing specialist. I haven’t any inclination to be a hearing specialist.
I am a survivor of the Oralism Only method from 1959 before mainstreaming was chic. My mother who knew fingerspelling and signs from her Deaf grandmother who lived with her family, was told not to sign by the doctors and the so-called experts – the same ‘hearing specialists’.
This I just learned from my mother’s sister last weekend.
Do not send any unwanted nor insulting solicitation to those of us who are working in the Deaf field. I do not support oppressive organization and have no intentions of becoming a member of an organization that promotes oralism only, linguicism and audism.
How different – and much more engaging my childhood could have been if it were not for those hearing specialists of days gone by. Thank God, I learned signs at the age of 19 and my life became full and rich with people I could actually understand.
Thank God I didn’t succeed in killing myself at the age of 15 – how dare you to perpetuate the oralism only! I spoke, but I bluffed my way through life. No longer – never again!
LET EVERY DEAF BABY and CHILD learn American Sign Language (ASL) FIRST – lipreading/speech skills are NOT a language – the child can learn it later WHILE learning about Math, Science, Geography and English.
Stop misrepresenting ASL and Deaf Culture – it’s not an option – it’s the ONLY way to live a full life.
Stop promoting Oralism Only and AVT methods (My family is aghasted at such methods!)
APOLOGIZE for the harm your organization has done and is STILL doing by promoting oralism only, and such methods as C.I without ASL/Deaf Culture.
I would appreciate an answer!
Witty Productions, LLC