Dr. Don Grushkin’s Letter to AG Bell Assoc.

We have been collecting letters to AG Bell Association re: they mass mailing of unwanted and offensive letters and membership cards to teachers of the Deaf.  To see other letters – click the right side box.  Go to the bottom one to access top arrow to go even further back in letters and blog entries explaining the real deal.

Thank you Dr. Don for taking this STAND and writing this letter.  Seeing how George Veditz wrote a pretty dang strong obit for AG Bell, the man, your letter on Veditz’s 150th birthday makes me wonder if you were channeling a bit of his spunk and determination to confront folks with the truth of the matter – audism via Oralism is not cool.

NOTE: what lurks behind the wit and sarcasm is some very serious cases of harm – emotional, social, cultural, linguistic and familial.

—————–Dr. Don Grushkin’s Letter to AG Bell Association——–

A. G. Bell Association

c/o Alexander Graham, CEO (agraham@agbell.org)

c/o Susan Boswell, Communications & Marketing Director (sboswell@agbell.org)

Dear A. G. Bell Association,

I recently learned of your campaign to boost your membership by sending temporary membership cards to teachers of the Deaf at their places of employment.  Although I am not sure to what purpose you suddenly feel the need to attempt to boost your membership by sending offers to people engaged in teaching in a manner antithetical to your organization’s mission, I, like many of them, find your tactics to be somewhat of an invasion of privacy, not to mention grossly insulting.  Although I, as an Associate Professor of Deaf Studies at a major Californian University, am likely not to be a target of this membership campaign, were I to receive this offer, I would find it offensive for several reasons.  First, as a Deaf person (like many of your campaign’s recipients), I am Deaf,  not hearing.  Second, as a professor of Deaf Studies (or as a teacher of the Deaf), I specialize in the study of Deaf people — as a culture, community, and linguistic group, not Hearing people (although I do also study the interactions and attitudes between Deaf and hearing people).  Further, it is ironic that your association is titled “Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”, yet you have entitled all your members as “hearing specialists”, thereby eliminating mention of the very Deaf and Hard of Hearing people your association professes to be “for”.

Since it appears that your assignation of your members’ title as “Hearing Specialist” is something of a misnomer and an oxymoron, perhaps I can offer some more appropriate titles for you to use?

Since your organization’s policies have caused my own and multitudes of Deaf people’s relationships with their families to become strained and distanced, perhaps you could entitle yourselves as “Family Disruption Specialists”.

Or, since your organization’s advocacy for oralism alone has caused generations of Deaf people to grow up with impaired language in any modality or language, you could be “Limited Significant Language Specialists”.

Alternatively, since your advocacy for Oralism has only served to enrich the pockets of those involved in the Auditory-Medical Complex such as doctors, audiologists, speech therapists, and so on, you would be better served by being referred to as “Acutely Venal Theory Specialists”.

Oralism has been repeatedly found to be a failure for the mass majority of Deaf people, who have suffered cognitive, academic, linguistic and social deficits as a result, yet the AGB Association continues to push for more of the same in blatant disregard for the outcomes of its policies, and once these Deaf people are no longer of any financial benefit, you have no further use or care for them.  Thus, it might be appropriate to refer to your members as “Callous Indifference Specialists”.

Even as Oralism has been repeatedly found to be a failure, your organization and its proxies continue to tout the “success” of oralist techniques based on skewed data, limited population sets, biased interpretations, and a general finessing of the data.  Thus, you might be better off as “Miseducation Specialists”.

For decades, your organization blocked the National Association of the Deaf from inclusion in the Council on Education of the Deaf on the premise that the NAD is not a true educational agency, despite the fact that the A. G. Bell Association itself is not a true educational agency, being composed primarily of medical rather than educational professionals.  As such, this suggests that “Hypocrisy and Arrogance Specialists” is a more fitting term.

As you may have guessed, the above suggestions have been offered in a partly facetious and entirely sarcastic manner.  So let us be forthright and admit the truth: that your organization, and any proud card-carrying member of this organization, should be called “Audism Specialists”.  Since this is something of a mouthful and awkward to say in one breath, you and your members can call yourselves “audists” for short!

Disrespectfully Yours,

Donald A. Grushkin, Ph.D.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. antonia lindsey
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 04:46:28

    Brilliant. All of it! I savored every well placed phrase. Excellent to have the job descriptions nailed down!

  2. Dianrez
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 15:39:44

    Enjoyed this! I would have laughed out loud, except that the truth still hurts too much.

    AGBell and members of that deluded organization, are you listening? Are you compassionate enough to think about it?

    Parents who have been taken in by the beneficial outreach of AGBell, do you know what the other side is saying, and are you aware of the danger to your family by practicing pure oralism?

    It is frustrating to know that these questions will never be answered. These people prefer to hide behind their illusions.

  3. Trackback: Deafhood Discussions » Dr. Don Grushkin’s Letter to AG Bell

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