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I’ve gotten a lot of emails about AG Bell Association insulting Nyle, insulting Deaf people, insulting sign language, insulting research, insulting facts, and insulting truths. (see http://www.agbell.org/in-the-news/response-nyle-dimarco/)
Yep, that is what AG Bell does. It’s really nothing new. That is their way since the beginning.
Many of you are upset and that is good. We should be upset. What they are doing is unacceptable! I’m here not to show the errors of their ways – the falsehoods behind their offending statements. Am i here to be on the defense against their lies – NO – I don’t feel a need to do that. It is obvious that they are 100% wrong in what they are saying. I hope that other linguists and psychologist will post up facts. I don’t feel we need to be on the defense. Who should have to defend their words? They – AG Bell – should. Why? Because AG Bell has been practicing AUDISM against Deaf people since its conception. It has been practicing PHONOCENTRISM (the belief to speak is superior to signing or writing) since its conception. AG Bell has the STRONG belief that Speech is superior. It practices the belief of lingiucism – it believes that English is superior to ASL.
The recent statement from AG Bell Association (http://www.agbell.org/in-the-news/response-nyle-dimarco/) is BIGOTRY – Cultural and linguistic BIGOTRY against Deaf people, against Deaf culture, against Sign Language. They have been doing this since their beginning and its nothing new – in fact it’s their MISSION in life.
AG Bell, the man, himself was against sign language with Deaf children in schools, against Deaf teachers, against Deaf marrying Deaf. He wanted a perfect race (eugenics) – he did not want to see more hereditary Deaf children created. So he founded the AG Bell Association and it adheres to his principles. AGBAD is against sign language. At times they have tried to word smith and cloak their bigotry but every once and a while they overtly show their true colors by making public statements in the media. But regardless of their public actions – throughout time they have enforced a strict practice of Oralism. Fiercely supporting it. Occasionally they get in hot water for making a public statement and its good that their masks comes down and people see them for what they are but we should know that they have been doing this since their origins and it really is NOTHING new for them.
I’m here to sign out what? Number one – that the NAD (National Association of the Deaf) must stop being on the same committee as the AG Bell –(Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance) http://usicd.org/doc/DHHA%20CRPD%20Letter%20FINAL%20%282%29%206_2_2014.pdf (added here since the DHHA website is down – AG Bell and NAD also sit on the Council on Education of the Deaf http://councilondeafed.org/member-organizations/) NAD should not serve on the same taskforce / councils /committees with AG Bell. They should step down from such affiliations in protest showing that they will not do business with such a bigoted association. NAD needs to make a strong statement. Previously the CEO of the NAD promised they would make a strong statement against any organization or individual that campaigned saying oralism was superior to ASL but then later the NAD got evasive and backed down. NAD needs to confront AG Bell’s conduct. They need to.
If people want to demand an apology from AG Bell that is fine but for me – I am not interested in an apology. I want them to stop – to cease and desist from their persistent campaign against ASL. Enough is Enough.
EHDI on the state level across the country and NCHAM, which gets a lot of funds from NIH and CDC and is responsible for gathering information and disseminating it related to Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (note I do not sign the recommend “grab/seize opportunity or Involve sign” for intervention because EHDI is still about INTERRUPTING parent and Deaf bodies via “deafness” frame) – NCHAM is run by Dr. Karl White and the NCHAM lists different resources and services for parents etc. – lists AG Bell Association. Many State level EHDI services lists AG Bell Association. If you look around to various agencies, programs, etc who do they list for referrals, resources, services? AG Bell Association will often be at the top of the list. It’s often at the top because it starts with an A and A is the first letter in the alphabet – when in fact it shouldn’t be listed at all. AG Bell Association should be REMOVED from any such listing because they practice bigotry – they promote hatred of ASL and Deaf culture. This has been proven throughout time.
Us being upset about AG Bell’s response to Nyle and the Pepsi commercial is fine and right. At the same time before AG Bell had sent out a letter to Deaf schools with membership cards. When the teachers all over the country went to their school mail box and saw they got a letter from AG Bell Association they were disturbed and upon opening up the letter they found a unwanted, unsolicited, offensive membership card with their OWN names on it with their title as “Hearing Specialists.” NAD said and did nothing to protect Deaf teachers from this tactic by AGBAD.
Many people were upset as was AFA Audism Free America so they held a vigil at AG Bell Headquarters in Washington, DC and made copies of these offensive “Hearing Specialist” AG Bell membership cards and distributed to folks to burn in protest. A symbolic measure to communicate to AGBAD to stop sending out such “membership cards” and since then they have not done that again.
Thus it is important for us to confront such oppressive practices – not just when famous people are attacked or because of the Pepsi letter. It’s important to challenge the everyday oppressive practices of the AG Bell Association and its promotion of the falsehood that speech is superior.
Last year or the year before that, the president of AG Bell Association wrote a horrible letter in response to an article – she wrote about how superior cochlear implants were since her Deaf son has cochlear implants and when he is on his bike riding she can call him home to eat and he will hear her and come back thus making life easier for her and all hail to the powers of CI and speech and all curses for the inferiority of ASL. http://www.agbell.org/AGBellResponsetoPediatrics/
Was there a great outcry by the community – no because there was no famous person involved so we really need to look at how on-going the AG Bell Association’s campaign against ASL and Deaf culture has been. This recent flare up about Nyle’s and the Washington Post article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2016/03/28/a-dancing-with-the-stars-contestant-is-vying-for-a-white-house-correspondents-dinner-invite/) – in a few weeks the noise will die down and AG Bell will keep up their sheath-like campaign against ASL and Deaf culture. We need to keep an eye on that and challenge it again and again.
People should host vigils and rallies at AG Bell Headquarters periodically so that the public is aware of what AG Bell Association is playing at. Now with the Nyle’s incident – it would be a good time for folks to have a peaceful rally at AG Bell Headquarters – to practice their first amendment rights of freedom of speech/sign and assembly.
Last summer some of us went to AG Bell Headquarters – called Volta Bureau – which is near Georgetown University. We put 12 black flags in memory of 12 Deaf children who died from Cochlear Implant complications way back in the beginning of experimenting with implanting children. Since that time many others have died from CI complications in the US and other countries – although it is hard to get those facts and details out to the public. (see https://usdeafhistory.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/final-transcriptforpanelexcerptpetitto1.pdf) 12 flags were planted in their memory. AG Bell Association has gotten a lot of money from CI corporations. They have had their circle alliance with different cochlear implant companies that have been sued for fraud and faulty cochlear implants that leak and cause shocks and have had recalls.
AG Bell should be challenged not to be pushing cochlear implants onto innocent parents when they first learn their newborn or infant is Deaf and are looking for answers.
It’s important to watch the various systems that we often allow to go unchecked without our challenging them and holding them accountable. We also need to watch our organizations and leaders that some time refuse to see the truth or even work with various oppressive systems and then later those systems like AG Bell and EHDI say “we work very closely with the NAD” or “we work very closely with Deaf leaders.” They take advantage of those associations and claim that they are not at fault while scapegoating the Deaf orgs and individuals because those Deaf folks are allowing it. We need to challenge and not just passively accept the status quo.
Yes I predict the NAD will write a letter to AG Bell wagging their finger at them “tsk, tsk, tsk AGB. Don’t do that” and then be done with it allowing AG Bell to continue doing OTHER THINGS that are much worse. ADDED 4/4/201One write up by AG Bell with misinformation which is wrong and bad and should not be tolerated – at the same time have a fit over that one action when there is a long history of much great bad deeds that directly adversely impact Deaf children due to Oralism – we need to stand oppose all forms of oppression. Not just today’s situation but 3 weeks from now, 3 month from now, 3 years from now. Confront, Confront, Confront. bye
ADDED: important blog by Amy Cohen Efron examining AG Bell’s history of having a fit any time ASL and the Deaf-world is shown in a popular light to the greater public
AG Bell Belittles Nyle DiMarco