Saturday, 5 December 2020

Post covid deaf communities.

I  wonder what deaf are doing with all these clubs closed and social interaction limited at present?   I think covid has to refocus deaf priorities and its near-total reliance on other deaf for a social life has to change.  Even when covid is tamed there won't be much of a deaf norm to go back to. E.G. Small clubs may never re-open, larger ones will have to operate quite strict health criteria for some time to come which will limit how many can attend them.  The UK suggests May June 2021 before doors will be opened, but 2022 before any sort of norm is apparent.

Those deaf who have rooms hired in churches or paid for by local authorities may find those areas unwilling to reopen without guarantees of social distancing etc and if the deaf are able or willing to comply with quite stringent insurance rules as well.  Deaf could be stuck between a rock and a hard place, as the state, the local authorities, the NHS, and the various organisations (or even pubs), that accommodate deaf as was the norm before demand safe socialising.

One wonders if any but the larger clubs have that ability. The nomadic nature of the deaf (who commute from one deaf club to another every week as part of their lifestyles), will have to change too, the tier system ensures deaf must comply.  I did read yesterday in the UK, public houses and clubs may insist on the proof you are covid free and vaccinated before you can enter, would that apply to clubs for the deaf too?

The issue seems to be about rights and freedom, UK are not willing to carry cards etc which infringes they feel on their civil liberty, but covid cares for none of those things and business etc, has to protect itself (As does the deaf individual), would you attend a deaf club that had no social distancing and little respect for the danger of re-infection?  The nature of deaf interaction is face to face and old habits die hard.  Can small deaf clubs AFFORD to be covid secure? Has the people to ensure it?

A lot of commitment and training is needed too.  At the time of writing there is no suggestion that proof or vaccination or that you are covid free, will be issued or, if everyone must have either, it is still choice.  Of course, tests currently are no guarantee you are clear either and the new vaccines needs a few years before we see how effective they are.  E.G. There was no proof issued to deaf people who did not want to wear masks so they could lip-read, and a lot got abuse for being an issue of infecting others, clear masks never took off and many deaf didn't wear those either.

Friday, 4 December 2020

ASL/BSL and English

As a deaf person myself, we all deaf people who live in the US using two languages 24/7. The first language is ASL (American Sign Language) and the second language is English. We are ”switching our brain” daily and 24/7 for two different communities: hearing and deaf because hearing is using the English language and deaf is using ASL. 

ATR: It does appear the American deaf have a more positive approach to English, which is the opposite of the UK,  the home of it!   However, I would not go with the American claim of universal bilingualism, albeit ASL is a lot further down the road as a potential 'language' than BSL is, but both have issues of grammar still.  BSL has less than 50K signs and a poor grammatical structure with no academic references and less than 50 years old, whilst English has 238K words a complete grammar, and over a 1,000 years of development.

It pays testament to the internet more than anything else. If you cut through the interminable, lengthy, and obscure terminologies the Americans use, sign is still an issue, as averse to the Brits who cannot be bothered basically and adopting signed English at a much greater rate.

If all USA deaf were bilingual, they still prefer to not use it and attack it if their online responses are anything to go by, and huge reluctance to caption or subtitle individual output, the same in the  UK.  It appears based on a view English undermines sign language and its culture, which is untrue, it actually can enhance it, and certainly, the deaf would advance a lot further by acquiring it.  

It is said, the USA has 'too much' diversity and democracy, and trying to accommodate too many, and it will fail and create more problems as a result.  I am told it has about 10 primary languages, whereas the UK tends to suggest there is only 1 and it isn't BSL.  Despite widespread usage of Urdu and Polish. The case is far more justified in those languages than BSL because there are 400,000 Urdu speakers, and 546,000 who speak polish compare that with 15,000 who insisted in the UK census they used BSL and still get more public access.

Minority education isn't a feature in the UK and tends to be opposed, BSL has fallen foul of that by default..  The Welsh language is the only one we really see in media and education and only then in Wales itself.  

E.G: Welsh is said to be potentially up to 4,000 years old, Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe. Welsh originates from the Celtic language spoken by the ancient Britons.

BSL is less than 50. The USA approach to free speech means a fair amount of discrimination is OK because of the fine line between challenging statements and claims.  Everyone cannot do what they want, or when they want to do it, 1,000s of laws exist to say you can't.   In the USA every state has its own variations too.

The UK has no real way to enforce discriminations despite 5 laws to do it, the 'sue everyone for anything and everything', culture doesn't operate in the UK, and the nature of opposing discrimination means whatever an individual attains cannot set precedence, which usually means every single deaf person has to go it alone, then the UK government removed their right to free legal aid (But not for illegal migrants?),  making it impossible to launch a case unless you had your own financial wherewithal.  The UK in effect put lawbreakers rights above deaf ones.

The European Union (Now a system the UK has rejected and left), could only make recommendations to the UK and then hope the UK accepted those, (As they tried in the 1990s to empower BSL and 31 other minority languages), but the UK paid only lip-service to it, 76% of deaf schools had closed and 80% of deaf clubs followed, and despite recent success in gaining a 'BSL Act' the base for it to work has been decimated and BSL in education has not been endorsed either.

To date, only Scotland Ireland have endorsed a BSL 'Act', with Wales showing no interest or England.  They appear ineffective so far and only exist as an 'image' rather than a major advance in access.  More profile but still less legal clout. The 'sticking point' being choice, and a reluctance to empower a minority choice over a parental and state educational approach.  A BSL 'immersive' approach would fail to gain any real support with parents and the state would still insist there is a need for the deaf to acquire English.  Attempts to get BSL on the curriculum have been 'left on the table' for the last 6 years.  Nobody really has the desire or will to endorse it, at least to date.

The 'American way' is hamstrung by its own approaches and reluctance to apply logic and common sense to minority demands in case some discrimination 'ism' or 'phobic' is assumed.  They are struggling to keep up with new ones every other week being mooted. It is an issue the UK is starting to experience as well. One man's 'meat' is another's poison etc, and the right to not agree is paramount, but that premise is under attack, various extreme areas exploit it as a grey area by silencing debate and discussion.

At some point, they are going to get NO for an answer because you can never please all the people all the time.  We gave terrorists rights and a platform for hate.......... now we are endorsing a deaf elite as well.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Deaf elitism (II)

Deaf elitism is a fact, and its got a whole lot worse the last 15 years as they utilise access and equality law to do the exact opposite for their own area.  A right to blame others for their being deaf and a right to isolate themselves as a culture, whilst blaming that too on hearing 'not being able to, or refusing to sign for them.' and all with nil proof to back it up.  But hey they are doing OK out of it with their dubious awareness plugs that actively exclude others. 

The reality is activism made ASL and BSL a financially viable commodity, so it encouraged other hearing people to support their nonsense, after all, where would deaf BE without a hearing interpreter? or a hearing-run college course to validate them? or where would a terp work if they had alternatives?    This ensures pretty much there is nowhere for the deaf to go anyway, and this enables the extremist deafies who claim everyone is against the deaf.

How do you identify the deaf elite? they are the ones who don't need to rely on sign, are pretty much oral educated, they lip-read,  and insist all deaf people sign because you cannot prove differently, or if you do, simply go at them as discriminators or deaf haters, easy-peasy.

Cause 4?

A newish venture of a socially driven private area raising funds for charity (After they realised just give and others can make a decent living by pocketing 5% of all that is raised and charities cannot be bother to rattle tins at people any more).  Ensuring members DON'T dictate how a charity is run is far better, given the RNID raises and does more than any of them put together the facts don't seem to support deaf member-driven ventures.

A recent social media post by them extolls the virtue of 'member -driven' charities, this raised a few laughs at the RNID etc who preferred sacking them if they sign, or just letting them sweep the floors of the office while preferring to court celebs and politicians instead who have hard of hearing relatives.  One wonders if this venture really examined how effective deaf member-driven charities actually are?

E.G. The ELS, where 100s of deaf lost their support, and 70 staff lost their jobs because of an inability to manage their finances. Maybe the ultimate in member-driven deaf charities? like the British Deaf Association (The BDA), whose criteria and rules would put Hitler to shame regarding who is or isn't deaf or who signs correctly and doesn't, who last year stood by as an exodus of ALL their trustees took place with allegations of bullying by the executive?  

Unfazed they admitted a new batch who know when to keep their mouths shut and oversee threats to members of court action if they dare reveal how decisions are made there.  Perhaps member-driven in deaf terms means exclusion except to those they approve of, which is what Cause four was saying it is against, oops, not done your homework have you...

If cause four published a blacklist of deaf charities that don't enable and they won't raise funds for,  it would have more going for it, but I suspect profit, not democracy is the aim of it all.

Monday, 30 November 2020



I could have gone deaf, what's that like?

I have been deaf 50 years I don't have a sign name why? lol  Do I need one?


Bit more common sense and practicality here which identifies the fact most deaf and certainly the majority with hearing loss, don't actually use sign language, but have other means and needs to follow.  The danger is quoting statistics of hearing loss and confusing that with the minor statistic of deaf people and an equally smaller area of those who rely on sign language.  Sadly 'awareness'; tends to concentrate only on this minority who sign and project them as a majority, either by default or by deliberation.  

The UK has an alleged (But unvalidated figure), of 95,000 deaf signing people, but only a need for approximately 900 sign language interpreters who work part-time.  Compare that with another figure of 12 MILLION with hearing loss none of whom rely on sign language, then we tend to gain perspective.  To dismiss this signing area is to make a mistake since they are the most effective area selling their issue to the public at large.

It is sadly to the detriment of real awareness because of spurious claims and a determination to polarise campaigns to the extent of non-inclusion of others, and this tends to be because the majority with hearing loss never challenge anything they say or do because they may feel they are discriminating or, fear cases brought against them in that cause if they do challenge.

Unfortunately, this allows the more extreme elements in that signing community to make all manner of outrageous claims and attack the educational or medical intervention systems trying to enable the deaf to manage a society based on hearing and speech.  So a 'back to the future' system can be reintroduced where all deaf are educated together and presumably via sign language alone.  Few believe this is viable or even wanted by deaf people and the statistics such as they are bear it out.

There is still a determination for deaf and hearing to not mix and accept 'each to his or her own', when the only answer is to attack that premise or inclusion is lost.  Knowing sign language alone then only enables more work for support and help, and still limits who you can interact with.  It is little use then insisting deaf are being ignored or discriminated against, communication is the leveller, not the courts.

The 'Deaf' community needs to look to the facts of inclusion and then ask, what they can do to lower the barriers and make inclusion a reality and not an issue of we will take some of it but not all of it and only then on our own terms, because it doesn't work that way.  Deaf education has failed and is still failing today, for different reasons.  Logic suggests we address the rot that starts at day one and NOT at the adult stage when adapting is no longer viable for many and ripe for exploitation by areas of deaf extremes who tell them hearing have it in for them.  It is all part of a drive for the 'Deaf' to do own thing regardless if that actually works in mainstream or if the majority of them want this.

What we have seen over the years is a deliberate attempt to distort facts by some areas to bolster their point, and lately, via COVID it has all been exposed as many deaf have been isolated mainly because they have no means to communicate outside own area.