Sunday, 13 December 2020

Should you try to sign to Deaf people?


Online is full of deafies and deaf wannabees, do-gooders, charities, and plain private enterprise hoping to pick up customers, flooding the place with the deaf ABC of sign etc, but, has it much hope of any success without the cooperation OF deaf sign users?  The carrot with the stick approach lead, is no way to facilitate communication.  Deaf need to lighten up.

E.G the main response has been "Don't sign at deaf people unless you are proficient, deaf expect people who sign to be able to converse fluently and many hearing rapidly run out of signs to that, you need to understand also, that deaf don't welcome hearing  into the 'deaf space', without an invite first, no matter how well-meaning, they need to respect deaf protocols on privacy and community norms..."

Why not just tell people to go away!  So a pretty dire 'warning' before you even attempt it on the street.  However, if deaf maintain this stance then it will deter hearing people learning to communicate with them, they will instead respect that deaf space to your ultimate deaf exclusion, be careful what you 'demand' seems the order of the day here.  We know the real reason is the deaf have nil confidence or experience or training on how to facilitate others, they're just taught everyone must adapt to them because they can't adapt to anyone else, which totally undermines any campaign for inclusion and makes it a non-starter...

The Deaf signer needs to allow the hearing to sign to them as it is the only way to break down communication barriers, we all have to start somewhere and from a position of suspicion and demands first, it is not going to happen.  You cannot expect they will know how the deaf do it, if that way works with hearing anyway.  

If hearing are told don't do that, don't 'invade' deaf spaces and must follow deaf 'protocol' then the only people who will sign to them or go on to learn it properly will be care providers, charity workers and interpreters,  not the man or woman in the street, who are the ONLY people to make deaf inclusion work.

What is 'deaf protocol' anyway, but a means to deter involvement with others? or some sort of 'protection' from hearing invovement?  Not everyone who tries to communicate is an enemy of some kind!  Deaf awareness is never aimed at the people who need to be aware, that is the deaf themselves.