On March 1 and 2 there will be an EHDI (Early Hearing Detection Intervention) conference to take place in Chicago. And when I checked out the Exhibitors List I noticed that DBC (Deaf Bilingual Coalition) will have a booth there. So will AG Bell.
Now, about the DBC, it's not a surprise that they have a relationship with the AFA (Audism Free America with link via the DBC website) by going "on record as being supportive of AFA" as seen in Dianrez's blog. And the fact that John Egbert and others of DBC attended an AFA protest rally last year in April 2009 tells a bigger story about the DBC's own organization and the people who run it. The AFA is hardly separate from DBC's own organization and its ideology where both groups have specifically targeted AG Bell. DBC has yet to remain neutral in this regard and keep to their mission instead. But the leaders and members of DBC cannot even be kept separate from the AFA group when it comes to DBC's mission as an organization.
"For now, it was an honor to meet many bloggers that first came to my attention through DeafRead. Who could forget meeting in person: John Egbert, Insane Misha, Ella Lentz, David Eberwein, Ruthie Jordan, Aidan Mack, Sharon Duchesneau, Jehanne, Robin Polin, Candace McCullough, Tami Hossler, Patti Durr, Pinky Aiello, Star Greiser, and many others whose faces I recognized but didn't get their names."
Many of the names seen in the Board of Directors and Members list on the DBC website are known to heavily dislike AGBell, even Brian Riley who helped write a letter for DBC used "fighting words" against AG Bell. It sure doesn't make them that much more credible, I can tell you that.
Here's another problem.
I. What is the Deaf Bilingual Coalition?
A. The Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC) is a community of Deaf and hearing people whose goals are to promote language acquisition, social justice, and quality education through the awareness of ASL and its excellence in cultivating the critical intellect of Deaf infants and young Deaf children.
B. The DBC’s mission is two-fold: We emphasize the importance of the social, emotional, linguistic, and cognitive aspects (of ASL and all natural sign languages) pertaining to early visual-language acquisition for all Deaf infants and young children; and to make the general public aware of the prevalence of misconceptions and misinformation that devalues ASL.
C. Since its inception, the DBC has empowered people to set up state chapters to research and explore early intervention programs, the Deaf education system, and to mentor hearing parents of Deaf babies to help equip them with critical information on language acquisition and development.
D. The DBC's original core committee was composed of volunteers who had all experienced bilingualism in their upbringing or been impacted by bilingual education. John Egbert of Minnesota founded the DBC in the summer of 2007.
Babies are born with a hearing loss. Babies are not born "Deaf" if from hearing parents. Maybe so for Deaf parents as they see their own baby as a Deaf baby but certainly not the case for hearing parents. DBC does not own these deaf/hh babies. It's the parents' decision, they decide and not DBC when it comes to their own babies and whether to call their baby a Deaf baby or not.
Next, I question whether DBC really does "mentor" hearing parents of "Deaf" babies. Do they get all pushy to try and somehow force their ideology onto unwitting hearing parents by making them aware? Or is it better to inform parents of deaf/hh babies by using positive examples of ASL rather than resort to conspiracy talks, continued negative remarks and darts and daggers aimed at AGBell whether implied or directly, and the continued bringing up old history rather than to look forward to the future in a positive way?
Having said that. You know what else I think? I think all hearing parents of deaf/hh babies should be informed of DBC's members and leaders past actions so that at least hearing parents can be fully informed about DBC's background and their ulterior agenda lurking in the background by continually attacking AG Bell in one form or another. AG Bell certainly doesn't do that by going after organizations by attacking them and use protesters as their pawns. AGBell has a mission to adhere to but they certainly do not attack ASL and certainly noticed past Deaf protests against them since 2007.
Since July 2007, another group affiliated with AFA has been staging demonstrations at AG Bell national conferences and state chapter meetings claiming that AG Bell is against sign language. In an effort to clarify its position on this issue, the AG Bell Board of Directors approved an official position statement on ASL which states, in part, “AG Bell acknowledges that a chosen approach depends on culture, family interests and desired communication outcome. AG Bell believes that the language and communication approach chosen should be based on an informed decision made by the child’s parents/family and based on their own unique circumstances…AG Bell does not believe that ASL should be prohibited or restricted as achoice, nor does AG Bell advocate against learning ASL as part of a child’s overall development if that is what the child’s parents desire.”
Regardless, AFA initiated this most recent demonstration at AG Bell headquarters and issued a call to action for supporters to demonstrate at oral/aural only programs in their local areas; in other words, to demonstrate at local pre-schools that offer a listening and spoken language educational approach for children who are deaf.
“This latest effort to target pre-schools and pre-school children I can only describe as unconscionable,” stated Graham. “To protest and criticize families who choose a particular communication and language approach is the height of intolerance.”
That way hearing parents can make an informed decision over a variety of issues and concerns, including any hidden agendas, if any. A good way to assess, for example, DBC's own credibility problem. Those on the outside may certainly see them as cry babies.
Next I can't help but wonder what are the odds that there'll be a protest by a bunch of Deaf people outside the conference to raise hackles about AG Bell just as they did over a year ago as noted in AG Bell's press release letter denouncing the protest? What are the odds that a protest will occur, if it ever, and that it'll have connections to AFA and, what else, the DBC organization just like before?
Makes ya wonder, doesn't it? We'll see how it goes March 1 and 2 in a few weeks from now.
*Note: apologies to Cox and Forkum for the cry babies picture that was slightly modified.