I've waited to see if anybody had actually objected to Tim Riker, the chapter president of the California Association of the Deaf (Sacramento chapter), who used his voice at the AB2072 Senate Health Hearing on June 23, 2010 instead of signing in ASL as seen in the Calchannel.com (June 23) along with a partial transcript below on what he said which starts at 31 minutes and 40 seconds into the video:
Tim: Good afternoon, my name is Tim Arthur (actually, it's Tim Riker), I’m the president of the California Association of the Deaf, Sacramento chapter. I graduated from Georgetown University, and this fall, because of all this, I’m looking forward to starting my masters’ in public policy. We are opposed to the bill as it is currently written, but we’d like to see an amendment that would work for the best interest of deaf children and the parents. First of all, I wanted to thank you for the positive changes to the current mark up language of the bill, and it means progress, but the language of the bill still needs a little bit more work to make it so that we can really put the focus on the deaf children and getting the parents access to the information that they need. I wanted to point to a 2003 state senate resolution number 20, it formally apologized for the outrageous attempt to *socially engineer people out of *existence. The regional version of Mendoza’s AB 2072 bill leads us towards a slippery slope of *eugenics. So the proposed amendment is a very good step in the right direction. It is fair, if we have a few changes to the amendment. The proposed amendment by the health committee, it still threatens the fundamental values of a deaf education and language development, by giving audiologists the power to discriminate information for which they are not trained or licensed. The audiologists’ training gives them the buyer that’s inherently unacceptable, if the audiologist ought to have a role, it must only be to identify that child is deaf, as soon as possible, and then refer the parent to an appropriate professional or entity with a focus on the educational aspect of raising a deaf child. That needs to be determined by the panel of people who are, represented by people involved with the...How come no outrage from people in the Deaf community for Time to use his voice when the issue was about getting ASL into the spotlight? With Tim Rikier's refusal to sign and use of his voice, was it to try and appear more "intelligent" and more "educated" hoping that linguicism would prevail on the part of the committee looking favorably at Tim's pleas and be impressed with him?
A) When a Deaf person is able to speak English with his voice, or write excellent English, he gets lauded as intelligent and well educated. This person is considered successful in life.On linguicism:
B) When a Deaf uses ASL (no matter how fluently), but writes mediocre English, and cannot speak English, he is considered intellectually inferior, ill-educated, and guaranteed to fail in life.
SCENARIOS:What I don't understand is that since Tim Riker is deep within the world of Deaf culture and community as chapter president of CAD he uses his voice.... instead of signing using his proud and preferred language, American Sign Language. I kind of wondered what exactly was Tim's strategy in doing that. What was his goal to use his voice that day as chapter president of CAD? There were voice interpreters there that day and would have interpretted his signing yet he choose to use his voice that day, on live tv, in front of thousands of Deaf people tuning into the AB2072 soap opera. Not one single outcry from a Deaf person, community or group objecting or asking why he used his voice instead. Not one (as far as I can tell so far).
Two persons are talking. During the course of this conversation, one of the persons is assessing the other’s wealth, quality of education, status in society based on the other person’s use/choice of language or dialect.
A) If the other person shows an excellent command of English, the assessor assumes he is quite well-educated, possibly from a wealthy family, which then indicates an elevated status in society.
B) If that other person shows poor command of the English language, or uses another language, the assessor assumes that he’s ill-educated, poor, possibly from a ghetto and therefore from the lower classes in society.
Why the silence? Is this another example of hypocrisy at work?
Now, I'm in favor of a person in choosing how one prefer to communicate. I won't discriminate anybody for doing that. It's really none of my business. There were ASL interpreters available for both voice and ASL translation at the meeting it wouldn't matter to me. I am not opposed to Tim or anybody else who choose to use his/her voice or sign. I'm just noticing the obvious disconnect between what Deaf people say about using voice over ASL when it comes to choice. And it's usually a negative one.
Now, when I choose to use my voice at Gallaudet University's first ever blog/vlog conference where it had ASL and voice interpreters, and real time captioners available for the live internet audience, I had gotten a few grumbling complaints and objections from some Deaf people saying what I did was rude and so on. And of all places on the sacred grounds of Gallaudet University did I dare use my voice in front of Deaf people. Oh well.
What I'm presenting here or trying to say is not about the complaints per se although I am wondering about that too but it's the irony in seeing a chapter president of CAD who is Deaf use his voice in front of thousands on live streaming tv (which is now recorded for history) in order to elevate the status and use of ASL. Did he unwittingly lowered the status of ASL as not important and choose to use his voice instead? Did he unwittingly elevated the use of voice over ASL that day? Those are the interesting questions I have here.
ADDENDUM: If you have no objection (I don't) to Tim Riker's using his voice then you should have no objections to Brenda Brueggemann, who is deaf and knows ASL, using her voice at Gallaudet University's 2006 graduation commencement speech?
ADDENDUM #2: In a blog called Random Thoughts and Musings by Moi blogger discussed the Breuggemann's use of her voice and agrees strongly that she shouldn't have used her voice and that it was plainly wrong. Oh really?
People in our community are free to choose what language they want to use in various situations - I absolutely agree with that. Dr. Brueggemann's choice, however, went far beyond the bounds of diversity and was, in my view, a grave offense. I took great affront at her choice that day...Too bad this blogger doesn't know the true reason why Brueggemann decided to use her voice in an email exchange that Brueggemann and I had at the time. I wonder how this blogger feels about Tim Riker's use of his voice being that he's a chapter president of CAD? In both situations both had ASL interpreters at the time with the exception of Gallaudet University that had both an ASL interpreter and real time captioner for the large video screen at the graduation ceremony.
Related blog - Voice is way, way better than ASL!