Saturday, 12 August 2017

Do we need to talk about the cultural appropriation of sign language

We need to talk about the cultural appropriation of sign languageDoes it help dissing hearing who use it to raise awareness ? surely only when hearing start using sign can the barriers be removed to equality and access ?  It seems rather churlish and some form of protectionism to insist only deaf should be signing, what if terps took them at their word !  Di-Marco throwing a hissy fit is rather silly too...

So hearing sign isn't perfect, are deaf people's ?  Most are nowhere NEAR the signing standard of interpreters who are hearing.  The deaf person's insistence only their particular sign or way of signing is the right one, attacks any norm anyway, and a norm in sign has always been opposed by the deaf for that reason,and because of regional/world difference.  if we criticise those who attempt sign, we lose that person who can help raise awareness.  ATR stopped signing videos personally after petty criticisms this sign or that sign, 'wasn't perfect..'  If we wait for perfection, we have a VERY long wait ahead of us all, and the signer loses BSL access by default... (Are you pissed off with the purists ?)

Eat your heart out Greta Garbo....

The article:

As a hearing person, sign language isn’t something I’ve given much thought to.  I learned to sign my name in primary school, but that was pretty much the extent of things. At least it was until I found myself caught in an online debate about the cultural appropriation of sign language.

How this model went from being pressured to drop two dress sizes to loving her body. That’s a big sentence, so let’s break it down. American singer Banks posted a video of herself signing as part of a performance. Apparently she had felt inspired by the Deaf community and wanted to add sign into her performance. Model and American’s Next Top Model winner Nyle Di Marco then retweeted the video with the following caption:

‘I’m sorry but I’m Deaf and fluent in sign language and I can’t understand her at all.’  [ATR: I don't understand Di-Marco either]

He then went on to add:

‘Artists has been known to be profiting off our sign language. Our language is our culture and this is cultural appropriation. The best way to do it would be doing it with a Deaf person or hiring a Deaf person to sign only. We rise by lifting others.’

Cultural appropriation is a relatively new concept. It hinges on the idea of a person taking a cultural touch stone and using it for their own benefit, without giving due credit or respect to the source.


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