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This event has caused me a profound sense of despair. The ONLY reason I. King Jordan, a Deaf man, became president was because the students shut down the school back in 1988. Otherwise, a hearing woman with no sign language skills would still be president.

Now, this same man who owes everything to these brave students, threatens them with arrest for doing the same thing they did for him so long ago. I cannot believe it. It is like he was bought and paid for by some higher authority to betray his own kind and his own beliefs. He knows what will happen when this woman takes over.

Back in 1988, the police realized they could not communicate with the Deaf, so they basically just stood there and did nothing while the Deaf students demonstrated peacefully. Now, they do not even care. They just hawl them away like they are Jews or something. The police have changed more than the Deaf ever have.

The woman in question is what the Deaf call an "oralist". They believe sign language is secondary to spoken languages or even not necessary at all. This, of course, leaves those with profound deafness with no hope and no future, just like in the past. It also drives a wedge between those Deaf students who obey their parents and try to "speak" and "hear" and those who use ASL exclusively.

The students are trying to prevent this from happening again, but it looks like Congress has made a decision to squash ASL and transform the school into a "showcase" of how the Deaf can be successfully trained to "speak" and "hear".

It never happened in the past and it will not happen now. Sign language will just be pushed underground again and most Deaf will subsist on menial labor jobs or welfare.

Unlike Hispanics, there are not enough of us to fight back or make a differnce at the voting booth. They can easily squash us and take away our rights because even people who are disabled do not care if we are allowed to communicate with ASL or not.

A society is often judged by how it treats its lowest citizens. Well, take a good look at how America treats the Deaf and remember: you are next.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

My husband is half deaf and suffered discrimination more than once, deadly discrimination!

My heart goes out to the brave students who are standing and fighting back. They must! I pray they succeed.


"Further: as always in American history, minorities lead the way. They know they have to make sacrifices in order to win their goals and this always inspires others to struggle too. I hope the parents of these activists at Gallaudet support their children in this important struggle."

Do you agree with the "deaf culture" position? I've heard of opposition to cochlear implants for children because then they would be able to hear, and wouldn't be able to fully participate in their "cultural heritage" anymore.

(But they WOULD be able to hear oncoming traffic.)

Elaine Meinel Supkis

The implants don't always work. My husband's hearing problem isn't in that particular part of his ear.

The deaf culture is truly a culture. And they are scared of being shuttled aside. There are many who can't participate in medical changes and they worry they will be cut off from any form of society at all.

It is a reasonable fear. Many religious minorities have the same fears and are coddled by the public, to wit: the Aimish.

Elaine Meinel Supkis


typo time!


"The deaf culture is truly a culture."

Maybe. But.

I'm nearsighted. Always have been. But rather than affirm my membership in the rich, vibrant culture of the blurrily-visioned, I got glasses and, later, contact lenses. That way, I can enjoy the unique experiences that the visible spectrum has to offer.

And I'd feel the same if I were deaf, and couldn't enjoy the pressure waves in air that result fron playing Beethoven's 5th any more.


No one with a cochlear implant can hear music at all. It is just noise, and as for oncoming traffic, most automobile accidents are caused by hearing people who are "deafened" by their phones, stereos, TV's, DVD players, children, co-pilots, etc.

The Deaf are not distracted by all these "noises", so we are watching the road and not something else. The only time I have trouble is when oncoming ambulances or police cars do not slow down at intersections with no side vision during the day. At night, I can see the lights reflecting off of the buildings long before the vehicle arrives.

Again, most all accidents involve hearing people, whether on the phone or the iPod.

I turned down a cochlear implant because I did not want to hear clicking noises instead of real words, which I can still remember. These gadgets are pushed on us with no regard to whether they will truly help us or not. They are very lucrative investments for those who design and sell them.

Sign language is the only way we can truly be free of all gadgets and guessing as to what other people are saying to us. This freedom to speak and be understood is priceless to us because we spend most of our time unable to communicate with those around us. And no, the gadgets do not change the way hearing people view us or treat us. I know. I tried hearing aids and felt the sting of discrimination anyway.

I have never felt any discrimination while wearing glasses. None whatsoever.

Like the blind, we have found our own way of adapting to our environment. No one tells the blind that they "must" see or not be accepted. No one tells them that they must appreciate art in order to be accepted as human beings. The Deaf, on the other hand, are considered by many to be animals if we do not try to speak and hear English.

As for "deaf culture", I personally do not believe it exists, at least not in the traditional way. I do believe that we could have a deaf culture if we would be willing to let go of the hearing world and build a home of our own.


"Again, most all accidents involve hearing people, whether on the phone or the iPod."\

Yeah, I know. I don't use those things when I'm driving - and I wouldn't use an iPod in public if I owned one (which I don't.) And I wish my wife wouldn't use hers.

I saw an article that pointed out an overlooked danger from those things: "You don't want to be the only one on the subway who doesn't hear someone yell, 'Watch out! He has a gun!'"

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