Monday, March 12, 2012

Paul's Commentary: A Lesson Learned at EHDI!

I agree with others about how things need to be done. I did learn a lot about EHDI the past few years. It was encouraging to see more Deaf leaders getting involved in or out of EHDI. Not 50% but yes, legally 51% – this gives deaf consumers of education and services more say in policies and procedures affecting us all.

Unfortunately, this year we saw some red flags caused by none other than Karl White the last year. Enough evidence is LOUD and CLEAR in several states. We need to nip it in the bud. We did not realize we were coming to heads with him.

Audism Free America was trying to balance the needs for the Deaf Community with EHDI. That guy REFUSED to budge any further after listening to the list of demands. So the group did walk out KNOWING it is waste of time dealing with the guy who had this attitude of “my way or the highway”.

I also observed his paternalistic behavior towards deaf people at the hotel. He had army of rent cops to handle his requests here or there. The real police did nothing but respected our rights of making presence known. We respected the rules such as staying off the cordoned area and where lines are drawn such as food court and other areas of hotel (commons).

Some of us had rooms at same hotel so we did mingle here or there. We did socialize in the lobby and bars.

That so-called leader of EHDI did alienate and intimidated several deaf leaders at the conference. It was easy to notice and be alert to his further actions from Saturday to Tuesday. There are stories coming out of the St. Louis Union Station about the air being thick of paternalism and profiling.

Several of my friends witnessed what happened at DBC booth and it was oppression LOUD and CLEAR! We were simply talking about Mrs. Moog's message to the world. It was packed with LIES!. One Deaf educator tried to tell Karl White and the security guy that John Egbert was telling the TRUTH! Only that angry man demanded it be taken down or else! (He threatened to shut down DBC booth - it reeks of audism LOUD and CLEAR!)

Guess the days of being nice, polite and respectful are being numbered. It is time to raise the sabre! It is time to tighten so many loose screws in deaf education as well as deaf human services.

We need new laws with more teeth to protect our American Sign Language and Deaf culture. I recommend reading those books: FORBIDDEN SIGNS: American Culture and the Campaign Against Sign Language by Douglas C. Baynton and The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community by Harlan Lane. This is where we are ready to draw lines with those hearing people who are abusing the system.

Let me quote Desmond Tutu’s quote:

“To be neutral in a situation of injustice is to have chosen sides already. It is to support the status quo.”

So onward we go to combat audism! What we did at oral schools and children’s hospital. We were peaceful and loving. We simply opened deaf children’s eyes by exposing ASL to them. It is disgusting how they oppress them from the beautiful American Sign Language. We simply distributed information here or there.

Why hide the truth? We simply are lighting up the dark corners of audism by exposing the wrongs. You know it, too and why be silent?

Why hide the truth? We simply are lighting up the dark corners of audism by exposing the wrongs. You know it, too and why be silent?

I look forward to more rallies at future events. If I had to do it all over again, I will do it! No more or less! It was a lesson learned at EHDI! I thank the Man upstairs for His guidance.


Paul Kiel
St. Louis, Mo