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5:01, 29 November 2017

When a deaf singer gets death threats from other deaf people, something’s wrong | Josh Salisbury

The treatment of America’s Got Talent finalist Mandy Harvey shows that as deaf people we need to move beyond the oralism v sign language splitWhen the America’s Got Talent finalist Mandy Harvey first appeared on the show, she caused a social media storm. Harvey became deaf due to an illness, but decided to pursue her love of music, feeling the beat of the music through her feet. However, her singing caused a backlash among a very small minority, who sent Harvey death threats for promoting a “hearing” activity.There is a long history of oppression faced by profoundly deaf individuals of which most hearing people are too little aware. Sign languages have historically been the target of repression, and many who are profoundly deaf have suffered at the hands of hearing people. Oralism – the practice of favouring speech over sign in deaf education – and the assumption that speech is an inherently superior form of communication can be damaging, both to deaf individuals and the deaf community. Even today, organisations will equate speech with potential, ignoring an equally valid language and culture in sign. Continue reading…


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