Unwillingness to Listen and a Vow of Silence.

How would you show your support for something that you believe in so strongly? One professor, who is from the UK, has decided that he wanted to show his support for British Sign Language by using something that he uses on a daily basis: his voice.

Graham Turner is the director of research and chair of translation in the School of Management and Languages at Heriot-Watt University. Professor Graham Turner will be blogging about his experience and his progress as he will be voiceless for an entire week. His hope for his week-long vow of silence is to bring awareness about how the British government is overlooking the needs of deaf people.

“The point is to express solidarity with the Deaf British Sign Language community across the UK. The point is to say we have had it up to HERE with your disrespect for our language, your neglect of our children’s rights, and your unwillingness to listen when we tell you your policies are not working.”

What might be the challenges of a highly intelligent hearing professor witness while turning off his voice and using BSL? Well, let’s just say this is how he put it in his own words:

So I’m going to sign this week. And, yes, for the first time ever, despite being a hearing person, I’m going to use the words ‘WE’ and ‘OUR’. Not because I’ve vowed to spend one week signing. Because I’ve spent over 25 years working with BSL users, and I have learned to feel utterly ashamed of the never-ending ignorance and arrogance of the hearing majority.

Generation after generation of Deaf people have asked for change. Generation after generation of hearing people in authority – in government, in education, in the health system – have claimed to know better than Deaf people do what is good for them.

They don’t.

And it’s time they showed some humility and LISTENED UP.

Oh yeah. He means business. The Times Higher Education quoted:


The week-long vow of silence is not without its challenges for an academic – even one who is fluent in sign language. A guest lecture has already been arranged to cover his teaching responsibilities, and all of his PhD supervision meetings this week will be carried out using sign language.
Maybe it’s time for us to take a vow of silence for ASL and encourage the American Government to do more for patriotic Americans who are deaf.


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