Tonight, there has been a heated live discussion on two deeply sensitive topics on-going on Twitter right now. The first, Nyle DiMarco, posted that “Those that argue: Deaf people are systematically oppressed/marginalized by hearing people. Because of that, our job opportunities are super limited & tough to find. When “qualified” hearing people, out of all jobs, chose to teach ASL/Deaf Studies, what job is left for Deaf ppl? That is an excellent question.
Deaf people for years have had difficulties trying to find a stable job in many field, however, when it comes to finding a job that they know their language the best, it is often that hearing people are given those jobs. And, again, hearing people are given jobs that teaches ASL at a higher level such as ASL II and III.
Those that argue:
Deaf people are systematically oppressed/marginalized by hearing people. Because of that, our job opportunities are super limited & tough to find.
When “qualified” hearing people, out of all jobs, chose to teach ASL/Deaf Studies, what job is left for Deaf ppl?
— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) March 28, 2018
Don’t take our word for it. Read the thread and how people are responding to his question. Majority of responders agreed that their “Hearing” instructors were often wrong and misleading when teaching ASL. Thus, Nyle brings up an excellent point: How do we get our community and our education community to understand that hiring Deaf instructors should be their first priority?
Sometimes some gaps are “missing” and administrators want to fill in those gaps to meet the demands of their students to make sure that they get the education that they want, however, when unqualified hearing instructors take over those positions, what are administrators really saying?
Again, these are questions that we’re asking. There’s no one-click button to solve this problem, yet, it does bring to the point that opportunities for “deaf” instructors in high schools and colleges should be under constant discussion.
My ASL 101 teacher was deaf and it was a MUCH better experience than my ASL 102 teacher who was hearing. We HAD to sign all the time and fingerspell words we didnt know yet and she would teach us the regional “dialects” in 101, in 102 most of us forgot to keep signing bc hearing
— YOUNGBLOOD OUT NOW (@MaddieMormino) March 28, 2018
all of my sign language teachers have been Deaf, from my very first lesson. Deaf people can still read, write, point, and spell, which was how we learned. it made learning organic and we retained more because we couldn’t just give up and start talking.
— twenty gayteen (@Triptophobia) March 28, 2018
I am currently in ASL level 5 and this is my first year having a Deaf teacher, and honestly I feel more connected to the community and more immersed than I did with hearing teachers. It gives you a far better understanding and a further look into the culture. So I 100% agree
— Jacq // VOTE BLUE (@JacquelynMari11) March 28, 2018
And then, Andrew Parsons, a huge Twitter user, started the discussion about if you wanted to spread ASL to Deaf children to other countries, should you do it?
His answer. Don’t.
He believes that missionaries and non-governmental organizations should instead give local teachers and elders money and resources to expand beyond their small schools to spread ASL to Deaf children.
So the question that begs of us is: Is he right?