How to Reframe Deaf Culture and Deaf History
Deafness is a journey; whether it be by birth or a medical incident or some other reason, our deafness brings community members together in various ways. Racism, however, has long endured in our deaf community; cultures and histories have long been lost and/or looted by the members within. We need to be able to clearly explain the past, to understand the implications of history, and of the reasons why this matters in our culture. This is a sensitive, significant subject to discuss and the audience is expected to take this into consideration. The NAD Deaf Culture and History Section (DCHS) appreciates the time, as well as the education, the panelists are sharing with us all.
Please consider a donation to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) so we can continue our advocacy efforts and plan important events like this series.
May 25, 2022
>> AMELIA S. DALL, M.A., R.P.A.: We're happy you're here, joining our webinar. It is hosted by NAD. And, the Deaf Cultural Center Division. We would like to go ahead and explain some rules: If you have a question, go ahead and put those in the Q&A portion, you'll see Q&A, icon at the bottom of your screen. If you have any comments, feedback, or praise for our Panelists or any chatting ‑‑ you can do that in the chat section. With that, I will ask the Panelists to share their video, and join!
>> Hello, hello!
>> Hi, everyone. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and get started with our land acknowledgment. Melanie, would you like to begin?
>> Melanie: Hello everyone, I'm hear to start with our land acknowledgment. I'm here on Turtle Island. And I am on an honored ‑‑ honored to recognize the Indigenous people of this land. Where I stand, live, breathe, eat, and socialize on their land, and I honor and acknowledge their sacrifices, we're here together giving this presentation, and we ask that things go well. And we ask this of our Indigenous Ancestors, and we recognize and we're grateful for their land.
>> Beautiful! Rezenet.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: I will do the labor acknowledgment, I will like to recognize and acknowledge the labor that's been done across this country in various institutions both past and present. The labor and the sweat and tears that have been delivered by slaves and brought down to the United States from Africa. We want to recognize and acknowledge those Ancestors, their donations and contributions to all of our lives. As well as acknowledge all of the immigrants and Indigenous Persons, who have been in this space. And that we're continuing to fight, and recognize our country and our contribution in this country, to support this ‑‑ (a pause), building an acknowledgment of oppression and, we're trying to fight... that oppressive system, every single day. Thank you (concludes remarks).
>> AMELIA DALL: Thank you so much for that. With that, let's make some introductions. And then we will get going with our panel discussion. My name is Amelia Dall, and I am the Chair representing this Organization, and I will ‑‑ (a pause), I would like David to start by introducing him‑ ‑‑ himself, he's from the University of New Mexico. And, he will be sharing the Black Deaf perspective on these issues, David, would you like to explain a little bit more about yourself?
>> David: Yeah, I am a student who graduated from Black Deaf Studies and want to look at society, history, linguistics, and how that is all connected with being a Black Deaf person, so that's why I'm here.
>> AMELIA S. DALL, M.A., R.P.A.: All right, Melanie, we would like you to introduce yourself. You study at the University of Arizona. You do Cultural Studies of Indigenous People. And study tribal sign languages, so tell us more about yourself.
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: My studies focus on Indigenous signs specifically, the plains Indian sign language, it's been ‑‑ I've been doing this for probably about 30 years, starting the different communities and socio‑cultural connection to the Indigenous people in North America. And how these languages have been documented, and recorded, and developed. (A pause), and I've been doing these writings for people, as an insider of the community to research, and identify errors that are existing in the previous research, so I'm excited to be here today.
>> AMELIA S. DALL, M.A., R.P.A.: I'm happy you're here. Next we have Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel, assistant professor of ASL linguistics and Deaf cultures program at California State University, Long Beach, notable for their work on Deaf intersectionality, and critical race theory, language and culture! >> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: This is my main sign here, it's really an honor to sit with all of you here today. Um... Amelia, Melanie, and David ‑‑ I ‑‑ study anthropology, and ‑‑ fine arts, B.A., and I've covered a bunch ‑‑ a variety of topics. Topics, and I have seen a lot of gaps in the information and research out there; and it made me wonder why. So... I really wanted to see some change, so, this is just the beginning. There's many more areas that we need to address. And I'm just here, excited to work with all of you, today!
>> AMELIA S. DALL, M.A., R.P.A.: Excellent, with that, we will get started. I will be referring to my notes that are off to the side as I'm asking questions. During the first hour, I will be referring to these quite a bit; and in the second hour, I will engage more with the audience and the questions that the audience has for our panelists. With that, let's get started. And the first question, is really, for any of you, can you share your experience in the anthropology field? And any of your current projects? (A pause),.
>> David: I am happy to get started. We look at society and anthropology, we look at the ‑‑ the structure of society related to race, gender, and then how those relate to Deaf history, and Deaf culture. Of course, we know there are a lot of gaps when it comes to race in the Deaf community. That's been pushed aside, and our Deaf identity is considered our sole identity; so who is writing about this? Who is talking about this? (Pause), who are the Deaf people who are publishing articles? Publishing books? Making films? And, those are issues that I look forward to discussing with you. Go ahead, Rezenet, you can add to that.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: So just to let you know, this is my sign for anthropology. Specifically, it was in relation to people who worked in that field, and those who are missing; so anthropology is a study really of culture. (Pause), and ‑‑ that's why I chose that particular sign. It's not only about culture; but being Deaf and using sign language, I've seen the connection between language, and culture, and I think that they are intertwined; and so, in studying ASL ‑‑ (a pause), by default, it just was something that I studied; and I'm from Eritrea, Africa, and when I did my studies in linguistics, I was advised to go ahead, and put that information on a Eritrea in my thesis. So I decided to ‑‑ do my masters in anthropology, specifying in the country of Eritrea. And linguistics anthropology ‑‑ and the various ways that it Eritrean individuals and just having that documentation. Of what they have done historically, and I feel that it's really important, for Africa in general, to document that history of language, and sign language, and culture, and really how that's impacted by various other countries and cultures, and all of that intertwined. And there is a strong history there. And really, analyzing the effects of that on the Deaf Community, my family history is a bit different; and the Deaf ‑‑ Deaf history and the stories there, (a pause) trying to chronicle those stories, and ‑‑
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: Looking at the colonization that happened of those people, and wanting to tell their stories. We can document language now, and tell the stories of the past. So we know that ‑‑ people are still living ‑‑ that we can talk to. So we have a lot of work to work through that process. And it's really a new process. Of a language prism, which, I think, is really cool! And it's relief, really from missionaries who use sign language, and that was heavily used across Africa, and it's something that I called "de ‑‑ "demissionalization." Demissionalization; and that is, the ‑‑ instead of spreading out the Missionary message, it's the reversal of that. Did you write on that?
>> I did.
>> Are you going to continue with a book or publish online?
>> I've written a chapter in the book and that's about it (Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel).
>> There's a lot happening! Melanie, you have something to add?
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: Yes, this is Melanie here, you know, anthropologists themselves, they have ‑‑ four specificaries, 1), linguistics, 2) socio‑cultural and 3) bigraphical. My research deals with the first 3 portions of that. Because there is a historical connection to Indigenous people, and the land, we can look back through, their walk writings, people may not that identify as rock writings, there's a lot of discussion around that. But it actually is writing. (Pause),.
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: So I'm not interested in the ‑‑ (I'm interested in the semography, the pictures that were created by these Indigenous communities and these pictures identify language use in these communities. And they're all over the canyons. And Indian Sign Language started with about 600BC. The Ohakan individuals community in Mexico and they migrated here, to North America. So their carvings are representative of their journeys and their history ‑‑ history. And so ‑‑ these writings that we see in the canyons, equal to probably about a chapter in a book. If you look along these ‑‑ drawings and writings you can see where the language base comes from. You can see the writings are from left ‑‑ from right to left. (Pause), the great basin language is actually from left to right. And you can see the differences here. You could see how the horses come in from a certain direction. That's because of their plains communities, but if you see from the left to right direction, you will notice they're Great Basin communities. (A pause), and also, if you look at the buffalo hides, it reflects how they follow time and express time in their language. ‑‑ almost a graphic language that was represented in their (pause) their work so this is part of my fascination in studying the the development of these languages. The linguistics is really related to the north American communities and it's not native. Native is, actually, an incorrect term, it's too vague, it's not Indigenous sign language, because that, again, is also big. The north American sign language has many different communities that are incorporated here. And they are broken down by regions, Plains, the Northeast Language the Southwest Languages, the Great Basin, the Northwest, the West Coast ‑‑ they have all these specific regions, that you can see in the video we recently released via vox. >> Congratulations! >> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: Vox incorporated my design of these regions and classifications of these communities and you can see how the languages are interconnected yet different. For example, Indians would have noun signs for for example food, clothes, and it's very specific, to the communities that ‑‑ but there are some similarities. But when ‑‑ Deaf community ‑‑ Deaf community folks identify these signs coming up, they have tried to almost colonize them and say they were from the Deaf community, but they're actually not. They're from these particular Indian communities, in these specific regions. And these signs are very.... Distinct to their regions. The Great Plains the Great Basin starts from the south and moves all the way up to Canada, to Alberta. (A pause), if we're using ‑‑ if you're talking about the East, you need to use the northeast Indian sign language, and identify where these signs have been taken from. Because Plains Indian sign language may not be incorporating the same signs because they're in a completely different region of the country, and so then there you would see that the ‑‑ the error ‑‑ (with emphasis) and some of these signs were certainly influenced ‑‑ by the Deaf community and Deaf schools in those areas.
>> From the Wampanoag and iriquois Indian tribes, if you look at the sign languages that's primarily in the west and those are certainly influenced by the western schools in those areas, that's the linguistic portion, so the social linguistic portion for Indigenous Deaf people of North America, we founded an Indigenous Deaf studies, program, and we're working on developing that now. We're working on documenting signs, via a dictionary, so we have identified a consultant from the Northwest, we have eight individuals from Plains, who use Plains Indian sign language, and, fortunately we had just received a grant from the National science foundation.
>> And continue to document and research, these signs.
>> Is that for a limited time? ‑‑ I'm just asking you, is that grant that you received, only for a limited time?
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: One year, it's for one year.
>> Okay, so time is of the essence.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: We're planning to resubmit, of course, for another three‑year funding line, because we do want to build‑out this dictionary. If we do get the second round of grant funding, we'll focus on the semantics, and structure of these different languages. How to sign ‑‑ how to ‑‑ specific signs are formed and how they show up ‑‑ how they arrive in the communities. For example, dog ‑‑ and the reason behind ‑‑ behind the sign for "dog", is we have this two‑hands moving from left to right. (Pause) and this is, actually, a sign that's related to... you know, how they move things across the Landis, V /* /* lands, so they would have a horse and they thought that ‑‑ the dog ‑‑ horse was a big dog, because, the horse was carrying things across, the lands for the ‑‑ for the individuals, so the social cultural history, behind the signs is really important. They need to make those connections, between the cultural piece, the socio‑cultural piece and the linguistic use of these signs. And some of the signs that we may see, are really, related to the colonizers that ‑‑ that had moved into these areas, and they are colonizer signs, not Indigenous individuals signs. The Indigenous individuals would get together, and make a decision collectively, whether they would use certain signs, like, "girl" and we use two Rs moving down our ‑‑ as braids, and that is a collectiveism via the community. So, they always bring in a variety of perspectives, in order to make this decision, it's never a solitary decision in the Indigenous community. And it's important that we consider the linguistics, the archeological, and the socio‑cultural pieces of how language evolves; and that's really what my research is focused on. (Pause),.
>> Wow. That is amazing. All of it is ‑‑ so impressive! Your résumé is so impressive. (Pause), so.... We can expand a little bit more about what you've learned in your research and your field of study; and that's one thing that Rezenet was just now mentioning. About taking action, and how do you encourage Deaf people to pay attention to different perspectives? And, when you think about these projects, how do you feel, in your work that you're able to make it more expansive and broaden our perspectives? I don't know if anyone wants to answer this, but how do you run perspectives in your project goals, go ahead, Rezenet.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: Well, as a lesbian, I don't see often enough queer studies in the Deaf ‑‑ Deaf field. [SNAPS]. Literally, where are they? [LAUGHTER]. [APPLAUSE] [SNAPS], but, again, back to my comment of ‑‑ why do I keep going, when doing this work, because, I want to see me. I want to see myself represented, and I haven't seen it thus far, so I'm motivated, to see my background, and ‑‑ and intersectionality, and, all of the various identities that I represent. Showcased and researched. People from various countries, (a pause), for myself, I'm Queer, and ‑‑ for my parents,.
>> I have immigrant parents.
>> I have immigrant parents.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: There's been a lot of ‑‑ I felt like I had a lot of conformity within my life. There's a lot of expectations on me to be a certain way, or be this or that; but, you know, I identify differently. And I want to see more of that self‑awareness, I guess; and figure out ways of how we can...
>> I had a Deaf brother, but I was mainstreamed, my whole life. And so, I experienced Deaf culture in a way, but I didn't learn it. I had to learn later that there are Deaf professors, and Deaf doctors ‑‑ I wasn't aware of that growing up. So there was a low expectation ‑‑ in terms of educational level. And so I became passionate about archeology, but... I wasn't ‑‑ quite sure, of the potential in Deaf queer studies so I published an article on the ‑‑ Deaf Masculinity of Signs, like, how it is ‑‑ how it is that we present ourselves. (Pause ‑‑ and I think it's important because a lot of ASL out there, doesn't really impress that to students, they pick up things from their teachers' signing styles, just the same as spoken language people pick up accents from those that they hear. And sign in the same way, and so often whenever we find out why someone has chosen a particular sign ‑‑ we can connect it back to an influence. And there's no judgment on if one way is bad or good, or right or wrong, but it's just fascinating to see where it comes from. And it allows us to broaden our study and have a better understanding of gender marking, in ASL, and so that's what I'm working on right now. Did you want to add, David?
>> David Player: Yes ‑‑ (a pause). Through Deaf eyes, um... (pause), it was a film that I watched ‑‑ and in that film, two hours of watching it ‑‑ there really wasn't much mention of where were the Native Americans or the Indigenous people? Where were the LatinX, where was any diversity? Chinese, Asian?
>> Right, it was all white people.
>> David: Yeah, and so really having a discussion about why is that so? We need more diversity. (A pause),. Lashonda. She was a woman in Deaf Eyes and she was signing in church and there was another one, a Deaf guy, there were one of maybe four people of color represented throughout the entire film. Two hours of a film, literally? Only four people represented, I mean, ‑‑ yeah, ‑‑
>> Doesn't make sense! ‑‑
>> And they partnered with PBS, so, I mean, I love PBS, but, come on! It was a missed opportunity. And, it wasn't that far ‑‑ it wasn't that long ago, it was 2007. An opportunity to really, showcase some language and diversity, and ‑‑ having that inclusion.
>> Also ‑‑ go ahead.
>> I took a Deaf culture course, at ‑‑ RIT. And, they ‑‑ barely mentioned some diversity in that course, and honestly, the chapter that they referenced was not good. I'm not quite sure who wrote that. Maybe ‑‑
>> Which book was it?
>> Maybe the ‑‑ Patton ‑‑ Patton ‑‑ yes, yes, yes! Carol P. Was the author of that and I look at the statements and something really stuck with me. And the statement was, "Deaf people are conservative."
>> And so I really want to think about that and what was the meaning behind that statement?
>>, yeah, and that ‑‑ that was published a while back, right?
>> And then there was a mention about DPN, and, you know, 2006 that particular situation when... (a pause), Dr. Andrew, who had the Ph. D. There from Gallaudet was a President, and, you know, there was that turnover but there were no particular mention or ‑‑ vague mention of the people of color experience there; and so, you know, I tried to bring this up,. You know, especially the people who were there and they were explaining the situation, and I understand, yeah, they had maybe had some good points. You know, the victors, got to be a part of what you now consider "Deaf history." But they wrote this from their view, and their experience, and that is a white experience.
>> Right! Absolutely!
>> Carol, she's a Deaf womxn, but she also is white. You know, many of these individuals have their doctorates and they kind of should be aware, I mean, Rezenet you know, your pieces could certainly be a part of this history that is being published and shared widely! So my view, is that there is some significant gaps in what we're calling "history."
>> Oh, yes, I want to follow up on that chapter of what you were saying. It's the worst! I mean, it happens sometimes, in teaching Deaf culture, before I was teaching for the intro and now I'm teaching advanced but the chapter on diversity, I'm almost embarrassed to say that it's a chapter in the book, like, where is diversity? It's nonexistent, and so, it's really important, I mean, they just recently published an updated version; and ‑‑ you know, we just need to do better.
>> I think I took that class towards the end of my degree, in maybe 2019?
>>, yeah, but they needed to update.
>> I mean, I feel some kind of way. yeah, and sometimes you have to think about who's responsible? Who's accountable? Is it the professors? I mean, they need to change the books that they're teaching from. Is it the chair, the deans? Who is it? Are they out of... really, who is ‑‑ who is in charge? It's almost a rat race. It's a game of who's actually accountable; but we need to take a look at that as well. The three of you know a lot about this, and how that all works, and academia. yeah, certainly, you know, the professor is a great individual, when we did have this discussion, about racism, there was quite a bit of silence in the room. You know, because I am the one Black Deaf individual represented and we had a Black interpreter. But ‑‑ and then we did have a third person of color, I believe that they were mixed‑race, but ‑‑ that was the only color represented in the room. And we were addressing these conversations so people are looking at me, and they didn't know what to say, you know, I'm throwing out these challenges, and, again ‑‑ they were just at a loss, and, you know, I want to approach these discussions. You know, but, again, this is very common, you know, a white womxN's perspective, maybe she happened to see a Black individual and they may be frightened of that situation and lock their doors, it's because of their own biases and their own prejudices. You know, these type of things, I see people make comments, you know, and I just sit and observe, because honestly, it's not my responsibility to teach those ‑‑
>> Exactly! Need to dedicate themselves. I'm here to get my education with my money. I doubt they're going to pay me for teaching that.
>> Right. They have access to plenty of resources. So ‑‑ today, there's just really no excuse.
>> It's 2018, 2019, not too long ago. Really, not that long ago, I'm just ‑‑ you know, astonished. (Pause),.
>> Agreed! And that leads to the third question, go ahead, Dave.
>> David Player: One more point, I just want to add: If you look at the book, you know, "how we frame Deaf culture", you know, there's a woman named Cathy B. I haven't met her personally, but I remember she had NTID, had a discussion about her book, about Baltimore Deaf history specifically.
>> AMELIA S. DALL, M.A., R.P.A.: And one on Detroit, as well, I believe.
>> David: So there was this opportunity, and then later, I finally took the time to read. Because it was, you know, available in the library. So as I looked through, I noticed this picture that was quite interesting. It was, actually, Black‑face. It was an old picture of a Deaf club, but that was hard. I took a picture and sent it to a friend and my friend was shocked as well. There was no information to explain why there was Black‑face represented in this book. No context at all. You know, it was the Deaf club, and then someone actually had Black‑face painted and there was no opportunity to express what the Black Deaf perspective was. In this situation. And there are a lot of Black Deaf people in Baltimore.
>> David: Exactly, exactly, there was opportunity there. That was not taken advantage of. So, again, I do want to add some context that Black‑face was something that was very common... back then, minstrels, they, actually, kind of used, to kind of make fun of Deaf Black people. And they were just ‑‑ you know, looking down on Black people. And it's a way that they were it was a form of racism. (Pause), there was a young individual, Calvin, you know, people remember these situations, even myself, was not aware until much later. People think it's not a big deal. They think it doesn't really impact individuals, but it's important to call ‑‑ call people out on these situations, you know, Calvin had a very ‑‑ I guess white perspective, on things, and so, we ‑‑ when I saw that, it really just struck me, and, you know, this is in the historical book, I mean, I understand the context, but, still, there was no perspective offered to process those images that were in that book. (Pause),. Yeah, and white Deaf people typically will take over (laughing), in anthropology, research, and studies ‑‑
>> David: And are they paying Black Deaf people for their time for that?
>> That's a good question! You may be able to answer that, if you know.
>> David: All good here, all good?
>> Go ahead, Melanie.
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: Thank you for your comments. I just want to follow up with what was shared. Again, myself, I'm also self‑taught. The University of Oklahoma did not have any Indigenous studies. All my work is raw, raw data, and starting from scratch. You know, when I do bring up, you know, the Indigenous and Indian experience, it's kind of shocking. (Pause) and, you know, ‑‑ people think that they can just offer help, but that's not what we're looking for. So here at the University of ‑‑ University of Arizona, there are faculty collaboration of Indigenous Individuals, we are very collective in how we share information, it's a very positive experience. (Pause), but what I've noticed, over the past 30 years of teaching ASL ‑‑ it is very ‑‑ vanilla, so to speak, you know, there is a very strong hierarchy. In terms of culture, and it always starts with a white person at the top. The people of color ‑‑ are ‑‑ a subculture and almost removed from the entire hierarchy, but when we get people of color all together, we create this lateral, collective leadership together. And you also may have seen this sign, too ‑‑ a No. 2 across the side of your face as representative of native. And this is, actually, incorrect, because it's not representative of all the tribes. For example, the Navajo tribe does not use this type of sign in their community. There's pinto and many other Indigenous communities that particular sign does not fit those communities. So, I really encourage people to look back at what they're signing and let go of those stereotypes.
>> I realize that Indian people are not a monolith; that they're all very different.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: Absolutely, we're not all one size fits all or one community representative of everyone, it's actually that sign, native with two signs across your face is actually considered a stereotype, if you will. And I also want to bring up we as Indigenous Deaf, have approached Gallaudet university, and ‑‑ tried to help them understand that their honor of daws, is, actually, a white ‑‑ (sound of phone vibrating).
>> Their whole goal is just to help Gallaudet save money. And the person's name, I'll say again, is Dawes, a U.S. Senator. >> He's from Massachusetts, he actually helped provide some ‑‑ he was a missionary, and provided support for Gallaudet, and he just gave money to cover some ‑‑ at the center for Massachusetts and gave money to help save Gallaudet but what many people don't know, the situation was very ugly. And what Dawes, actually, did to the Indigenous and native people, the native people suffered, under Dawes, it was Dawes acts of 19 ‑‑ 1878. He worked with Gallaudet University, we have one coda and then three Deaf individuals consulting with Gallaudet University and asked them to actually remove the naming of the Dawes building. We did this in May of last year, I think the building is 104 now. This September coming, they will have a Dawes retired so to speak as well as a healing ceremony at Gallaudet this fall and that ties into me as an anthropologist, studying and delivering these important information to people so they understand, that we can work together, and not against each other. We can partner with Gallaudet so they have better representation, and inform them and teach them about really the history behind these ‑‑ these atrocities, and we can have a dialogue and educate them. (Pause), you know, because 30 years ‑‑ you know, ‑‑ Deaf culture is more than just the white people you're seeing in the ‑‑ out in front. And white people controlling and making decisions, about what Deaf culture is, we need to take back, all ‑‑ all ‑‑ experiences, of Deaf people of color ‑‑ Deaf people of color and make sure that they're represented in Deaf history, that is being shared.
>> And Rezenet, you look like you have some things to add.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: Yeah, I mean, our historical work, in Deaf studies and Deaf culture, I mean, I understand that there needs to be more motivation in looking at a variety of cultures, multiple cultures, and... (a pause), I understand that we don't all have the same experience. My concern is really, that people will misunderstand marginalized groups. And think that they're the same, as nonmarginalized groups. And, I'm just hoping that we're not placed in the same category, because racism, and audism, sexism ‑‑ all of those various oppressiveisms within society ‑‑ are not experienced in the same way. We all have our own oppressive experiences, and, it shouldn't be defined by one individual. (Pause) we have multiple types of oppression. And so we just need to become more mindful of those varieties. People who are on Boards, and... maybe they're afraid of ‑‑ being ‑‑
>> Changes to the boards may not happen overnight to add more people of color, but changes can happen incrementally.
>> So those individuals who are on boards, those who are part of higher positions, going out and really learning from the community, asking people, "Do you have time to talk?" Getting to know ‑‑ seeing if they have free time, just to learn more, and that should really be encouraged. I know people may ‑‑ they may feel, like they're lost, if there's a change in ‑‑ if there's a change in position. But really setting up a new frame is important, and we all should ‑‑ should encourage that. I think it would be a great change. And I know I'm not alone in that, in that perspective. I have a group of Deaf POC friends who support me in that. We contact each other often and discuss this, the need of more support. (Pause), the support is there, but we also need professional support. And that's why I've taken on this work. We've got to do it. And...
>> It's nice to have that support from others, so that I can send a text, and get support from others, and share ideas, but I know that Melanie had mentioned, talking about different groups, Indigenous sign language, others, with their Indigenous signs ‑‑ they have their own minds. Each ‑‑ each group and each individual have their own minds; and have their own ways of thinking and it's the same within our system. We need to remember that there are people who think differently than we do; and we grow from engaging in discussion and sharing in perspectives that are different from ours. If we just stay in an echo chamber, we're not going to learn anything.
>> I just want to add to that, that many of us individuals of color, Deaf POC, specifically, we come from overworked spaces, you know, I'm the only Deaf Indigenous person doing this work right now. You know, the Black community has several people upfront, doing this work. But I am missing my Indigenous sisters and brothers in this work. Talking ‑‑ ‑‑ Ph. D. Currently.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: We certainly need more individuals out there, I want to bring these experiences to the forefront. So here at the University of Arizona, we have established an ‑‑ an Indigenous Education Group, (a pause) and then we have a Deaf Ed, and we're trying to combine those two programs and have an Indigenous Deaf Ed education training program. We're trying to bring the Deaf individuals, Indigenous individuals, and Deaf individuals ‑‑ Deaf Indigenous individuals or anyone interested in working in the Indigenous community to a space where they can learn and the students perhaps might become interpreters because frankly the demand is very high, for Indigenous interpreters, or interpreters familiar with Indigenous communities. There's a lot of training that is needed. And training cannot be with a white lens! It cannot be provided with a white lens, many are times that ‑‑ white interpreters will go into Indigenous spaces and then they have to leave, because they're not meeting the needs of the Deaf Indigenous people. They may not understand their culture. You know, for example eye contact is a ‑‑ eye contact is an important for Deaf people but in Indigenous community it's different. So the interpreter training program is not teaching these individuals what they need to know to function and operate in an interpreting community. So we have to figure out how it can appropriately‑recruit Indigenous individuals to work ‑‑ I mean, interpreters to work in Indigenous contexts. (A pause), we also want to incorporate Indigenous beliefs, the five Rs and all these Principles that are important, for Indigenous cultures. Incorporate them into the education and training, and this is not only from United States; this includes Mexico and this includes Canada because we were talking about Turtle Island, we want to invest in our interpreter training programs and bring in individuals that can learn, and we are doing this, not with a white person's lens or white experience lens, we're doing this by valuing the Indigenous ‑‑ Indigenous experience. (Pause),.
>> I did want to add to that, going back to Deaf Literature: There was a famous writer. Wrote "silent worker "was it silent grapevine? Something like that? Well ‑‑ Roger Oakley. ? Who wrote "Silent Worker". Okay, it was the 19 hundreds, around there, and it was really discussing ‑‑ (message by Carla in chat) Roger Oakley who saw a lot of success, graduated at a high level.
>> As I was reading it there were so many ‑‑ so much racist language within the piece that I was just wondering, I mean, it made me think and feel (pause), if that was his piece of work for the past ‑‑ you know, what was going on, in ‑‑ in that 20 years, what was going on prior to that? And just really kind of looking into his work, and analyzing the framework that he was working with, (pause),.
>> The L.A. Times had published some of that work, and research was done there. And it was a ‑‑ it was a good analysis. But I'm wondering if white communities and white people do that work, are they really going to dig in and find the language, and look into that history? "Darky" is a word that came up, that ‑‑ that was used, sambo, which is related to music was used. It was terrible! To see that represented there. But, I mean, I can't blame Roger for using some of that, because, you know, ‑‑ he was interviewed ‑‑ it was an interview, and he put in that article what was said. So... just to see where that book is and how it ‑‑ it goes on, (pause), just catching another word farmhand in that piece. And knowing instantly, that that's sharecropping. And during that time people took control, and didn't allow those quote/unquote sharecroppers to be free. They were not free people. And they owed a debt that they had to pay off. And were taken advantage of because of that. So, I wondered why the word "farmhand" was chosen instead of "sharecropper" because language has power. And as we're writing, we see that.... White (yt) experience put into it, that white gaze so to speak, and when it's a Black writer, it's different how it's framed and so it was an interesting article. A lot of people were up in arms about a lot of it, and, it's sad to see that. Glen did some review of that, but, I'm talking about more academic writing, and if glen did that writing whenever he was young ‑‑ I wonder what the language would look like, and, if he could, you know, I understand using academic language, but I remember interviewing with Mel Myra and we talked about educational privilege. And, how, when you are published, it does give you some of that privilege; and so, I feel like, if you have a story to tell, you need to write it without the ‑‑ the criticism of particular pieces of language that are used, or not used. So the Deaf community, is very dismissive. Especially when it comes to writing. (A pause), a friend of mine had pointed something out that his ‑‑ that their grandfather, was in a mainstream school, and signed it like this, in Texas. There was a Black school for the Deaf. But then the mainstream school was the white school. And I noticed the de ‑‑ he was ‑‑ he was ‑‑ when he was transitioned into desegregated school, he was brought down several grade levels at that point.
>> And it's based on their writing, not their signing, typically. Yeah.
>> Right. It's all English‑based. But ironically, some of those who didn't sign well, they were not demoted where someone with poor English skills, was.
>> That still happens today! That still happens today. The Indians have a similar experience. You know, because they don't write a certain way, they're demoted, or they are looked down on even more. I do want to follow up with, you know, your comments about publications. And I, actually, had written an article for the NAD Monologue I think it was maybe 1999, I had submitted, for review, and there were several Indian words included in this writing. And they gave it over to the editor and the editor actually removed the culturally‑specific words I had chosen. For example, regalia ‑‑ regalia meant clothes and that's specific to Indian ceremonies or dancing. And he replaced the word with "costumes."
>> Oh! That's horrible!
>> And that was extremely oppressive. When I notified NAD about that, that ‑‑ I explained to them it was offensive. It is not a Halloween costume.
>> And I ‑‑ you know, reprimanded for that. And they were, like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, too late" and I said you know what? You should have asked my permission first before you went ahead and made those changes, that actually was a good example of the white oppression that happens. And so, you know, NAD really needs to take the opportunity to reframe how they go about their publications, and their work and how they communicate to their community.
>> Agreed! RIT, NAD, I know some board members are watching.
>> I would say to take note of what's being said here, that leads to my 4th question ‑‑ oh, wow, the time is really flying by. It is 54 after the hour right now. We're just going to keep going through this discussion. It's important, so the fourth question I have. I think, by about 15 after the hour, we'll kind of see how it's going, and ‑‑ and then open it up to ‑‑ the audience. For their questions. So fourth, what are some common misconceptions, the Deaf community has when reframing Deaf culture? And Deaf history? And what are the challenges? David?
>> David: This is ‑‑ oh. That's an easy one for me, people think we're Deaf first and we're all the same, which is not true.
>> Which are you? Deaf first? Black first? Which one? Queer first? What do you identify with first?
>> Intersectionality, people!
>> Everyone is wrong, (laughing).
>> That's what ‑‑ intersectionality is, and there's a lot of misunderstandings, it's a hot word now, right? A buzz word, but, people just want to be "In the Know". But they don't really understand what intersectionality truly is. And sometimes (pause), I'm open about what my intersectionality background is. Some people have a visible disability. Some people don't. And (a pause), intersectionality is best to mention, and be mindful of, (a pause), understanding that your different identities may have different benefits to you. And... a person may be Deaf. And white. Or they may be Asian, they may have other identities, the privileges they carry, within those intersectionalities are different, so there may be many intersectional identities, identities that are oppressed, and maybe just ‑‑ as a Deaf white person ‑‑ your level of privilege is still at a different level than those with multiple intersectionalities.
>> So two of the interesting different things, radical assault. (Pause), and everyone is asked for the Indian card, and that is not appropriate. Deaf people ask me for my Indian card and it's not appropriate! My Indian card is not for you. You have no permission to be asking me about my heritage. (Pause), I have an Indian card, yes, I have ‑‑ an ‑‑ a proof quote, so to speak, but I don't have to disclose my dirty laundry to you. And an Indian card is actually used for a specific purpose for medication, medication, or services ‑‑ I don't pull it out to show people to validate who I am in my history, people come up to me and ask me, do you have a card? And I think it's offensive. I just let you know right upfront, don't do it.
>> Right. It's the same way as people say, "You're not Deaf enough" why is it that they're doing the same thing, to other groups of people? I don't understand. I think it ‑‑ it's kind of treated in the same manner.
>> What does that even mean?
>>, yeah, yeah, or "you don't look Deaf" what? [LAUGHTER].
>> Back to the self‑oppression: Especially with sign language, having bias ‑‑ the English bias, projected onto others, projects onto others and can cause a lot of issues, for an individual, when they're constantly criticized and that can lean into self‑criticism as well. My course Deaf and disabled studies, encourages students to start... critical analysis, and, start an autobiography of themselves. (Pause), talking about their issues, how they feel being Deaf. And their disability. And all of that. Writing that down, and then rewrite it. From their first draft, look at it, write it again, take a step back, and see what is influencing the ‑‑ your view of yourself, and your life as a disabled Deaf person. And it's really important to have that self‑analysis, and I want my students to be able to embody that. Be able to critique themselves, as adults. Realizing that they have the tools, each of us have ‑‑ have the tools, our parents have helped us to get to where we are, but as an adult, we have this specific ‑‑ specific tools to help us get to the next level. Maybe our parents gave us some tools to help us analyze ourselves, maybe not; but in general, I think it's important for people to understand their own journeys, wherever they are, within that journey.
>> Okay. Anyone else have anything to at? To that question?
>> All good, thank you!
>> Okay. All right, great! (A pause).
>> AMELIA DALL: I'll move to the fifth QUESTION: How do we ensure the process of reframing is appropriate and recognize the work that is already being done? How do we make sure of that? >> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: This is Melanie, I guess it really depends on the group. We need to make sure that all these groups are included in this process, not just only white people speaking for the communities of color. A lot of problems with these writings and research that are available ‑‑ it's only from a white lens, you need to include these communities and make sure it's written from their lens. And they need to have a platform to tell their stories. You know, people come to me and ask me, like, "How would I teach Black Deaf individuals?" And I have to respect that that's not my place, they need to ‑‑ we need to give that question back, or send the question back to the appropriate community. We need to have respect for each other. For example, at the Conference for Interpreter Trainings there was a huge debacle about the word "POC" or ‑‑ we changed it to C3. C3. Which was circle of ‑‑ collaborative communities. CCC. Circle of collaborative communities. C3. That had more of a collective approach to things. Everyone showed up equitably to the table. And, at C3, we used a more inclusive approach. It is inclusive of Queer, it was inclusive of Black, and it was inclusive of Indigenous, and Indian, we all came together. With different perspectives. And we shared these perspectives and experiences among each other. We did not compete, whose experience is worse than another? That's one idea of ‑‑ what can be done. We could reframe this ASL culture and understand it's not one culture representative of everyone's experience. We can have a task force that could be brought together. And make changes in the face of who is ‑‑ who are Deaf people?
>> It's a lot of work! Wow! (Pause),.
>> It is. It is. We have got to break down the wall. We ‑‑ as white people, need to learn to accept, and, understand, and ‑‑ you know, that's ‑‑ it's not a bad thing, it's positive, to have everyone working together, to have that collaborative environment. To improve things for everyone. Rezenet?
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: I actually prefer the term BIPOC. My Dissertation ‑‑ in my dissertation, I could not use the term "BIPOC" because same as Melanie mentioned: There are many people who identify as Indigenous. And... maybe, faculty that are Deaf, that identify that way. The B and the I, doesn't really represent them. So... BIPOC ‑‑ was not the best term to use in my dissertation. (A pause),.
>> So I removed the word people, and substituted it with "students of color", or who the person was.
>> Dr. Rezenet Moges‑Riedel: Another issue that I had in writing is, whether it should be capitalized or ‑‑ or not. (Pause), if it's racial, it should be capitalized. But ‑‑ for white, it's not capitalized. But why is that the case? It's oppressive in a way, (pause),.
>> Right. I think Jewish, Irish, other identities, whiteness, in and of itself, is not an "ethnicity"... (pause), you can't ‑‑ have an issue about that, I mean, you already have white privilege; so,... another example I was just explaining it to my wife, recently, she was just shocked. So last week, I want to say ‑‑ we were on the train. Or I was on the train, (pause),.
>> I just had a question, wasn't going to buy a ticket or anything.
>> And the person just went off.
>> I had been waiting in line for a long time and this gentleman approached me and was angry and said, "I just want to ask a question!" He was trying to get in front of me, and I told him, "I'm trying to also just ask a question." And so... I really directed my attention to the person working there, and thinking, you know, you've seen that I'm in line. Here I am, I am a woman, I'm a person of color, and here this man comes in, and tries to get in front of me. I knew, I just felt ‑‑ that he was going to haul off and punch me. I had that feeling in my own safety, he was getting ‑‑ getting so angry and as I walked past him, I was thinking, "I'm so tired of this, but thank God I'm Deaf, and I don't have to hear what he is saying." I knew by people glances our way that he was probably saying something horrible; but, you know, I thought ‑‑ shit, I'm just going to have to walk right in front of him! I have no earthly idea what it is that he's saying, but that, again, he showed his white privilege by just inserting himself in front of the line, and trying to take ‑‑ take his place in front. And we experienced that type of thing, every day. I work at a university. It doesn't help me at all, I still experience those situations.
>>, you know, this ‑‑ exactly right. You know, a Black person gets upset and forget it. It becomes a whole situation. It becomes a whole situation.
>>, yeah, it's, like, we have to bring our own security team.
>> You know, they're going to call the manager over to the situation. (Laughing), you know? You know, for me a Black person, I can't ask for the manager. (Pause).
>> Right. That's definitely a position of privilege, to be able to ask for a manager like that.
>> So this is Melanie here.
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: I'm just curious, you know, after we brought up the term "BIPOC" for us Indigenous communities, we're not supportive of using the word "BIPOC" because that only applies to certain people. And their experience might be different. So Indigenous folks don't necessarily consider themselves BIPOC, because we always ‑‑ we already have a name, I am Cherokee, why are you adding in BIPOC to my identity? When I am certainly content with being Cherokee? So the Indian community has voted not to use that term. (Pause), so, every different community has their own term, and ‑‑ reason for using their ‑‑ naming their identities. You know, we're not just BIPOC, period. We have such diversity within the communities and we need to honor that. (Pause).
>> Yeah, and you want to include everyone, not just assign one term, that's going to be a blanket statement to describe everyone. David?
>> David Player: Yeah, for me, I typically write Black and Deaf. Or just Black. If you wanted to discuss LatinX or ‑‑ other communities, I prefer them to do that. You know? They have their life experience. So, they can identify themselves, however they prefer. Writing about a LatinX community, just ‑‑ that ‑‑ that doesn't make sense to me. Writing about the Cherokee community ‑‑ that is not something I would do. If it was a part of my culture, if it was a part of my identity absolutely, but as a Black man being Black and Deaf, then that's my realm of expertise. And I can ‑‑ and I can write about that. The term BIPOC ‑‑ it's not something I like to use either. (Pause), it's, actually, a trigger. I thought BIPOC meant...
>> Bisexual people of color. (Pause),.
>> Yeah, it was very confusing to me, and so now understanding it I don't even know who, actually, created the term. But, (pause), it still seems a bit oppressive; and, you know, I ‑‑ I still understand, (pause), everyone has their own preferences in that regard, and that's fine, but historically, politically, and policies and law they're all oppressive in one way or another; and so.... We all experience racism, yes. Again, Black racism shows up in every community. There's just differences that you can't apply one specific label for everyone. And you can't name everyone. So... that's just my perspective on that.
>> Absolutely agreed.
>>, yeah, that leads to this ‑‑ let's move on to the 7th question here on our list, and then after this question, we will take questions from the Participants!
>> AMELIA S. DALL, M.A., R.P.A.: So question 7: Says, why is it an important topic to discuss this publicly? And what kind of questions should we all be asking?
>> I think that's something that we already answered.
>> Is that a loaded question? [LAUGHTER].
>> So... so, you know, we should be asking, you know, should we talk about this in public? Are we expecting any backlash for raising these sensitivities? (Pause) ‑‑ are these topics considered controversial? You know, could people lose their jobs by naming these things?
>>, yeah, it's a high risk. The higher risk for people of color, for sure.
>> Yeah. Yeah, and I remember, I was watching.... A panel, led by.... Lindsey Dunn, I believe, it was at Gallaudet, and talking about ‑‑ something happened in 2007, and I was ‑‑ so I was watching this Panel, and I remember ‑‑ there was one Black Deaf individual who happened to mention that worked for Gallaudet but he was willing to take that risk and put these discussions out there. (Pause), there were a few students as well ‑‑ Asian individuals represented on the panel. Who were just willing to ‑‑ open up and throw this information out there. But, you know, again, it was very difficult because there was only a few Black ‑‑ little Black representation out there. You know, in the back of my head, I was wondering if there really ‑‑ you know, putting people on the spot, and, you know, as a graduate student the backlash I didn't really care about. But if you're talking about someone's work and their position, that gets a little bit more difficult to, actually, you know, add fuel to the fire.
>>, yeah, the roots haven't really taken form yet. There's a long history of people working, and slowly trying to change things, but they're worried about their position. My position at a university, what I say ‑‑ I'm not actually too concerned about the things that I say. But... I understand that everyone's watching; and so, there is some accountability there. (A pause),.
>> We all have bits and pieces of things that we remember, and things that will actually apply to our own lives, and ‑‑ and that's really for everyone.
>> People often ask us to present again afterwards, and then I feel like that whole experience may have just been useless. But, I want to refer to them, to someone who can do this, and has the energy to do this work. I'm willing to take that first step and put myself out there. But I do ‑‑ want my colleagues, you know, as ‑‑ you know, individuals mentioned, that, you know, the faculty at Gallaudet is a very small place, we have to understand that things go around very quickly there. You know, but a predominantly ‑‑ hearing ‑‑ predominantly‑hearing institution and a predominantly white institution has difference in sensitivity than Gallaudet, I work at a predominantly hearing institution but it is predominantly white, so there's much difference than what may be at Gallaudet University I do experience some isolation in that type of environment. At the same time,. You know, someone else at Gallaudet might be having a different ‑‑ don't have the isolation but they're still experiencing that risk.
>> Uh‑huh. Yeah, a tenured ‑‑ a tenured professor can't be fired anymore, so they can definitely be more bold. (Pause).
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: This is Melanie here, you know, many faculty of color may experience bullying, as compared to their white colleagues.
>> That is true, I've seen that. (Pause),.
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: You know, there's just not the collegial respect that we would expect.
>> Uh‑huh. Yeah, the higher you climb, you often have a higher risk of the backlash. You know, the higher you get to that ivory tower so to speak, you know, the more ‑‑ whiter, so to speak, that you become, about how you have to navigate the environment, but it also kind of puts a spotlight on you, and a very much closer eye to pay attention of what an individual is doing. (Pause),.
>> Great. This has been great, let's take some questions from the audience, but before I do....
>> AMELIA DALL: Do all of you have access to see the questions? (Sound of click), all of you on the panel? Okay. The first question, says as we continue reframing ourselves to this society, are there any thoughts, and views on ASL and English as opposed to Deaf and Hard‑of‑Hearing? It's that first highlighted phrase, right there. I'm letting the panelists know, if you want to see that typed out. Are there any thoughts or views on ASL and English, as opposed to Deaf and Hard‑of‑Hearing?
>> I'm not sure that the ‑‑ what the question means,.
>> Yeah, we need some clarification.
>> Is this related to identity?
>> I'm unsure as well.
>> If you mean, like, replacing one for the other or what exactly are we asking here? This is Amelia, as we think of reframing ourselves to society, it looks like something is being added here. One moment. Go ahead, Melanie.
>> (Pause), Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: I see how this is being defined as very binary. You're either this or you're that. And that's it. And that is extremely problematic, if you're using an anthropological ‑‑ anthropologic view. You know, for example, an Indigenous communities, we have four views, as I mentioned, we have, you know, the hearing English world. We have white ASL. We have Indian sign language, and then we have Indian hearing spoken language. So there is no binary for the Indigenous community. We have four. Some individuals ‑‑ some communities have six; for example, some people are Black and Indigenous. So now they have six different frameworks to kind of work through.
>> That makes sense.
>> So what the problem is with people ‑‑ Deaf culture is only looking at a binary frame. It's either this or that and that's not how it works.
>> And this is very white‑based as well, that binary system because you're ‑‑ and white communities, it's English and ASL.
>> Right. Language must be this or that. Why not can it be Indian sign language? Why not can it be Indian spoken language?
>> Right and B.A. SL as well.
>> Spoken English, right. (Pause),.
>> And then it's also missing the var ‑‑ various racial groups, classism, it's ‑‑... (a pause), it's rejecting ‑‑ or not focusing on location, either, Florida has Cubans, and various nationalities within their particular state so it's also not including those in there either. (Pause),.
>> Right. Okay.
>> Interesting discussion happening!
>>, yeah, I'm seeing text moving around here on the document. I'm referring to. Let me see here.... I see a question, my question is as an interpreter and a former social worker ‑‑ is prejudice taught at home from parents? Or learned in school from teachers? (A pause), prejudice. Yeah, is prejudice taught in the home? Or is it learned from teachers, and in schools?
>> I would say society as a whole. If you haven't learned it from your parents, or your peers, or your church ‑‑ a combination of all of these things, media ‑‑ media, specifically, oofff! Extremely powerful. Extremely powerful. So, we could have a whole other conversation, specifically on media, we don't even have enough time specifically for that conversation. But literature as well. It's taught in literature as well. And ‑‑ and, you know, students take that in. So, I would say, society as a whole, really teaches prejudice. (Pause),.
>> Go ahead, Melanie.
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: You know, I was work with Deaf language mentors, and we would go to homes. Of different people of color. Sometimes it would be a LatinX home, sometimes it would be a Black family's home. Sometimes an Indian person's home. And the person who would go to these homes is a white person. You know, because they need more training to work with diverse communities. You know, they're doing these home visits and they want to make sure they are ‑‑ you know, for example, a reading program, and they want to make sure they are fitting with these cultures, so they need to have these trainings before they become a mentor. And I am looking at these group of mentors, and 95% of these mentors are white. And I think ‑‑ maybe, one or two Black individuals, and, but majority were white. And now, I'm thinking about suppose you ‑‑ I had a white person come to my home, I would not be comfortable, I would not be comfortable with that. We need a lot of changes. (Pause), we need to just really tear things down and start over and make some changes, there is many, many, accommodations that need to be made in terms of interpreter training, training Deaf mentors; there's a ‑‑ across the board we just need to make some significant changes. (Pause).
>> Rezenet, go ahead. No ‑‑ David, I want you to say what you want to say first.
>> David: Yeah, it applies to what I was just saying about what we were just saying ‑‑ about ‑‑ (a pause), people, in general, and the various levels, I guess. (Pause), universities, have a small ‑‑ number of diversity ‑‑ grad school is even smaller. Ph. D.'s, are ‑‑ are even smaller ‑‑ so in comparison to the white demographic, it's ‑‑ it's not even a real comparison, I mean, the numbers are staggering, so... that's another issue.
>> I am ‑‑ teach at Gallaudet, and I appreciate seeing new, future, ASL teachers. So I teach in the ASL and teaching program. You'll see these learning specialists ‑‑ some of them are working ‑‑ for Advocacy at the state level, for sign language, to be recognized in school policy. There are people going out to work in different fields. We have courses that really have them navigate through different stereotypes, prejudices, and they're forced to really look into themselves, and assess their own selves. You know, David mentioned about media ‑‑ and how important that is. And I think about that with, like, a children's book, who are they using to use sign language in those children's books?
>> Right. Because we're seeing ‑‑ we want to see representation of disability, of ethnicity. And they may see something in ASL, which is ‑‑ could be great; but what about it being signed by a variety of different types of people? It would be nice to have a hub of signed translations from different peoples. I know CDMA has started their own program, putting things in Spanish and sign language, I would like to see more, with various ethnic identities and people groups so that people can see themselves represented, so if an ASL specialist comes to the school, they may not connect, specifically, with that specialist, but they can use media, they can connect with a more broad range of people, by connecting through media and seeing themselves, represented. So I think there are a lot of people who don't have a privilege to ‑‑ to travel all the way to a Deaf school, to attend, that school. (Spanish: Casa de manos), because of different laws that have been passed, the schools are spread out, there have not been as many, so I think about interpreters as well, in mainstream settings ‑‑ those interpreters are the language models of those students, so where did that interpreter graduate? How does that interpreter identify? All of that, influences the way that Deaf child thinks as they grow up and they're learning from who they're around, but it has to start as early as pre‑K, and kindergarten. They need to start learning about race, at that point. They can't wait until they're older. So I think it's important to focus on children's books. Children's literature. ‑‑ and, really start them young for that. (Pause).
>> Great point! It takes an entire team for sure.
>>, yes, it does. Melanie?
>> Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody: I do want to ‑‑ you know, talk about the ASL curriculum signing naturally, they most recently started to pull in people of color to be representative in their materials. But still, the signing is very white in its ASL representation. They don't have signers of color that are signing in their ‑‑ in their ethnic way ‑‑ it's very, a white presentation of ASL, there's no Black sign language, there's no Indigenous sign language, there's no LatinX sign language represented. (Pause).
>> Right. Deaf signers don't all use ASL.
>> Right, and we can't forget, a lot of regional signs, too, there are a lot of differences there. (Pause), maybe one area we'll look at in New Mexico, there are a lot of variations and regional signs there, specifically; so have those been documented? And put in the educational books out there?
>>, yeah, not yet.
>> You know. ... yeah, to show children that there's not a right or wrong. You know, I think about the sign for "mustard" I've seen that in Idaho and that sign is my favorite, that's how Idaho signs mustard in the state of Idaho! I love that sign! But it's definitely regional and those should be documented, different types of sign language regional, and cultural and things like that; so absolutely, those need to be documented. (Pause).
>> There's just gaps. It's missing the culture, it's missing the rural experience. You know, some of the things in ‑‑ signing naturally, maybe correlate to California signs but not what is is representative of the entire country. (Pause), you know, maybe they have some old signs that are not represented in there as well. That could be included. They could add to, for example, tobacco or, you know, tobacco is signed two different ways, but that's not represented in there. You know, maybe in the ‑‑ a farm setting, you know, we have plow, or the sign for truck, which is not represented in there. Those are the type of signs that might be used in rural areas that I could, you know, I see in my area, and I feel like should be included, but when I teach using these materials, I have to always identify that there is not representation of where we are; so, for example, we be a sign for handsome, this is a sign for handsome, it's not my sign, it's interesting, but this is the sign for handsome, and I never see that in the curriculum.
>> I like that!
>> Similar to ‑‑ I remember in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the residential school there, a lot of people would sign birthday like this.... (A pause).
>> Uh‑huh, I've seen that one!
>> I sign birthday like ‑‑
>> That's my sign!
>> Yeah, so, yeah, those regional differences are definitely there. (Pause), I think there's ‑‑ this is an older sign for birthday too. Yeah,.
>> Yeah, that's real English, too.
>> Yeah, seeing the sign there. But, again, are they documented? And why aren't they if they aren't? (Pause), instead of criticizing everyone saying your sign is wrong, mine is right. We need to really take stock of those differences and preserve them. In some form.
>> Completely agreed! (After a pause), okay, let me look here.... Oh! I'm trying to identify what question we can look at next.
>> Oh, there's so many. There's so many!
>>, yeah, (laughing) there are too many, I don't know what to ‑‑ what to look at first.
>> You said the two names there.
>> Yeah, you want to take that question that says for David?
>> Just answer that question, but let me read that first, David. It says, this question is for David, it makes me think, if they call.... Deaf people ‑‑ are conservative because it's still ‑‑ very white‑based. What are your thoughts about that? About conservative.
>> Hmmm. From the perspective of Black history, conservatives and liberals... have always had issues,.
>> They both accuse, like, Dr. King as being liberal. (Pause).
>> Conservatives being against Black people, and that idea ‑‑ (pause), there's definitely more to it than just what's on the surface, I would say. (Pause),.
>> Right. It's the white definition.
>> White supremacy embedded in this line of thinking; and, no one's thinking about the why behind it. Is it because, you know, Black people were not supported to learn, or continue their education? Do they consider Black education less than white people's education? You know, if we look at historically‑Black institutions and the resources, and individuals' opportunity to excel, we really need to.... Look at how these experiences have been marginalized. So we're looking at predominantly white institutions, they Traditionally marginalize Black people or other people of color, and it's really ‑‑ it's important to step back and ask why, and we need to look at the oppression, (pause), and take a good look at that marginalization, is that marginalization, considered quote/unquote conservative? I'm not sure that's the right word you know?
>> They sugar‑coat it.
>> Conservative sugar coat way of saying something else of saying white supremacy, specifically.
>> Okay. Let me look at another question, about reframing, power, and how it ‑‑ how it tells us, the ‑‑ they intend to use their power in.... Reframing, as we go through this process. Okay, BIPOC people can say all.... Members ‑‑ here, I'm trying to ‑‑ I'm trying to follow this. Let me find the ‑‑ the question.
>> We just talked about that. We just talked about that. (Pause).
>> Oh, really? Is that what we just now did?
>>, yeah, Lindsay just asked that. Uh‑huh.
>> Okay. Oh, I see here, it says, we BIPOC can say all we want that we don't have power to actually shift racial or privileged paradigms, unfortunately. For instance, what does the NAD, actually, intend to do in this reframing process?
>> Right on point!
>>, yeah, ‑‑ I did in the very beginning ask what was the purpose of this panel. What did we hope to accomplish from this? I mean, NAD hosting this, there's a bunch of different organizations, but, NAD they could talk about anything, why was this the ‑‑ why were they hosting this specific event? And Melanie being involved, I felt, okay,... it being.
>> Deaf History Month (laughing),.
>> Perhaps NAD was thinking how they can reframe themselves.
>> You have to look to the NAD for the answer for that, because I'm not the person who is responsible to answer for them.
>> And I'm just going to throw this out there: You know, first, I did say no. To being on this panel, because honestly I just didn't have the time. I had my classes. And then once those are over, I said, okay, (pause), and so.... You know, ‑‑ NAD has banned Black Deaf people from participating in activities in the past. Of being members in the past, so I really had to take a look at the ‑‑ at the ‑‑ that wasn't so long ago. Maybe seven years ago, eight years ago?
>>, yeah, seven years!
>> And so now, we have to really take a look at NAD, and ‑‑ look at their efforts on inclusivity, and leadership. Who's involved? And who they're supporting? It is ‑‑ is that aligned with what their goals? I don't know, is that the type of effort we want to see? I don't know.
>> Look at who is on the board, who is on staff?
>> Right. Look at who is at the top.
>> And this type of panel discussion, are we hosting it often enough? (Pause).
>> 2015 until now? I mean, I mean, 2015 they were banning Black members and here we are now, I don't know. (Pause), we have to really look at the policies and practices, today, you know, this has been an ongoing issue, this is an ongoing issue.
>> And there's definitely trauma associated with it.
>> And we have to look at ‑‑ is NAD supporting NBDA? Is there enough support there? Is there enough investment there?
>> I know that NBDA was going through some financial struggles and needed some assistance, to kind of regroup, and ‑‑ but... (a pause),.
>> And NAD did help them with that.
>> I was recently the President for one of the Chapters in Southern California, for the chapter in southern California; and there's other chapters that are popping up ‑‑ in other states, so we are growing. And we're thankful for that. Contribution and assistance, and we're hoping to be more visible. Moving forward.
>> And that should have happened 20 years ago. 50 years ago (laughing) 100 years ago.
>> (Pause), understood, I mean, from my knowledge ‑‑ I don't know about all the things that happened prior to my involvement. But we're trying now.
>> It's a start.
>> So we also want to look at how NAD's treated Indigenous people. And Indian people. And it hasn't been good, honestly. You know, looking at my own experience, they vite they invited me to serve on a committee, I experienced such oppression that I had to back out, and I have been engaged with NAD since, because of that specific traumatic experience. You know, a few Indian people have told me, "Yeah, I'm involved", and I said, "You know, what? That's a token opportunity, because they were careful about who they selected because those individuals may be standing alone, and not collectively with the community ‑‑ so the NAD needs to pay attention who who they're picking and stop oppressing native people.
>> And NAD members are mostly white, to my knowledge, primarily white.
>> Are we going to the conference this summer, and I will keep my eye out to see.
>> Do your statistics.
>> That's right, I'll be taking notes!
>> Need that number clicker.
>> Honestly, NAD, needs to have it spelled out. We need to have those numbers, in a graph, ready to share.
>> And they need to not lie. It needs ‑‑
>> Really authentic information.
>> Right. It's mostly white members, and white staff, I believe. Mostly a white board as well.
>> I just realized that I ‑‑ I've mentioned a lot of organizations. But.
>> And there are too many organizations out there.
>> I want to get involved, but at the same time, I want to focus my energy in areas, where I want to devote my time. You know, sometimes they want to ask people of color to be involved in these national‑level opportunities, but instead, we really want to focus our energy to the local community and so we can invest in our own communities. ‑‑
>> Uh‑huh. Focus on growing ‑‑ or the ‑‑ larger organizations should honestly, know better. They should have done this work, like David was saying, years and years ago, decades ago. So I definitely can understand that perspective. Let me look here, at another question.
>> I hope this could be the last one, maybe?
>> Sure. Let's see, it's 40 after the hour, I think we have time for another question, right? Another question or so, one question for you, Melanie, that I see here. Says, Native American Indian sign language, is that a heritage language?
>> Yes. It's called ISR. Indigenous transmission. There are Deaf individuals who do pass on the language but not all communities.
>> Okay, interesting. Let me see here... what are your thoughts on.... Antibias programs and trainings? Offered by.... Schools for the Deaf, like, CEASD and Fremont for example.
>> I am not familiar with that.
>>, yeah, I'll reread the question, what are your thoughts on antibias programs and training that are offered by California school for the Deaf, Fremont, and other organizations.
>> I really can't speak to what these programs may be, because I need to see what they're, actually, offering in terms of their trainings so I can't really comment on that. I'm not sure, I don't know, (a pause).
>> Sometimes it just depends on who is running the program,.
>> The practitioners, (pause),.
>> I mean, how many Deaf schools are there out there? So...
>> We need the antiblackness training, antiother types of oppression that happen, we need all of those trainings, and like Melanie had mentioned, there isn't just one standard way to do those trainings, depending on where the bias lies, so my question would be why now? You know, it's, like, # Blacklivesmatter happened, and then everyone wanted to get on board and start doing diversity and inclusion, and I feel like now it's just ‑‑ the work needs to be done, by by who? And those students are seeing what others are going through, they're seeing ‑‑ are they seeing curriculum changes? And systemic changes? I think that's what will be important (pause), I was asked by one particular school for the Deaf ‑‑ I won't name who it is, but, when they asked me, I mentioned that it just takes so much from me, to deal with white tears and white fragility.
>> And to have all the white people involved come back to me with their reasons why certain things have happened. And I don't ‑‑ I don't have time. And it's so I think about the practitioners who have to work in those programs, it saps us of so much of our energy, and our ‑‑ our emotions and so, even just providing that one time, I just can't imagine providing a training like that on an ongoing basis. There is one university that had a diversity, and equity position ‑‑ available. And they met with students and made sure the students were comfortable; that the faculty were comfortable; and that's years and years. And so I think about these types of programs, not being short‑lived, but being ongoing. And, we have to look at the faculty, administration, teachers, and look at the spaces, in general. It's not safe, whenever there's just a short‑lived, antibias training and then we're done. Those power dynamics can be really ‑‑ can really throw things off for a lot of reasons. Antibias training ‑‑ is years and years of ‑‑ of personal work, of unpacking it's not a ‑‑ a quick resolution. (Pause).
>> Right. And it's not something that can be done in one to five years; it's a process.
>> 16 ‑‑ 18, 19, yeah, you know, ‑‑
>> It's not one year.
>> Really, all of us are just exhausted. (Pause), like, I said, there are people ‑‑ lining up to ask me to do things, and, you know, I'm ‑‑ involved with an advisory board, I think we ‑‑ on 5 or 6 Advisory Boards, and it's a lot, and they're begging me, I wish there were other Deaf Indians and have positionality to be able to spread themselves like that. But not everyone has that. Sometimes, I have to just tell people, to hold on, because I need to focus on my writing. I need to submit publications. I want to make sure this information gets out there.
>> And you have to have your personal time, too, for your mental health and your own ‑‑ your own time and space.
>> And I want to say there were other people out there.
>>, yeah, that's ‑‑ that's a big piece of my dissertation. (Pause), racial battle, fatigue. Is how Smith termed that. And for Deaf people of color, I see it as racial audist, linguistic battle fatigue, so there are all of these layers that we're working with. We're so busy fighting for justice, do we have time to publish works on this topic and also time to be there for our families? It's something I don't feel good about. Because I feel like I have to contribute just a small part of myself, to each of these areas. I don't have time to invest my full self. It's tiring work. (Pause),.
>> Okay, the next question is for the panel, what do you want to see from NAD after this webinar? (Pause), should we ‑‑ should there be a deadline given so that action is, actually, taken?
>> Like I said, we're already exhausted!
>> Limited resources out there.
>> Just Google Black writers, there's plenty of information on the Internet, you can Google LatinX writers on the Internet, there's no reason to rely on us, you have your computer, your computer is your best friend, love it. You've got your phone, love it. Look it up yourself. ‑‑ technology is your best friend. You have the tools.
>> I have a question for you David, you mentioned about NAD's apology to you in ‑‑ to NBDA, the national Black Deaf community, how many people saw that apology?
>> David: I have to ‑‑ you know, it is really ‑‑ has really dug deep way behind there. I had to do some digging to even find it. That acknowledgment.
>> And Melanie, what are you wanting from this? Out of NAD ‑‑ I was going to say ‑‑ NAD, (laughing), I was starting to use the wrong acronym, from NAD? To ensure that they're doing more for Indigenous people? I'm curious to know that. (Pause), I think it's a lot. There's a lot of history, there's so much history, that I don't even know how we begin to name what could be done.
>> That's a big ‑‑ that's a big bite of a humongous elephant! I think NAD needs to step back, and listen, that's first and foremost, important step. (Pause), I can ‑‑ they need to listen to people, as community members, not tokenize individuals who are going to concede to their frame of mind. Turtle island, they have many members with diverse backgrounds, my plate is full, I have many plates that are full, I have too many potatoes on my plate. I have no butter for my potatoes that are on my plate. So turtle island Hancock has individuals that can bring experience in, consult with NAD, perhaps they want to set up a task force, to figure out how they can have that personal growth, and learn from individuals. They can also figure out how they can give back to the communities, give back to the Black communitiess, to the Indigenous communities, take advantage of those opportunities that are out there because there are many.
>> NAD did apologize, but....
>> But at that point no one had seen it. It was ‑‑ was it offered in sign language? Where was it shown?
>> (Pause) and this ‑‑ nothing for Indigenous people. (Pause), so, yeah, there's work to do. Maybe a little has been done, but, we'll see what happens. (Pause), you know, ‑‑ nothing has happened since, (pause),.
>> Actions speak louder than words. Yeah, signs speak louder than words. [LAUGHTER]
>> right. Right. There's a section I'm wondering about, under "accountability", that must be taken in this certain topic. I'm wondering about that. The diversity issue. Are they ‑‑ is NAD responsible to meet a particular quota, or standard? Okay, I'm seeing the answer. So maybe that could be something where ‑‑ there could be a responsibility, to cover that issue. . NAD could look at their hierarchy and see who serves there and there could be the section of Deaf culture and history, of this section within NAD. They could be identifying, you know, people of color. They could be choosing those people.
>> The three of us people of color right now. (Pause),.
>> Yeah. Right. We would need to make sure, looking at all the people in those positions, that there are enough people, but who, where would that responsibility lie to choose those people? Sometimes I feel like it's a broken record, but Deaf people of color are worn out. And, white people need to take the lead in some of these areas, but, we need to look at whose eyes can be on what is being done by white people. It ‑‑ the load can be shared. So that it's not all on one person to have that responsibility. [PAUSE].
>> Right my tenure ends this July, so what's next? I need everyone out here to apply. If you know anyone, you know, ask people in your communities, come on. Let them know that there's opportunity available. You know, in the past two years, it's been a lot of hard work. And we're the one trying to push for this change to happen. You know, we have Deaf History Month coming up, but we don't want these discussions only to happen in that short time frame, we need to focus on, you know, all these events. And, you know, talk about the white privilege of these events, of DPN. Of the ‑‑ establishment of NAD. As well as when Gallaudet was ‑‑ signed in as a university. You know, any institution, needs to be looking at these ‑‑ as ‑‑ these events not only as the only representation of Deaf history, but there is a wide variety of people that can be represented in the month of Deaf history. You know, last February, we did have some changes that happened, we did make that move to push Deaf History Month, you know, we're still slowly trying to ‑‑ it's been two years, and we've been trying to make these changes. But, again, we're ‑‑ we're accepting that we have to push things ‑‑ push things off and just move along, truck along slowly. It is work, it's work and I'm just saying, to put it out there and I am inviting other people to be part of their work. I am going to be finishing this July, and I invite you, or anyone you may know, to please consider applying, to do this type of work. (Pause), you know, because this really is about you, the community.
>> I think I'm going to go ahead and answer one more question, because we have ten minutes left. (Pause), I think we'll turn back to maybe one of the NAD questions, No. 8, if you can see.
>> So do you feel like this panel discussion is a productive way to approach these topics? Or do you feel like it's not the most efficient way to address these topics? This is the last question, No. 8.
>> David, here. Again, like I said before, actions speak louder than signs. So, we'll see what happens from it. Let me see. A lot of people talk, we've got the timer on, let's see what happens.
>>, yeah, and during Blacklivesmatter, during the # movement, we saw a lot of people getting on the bandwagon, lots of things happening in Zoom, I didn't ‑‑ ever have an opportunity to watch a lot of those, so I saw ‑‑ I saw some panels, and I would like to learn more about each individual ‑‑ whenever ‑‑ whenever I watch a panel, it's opportunity to learn more. Say, whenever I watch something with a Deaf panel, I hadn't seen those opportunities before. But these opportunities are here, and I see people that I ‑‑ I can tell, are in this with me; but there's a real lack of representation. Of DeafBlind, Deaf disabled, Deaf LatinX, Deaf Asian people ‑‑ and so I just feel like we're not all the way there yet. I mean, you know, there are other panels, there are other panels that have happened since the Blacklivesmatter movement. A lot of people say, you know, I didn't even know, I didn't see this e‑mail that came out. So I think some things are only sent to a specific group of people who get the information. What about everyone else? What about the rest of the people?
>>, yeah, a specific organization, those are the ones, so do you have to be a member to be invited to those particular conversations? Yeah.
>> Right. And when members are mostly white who is that sent to? So it's a narrow audience.
>> And I just want to add, you know, ‑‑ you know, who they're inviting, you know, they're inviting well‑known people. I mean,... I became, you know, well‑known because of an article I published. But what about the other people in our communities? You know, ‑‑ just because they're not well‑known doesn't mean they're not carrying ‑‑ really heavy ‑‑ rich experiences that other people could benefit from.
>> And just to let you know, I'm actually the one who did call you guys out to want to be a part of this Panel; so I've ‑‑ because I've seen your work, and ‑‑ and.
>> I take my job seriously, so I sought the 3 of you out specifically.
>> Okay. I gotcha, I gotcha, that's fine. Absolutely. But, again, the point is, going forward, we need a better representation from different people in our communities. To represent a wide range of experiences, from our communities. This is a good start. But, again, there are more, plenty of opportunities out there that would just be ‑‑ that would be great. (A pause), I mean, why didn't you ask Nile?
>> He might not say much.
>> We need to bring him in and have a discussion, but that's not going to happen.
>> That's expensive! A couple of thousand dollars to get him in here, I don't know. (Pause), $15,000 specifically, actually, 15,000.
>> That can be ‑‑ go back, that money can be invested in the community, you know, his heart is in the community, they said, he could be here.
>> Melanie, do you have anything to add?
>> I'm sorry, my eyes are over here on the chat box, there's a lot of information, really a lot of good information, not in the Q&A, but over here in the chat box, I am just ‑‑ looking at all these comments. (Dr. Melanie McKay‑Cody).
>> Oh, no! (Laughing) okay, David, left, I think it was accidental. I hope it was accidental. (Pause), but that's okay. (Pause),.
>> Thank you, so much, Amelia for this opportunity, definitely appreciate it.
>> Thank you, oh, there you are.
>> Sorry I clicked the wrong button! [LAUGHTER], it's, actually, good timing because it's time for us to close out anyway, so you left right on time ‑‑ no, I want to thank you, thank you, so much, for giving us your time. The education you've given us, it has been so beneficial. And it's such a huge part of Deaf history, and culture, and that's why we're recording this. And why we will put this in the history and in our culture books. So thank you for being here! And this is David, I expect my check soon! Yeah,
>> Amelia, I hope you're able to save some of the comments in the chat, because there's really good information there.
>> Amelia: I do, I think the chat is included in the recording if I remember right. I'm not 100% sure how it works.
>> How do we access the recording?
>> We'll be sending it out, hopefully, soon, to everyone, not just those who are here. But, I'll definitely make sure that you get the recording.
>> Okay, thank you.
>> Thank you so much for your time, everyone! >> Thank you.
>> Thank you, bye‑bye!
- Our webinars are intended to be a safe, secure, and learning environment for all participants with the purpose of encouraging productive discussions
- All participants are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner, and to show respect to everyone at all times without any form of harassment.
- The NAD does not tolerate harassment of any kind, including but not limited to: race, national origin, age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, religion, or political affiliation. The NAD reserves the right to expel any person who engages in violations of this conduct policy, and also reserves the right to ban such person from future events. No refunds will be given to any person who has been expelled from the conference for violating this conduct policy.
- Anyone can report harassment or inappropriate conduct. If any person’s behavior has made you uncomfortable, or if you witness inappropriate conduct towards someone else, please immediately contact any staff or security affiliated with the NAD.