Hearing World Still Sides with Fernandes

Thanks to my friend and colleague who tipped me off to this poll and its accompanying article: Gallaudet Dumps Incoming President – AOL News

After my friend voted today shortly after noon, he wrote:

What do you think of the school’s decision to fire its incoming president?
It seems unfair 46%
It seems fair 30%
Not sure 24%
Total Votes: 13,115

OK, so again, not a scientific poll and most of these people responding are, of course, hearing and have little to no knowledge of Deaf culture. Just thought I’d share the thoughts of a few (thousand) others.

I was one of the 30% who said is seems fair, though I wish they had a column that said, “Just but long overdue.”

I just voted now after 6 PM MST (“It seems fair,” of course) and sadly, the results were still exactly the same:

What do you think of the school’s decision to fire its incoming president?
It seems unfair 46%
It seems fair 30%
Not sure 24%
Total Votes: 41,911

It’s hard to believe that the percentages of the three answers would be exactly the same after 41,911 votes as they were after 13,115 votes, but I guess it’s possible.

I think this poll, along with the media coverage of the Gallaudet protest, shows that the hearing world just doesn’t get what’s going on in the deaf world. Sad to say, even a large percentage of the ASL interpreters I’ve spoken with over the past couple of months have been supportive of Fernandes. They rely on what they hear and see in the “news.” Heck, I was even supportive of Fernandes when I first saw the story breaking on the news last May. She did a bang-up job of selling a one-sided story to the media, and the media did a lousy job of reporting the real issues.

A whole book could be written about the failure of the media to listen to, understand, and report the real and complex issues at Gallaudet. I don’t know whether I’m the person to write that book, but I hope someone does.

Fellow ASL interpreters, please take the time to learn about the issues at stake here. We work in the deaf world, and having a clear understanding of the cultural implications of the Gallaudet leadership crisis and the faculty, staff, student and alumni protest should be “required reading” for anyone in our field.

And if you feel disserved by the media, let them know they let you down! I took NPR to task for their role in disinforming the public regarding Gallaudet. Write a letter to those media channels who disinformed you and the rest of the hearing world. I, for one, am tired of how ill-informed the world is about deaf people, sign language, and the work we do as interpreters. It’s up to us to do something about it.

Author: Daniel Greene

I facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people, and I teach people American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting. Apart from doing the work I love, my greatest joys are family & friends, entertainment, food, photography, and travel.

2 thoughts on “Hearing World Still Sides with Fernandes”

  1. I completely agree with you. I’m a first year student in an interpreter preparation program and am just getting exposed to the deaf community. The coverage on the Gallaudet story was horrible. I asked many of my hearing friends about it and most had never even heard of Gallaudet. It’s just an outrage. I was trying to keep up with everything going on during the protest, but so much of it was posted in ASL, so it was hard to share with my hearing friends. The poll that you posted shows it all. It’s just sad. The hearing community just isn’t being given all of the information they need to make informed decisions.

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