Saturday, April 28, 2012

AFA's letter to HuffPost - video performers' non-ASL

Greetings Kia:

We are writing to go on the record that Audism Free America* objects to the mangling, mislabeling, and misrepresentation of American Sign Language by the video performers Mark Nakhla and company.  (see  Huffington post's writer, Crystal Bell, mistakenly praised their videos when she has no qualification to judge the quality of their ASL performance.  When members of the Deaf community commented about this inaccuracy, Mark and others dismissed and diminished ASL and Deaf culture even further. 

We are grateful that the Huffington Post has now done a follow up article and has just, good and right quotes from NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum.  (see  We are also pleased to know that Huffington Post will reach out to the NAD or other reputable Deaf ASL organizations in the future as needed.  We hope you will consider carrying articles by Deaf writers in the future. 

We very much appreciated when the Huffington Post carried the video clip of President Obama signing "thank you" to a Deaf student after he had signed "I'm proud of you" to the president.  Such positive and accurate representation of ASL and Deaf culture to the wider public is desirable and needed.

We wish you all the best with your future endeavors and look forward to more positive and just posts about ASL, Deaf ethnicity, and social justice from the Huffington Post in the future.

Let Freedom Roll,

Patti Durr, Karen Christie, and Ruthie Jordan on behalf of AFA

*Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots Deaf activist organization in the US, which advocates for Deaf American rights, cultural resurgence, and seeks primarily to challenge the ideological foundations of audism in America. Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life. AFA is committed to: 1. human and linguistic rights of Deaf people 2. unmasking audism and media misrepresentation 3. advocating for future generations