Thursday, April 09, 2009

Audists or Audism Behavior? (Part II of II)

Thoughts (not entirely a summary but reflections):

As we are in the process of discussing the meaning of audism and to describe, not necessarily to label with haste, the common situations that many Deaf people have experienced because of their deafness, situations arise such as thinking that Deaf people shouldn’t drive and shouldn’t be a head of an industry. It even happens at home when experiencing dinner table quiet moments with families that don’t use ASL or even any sorts of manual communication modes. This is when we can easily identify or describe a situation that is associated to audism.

It is true that we cannot communicate at all without some level of conceptualizing or labellings of the world around us. When I say the word 'audism or audists,' it covers an incredible diversity of different forms of situations. I am still only able to describe general features seen amongst that type of behavior, however, the label is not sufficient to describe an audist or an audism behavior (or in that case audist behavior).

Questions are raised to discuss different case scenarios whether if it is a case of audism.

Crucial elements to make it audism free for every Deaf child are also discussed.

To see video comments, click here.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Audists or Audism Behavior? (Part I of II)

This is a part one of two vlog to discuss about my experiences encountering several ignorant hearing people who made statements that exhibit audism behavior. Discussion takes place by looking at situations on how we are to deal with these kinds of audism behavior and how are we to describe situations by identifying the behavior rather than labeling the individuals audists. To see more video comments, click here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Evidence of Audism Behavior from AGB and Ways to Combat Audism


This vlog focuses on the evidence of audism behavior by AGBell and how we all have agreed to stop audism but may have different ideas to do it. It is so important to recognize that there is no one right way to do it as it requires multi-approaches to combat audism.

The past and recent actions of AG Bell who pressured the media about not showing sign language in TV is an obvious case of audism even linguicism as they feared that exposing sign language will prevent Deaf children from obtaining speech skills. We know better now what they said was a myth that more and more bilingual programs are found to be beneficial for all Deaf children including those who wear cochlear implant that they are able to master in both languages. There are findings that kids who are bilingual have higher cognitive scores and that use of signs are proven for hearing babies to have higher I.Q. scores.

Also that there are more research articles proving that there is no empirical evidence that using signs will harm English development (literacy and speech). The telegram from AG Bell to NBC back in 1966 said:

"Continuing to display sign language on nationwide TV destroys the efforts of thousands of parents of deaf children and teachers of the deaf who are trying to teach deaf children to speak."

Thanks to Amy Cohen Efron from her blog as you can click here to see the documents.

The recent letter to Pepsi is more of labeling those who use sign language are "isolated" from the rest of society.

See quote:

"Your advertisement perpetuates a common myth that all people who are deaf can only communicate using sign language and are, therefore, isolated from the rest of society."

For more information, click here.

The Deaf community deserves to "hear" AG Bell's apology for their audism behavior not only because of these letters but for not sharing the truth how there were many Oral survivors being affected by AG Bell's ideology. They just bury and hide these stories as they don't tell the parents the whole truth. We are not going to take it anymore. Enough is enough!

In the end of the vlog, the topic was to recognize that we all share a common goal which is to combat audism but there are different perspectives on how to do it. I strongly believe that it will be much more effective if we support in unity that we recognize that any ways whether there are groups or individuals going out there to campaign the social awareness of audism or going out there to educate the public about ASL, there is no ONE way to do it.

To see more coments via video, click here.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Make Yourself Heard to AG Bell! How? Check this out!

Go to this website to have access to express your thoughts to AG Bell thanks to The Center for Disability Rights. There you will see a pre-written letter that you can simply add, edit or revise using your own words and click the sent button that will either email or fax to AG Bell office. Here is my sample paragraph in red of my own words to make it more personal. The rest was pre-written by CDR. Let's make yourself heard!

I am a concerned citizen who is aware of the meeting that took place the morning of April 2 between yourselves and the grassroots Deaf activists’ organization known as Audism Free America (AFA).

American Sign Language is the most accessible, preferred language of communication for thousands of Deaf people in America today. It allows young Deaf children to bridge English more effectively through reading, writing and even speech. As an educator of the Deaf who works in a bilingual field, I have seen a huge progress made among Deaf children who are in bilingual programs that they are able to achieve a complete foundation of both languages. I also have two Deaf children who are currently in their pre-teens and they have exceeded beyond their academic level. It is not only about having both languages but identity and self-esteem that they can feel positive being Deaf. Your letter to Pepsi is very offensive to me and my family that you labeled these ASL users isolated in society just simply they cannot speak. Well, I've got news for you, there is no such thing that ASL users use ASL only as they know and use English. Your letter is nothing but demeaning and degrading to the Deaf community.

Audism Free America represents the idea that is shared by Deaf from across the country – that Deaf have the right to use and preserve American Sign Language. They understand that individuals have the right to choose for themselves a method of communication other than the language of ASL. That being said, a Deaf individual who chooses to use American Sign Language as opposed to the auditory/oral method of communication promoted by your organization should not be portrayed as inferior or substandard in comparison.

What I am asking of you is to please seriously consider the demands of AFA. Firstly, to retract the letter that was sent by your organization in January of 2008 to Pepsi. Within that letter, you urge Pepsi to “develop some creative ideas to promote other facets of the deaf community and to highlight positive role models who have met the challenges of this condition and thrived using spoken language.” Instead of promoting the interests of all the diversity within the deaf community, you have promoted the ideas your agency represents. Within the letter, you have referred to users of American Sign Language as “isolated from mainstream society,” which is far from the truth. This letter promotes a condescending and distasteful view of Deaf people who use American Sign Language, and with that, AFA is requesting that you retract this letter.

Secondly, AFA is asking that the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing work in partnership with Audism Free America both now and in the future – to promote an equal and diverse view of all people that are deaf and hard of hearing, and not upholding the message that one is inferior to the other. The truth is that struggle befalls us all, and we can attain much more if we work together to increase awareness. The first way in which you can work together will be to share AFA’s request with your Board of Directors.

However, it is impossible to move forward and leave the past behind if you have not admitted the offenses of the past. Therefore, Audism Free America is asking for a pubic apology from the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing regarding the hurtful attitude on comments conveyed by your organization thus far. With that apology comes the possibility to move on and move forward.

I am confident that if your organization meets the requests of Audism Free America, all deaf people can work together to achieve something that has never been seen before – true and utmost equality! I appreciate your time. Thank you.


So I strongly encourage you to go to the website and voice your opinion. It is your turn!

Is Audism a Legitimate Word? And Gallaudet, isn't this an error?

It is true that the word, audism, has not yet been found in most dictionaries (both books or online) except for Urban Dictionary (not exactly a credible dictionary though) that talks about an "audist establishment". It even includes the word, audism, that defines "the descrimination of the hard-of-hearing. Instead of color descrimination prevalent in schools, audism has become an increasing problem." Nah, not even a good definition anyway let alone a spelling error so a lot of improvement needs to be made. However, the definition under "audist establishment" is a bit better.

It stated :

An establishment that misinforms and ill-educates people about deaf and hard-of-hearing people. (

"The teachings that ill-educate people about deaf/hard-of-hearing such as they are isolated, inferiors, illiterate, stupid, savages, dependents, objects of sexual exploiting, second class citizens, objects of experiments, lazy, passive and benefactors to medical and science fields."

As we use the word audism and that it is not found in dictionaries yet it doesn't mean the word is not legitimate or official because audism has already showed up in many citations.

I know that based on history, in order for a new word to be written in a dictionary, it has to appear frequently in published articles or books. Also, it has to be used frequently by the community. Take the word, AIDS for example, it did not appear in the dictionary before the 80's but when more and more citations use the word, it officially became accepted to be used in the dictionary. In conclusion, the more the citations are used talking about audism, the more likely it will end up in the Webster Dictionary and other credible dictionaries. See the link on what does it take to have a new word written in the dictionary.

Tom Humphries was a Ph.D student back in 1970's and wrote a piece of dissertation found in this link.

Tom wrote that audism means:

"The notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. It is the bias and prejudice of hearing people against deaf people, It is the bias and prejudice of some deaf people against other deaf people."

Tom Humphries,"The Making of a Word : Audism" (1975)

I find it interesting that he even admits himself as an audist as he was brought up as a hearing person. He wrote:

"Most of my life, I have been an audist myself, and even now still have some behavior and values that are basically audist. I believe this to be the result of being brought up as a hearing person with basic hearing person behavior and values." The word audism was buried and forgotten until Harlan Lane published his book, The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community (Lane, 1992).
According to Absolute Astronomy, it stated that:

"Audism occurs when a deaf person is judged as incapable of a given behavior, occupation, etc. simply because he or she cannot hear. Audism is often coupled with a 'hearing' superiority: an attitude of thinking one person is superior to another person because he or she can hear better than him or her. Audism takes another form concerning interactions between the deaf: deaf people who will not use sign language and who will not identify with the Deaf community may consider themselves to be 'better' than others who use sign language and are part of Deaf culture."

When reading FAQ on Audism from Gallaudet website, I was surprised that Gallaudet University did not give Humphries credit for his original definition of audism. Take a look here: From Gallaudet University:

Audism (from Latin audire, to hear, and -ism, a system of practice, behavior, belief, or attitude) has been variously defined as:

  • The notion that one is superior based on one's ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. (Zak 1996) (I believe this is an incorrect information as it should be from Tom Humphries since he originally wrote the definition based on this link so Gallaudet, fix this on your website!)

  • attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear; like racism or sexism, audism judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of whether a person hears and speaks. (Humphrey and Alcorn 1995: 85)

  • ...the corporate institution for dealing with deaf people, dealing with them by making statements about them, authorizing views of them, describing them, teaching about them, governing where they go to school and, in some cases, where they live; in short, audism is the hearing way of dominating, restructuring, and exercising authority over the deaf community. It includes such professional people as administrators of schools for deaf children and of training programs for deaf adults, interpreters, and some audiologists, speech therapists, otologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, librarians, researchers, social workers, and hearing aid specialists. (Lane 1992: 43)

Now who are really the audists? This will be discussed next so see you later!

More links on Audism:

Gallaudet FAQ

If you have difficulty making video comments, you may go to Update (4/8/09): Gallaudet University has just corrected the information that it now typed:
The notion that one is superior based on one's ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. (Humphries 1977:12).