What would you do? #3: Staying Neutral

This is 3rd in a “What would you do?” series. Is “staying neutral” helping us?  What can we do to help and resolve this?


  • Jay 17 years ago

    Well, sure everybody has their rights to their opinions. However, when they are employed, they operate within their workforce’s conduct and ethics they agreed to while on the payroll. Of course, when they are not on the payroll (after hours or at home), they can participate in anything. Well maybe not always.

    Here is an example: Suppose you work for the State Police. You gave an oath to the employment’s conduct and ethics. Then suppose one day, the State Police has to send its troopers to protect a government building against demonstrators. It is always possible (and probably always true) that some of the troopers with riot gear around the building are in complete agreement with the goals and purposes behind the demonstration, but they are on duty and bound to their jobs to follow orders.

    Well, maybe this is an extreme example, but there are difficult times where we have to draw a line between professionalism and personal opinions. If this is such an extreme dilemma for the person, maybe the person should consider leaving his/her job to be able to stand with the other side fully.

    Of course, discussing and debating ideas among collagues can occur anytime and anywhere, however, when you are on the clock, they should not interferre with the job you have taken responsibility for.

    Make sense?

  • LS 17 years ago

    Excellent topic!
    One possible solution if it would be safer for the person not to advertise about his/her employment or his/her roles when comes to support something such as DBC and ASL.

  • White Ghost 17 years ago

    It is the same with the U.S. federal government. We were not allowed to protest WHEN we are employed.

    Remember the protest in ’06 at Gallaudet? The employees, staffs, managements, professors and others were not allowed as well as the students who worked for the CREs. I know that the Gallaudet is a part of the federal government because of the funds they are reliance.

    I am curious what about the private industries and the universities without the federal goverment’s help?

    I think it is a good debate, though.

    White Ghost

  • Julie B 17 years ago

    How about Freedom of Speech? That’s very unfortunately that a company is against the freedom of speech for the employees.
    That’s pretty sticky situation.
    there’s always petition online that you can sign to support and use fake name.

  • Chris Heuer 17 years ago

    Balancing out some of the comments in here…

    Exactly how do any of you have Freedom of Speech if you can only go so far as the leash that your employer has around your neck allows you to go?

    You know, it’s weird. The example that Jay gave above might be true, but how many deaf people are currently serving as police officers? What I think you’re much more likely to see is an administrator of a school or program for deaf people telling the teachers who work there that they can’t get involved. Is that ethical? Would that same administrator bar you from participating in a march that takes place to call attention to the need for captioning on the internet, for example? I highly doubt it, because it’s not a threat to him/her or the school in any way.

    So if you can protest or demonstrate in peace for something that doesn’t threaten widespread change for our educational systems, but you CAN’T protest or demonstrate in peace for something that DOES (such as what the DBC is demonstrating for), then how is your employer resepcting your beliefs or respecting the needs of the community?

    I think that there are a lot of scared people out there, albeit scared for a wide variety of reasons, and while on the one hand there are all too many employers standing ready to say “you can’t do this and this and this…” there are all too many deaf people standing ready to simply say “Okay.”

    Harsh but true.

  • Mike Gough 17 years ago

    Wow!! What an interesting topic!! The question I am having is that is there a culture clash between the Deaf and hearing. As we know, that the Deaf do sign the blunt stuff while hearing playing with words and drop hints vaguely and still remain netural.
    The concept about ASL is still fresh new and we all need many inputs from everyone before set it into the stone.

  • Deaf258 17 years ago

    This is one of my pet peeves where people do not try to do the right thing. Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing their excuses when they say they have to be neutral, can’t get involved, or say, “What can I do?”

    Just do the right thing, period.

  • Deaf Socrate's Trail 17 years ago

    Well, I see the numbers of that issues that bring up for those people have to stay neutral at work? That is full of baloney they are coward! That is a matter of opinion which is no limited at all but I can understand there is no particpant in any protest or demonstration when they already sign the paper where they work but an opinion no such staying neutral!
    Okay now my question what is the difference between bimodal and bilingualism? I am used to think I am bilingualism I find it is wrong word to use I use properly to say I am bimodal biligualism because English and ASL never been real equal at all because of signed and spoken language that can’t be compare and bimodal mean two different modes of the language. Both signed and spoken languages do not have the same rules in grammatic structures include writing and reading! How can signed and spoken language have same rules – reading and writing? English and French can be equal just different langauge but both have very similar rules indluding with writing and reading and ASL and BSL have very similar rules except reading and writing but ASL and English have same rules ? How??? Bimodal or Bilingual?

  • KH 17 years ago

    hi ok. we have our own language which is ASL.. I am just thinking about alot of mexican people in America are using their own language which is Spanish.. we do respect their need in their own community as well as their beliefs…what about our land of the deafies and their culture in America and the freedom of speech???? that we already knew what is the best for our deaf generations as we are DR. deaf…. 🙂 KH

  • LaRonda 17 years ago

    Those who feel they cannot stand up to support these groups and deaf issues are giving answers that are fear-based. Employer issues may be excuses that really cover up feelings of uncertainty. People often do not know what will happen if they protest or stand up for a cause. There are many unknowns, just as we saw with the AGB protest this summer. It is personal fear that holds them back more than employer concerns.

    It takes a lot of courage to stand up for a cause without knowing what the results will be. But we, as a community, need to learn to take risks in our lives to make a difference. We need to reach way down deep within and find the courage to stand together and become a part of the change we desire or the justice we deserve.

    We need to let go of fear and trust that our compassion for humanity will make a difference for the good of all.

    ~ LaRonda

  • Tara (MO) 17 years ago

    Gosh, that sure is so sticky situation and I would suggest you to do some checking around and see where you can stand in order to be part of it. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with being part of it since if you are not on duty working then there is nothing wrong with being part of it again like I said do some checking around and see about this.

  • Virginia L. Beach 17 years ago

    Very good topic, Joey!

    This is a tough one, indeed. I see both sides of the coin – on one hand, you don’t want to put yourself at risk for losing your job… but on the other hand, I also think that it is important that we do speak up. Otherwise, how can we make things happen?

    I’m reminded of something that I have read and said several times myself… it’s a quote from Mahatma Gandhi ~

    “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

    Thus, if we want to see positive change take place within the Deaf Community and especially in the field of education, social services, etc. then we need to practice what we preach.

    The trick is in finding ways to do it in a non-threatening manner that still gets our point across without creating that fear and uncertainty that gets others (such as our employers) all upset.

    I think it is possible to show your support without necessarily advertising it in a blatant “in-your-face” manner. Just by including things in our daily activities that show our own support for such philosophies – using ASL regularly, demonstrating our own use of bi-lingualism, having discussions on these topics if and when it comes up and feels right to do so, etc. etc.

    These are ways we can show our support without having to be an “active protester” or whatever.

  • Jean Boutcher 17 years ago

    Linguist Noam Chomsky has never been malfeasanced from the M.I.T. for partipcating in a number of anti-war, impeaching Cheney-Bush, anti-genocide-in-Darfur, anti-poverty rallies in which I have also been participated since 2002. (I can, however, perfectly well understand an exceptional policy as discussed in Jay’s post.) There is nothing wrong to support bilingualism for the deaf.

  • mishkazena 17 years ago

    It is a difficult dilemma

    I was permitted to participate in DPN even though I was a federal employee. Keep in mind even Gallaudet employees protested during DPN, too.

    Unfortunately I do know two people who were fired for their support of Unity for Gallaudet. It appears to me that the schools and programs for the deaf have questionable boundaries in overseeing the activities of their employees OUTSIDE of their employment site during their off work hours. Why are they permitted to have this much authority in the first place? As I do see hearing teachers exercising their freedom of speech during their free hours without punitive losses of their jobs.

    This is something deaf people need to think.. I personally feel it is an abuse of power for the employers to discipline their workers for their freedom of speech outside of work place as law abiding private citizens. It’s just my personal opinion.

  • Michael 17 years ago

    Many organizations, universities companies received federal financial assistance but they are not an extension of the federal government. Gallaudet is neutral say. Air traffic controllers cannot strike or protest so do the military. There are limited freedom of speech everywhere. What may be fashionable on university campuses (like a president is not good) is not acceptable in the workplace. If you work for Google, you can just said Microsfot products are good. But one person told me you can make changes internally. Like if you are a deaf school curriculum writer, you can add ASL ot this or that.

  • Sharon Duchesneau 17 years ago

    Hi Joey,

    Glad to see this topic being discussed again! Almost one year ago, Candace and I wrote an open letter during the Gallaudet protest, urging Deaf professionals to stop being neutral about the issues (http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=241).

    Neutrality is a myth – you either take a stand in favor of a position (i.e., support the DBC) or you don’t. Trying not to take a stand in the name of neutrality is the same as upholding the status quo. And if you’re upholding the status quo, you’re in fact coming down on the other side of a position (i.e., not supporting the DBC). There’s no middle ground and there’s no such thing as neutrality.

    When you flip flop from one side of an issue to another, depending on who you are with, whether you are at work or hanging out with friends, you’re spending a lot of energy compartmentalizing your life. Needless to say, this isn’t a very healthy or emotionally satisfying way to live. Yes, there are real fears about angering employers, but how much of that fear is realistic and how much is simply brought on by intimidation tactics that border on being unethical or illegal? Is it really worth working somewhere where you can’t be authentic?

    As we asked in our letter, what do we want as Deaf people – fear or freedom?


  • FYI - Man 17 years ago


    Did they say why their supervisor told them they can’t get involved? If so, can you share them with us?

    FYI – Man

  • todos la vie 17 years ago

    Uncertainty, being too careful not to support anything yet due to fear, being “two-faced” (saying one thing in blogging/commenting and not saying it in other aspects of their lives), as well as buying a pumpkin, going to get their nails done, running two miles a day, picking up kids from day care are just some of the daily aspects of a person’s life. What is the REAL issue? What CAN we do to assist? I think the real issue is just that – what can we do? We know we want ASL as the forefront of a first language/ bilingual education for deaf children. The “neutrality” is NOT the issue. I see the protests at AG Bell, the deafhood workshops as exposure to move beyond myths as helpful – bringing awareness to an issue that has long been behind the medical counterpart of the deaf triangle, but your argument that we shouldn’t be neutral is still putting smoke on what the REAL issue is. We want to do something, but what? How can we move beyond this?

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    FYI – Man,

    No, they did not say why they can’t get involved.
    By the way, I would like to clarify that it is not necessarily only the “bosses” who said they can’t get invovled but in most of the cases, they chose NOT to speak up because they are afraid to show their face. Even though, they knew our principles are right, they elect not to speak or stand up.

    Thanks to all for your great insights and let’s see what others have to say.


  • Deafpower12 17 years ago

    Be true to thy self, no one will condemn you for being straight forward and within reason. I recently got a job at a state Deaf school where the presence of ASL and Deaf role models are at a sad minimum. I don’t sit back and accept it, but at the same time I don’t go crazy and start fires on campus. Just slowly talk to other people who have been around for a while, find out what I can do. Now I am slowly discussing with the right people what changes need to be made to be able to progress towards the ultimate goal; a better education and language provided to our Deaf children.
    One thing that helps for sure is that I have written numerous research papers during my master’s program that I share with coworkers to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that I have a hearing child who is bilingual and ahead of their peers lingually, proving that ASL works on any child; they just need language models 24/7.
    Point? Don’t sit back and do nothing, but dont be stupid and go over board, work one safe step at a time. Neutral is a term that is used for staying out of fights, this is not a fight; it is rather a learning progress to promote change; therefore “neutral” is an invalid term in this subject.

  • Kathy 17 years ago

    hi, Joey

    Yes everytime I watch your ASL Vlog, this is so awesome, make me more gain of aware, more knowledge in the mind, what’s up new things in the mind, new language.

    YES, as for me, I am part of ASL and mix with PSE. My husband is full of ASL period.

    As you said you can’t be invovled it, in my view, yes its part of correct prompty way. Any of worker for Vlog, can’t be support, same way I work for the deaf program at Fair Lawn NJ, I work as Data Entry which I type all deaf or hard of hearing people in NJ, can’t be share with them at all. But I can share with them without their names too.

    And you can share, and encourage them to stand up, thats only 1 way is the answer it, u work for Vlog. Got it the point. I like your attitude, your personality of encourage them in deaf community and be able to continue on Vlog more idea. Good work deal. I love your Vlog so much. Keep your chin up and think postive way, you deal with deaf or hard of hearing people, learn to stand up and speak themselves instead of you. You have your gift, talent in your heart of deaf/hard of hearing’s spiritual in us.

    I thank you for keep going on Vlog. I am from Bloomfield, NJ. Thank you again. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Truly yours,

  • Ella 17 years ago

    Excellent and timely topic as always, Joey!!
    I guess it’s time for all Deaf people who works for a Deaf / ASL related organization (school, college, social services, state association, NAD, etc.) to sit back and critically examine their system and especially the communication in their workplaces…critically examine if the communications is healthy or not, also think about this “irony” that the organization DEPENDS on Deaf people for their business…but does it EMPOWER Deaf people to run the same business, or does it have a “colonialism” mentality–that the organization is there to continue Deaf people in their oppressed condition thus more power/control to the adminstrators, financial backers, etc.?
    Then, all the workers need to start to PROCESS and DIALOGUE about their perspectives and ideas and bring in healthy ideas to discuss WITHOUT fear and worrying about losing jobs. Yes the fear is real…but its mostly in our heads. Get support from inside and outside the workplace to examine and deal with this fear as well as the system itself.

  • Sandra Goldstein 17 years ago

    boy, I have flashbacks when I read, What we should do???

    When I taught at one school, the administrators informed me not to use the sign, milk. They viewed it as a dirty sign like touching the cow’s. So I had to follow the school sign, cow , for milk. I had to follow the school rules since I had to earn money to have bread on the table.

    Some of us have to be neutral and we may lose out jobs even though there is one of the ten Bill of Rights…Freedom of Speech as well Freedom of Press. We have to be careful for our administrators can be very vengeful.

    We do not live in Cuba or China or North Korea. Yet we have to be careful. From time to time we have to walk on the eggshells.

    When I was the secretary of the state association of the Deaf, several board members had to stay neutral because of their jobs.

    If we have to be careful/ neutral, we can ask deaf self-employed people to speak up for us. The question is how many deaf self-employed people. We can use deaf retired people to speak up for us.


  • Jac 17 years ago

    Employee and ASL supporter become one together, it would be conflict of interest, employee has to be neutral between her or his job and “outside” ASL supporters. It would be difficult.
    For Example as my husband and I work for federal job, it would called conflict of interest because when my husband filed for EEO, would I involved into that situation to support him? which is between him or my job! I would be keep my job, then I would to be neutral. That is it. Now it is between employee and ASL support to be inovlved. Some employement allow them to be involve to support ASL or DBC, to be advise to inform their boss in an advance time. that way it would save their job.
    That is a good issue.

  • Roger Kraft 17 years ago

    In the TRS/VRS industry, where companies aim to serve ALL components of the deaf/hard of hearing community (and not just the ASL-using portion), it is understandable that these companies want to stay on the good side of EVERY component. So, the easy way out is to stay neutral on topics that may cause division within the D/HH community. Of course, it’d be better if companies would take a well-thought out approach and position, but then this jeopardizes the bottom line–which is money for most of them.

    Like it or not, employees are viewed as the public face of their companies, even when not ‘on-the-clock’.

    An employee of XYZ TRS who shows up at the AGBell conference–on his own time–passing out placards is *still* perceived as an employee of XYZ TRS by the AGBell folks. This naturally leads to bad feelings against XYZ TRS from within the AGBell community and, consequently, a loss of dollars because AGBell folks start using 123 TRS instead.

    Its so much better for me the past 1.5 years, being self-employed, than being employed by a major TRS/VRS provider previously…smile!

  • FYI - Man 17 years ago

    Thanks Joey for the clarification.

    Is it maybe they have too many wounds in themselves from being victims of crab theory in the past?

    Is it because they realized that they are suck with “good samaritan” principles since exposing themselves further with a cause, may damage their reputation including getting a good job or promotion?

    Is it because we live in America where we are facing “American people” stereotype where we need to be like everyone else no matter what? Let me put this in another way, if a black man says that it is ok for him to use ebonic language and want all the black people to feel ok to use it but they can’t use it in workplace or with their white friends because everyone else don’t speak ebonics. Same concept applies to ASL?

  • To Mishkazena 17 years ago

    Mishkanzena wrote in #14: “Unfortunately I do know two people who were fired for their support of Unity for Gallaudet.”

    Never until now did I know that Gallaudet fired two people. What were their positions? Who were they? Deaf or hearing? Who fired them? When? What has happened to the two fired people? Why have they not sued Gallaudet for denying their free speech rights? Please provide more information about them. We must help them.

  • mishkazena 17 years ago

    I never said that they were working for Gallaudet.

    Unfortunately I am not able to provide additional information, out of respect for the privacy of these individuals.

  • Don Ames 17 years ago

    Basically we need to educate uneducated people with some resources and dialogues related to ASL. Never attack uneducated or ignorant people (hearing or deaf) about it. Help them to read more about ASL stuff and encourage them to express their feedbacks. I suppose that most of the people who are neutral are rather ignorant about some issues. Once we are comfortable with ASL issues, we can speak well on the issues. Do not look down on the people who don’t speak well of it. Encourage them to learn more about the issues. That is my feeling about general deaf population that are needed to learn more about Deaf issues to eliminate any poor or misunderstanding concepts about Deafness and ASL.

  • Jean Boutcher 17 years ago

    #32 Elizabeth,

    Your desire not to further information is acceptable and understandable.


    In borrowing Joey Baer’s phrase: “What would you do” about some deaf Americans’ staying neutral as well as in borrowing Don Ames’ phrase: “Basically we need to educate uneducated people with some resources and dialogues related to ASL.,” it is the duty of educated deaf Americans to help the uneducated to realise that it is wrong to be neutral. We could help the ones who you said were fired for supporting UFG. What I would like to know is the name of company, school, government,, or government, police department that fired them WRONGFULLY.

  • mishkazena 17 years ago

    I am not practicing neutrality, but am bound by a code of confidentiality. They aren’t ‘uneducated’. Also, to disregard their wishes would be to dis-empower them.

  • Meow 17 years ago

    America is about to become a communist country.

  • JAY 17 years ago


  • White Ghost 17 years ago


    I am very surprised that no one seems familiar about the “protest” rules/policies from the private industries, universities without the federal/state government’s help/funds and self-employment.

    Can you guys make several comments about this IF you have the knowledge about the rules/policies from the private industries, universities w/o the fed/state gov’t’s help/funds and self-employment?

    Thanks, White Ghost

  • Oscar Serna 17 years ago

    Joey, good topic!

    Now to the neutrality, I have to agree with our resident psychologists here :). Only real neutrality comes from ignorance and quest to gain enough knowledge/information in order to make a biased worldview. And that quest tends to take about 15 minutes or so of research to demolish neutraility. All adult people always have preexistng information/knowledge that will biase them after about 15 minutes in addition to the researched information/knowledge.

    As for employers’ potential power over their employees’ political action outside of work hours, yes, it is very sticky. Of course if the employer threats firing, then they are practicing unethical corporate practices but when is that new?

  • Don Grushkin 17 years ago

    You know, this reminds me of Richard Nixon’s comment about the “Silent Majority”. He basically was saying that the majority of the country may feel in support of something (I think he was talking about Vietnam), but don’t feel strongly enough to speak out. So it is those who speak out in protest that get all the attention, but he was saying that they were only a small group.

    Now, what you are pointing out here is that the majority of Deaf may feel the same way as others of us do about ASL linguistic rights, etc., but are afraid to or do not feel strong enough about it to speak up and join the small percentage of us that do speak up. But as someone pointed out earlier, not to speak up is to tacitly endorse the status quo. If we don’t speak up and speak up TOGETHER, then nothing will change because the “Powers That Be” will say “oh it’s just a small group of disenchanted misfits that aren’t happy” and we will continue seeing generations of Deaf children denied their linguistic rights.

  • Sheri Farinha Mutti 17 years ago

    Hello Joey…It is not surprising that we are seeing this happen, as it does with every movement, it takes people time to process and if there is support they will feel empowered to join the movement and take a stand. If people are criticized for being nuetral, you can bet they won’t. People like you Joey are in your comfort zone asking this question. The fact that you make your vlog at the place where you work, demonstrates you have strong support of your boss. Great. Not everyone has this kind of strong support from their places of employment.
    What to do? Find ways to provide support to people who aren’t ready to take a stand even on their “off-duty” time. Maybe there are other ways they can volunteer to help the movement until they are ready. Why I emphasize this? Because its going to get worse before it gets better. This movement is beyond just saying you support ASL, bilingualism, etc. This movement is basically saying, no more oral approach as the first choice for teaching deaf children. So, we are upsetting the apple cart. And, because the oral system is filled with people who have $$ you can bet they are going to fight us major big time. Pressure on Deaf who have jobs in the educational arena is going to be heavier if they do not have a supportive superior or boss and may even be more nervous to show their support. Especially if someday there’s a rally at a school where there are oral classrooms on same campus as classrooms with teachers who sign I can visualize people being afraid to “cross the picket line”, so to speak. Key is to get the support from higher up and bosses so that there is no fear. I hope we can be supportive of those who say they are neutral until the deaf person decides on their own to join. If they feel forced to join, or pressure from certain groups about being neutral, we may end up losing them. This shouldn’t be about who is neutral. The pressure we should be making is on the system, the political powerforce, not deaf individuals. If the movement is conducted with clear message, one that “makes sense” – then more people will take a stand. If they only think this is about being against oralism, then they may worry about their oral friends or family not wanting to seem against them and they may be unsure how their boss may view it.

    People join movements when they understand the issue clearly, and when they can personally identify with it, and when they can participate without fear from family, friends, and places of employment.

    My 2 cents.

  • debby 17 years ago

    Many D/deaf people stay being neutral at deaf or mainstream schools for many years because they have habit of letting hearing people run their lives so it is hard for them to speak up for their rights or what they believe in. Most hearing people would not listen or understand how deaf people feel that it is time to change and respect our rights. Today more young people stray from State Associations which are very important for them to learn how to empower themselves about their rights. We need NAD and them to continue teaching young people from generations to generations. I think most retired Deaf people are tired to fight so they join the Deaf Senior of America so they can travel and meet deaf people their ages from different states. Most of RID presidents who are now hearing, years ago – Deaf presidents of (State) RID. Most hearing people, who work at State of Education, Adms, Supt of Education, Board of Educations, Principal, teachers, staff make decisions over deaf people. ASL courses, deaf cultures, and other deaf issues are now being taught under Communications Science and disorders at most colleges or universities. They won’t change when I complain to them about it and try to educate that communicate in ASL is not disorder. They said it was State of Education’s decision. Hope you find a better way how to convince them to help them to understand our needs or rights so we all can improve our communications with hearing world.

  • D 17 years ago


    I used to be a community advocate for a deaf agency. Just a few years ago, I found myself entrapped in the same dilemma of ‘what would I do?’

    I had a deaf co-worker who was against oralism (a practice that I grew up with), in fact, when I invited my fellow childhood deaf friends from out of town who were oralist, but could sign decently (pse) to hang out with my newfound friends including my co-worker, this specific person bashed them directly and openly because of their inability to sign ‘native.’ Worse yet, this person blamed me for even inviting them to associate with their group and that I ‘should have known better.’ Ultimately, this person labeled me as a hearing wannabe. Here I was advocating for deaf consumers, and as any advocate would know, it takes a lot of heart, patience, and compassion to be in that job. Talk about audism, anyway….

    My dilemma: this person held a position within our agency as a parent/child educator where the role would be to educate the hearing parents on how to raise a deaf child successfully via education, culture awareness, and so on. My only concern was the narrow-minded perspective this person had with respect to the oral method. It would have been detrimental for any deaf person especially representing a large deaf agency to ‘preach’ to the parents how oralism is bad with such negative energy, instead of showing the historical failure of oralism and encourage the parents to consider other methods including BiBi. Instead of shutting oralism down, it would reinforce the parents’ curiosity of why this specific person was so against oralism which alreadyt has a strong ‘positive’ influence by the so-called scientific ‘experts’ in the audiological community. Not only that, that specific attitude would have been a public relations disaster for ALDA and especially state funding where its philosophy is, unfortunately, allocated to ‘all types of deaf/hh people regardless of their communication modality. What did I do? I was already preparing to leave my position for a better opportunity so I went directly to the CEO and explained to this person about my concerns. Nothing happened; I was beating a dead elephant. At least, my conscious is free. If i was still going to work for that agency, I would have went to my human resources since they are the employee’s advocate.

    Interesting theories come up when you did your vlog; Marx’s alienation and Gramci’s false consciousness. In crises, people are alienated from themselves because they are so concerned about their situation that they forget the higher moral good or they actually think what they are doing is ‘common sense’ but it really is a sense of false consciousness and they hurt the community without even realizing it. Galileo and Socrates to name a few refused to alienate themselves and went against the popular “common sense” and actually killed themselves to support what they genuinely thought was right; The Catholic Church forbade Galileo to preach to the public that the Sun actually revolved around the Earth and that the Earth was much smaller than the Universe. This went against the Catholic belief that God was ‘right up there’ above Earth and that anything evolving around Heaven was a threat to the Catholic Ideology. He was killed by refusing to denounce his own beliefs. Socrates (despite to his view on deaf/dumb) believed in the ‘know thyself’ doctrine which was against the Roman concept of the Republic which the collective was more important than the individual. Socrates killed the poison rather than to submit to his superiors…That is what they did. They refused to be alienated.

    The only person that I can see having a conflict of interest are deaf advocates who cannot openly support the DBC because these advocacy agencies also typically work with the HH community and that would hurt their funding if the philosophy of the workers believed in one way, it would further marginalize the ALDA community whom actually have a strong influence in state/federal funding including AGBell’s support.

    Time to cut this sort…wish I did a vlog on this, hopefully next time.

    Yours in camaraderie,


  • D 17 years ago

    Socrates didnt kill the poison. he drank the poison which subsequently killed him. Sorry, too much wine. 🙂

  • Ron 17 years ago

    Silent majority of Deaf population will always remain silent. want to know why? They have not been empowered the right to speak through different channels of communication. We need to work on grassroots first to hold the ground we feel strongly to carry on the issues. NAD just barely stratched the surface…DBC sounds wonderful but how strong is it’s grassroots to stand head to head AGB? Maybe it is time for all of us to go to Adult Deaf School and learn about our bill of rights!
    One cause for all. All cause for one.

  • michele 17 years ago

    I agree with Sheri on this — perhaps we need to be more clear and concise as to what we need to protest against. In early 1800’s, it was very obvious that oralism was against sign language but now it is vague as there are schools that either use ASL or oralism. I also think that we need to believe that ASL is the best educational method for deaf people, however we have some opponents that decry that there are more options available out there than just ASL. I personally feel that we are not in the clear as to what we are really protesting about and that is what makes us nervous and scared to get involved. We need to be able to explain to people why we are protesting, why ASL is the way to go, and all that and if we aren’t armed with these information, then it is harder to protest and very easy to be defeated. I hope that we can get all of the information together, stage workshops, and to educate people and perhaps get it in books/videotapes and all that.

    Thanks for sharing your concerns, Joey

  • Katherine 17 years ago

    I understand some deaf people’s fear. No question they’ll be targeted and set up by the system about something else unrelated to try and make their employer’s reason for letting go a person to be valid.

    With an audistic system, be it a school or organization or insert here, majority of people hired are audistic by nature (it can be deaf or hearing) and practice audism. Some are aware of it and some aren’t. One who tries to defy audism for the goodness of what can happen will be destroyed at whatever cost.

    They are what goes very wrong with majority of deaf children and people all over the country. Heartbreaking! I can’t even be in the same room with these oppressors.

  • RFW 17 years ago


    This is an interesting concept you have brought forth to us and one that we can chew on. From what you’d said – and from the commenters’ input, I’d have to say this.

    We are on the threshold of a change (hopefully) and with change, comes fear. Many people are afraid of change and the unknown. We still don’t know where this will lead ultimately and until we do, there will be some resistance among the deaf community.

    As some said, the only way to overcome this fear is to educate and clarify the goals. This applies not only to the Deaf community but also to the hearing world at large since – like it or not – they DO affect our future.

    Unless we take hold of the future ourselves and take the directive… 😀

  • JAB 17 years ago

    Staying neutral is very dangerous. Look at the U.S. history, U.S. tried to remain neutral with its foreign affairs no matter if U.S. knew it’s “wrong” to stay neutral. But at last, it finally stepped out of its neutral space to straight out its foreign affair.

    But, at what cost? It will be much different if U.S. did not remain neutral at the first place.

    It is applying to us, the deaf community. It’s very dangerous to remain neutral. Again, at what cost? Our future deaf children.

    Anyone who said that he or she has to remain neutral due to his or her employment. It needs to be stopped.

    Grab your mouse then google for phone number of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Grab the remote control and vp them to find out more info on stepping out of your neutral space. Time to learn more about your rights.

    Never take any words from your bosses. (Hint: your bosses know nothing about this issue except telling you to stay in neutral space so your bosses don’t have to take any heat for your action.) Again, do your homework to learn more about your rights at your own fingertips.

  • Justin 17 years ago


    That’s a tough situation when you have to stay neutral in any situation. I have to watch your video a couple time and see other responses.

    I have to ask you this, what job are you refering to? School setting? Goverment setting? Board of Education setting? College and University?

    Umm…Let say what IF….
    What if I work as some postion in school, what was my mission? What is my passion inside the school? What responsibility to students an staffs? If the boss said, “No” for any reason, I would ask questions and re-read the contract to make sure why you are there. If you knew that something doesn’t work for the children, isn’t it the job for teacher to do research DBC and evaluation the process of what is working and what is not?

    As much for all position, we need to evaluation our position, our responsibility, our contract, and most of all what is the mission in the position?

    In every position of job, it has to have a mission and what the goals that are expected. I have to ask you this, after seeing your previous video during your time at Gallaudet…”Then and Now”…what was your dream? What was your passion when you leave Gallaudet?

    I hope the boss can be a good boss to listen to reasons with good information that is given and why do you believe it works great with deaf children? If you have a good boss or staffs that will let you to do research with finding, it shouldn’t be a problem. Is the boss interesting in problem solving? or making the best for the children? I don’t see why the boss should say “no.” If the boss does, I think there is no such a thing of neutral position and do nothing about it because it depend on what your position and the purpose.

    If the boss is not, then you have have choice to say netural or leave.

    It is a hard thing to stay neutral and we can debates a long time about being “Neutral.” or “What IF.”

    Last thing that comes to my mind with this question, Is there such a position that stay neutral? It best to take the look of our history and we can know what the result. For example, during the WWII, American stay neutral for the time being and end up choosing to allies the “good side.”

    I hope this is clear to what every comments had made and it is not easy for me to type up with my second language, English. Good topic to discuss, Joey…it a deep thinking here and a toughie!

  • John Critser 17 years ago


    It is true people want to stay neutral of politics if they feel that will endanger their jobs or future positions, but it is reasonable for them to investigate how they can get indirectly involved without jeopardizing their jobs. For example, they can donate to your blog. Or, they can feed information for others to pronounce. They can support in many different ways, indirectly. People should not rob themselves or Deaf people in the facade of saying “they would be fired by their employers for violating rules” by not being indirectly involved in some way. There is distrust in the Deaf community, and we will actually become stronger if we have more trust in each other. The sad thing is, people are afraid others that loathe them will bring them and the “house” down which doesn’t benefit us at all. We need to study ways in bringing the Deaf community closer together, even those that are hesitant to protest along with us, those that choose to stay neutral. Even ghostwriting a blog can empower issues into greater awareness and solution-making. Talents utilized is teamwork to push issues into the forefronts to force others to accept the changes. Empower them by giving them alternatives to be indirectly involved. More power to you!

  • Cynthia K 17 years ago

    (just catching up on my email…)
    I think supporting ASL for the Deaf is the only way to go. I don’t understand why people want to force the Deaf to be oral/hearing. I know this has been a long, on-going debate, but honestly! That would be like when my grandma was young and they made her be right handed because being left handed meant you were filled with the devil [truly happened]! You can’t make people become who they aren’t. Acceptance should be what is taught.

  • Carl Schroeder 17 years ago

    I think that being neutral about bilingualism due to employment or professional role is the most anti-democratic. Our nation was not built on this concept at all. It’s really sad to run into some people who said they were neutral, and they should be told that they are “not democratic enough!”

  • Cynthia K 17 years ago

    I kind of agree with Carl. When people say they “just want to stay neutral” they really are taking a stand by taking no stand. THe choice to make “no decision” is still a decision (generally a poor one!).

  • Thinker in Austin.. 17 years ago

    I question that, as well.

  • Tar 17 years ago

    Good debate.. I am curious, what is your result?


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