The Post continues to use the term “deaf” in a negative manner. A recent example: the headline on Dana Milbank’s Aug. 9 Sunday Opinion column, “The results are in: Republicans still tone-deaf.”
The word “deaf” is used as a pejorative term. Deaf people are a minority group who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their native language and who take pride in their culture.
The District has one of the largest deaf populations in the United States and is home to Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts university serving primarily deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Generations of deaf families use ASL as their native language. Contrary to what Donald Trump said during the first Republican presidential debate, not only do we have time for political correctness, but also it is long overdue.
Keith M. Cagle, Annapolis
The Aug. 8 Style article “One of the first signs of change” said: “After all, encryption, much like sign language, is about conveying messages in code.” Perhaps The Post needs a tutorial on covering sign language. Sign language is not a code; it is a natural language like spoken languages, with all of the characteristics of natural languages. And in this case, we’re talking about American Sign Language (ASL), independent in structure from spoken languages and also distinct from the tens of other sign languages used in deaf communities on the planet, such as British Sign Language (BSL), Auslan ( Australian Sign Language ) and Italian Sign Language (LIS), to name but a few.
Nyle DiMarco, the subject of the article, is a native user of ASL, as are many children around the world, both hearing and deaf, born to deaf parents and into signing families. If ASL and other sign languages are “codes,” then all spoken languages are also “codes,” which is clearly not the case.
We in sign language studies are passionate about this issue because of all of the time and effort we have expended in demonstrating that sign languages are “real” languages and not, in fact, codes of some kind.
Ceil Lucas, Elkridge