“Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But the best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will all say we have done it ourselves.”
Lao Tzu, 604 B.C.
Another cool wise commentary on what good leadership is about, especially for an oppressed group like Deaf people.
1) What would “Going to Deaf people” mean? “Live with them”? Does that mean seeing first handed everyday their glories as well as their misery?
2) “Learn from Deaf people” and “Love Deaf people” – meaning what? Seeing them as true equals? And caring about them as you care about yourself and your own? What does that mean in terms of how we express our thoughts and ideas and in which language(s)?
3) “Start with what Deaf people know” and “Build with what they have”? What do Deaf people uniquely know? What do they have to build with? Knowledge of being Deaf, what it’s like to use ASL 24/7, our networking expertise, our storytelling, arts, high expertise on eyeing? Build what? curriculums? Programs? Foundations to sustain our future generations? Art projects for the whole world to learn and enjoy from?
4) Who will be the “best of leaders”? We will know when the WHOLE Deaf community says “WE ALL HAVE DONE IT TOGETHER!”. Right?
What is healthy “diversity” in the Deaf community? Any oppression towards the Deaf community where organic DeafMutes and Signed Languages are born creates not diversity but diversions creating divisions among Deaf people. What are we to do about that?
Ella shares her recent translation of this poem by Amos G. Draper, Class of 1872, that was published in the Buff and Blue in 1907. That year is significant because the poem appears to reflect the havoc on the Deaf world by Oralism following the infamous 1880 Milan Conference and the harbor Gallaudet was to Deaf people. Nowadays, the poem is more significant with the increasing awareness of realities of neo-Oralism, especially its tentacles on Gallaudet.
Ella discusses the differences between Oralism/oralists and speaking/speech skills and explains why we need to work hard to rid of Oralism and the audism that is the key attitude behind Oralism. But to rid of speech skills/speaking…or hearing people…is well…ridiculous. They are NOT the problem.
Congratulating the B.C. Deaf community and the ICED 2010 Planning committee for coming up with such inspiring document, New Era – a Statement of Principle and an Accord for the Future, Ella then goes on to critically examine AGBell’s response found in their 7/23/10 Update. She quotes Veditz from his precious 1913 film “The Preservation of Sign Language.”
Gotta wipe off the smelly substance spewed on us recently. Let’s clean ourselves up and keep eyes focused on those things coming up in the next few weeks…far far more important and necessary to spend our energy on.
Presenting what Ella remembers from information on Deaf subalterns, elites and rebels in Paddy Ladd’s Understanding Deaf Culture: in search of Deafhood, she hopes it helps the struggling Deafblogosphere understand better about the dynamics and become more unifed for much needed actions to rid of the audist system.