Deaf ‘mad­ness’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“Since last May, Gal­laudet Univer­sity, the world’s only univer­sity de­signed en­tirely for deaf and hardof-hear­ing stu­dents, has been rocked by protests over the se­lec­tion of a new pres­i­dent. Jane K. Fer­nan­des was sched­uled to take over from I. King Jor­dan in Jan­uary.

“Fer­nan­des [is] [. . .] to some, ‘not deaf enough.’ She grew up lipread­ing and speak­ing and learned sign lan­guage only as a grad­u­ate stu­dent. [. . .] Fer­nan­des her­self em­braces Deaf cul­ture, but she does not want it to be iso­lated from the hear­ing world or ex­clude those who don’t meet purist stan­dards of ‘Deaf­ness.’ [. . .]

“When this sen­si­ble view is re­jected un­der pres­sure from a hand­ful of rad­i­cals, it is a tes­ta­ment to the mad­ness that can pre­vail when op­pressed-mi­nor­ity sta­tus be­comes a weapon to si­lence crit­ics.”

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