Today was Enrichment Day at Gallaudet. For those of you who are unaware, it's an annual program for students, faculty, teachers, and staff on important current academic affairs' topics. Gallaudet hosts Enrichment Day to enrich themselves and the students in the exchange of knowledge. Gallaudet showed the movie "Audism Unveiled”.
Let’s talk about sensitivity.
The original movie, called “What is Audism?” was better and it was powerful. It actually moved people to tears and validated many deaf people’s pain of living with audism. This movie was too strong for the Gallaudet Administrators. I wonder what Kweisi Mfume, a well known and respected civil rights leader, would say about this?
A few years ago, Dirksen Bauman had his undergraduate students make a movie about the term audism for a semester project. The students labored relentlessly over this movie, blood, sweat and tears. They put their hearts, souls and pain on the line to create this beautiful movie in order to convey an imperative message. The students did this to make a difference and to contribute towards the betterment of deaf people’s lives. The students were responsible for creating this entire movie, from research to interviews, from start to finish. The Gallaudet Administrators had “What is Audism?” watered down to today’s movie “Audism Unveiled”.
Today's showing of “Audism Unveiled” was not the entire work of the students. It was the work of censorship.
To add further injury to insult, they had a speech and language pathologist Jimmy Lee open the movie. Poor Jimmy Lee, shaking like a leaf while trying to sign. It was appalling to see a speech language pathologist open this movie of a sensitive and long overdue topic, no offense to Jimmy Lee. It's akin to having a white person open a discussion about black oppression and racism. It showed lack of common sense, which tells me whoever made the decision to have a speech language pathologist open this movie has her/his heads so far up Dowanda Creek- it’s past the point of no return.
Too gain even more injury to insult, some hearing people who came to watch the movie were verbally talking during the movie. I asked a hearing friend what they were saying, my friend said they were discussing lunch plans. It was a long discussion of lunch plans. Holy mother of Paul!
Deaf people used to get beatings on the hands with rulers when caught signing. They participated in the behavior of audism during the movie. I'd say we slap these rude and ignorant hearing people with rulers on their mouths.
It was hard for me to take the Gallaudet Administrators seriously today. In the movie, Dwight Benedict talked about the DPN movement, the trust being violated and the damage it caused. I think our trust in the current Gallaudet Administrators has been violated. A violation we will not forget. We will continue to work on eradicating audism so there will be no need to show movies like “Audism Unveiled” in order to convey a message of our pain.