Thoughts on Queen Foreverrr Sheena Lyles' use of humor to push back hearing privilege and cultural appropriation.
Sheena Lyles's use of humor to critique unqualified hearing people trying to teach ASL is an important part of dismantling oppression. In the process of watching her videos I realized that we overlooked something important about what ASL students go through.
People who are raised in aural-based languages like English view written English as an extension of their language (which is accurate, written English relies heavily on the structure of spoken English to exist). Thus, as the ASL learner's brain adjusts from the aural to the visual, it is natural to become confused at the requirement to fingerspell what is, to them, an aural language.
People WILL ask for the visual word because they were taught to think visually according to the language. When we tell them "No, fingerspell!" we are actually breaking the fundamental structure of the visual language that we expect of both them and of ourselves.
This gap is exactly what those annoying ignorant hearing people are capitalizing on. If we want to stop this behavior, then we, the ASL Deaf community, need to examine ourselves for dysconscious linguicism. We need to actively choose to fully support ASL in healthy ways. There are already internal structures and patterns that we can expand on -- so much more to explore!
And those hearing people need to finish, enough already! :P
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