Names are important. They recognize the existence of an object, person, or a concept. I see both English and ASL (and other native SL) as separate and valued. We have been discussing the ASL names of Biden and Harris. It's very important to be open to community input for those names. We see the need for the Black Deaf and Indian Tamil Deaf communities to create Kamala Harris's ASL name. The Black Deaf community has already expressed concern over the "sunglasses" Biden ASL name because the handshape is too close to a gang sign. Those perspectives are valid.
White Deaf people might feel uncomfortable with listening to this kind of input, but it must be accepted. For too long white Deaf people have bulldozed over marginalized signing communities' concern. It is time to get used to being linguistically flexible in this aspect.
Some have also said to leave Biden and Harris's names as fingerspelled. I do not support this, because when we give ASL names, it becomes part of our community. The incoming administration has a tremendous impact on our signing community. Name them - recognize their existence in ASL.
Likewise, I have been unable for 4 years to say the name of the outgoing president in both English and ASL. The actions of that administration have been too horrifying for me to personally recognize their existence in language. This experience showed me the impact of names.
Please continue the discussion on ASL names respectfully. This is an important part of our community's process. Thank you.
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