Audism Free America to Protest

Audism Free America Targets The Volta Bureau
The purpose of the one-day rally is to call attention to how the Volta Bureau/AGBell Association has been an active force in the denial of linguistic and human rights of Deaf citizens through its practices of Audism. Audism is the assumption that behaving in ways of those who speak and hear is best and desired. Audism manifests itself as a stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice against Deaf culture, American Sign Language and Deaf people.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 6, 2009 — Audism Free America (AFA), a grassroots Deaf activist organization, will stage a one-day protest rally on April 3rd 2009 in front of the Volta Bureau at 1537 35th St., NW in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area.
The purpose of the rally is to call attention to the denial of linguistic and human rights of Deaf citizens and to highlight how the Volta Bureau/AG Bell Association has worked to perpetuate the denial of these rights.
The newly formed AFA organization serves to expose AUDISM–practices and attitudes based on the assumption that the behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is best and desired. Audism manifests itself as stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice–in overt or covert ways–against Deaf culture, American Sign Language and Deaf people from all walks of life.
The national landmark known as the Volta Bureau houses a shameful history in the establishment and perpetuation of audism in the United States. The Volta Bureau was established by Alexander Graham Bell in 1893 who was the chief architect and advocate of the oral / aural-only exclusive method in Deaf education in the US. Bell never tolerated sign language as part of the Deaf child’s educational program. The primary reason for this relates to his position as a staunch eugenicist. His fear of the formation of an undesired “Deaf race” drove him to work toward denying Deaf people the right to use sign language, be educated together, be taught by other Deaf people, and socialize together.
These ideas provide the historical roots of the AG Bell Association today and its mission “advocating independence through listening and talking.” The organization’s fanatic lobbying for governmental resources for “exclusive” programs which focus on audition and speech “without the use of sign language or lipreading” for Deaf children results in infringing on the rights of Deaf children who would benefit from becoming bilingual—using American Sign Language and English.
Several years ago, the AG Bell Association publicly objected to a Pepsi commercial with two signing Deaf characters—an act which highlights their determination in the promotion of speaking and listening as the only desirable and acceptable means for Deaf people to communicate and function successfully in mainstream society…which is clearly audism.
AFA organizers challenge the assumption inherent in the Volta Bureau’s purpose: that to be “a center of information for deaf and hard of hearing persons,” neglects to the most part the accomplishments of Deaf signing people and their culture (in the United States and worldwide).
The AFA objects to how the AG Bell Association has sought to control the media, the medical establishment, educational professionals and families with Deaf children while outright neglecting the views and experiences of Deaf Americans. As a result of the advocacy of the AG Bell’s Association, the American public is indoctrinated with attitudes of paternalism, bias and discrimination toward Deaf people.
The AFA protest on April 3rd serves to direct attention to the audism that is promoted by institutions like the Volta Burea/AG Bell Association.
In the spirit of the new administration in Washington DC, the AFA organizers call on those working at the Volta Bureau and the AG Bell Association to work with us to promote freedom from audism in American life for ALL Deaf citizens. Yes, we believe, we can.
For additional information on the Audism Free America Protest Targets the Volta Bureau, visit http://www.audismfreeamerica.blogspot.com.

9 comments

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    • Robert Alfred Hawkins on March 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I tried posting stuff about this but was dismissed. I wonder if this organization is something the deaf community will really embrace? There’s already NAD and its state-level affiliates, Deaf Bilingual Coalition and the Deafhood Foundation just to name a few of many more causes. I wonder how folks in these organizations can make time and splurge money in this recession towards rallying for this and that organization? Hope all works out fine with AFA and other said entities.

    • Meryl on March 11, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I am taking the approach that I am simply sharing information. I am not taking sides here as I respect both sides’ opinions and their right to them.

    • Kim on March 11, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Robert Alfred Hawkins,
    We have been involved with Deaf community rights since 1880 and still not able to overcome against the Audism group.
    Maybe is it best to let every group in the Deaf community to be created, political or educational group to stop the audism attitudes that oppresses the Deaf community’s right to be heard.
    I think that it is about time that AFA to get the foot in the door for organizations such as NAD, DBC, Deafhood and others to show the true colors of those oppressors that are taking advantage of the deafness of a baby to rake in money for themselves.
    “It is not what the Deaf child can do for you, It is what you can do the for Deaf child”.
    Peace

    • Dave Mason on March 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    The author’s integrity is commendable as is that of the Bionic Ear Blog authorities. Dave Mason

    • tina jo on March 31, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Thanks for bringing a great society (all organizations you mentioned) to light…that put right what we considered unjust for denying basic language rights. A high time to have crusades seeing to Deaf children are language driven (not oral driven).

  1. Why should the signing deaf community place blame on the hearing and deaf futurists for causing audism when they, the signing community, actually supported the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) law thats been creating much of the audism conditions. They need to start blaming themselves, not anyone else, for a change.
    I see a lot of work by prolific deaf videobloggers burying the fact they supported the law thats been creating the audism conditions. Theyre trying very hard to hide the fact they actually birthed the audism monster theyre fighting.
    The demands the Audism Free America (AFA) made to the Alexander Graham Bell Association are basically childish, immature, and echoes leadership based on anger.
    Deaf children can be fixed to hear again and be trained to talk and live independent lives.
    Why should the taxpayers invest $800,000.00 each to teach deaf children sign language and make them members of a highly dependent collective as seen by outsiders as a prison of silence?
    Why should we send deaf children to a prison of silence when we can make them independent contributors to society?

    • E. Smith on April 3, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I have an incredible daughter who has a CI, she is now four and has been in oral education for two years.
    I’m not saying that CI and oral education is for everyone, but I’ll be damned if I am to accept that ASL and a life of silence is for everyone.
    It seems like the lack of tolerance falls these days on the side of the activist silent community, who under no circumstances want to allow CI/oral options to deaf children, people, and parents.
    (I know that’s a generalization, and obviously everyone in the deaf community on either side cannot be all grouped together. I’m pointing out that those who protest groups like AG Bell do not support tolerance and choice, and instead want it all their way.)
    For those who are facing a life of deafness for themselves or their child, give them all the information available in it’s rawest form, and let them decide which course to follow.
    God bless us, all of us.

    • Cynthia on April 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I am a deaf adult. I was not always deaf. We cannot sterotype those who brought audism upon themselves. Not all deaf are the same.
    I am in support of AFA. I can understand both sides. I was once upon a time–hearing. Then I had congenial hearing loss. I was hard of hearing with good residual hearing for many years.
    Now, I am profoundly deaf, with no residual hearing. Once upon a time, I wanted Cochlear. Now, I am greatly relieved that I never recieved it.
    Yes its a choice, but until you explore the options, the TRUE options within the “silent” community as you call it, you can never truly understand what we do.
    It is not a prison of silence. Its a world full of interactive, professions, and amazing things. Sure, I will never hear my childs voice again. Sure, I will never hear a bird sing again–but I do not want to be “fixed”. I do not want to deal with the headaches I’ve seen my peers who are “fixed” deal with.
    It is every parents right. My sister is deaf, if her child were to go deaf right now, she would do cochlear.
    Audism still exists–no matter who invented it or brought it upon us. If a deaf person brought it upon our community–that doesn’t mean we deserve it–we weren’t the ones who did it.
    Not all of us want to be “fixed” and that is our choice too.
    But we do need to be a voice–to show that the “silent” world is a good one as well. One just needs to know the steps, and be ready to take them on.
    Cochlear is not cheap, neither is spending months of therapy and training for speech and “hearing”.
    However, I would NEVER wish oralism upon a deaf person–nor a hard of hearing person. I STRUGGLED with my life as does every hard of hearing person who is stuck with oralism and being taught to “hear and listen and speak”.
    For those, I wish for the parents to embrace the deaf childs future, and allow them to be taught to sign, and perhaps given a chance at life to have a true social life and feel they truly belong somewhere.
    Sincerely.

    • Robert Biggins on June 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Sir, do you have audism card for hearing people to understand what we believe deaf culture using american sign language? I am deaf all my life and believe in. thank you.

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