AGBell’s ASL Position Statement Date

I noted Tayler’s recent y3 blog “Alexander Graham Bell the name” and checked out the AGBell Association’s website to locate the link Tayler provided.  If you search their website, you’ll see an index on the left side of the webpage.  The first item on the index list is “About AG Bell”, hover the mouse over that item and a drop-down menu will appear just to the right of it.  Click on “Who We Are” and a new page will appear.  You will see “Position Statements” on the far right side of this page, so click on that phrase.  On this next page you will see the American Sign Language Position Statement listed with other position statements, click on that one, and the ASL Position Statement that Tayler linked to in his blog will show up.

Note when AGBell’s board of directors unanimously approved this statement, this info is just at the end of the statement:

June 11, 2008.

A little less than a year ago.

Before the DBC rally and the AGBell convention in Milwaukee June 27-30, 2008.


106 Responses to “AGBell’s ASL Position Statement Date”

  1. Valhallian Says:

    Ann – that was a great find! You should have quoted it in its entirety, if not that, then at least this portion, in which I will put in the quote for ya 😉

    “With respect to American Sign Language (ASL), AG Bell acknowledges ASL as a language in and of itself. AG Bell also recognizes ASL’s importance in Deaf culture as a unique feature, and a language that many take pride in learning. AG Bell does not believe that ASL should be prohibited or restricted as a choice, nor does AG Bell advocate against learning ASL as part of a child’s overall development if that is what the child’s parents desire. ”

    Ann, I think you’re about to become a fully fledged member of the “Opening the Can of Worms” Club 😉 Again, that was a good find.

    Here is the link to copy and paste into a browser to save you the trouble of clicking a few times if this link isn’t clickable below.

  2. Valhallian Says:

    hmmm not sure if my previous comment went through cuz it did not say anything about being moderated either.

  3. Dianrez Says:

    These position statements are vastly different from the AGBell ongoing and historical pattern of opposition to sign language, especially in public media.

    Thanks for calling attention to these position statements, however. They can be used as discussion points in meeting with them, and if necessary, they can be held to them.

    Of concern is the overall theme of their literature and promotional material, which stresses indepndence through speech and listening and gives the impression that its approach of oral-aural training is more feasible than it actually is.

    Also of concern is its historic low involvement of d/Deaf teachers, parents, professionals and consultants. This tells me that they are not doing enough to increase their participation in the agency.

    Much of their outreach and material carries an implication that the other alternative, signed communication, will not develop speech, will not develop English, will narrow independent skills and options for Deaf people.

    AGBell has a long way to go before its operation can be viewed as completely respectful, unbiased and evenhanded.

  4. ireflections09 Says:


    Sorry, your first comment went into the spam pile and I had to retrieve it in order to approve it.

    Thanks for the link. It’s just that I wanted to make sure people knew how to access it from AGBell Association’s website for themselves, so people don’t go claiming it’s “buried” deep in some obscure page of the website or it’s in “small print” or in a “small blurb”. As one can see it’s as big as your computer screen will permit.

    The date was what caught my eye and jogged my memory.


  5. deafmommy Says:


    I saw this statement many months ago but still AGBell does not have website links as to where they can refer parents to ASL such as Gallaudet University and etc…. AGBell wants parents to contact them, the first thing they will tell the parents about how great oralism is and all that….

    I’m sure many other deafies have seen this statement and take it at face value. AGBell has not been entirely honest as what they represent and they prefer oralism over ASL.

    When I was growing up, deaf kids who were enrolled in oral programs, when some of them didn’t do well, they had to be referred to the state school, of course some parents had called the state school a dumping placel for kids who failed oralism. Still today, schools who have ASL programs tend to have lower numbers of deaf children/or children who have additional disabilities or were oral failures, ASL is the last resort. It is a shame because parents are led to feel that ASL is for deaf children who cannot speak well or whatever.

    Sorry to deflect your excitement in finding this statement — its been there for a long time and we deafies knew about it, it is just a thing for AGBell to put in there to “save face”

  6. Deafchip Says:

    The organization infamously has spoken with a forked tongue.

  7. Valhallian Says:

    Deafchip – isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? 😉

  8. Li-Li's Mom Says:

    AGBell was one of my first online research destinations (along with our state org. for the Deaf & HOH) when I initially suspected our child was not hearing a day or two after adopting her. I found the org. and the site to be a HUGE resource and one that ultimately led me to our choice of an ASL language and an ASL-based education as a primary language. While it openly presented speaking and hearing as its focus and preferred approach, it did NOT in any way discourage exploration of ASL and provided info. about educational, technological, and service-based support for the deaf as well as links to our state org for the deaf, NAD, Gallaudet, and other resources we needed.

    Our state org. and Deaf mentor provided us with extensive ASL-learning resources. NAD provided us with legal and advocacy position papers issues and guidelines that we’ll refer to throughout my daughter’s life. Our EI program and Li-Li’s amazing school (TLC-Framingham) have provided us with day to day loving care, communication/language/aural-rehab therapy, cultural awareness, a Community, a wonderful early education experience, and so much more. After extensive research elsewhere and discussions with educational and medical professions around the country, Li-Li received sequential bilateral cochlear implants a year apart.

    My 3YO happily attends a wonderful signing school for the deaf every day in a preK class with a cohort of 9 other CI users and a curriculum targeted to their very specific needs as deaf children who can hear with cochlear implants, and uses both ASL and spoken language at roughly an equal level. And I am eternally grateful for the ongoing support and access to information provided by AGBell — and as a hearing mom raising a daughter to use ASL and spoken English equally, I have not found the organization to be anti-ASL or anything but above-board in their position. I don’t expect AGBell to provide all those resources the other organizations are focused on, I expect them to focus on their mission (hearing and speaking) and acknowledge other approaches, and they do this – prominently.

  9. Dianrez Says:

    Li-Li’s mom, thanks for your input. It is a valuable insight on what good AGBell provides these days, and it appears to be different today from what Deaf adults remember.

    AGBell has a legacy, however, and it still has not yet lived down its past effects on how the public and medical profession views deaf people today. This is the focus of Deaf activism now…to change the legacy of paternalism, audism, and noninvolvement of Deaf people in their administration and offerings. The institutions today are evolving, true, but only because of intense pressure from the Deaf community and its professionals.

  10. Candy Says:

    I don’t remember hearing “AGBell” growing up. I have heard of “Bell School” and that it was oral but everyone signs at recess. The mainstream school I attended which had a program for HOH kids only, not once have I ever heard or saw anything related to AGBell. The first I have heard of AGBell was learning about his invention in one of the history books. The deaf community was never anti-AGBell, that I could remember. Sure, there were jokes and jibes towards the orals, but it was done in fun. Even the ex-orals joked too. What’s strange is most of the ex-orals that I know were more angry towards the deaf that oppressed them because they didn’t know signs. They would have rather been treated more kindly. Most ex-oral’s trauma was being abused mentally and physically for not knowing signs by their peers than the oral methods itself.

    Ann, your post is cool. You made a very keen point. Somewhere along the line, a few people must have had a vendetta to go after AGBell. Who cares about legacy when the organization is trying their best to be balanced, yet, still sticking with their mission.

  11. Ben Vess Says:

    I have to finally interject with a comment, here. I hope it offends some, because some of you just don’t get it.

    DianRez, you said: “AGBell has a long way to go before its operation can be viewed as completely respectful, unbiased and evenhanded.” Now, I’m going to call you for what you are…

    A bully.

    Get over yourself. AGBell never claimed to be unbiased. In fact, AGBell is just as unbiased as NAD. The difference here is–you actually agree with NAD. So, yes, you should get over yourself. Your opinion is not better than AGBell’s.

    I find it utterly ridiculous that you’re asking for respect when you can’t provide it.

    It’s one thing to make your opinions known; but, it’s something else entirely when you’re on a quest to constantly bash AGBell and the individuals involved out because of what happened to you when you were three years old. Go see a shrink and resolve them yourself.

    We all have our demons, it’s okay.

    Get this in your head, you and all the rest of the idiots out there: AGBell heard you out. AGBell said, “No.”

    Now, you’re just being a bully throwing a temper tantrum. Get this: AGBell does not revolve around you or the rest of the ASL speaking community. It never will

    Put your energy into doing something productive…Please. Like seeing a shrink and resolving your issues.

    Don’t be an asshole.

    This goes to you too as well, Deafmommy. You would be better off investing all that energy into your children. It’s almost unbelievable that you may be teaching your own child that this is okay.

    Go be a bully, if you don’t get what you want.

    Your kid’s going to have problems because you were stupid. Pity.

    DeafChip–you are entitled to your opinion. Nobody asked for it though.

    Since everyone’s on the bandwagon of expressing their opinions without being asked to share it–here’s mine: you’re an asshole.

    So fucking what!

    You may bash me out all you want. It won’t change my opinion of you guys: Y’all are assholes who thinks the world revolves around you so you can bully everyone who disagrees with you.

    Einstein was right…Human stupidity…

    *shakes head*

    I don’t expect a reply. *waves*

  12. Dianrez Says:

    Sometimes the do-gooder ends up doing more harm than good. Let’s imagine an example.

    The promoters of the Jerry Lewis Telethon have contacted you. What is your first impression? Disabled children in wheelchairs. Disabled young adults slowly and with difficulty speaking of their lifelong gratitude to the organization for saving their futures and giving them hope. Smiling caregivers and dedicated therapists, always young and attractive, speaking brightly of their children and what they can do. Distinguished principals describing their classes. All are proud and brag of their charges’ accomplishments. You smile and give up some money, making an investment of both funds and emotions.

    How do you remember this when you see a young man , head held sideways, face grimacing, one hand flopping out, piloting his wheelchair in the shopping mall, struggling with a door? Do-gooders helping him. He needs help now. Open the door. Hopefully he can get home somehow and somebody will help him eat.

    Do you think of him as a computer programmer, with a car of his own and an apartment? No, not until you are told this. Do you think of him managing his income, buying property, and voting? Not until you know he is employed. Do you even think of him as a father and husband? Only in terms of a helper person.

    That is the legacy of do-gooders with a massive public outreach and fundraising arms. They form public opinion that is lopsided and not beneficial to those they help in other ways. They say we can earn independence through listening and speaking.

  13. Ben Vess Says:

    Aha DianRez,

    Not once did you mention “asking the individuals whether they need help or not.”

    I don’t recall AGBell asking you for your opinion or asking you to help them do-good. You’re basing that assumption that deaf children with AGBell needs to be “helped” or “rescued” from the whole “oralism moevement.”

    Only because it didn’t work for you.

    That’s your own personal issue.

    I hear through my ears and I can speak using my voice. It works for me. Can you accept that? Have you asked me when I was a child whether or not if I wanted that route? You ASLers imposed on me just as them Oralists imposed on you.

    If they’re at fault for all this terribleness–where does that put you?

    Really, DianRez, read the first line you wrote–that is your fatal flaw.

    Now there’s going to be some poor kid out there who’s going to have to suffer this from hearies: “Oh, you’re deaf??? you neeeeeeeeed ASL.”

    Neither you nor them bothered asking that poor little child: “How can we help you? Do you need it?”


    Bye-Bye , high horse, eh?

  14. Dianrez Says:

    Ben, that isn’t in the spirit of good blog discourse.

    Okay. As a HOH and orally competent person, you’re taking the AGBell defense, along with some other people of similar persuasion. Also along with some parents of oral and enhanced children. It’s also aligned with the mindset of the hearing population. It leaves out the Deaf population that doesn’t live that way, though.

    Nowhere did I say that AGBell should disappear. Just drastically modify its approach and mindset in its literature, fundraising and outreach programs to emphasize respect for all kinds of d/Deaf people. To include more d/Deaf professionals and parents on its board and its staff and outreach programs. To publicly disavow its previous attacks on media for showing ASL, even, to show that it has changed its outlook to a more general and respectful one, that recognizes all d/Deaf people as equally capable of independence no matter what their communication preference.

    THEN it can be a richer resource for parents and all d/Deaf people.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Candy, you said that Ann_C’s note is cool. Do you mean that it’s cool of her to talk like a parrot without saying anything?

  16. Deafchip Says:


    Nope that is not the one. Smile


    It is too bad that you have your foot in your mouth occasionally because of your views that have always been changed. There is no point for me to discuss with you because you said you don’t give a f**k about Deaf children. That is my impression of you! Just get out of my semi bald hair.

  17. Dianrez Says:

    Oh, Ben, I realized that I hadn’t addressed your feeling that ASL was imposed on you as a child, just as oralism was imposed on most of us as children. The philosophy that we all want is to have all communication methods given to each child, and those that work best will soon become apparent. No imposition here, just no exclusion. More like offering both Hebrew and English in the yeshiva, or French-speaking families sending their child to private schools that teach in both French and English. Got issues with that? I suppose people look back on their piano lessons with resentment, too.

  18. Ben Vess Says:


    You keep missing my point. I don’t get it. Okay, let me make this much more simpler for you:

    You and your fellow people asked AGBell: “Just drastically modify its approach and mindset in its literature, fundraising and outreach programs to emphasize respect for all kinds of d/Deaf people.”

    AGBell said, “No.”

    Get it? They said no, meaning, it’s not going to happen. Can you accept that? It’s called respect when you leave them alone after they’ve made it clear.


    but hey, if you want to be oblivious to that answer and keep on being a bully–at least, own up to that. Don’t be demanding respect from someone when you can’t provide that.

    They said no. What more can you do?

    Now, you’re saying oh oh, we should get AGBell to provide all that for a child, not exclusion. I don’t see you protesting NAD for not placing speech and listening on top of their list with ASL.

    Let’s call a hypocrite, a hypocrite here.


    Thank you for proving me that you’re an asshole.

    Didn’t realize you were stupid, too.

    I don’t expect a reply.


  19. Dianrez Says:

    Think of an 800-pound gorilla and a 14-ounce marmoset. We are talking about an agency with tremendous public influence, a lobbying budget in the hundreds of thousands, and a lot of pull with most institutions serving deaf children. NAD was formed in opposition to Alexander Graham Bell’s influence and continues to work for that sector of deaf people that have no other representation. Who’s the real bully, Ben?

  20. ireflections09 Says:

    Ah, s**t’s hitting the fan here. This is what happens when life turns busy at my house.

    Dianrez, the ASL position statement is in black-and-white for all the world to see. It’s been published on AGBell Association’s website, now in cyberspace, you can print it out for a paper record or take a “screenshot” of it right on your computer to keep evidence. It would be very difficult for AGBell to retract what the organization published. Moreover, the statement was approved unanimously by the board of directors. That means the top dogs know about it.

    It doesn’t mean that AGBell is going to change their mission of facilitating hearing and speaking for deaf children, that option is their focus.

    It does mean that the organization is recognizing that “the times they a’changin'” and they are trying to move with the times by at least recognizing ASL as a language of its own and that “hearing and speaking” is not the ONLY option out there for deaf children. In other words, the organization is starting to distance themselves from the original founder’s “oralism only” dogma. The AGBell organization today is already vastly different from what the organization was in the 20th century.

    AGBell is trying to move forward, how about you and others moving forward instead of looking back at the past? How about just focusing on the option for ASL for deaf children and addressing audism in the public arena, a much bigger and more problematic target than AGBell, so that future deaf generations will not have to go through what we went through? Turn that anger into something positive and constructive.

    Thank you all, commenters, for your input. I will start moderating after this point if the name-calling gets out of hand. Let’s stick to the topic instead, thanks.

  21. Ben Vess Says:


    Then that is your own fault that NAD did not grow to be a 800 pound gorilla. It is the ASL’s community’s fault. Period.

    You had years to make NAD a political machine with clout. You guys had years to raise funds and set up lobbying in Congress. NAD is badly financed, badly handled, thus ineffective in pretty much anything.

    And it’s not NAD’s fault. It’s the ASL community’s.

    Pity that ASL community feel that AGBell should be as ineffective as NAD. How about trying to learn from AGBell as opposed to criticizing them to no limit and becoming as effective as them in all the things that you’ve said??

    The main difference between AGBell and many Deaf people is that AGBell did not have life handed to them on a silver platter. They worked to get to where they are now and they’ve earned it. They didn’t get there doing nothing.

    You guys need to do the same for NAD.

    Bobbie Beth Scoggins was right when she said “It’s not what NAD can do for you but what you can do for NAD?

    And what are you doing?


    Finally, to answer your question: The ASL community is the bully here–instead of actually becoming effective in their political and social clout, you guys harass AGBell and hope to take what they’ve worked for years for your own ideals.

    Yep, you’re the bully here along with your peers. Hey, it’s your right, I got nothing against that, really.

    But, I won’t afford you the right to deny that.

  22. Ben Vess Says:

    One more thing…

    To top it all off, you guys go off making new organizations year after year…DBC, AFA, DeafHood, yadda yadda yadda…

    Don’t you think that’s an effective way to diminish NAD’s authority over these matters?

    Go support your new organizations year after year, dismantling them to build a new one while NAD dies a slow death by lack of support, the lack of memberships and all that…

    Simply because you guys want to stand in front of the Volta Bureau every year, rain or shine. Go do that.

    When NAD is gone–this community has nobody to blame but themselves.


  23. Candy Says:


    It’s cool that she pointed out a FACT that others didn’t bother to notice.

    Why is that eating you up?


  24. ireflections09 Says:

    Point well taken, Ben.

    As long as Deaf activists tilt at AGBell, their “demands” for redress of past grievances and protests continue to reflect victim language. That’s their choice, and they have the right to protest.

    However, it would be far more empowering for activists and the deaf community to act for themselves by supporting the one organization, NAD, that is supposed to be the deaf community’s POLITICAL clout to counter AGBell’s influence and audism. It’s called political firepower in numbers. It’s also what I call turning that anger into something constructive and “now-oriented” instead of fuming over what was, the past that cannot be undone.

  25. ireflections09 Says:

    Candy, I was beginning to wonder if anyone would notice the date. It’s the bullseye some people choose to ignore. 😉

  26. Dianrez Says:

    That’s a worthwhile concept. Getting numbers into NAD and pressuring them to be more proactive in combating audism could work better than demonstrating in small numbers in front of AGBell conventions and organizations.

    DBC, AFA, what can we do about getting numbers and attention to NAD? Parents, do you think your organizations can do good by encouraging their members to also round out the memberships at NAD?

    The work already done so far in raising consciousness in the Deaf community can add more strength to NAD. Let’s see what we can develop of this.

  27. Ben Vess Says:


    Thank you 🙂

    I’m a card-carrying member of NAD!

    I have plans on helping NAD financially–that soon will come in a week 🙂 A major ass plan that just might be the hottest thing for this community.

    Hint for those who wants it: think, Bono’s (red) campaign.


  28. ireflections09 Says:

    I was also thinking: Insane Misha is organizing a Deaf Civil Rights March to DC that won’t take place for 3 years yet.

    There can be something like a coordinated campaign along the lines of deaf empowerment within NAD to create more memberships for the organization and pull in donations to finance the march as well.

    Just my 2 cents’ worth.


  29. Deafchip Says:


    I burst out laughing… However, I understand you don’t expect my reply! Anyway, thanks for your entertainment!

  30. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    “He who controls the past controls the future.”

    What were you saying about “legacy?”

    I do not expect an intelligent reply.



  31. Ben Vess Says:


    I’m laughing along with you. 🙂

    The joke’s on you.


  32. Paotie Says:

    Ann_C ..

    Here is a thought: empowerment via acceptance (EVA).

    I should get a copyright for that or something.



  33. ireflections09 Says:


    Care to elaborate what you mean about (EVA)? I have a hunch what it means, but I don’t want to second-guess you. Others may be clueless to what you’re referring to. 😉


  34. Ben Vess Says:

    *raises hand*

    I’m clueless to EVA. Thank you Ann for asking for clarification…

    Sorry I’m not the brightest bulb 😉


  35. Brian L. Mayes Says:

    Good post, Ann_C! I did look into that and see that it is there and now it is DBC’s turn to post something that they support the use of hearing and speaking cuz their target has always been about/against AGBell. For whatever reason, I’m clueless to.

    “I was also thinking: Insane Misha is organizing a Deaf Civil Rights March to DC that won’t take place for 3 years yet.

    There can be something like a coordinated campaign along the lines of deaf empowerment within NAD to create more memberships for the organization and pull in donations to finance the march as well.”

    That is a great idea, but you know what will be required? That hearing people get involved too and help empower deaf! That is something that I have not seen in the deaf community yet, so it will be something that every deaf will have to embrace. Can we? Can DBC? Can “Deafhood”? That is the question.

    I also want to give a high five to Ben for standing tall! Awesome job, man!

  36. Brian L. Mayes Says:

    Oops, forgot to raise my hand and say, “WTF?” to EVA… 😉 Sorry, Paotie, you are going to have to stop working on your paper and “spell” it out for us again..

  37. Ben Vess Says:

    Aw thankees Brian. 🙂

    I feel better now–I don’t feel so alone. hahahahaha

  38. White Ghost Says:

    Evironmental Vibration Agency! 😛

  39. Brian L. Mayes Says:

    LOL WG!!!! You crack me up! Coming from Paotie, you are probably right! 😉

  40. kim Says:

    Li-Li’s Mom. What you said here–

    >>And I am eternally grateful for the ongoing support and access to information provided by AGBell — and as a hearing mom raising a daughter to use ASL and spoken English equally, I have not found the organization to be anti-ASL or anything but above-board in their position. <<

    This is what it’s all about! Those who want parents to embrace ASL need to be supportive to parents and their deaf children. Clearly most parents like you are finding the greatest support through AGBell.

  41. kmayes Says:


    I use AGBell for updates on hearing aid technology, for mainstreaming resources, etc. It does not only concentrate on CI all the time.

  42. Deafchip Says:


    I am honoured!

  43. Ben Vess Says:


    S’il vous plait. 🙂

    Are you member of NAD? If not, go join today! Don’t you agree with me, though?

    Time to make NAD an 800lb Gorilla?! Bring it up to par with AGBell, yes?



  44. Deafchip Says:

    I am Canadian and I am member of Canadian Association of the Deaf and OAD (Ontario). I support NAD. Yes I want to see NAD become an 5,000lb Gorilla!

  45. Ben Vess Says:

    Actually, if AGBell is 8,000lb Gorilla…then I would prefer NAD to be 9,000lbs LOL!

  46. Paotie Says:

    Ann_C ..

    EVA is pretty straight-forward.

    When I was in college, I attended summer school every summer because it was an easy way to get ahead of my academic program. And one summer while I lived in the dorms at my university, I met an older, white man from Boston who lived a few doors down from my dorm room.

    His name was Finn, and Finn loved tea more than anything in the world. His tea-stained smile reflected his love of all things British, and in the fierce, New Mexican summer, he would wear ski jackets outside because .. well, he was from Boston, as he used to say.

    One day after classes, I went to my dorm room and found Finn standing at my door, waiting for me. “Want to go grab a bite?” he asked. I said sure, and as we walked towards the parking lot to his car, we passed by a group of my African American friends who were also football players.

    As we walked past my friends, Finn said, “Oh, those people! They are bad people!”

    Yes, Finn was a card-carrying racist of African American people. And for a while, I would worry that one day, I would find Finn beaten to a bloody pulp for his prejudiced views.

    Every day after class, Finn and I would head to town to eat lunch together. And every day on the way to the same parking lot, we would pass by the same group of African American football players, and he’d make the same comment without fail, too. “Those people!” he described them.

    By the end of the summer, my African American friends revealed to me that they did not find Finn to be a racist; rather, they found him to be “funny” and “cool in a weird way,” and above all, they all thought he was a harmless old man.

    So, one hot, summer’s night, I was playing dominoes with my African American friends (they lived directly opposite of Finn’s dorm, and they played dominoes outside A LOT) when Finn came running around the corner of the building. And when he saw me nursing a Mickey’s 40-ounce while I sat at a small, pop-up table with rows of dominoes heading into all directions, he walked up to me and quietly asked, “Paotie, I really do not know how you can hang out with ‘those’ people.”

    I invited him to play dominoes with us, instead. And he did, and he had fun.

    The last time I ever saw Finn, he told me, “Paotie, I liked your [African American] friends. I didn’t know they could be so nice to me.”

    My African American friends helped a racist man change his views, not through anger or demanding reparations, but by accepting Finn for who he was. When he would make remarks about “those people!” they would smile and we’d move on.

    I never saw an emotion of hate from either Finn or my friends. What I saw was empowerment via acceptance: my African American friends accepted Finn and his prejudices, and together, we overcame Finn’s prejudices by playing dominoes while we drank malts (and Finn with his hot-tea during 110 degree heat).

    More importantly, by accepting Finn, my friends overcame prejudice without inflaming emotions, or making excessive demands.

    I never knew what happened to Finn, but the last time I heard about him, he’d been enrolled at the University of Miami in Florida, an area where there is a significant population of “those people!” that Finn used to fear.

    Empowerment via acceptance (EVA).




  47. Paotie Says:

    Ann_C ..

    One more thing regarding empowerment via acceptance in the story above:

    We all became empowered because my African American friends helped a prejudiced person accept THEM; Finn became empowered because he found a new way to look at “Those people!” and (hopefully), did not continue to harbor his prejudices that he said was ingrained in him at an early age.

    I became empowered because I accepted both Finn and my African American friends regardless, and by inviting Finn to play dominoes with us, I learned that people CAN and DO overcome prejudices.

    That was a really fun night playing dominoes with Finn and the football players.



  48. Brian L. Mayes Says:


    Totally awesome! That is one story I will live with until the day I die. You should publish it and patent it! 😉

    I most definitely like EVA!

    Thanks for sharing!

  49. Valhallian Says:

    Paotie, that was a great story, thanks for sharing that, a story like that would last forEVA!!!!!! (that’s how a Boston accent would say forever eh?) 😉

  50. Valhallian Says:

    and Paotie, you should actually make a blog posting outta that story too! Hopefully that’ll encourage the anti CI people to actually hang out with CI users and see that they are actually good people too.

  51. Paotie Says:

    Valhallian ..

    You said, “Hopefully that’ll encourage the anti CI people to actually hang out with CI users and see that they are actually good people too.”

    I dunno about hanging out, but at the very least, we can all accept other, different deaf people and learn from them. We do not promote discrimination against various types of African American people, do we?


    Why do we do this with deaf people?

    A strong, vibrant Deaf culture would NOT need to waste an inordinate amount of time promoting hate, discrimination, intolerance and a need to “Save the babies!!”


    A strong, vibrant Deaf culture would look at oral deaf people (and AG Bell Foundation members), and say, “Wow! She is fluent and speaks wonderfully in many languages! Amazing! Good for her! Awesome!”

    And that’s it.


    But that is not what too many culturally deaf groups do.


    “Save the babies!”

    Mmm .. ‘kay.



  52. ireflections09 Says:

    Paotie, when you commented “Here is a thought…”, I knew we were in for a treat. Thanks for the illuminating story. Sometimes it takes a parable to get people to understand that underneath all the prejudices and anger we carry, we’re all human beings and when we accept others as they are, it empowers us all.

    I know, some people are prone to acronyms, but EVA should be an easy one to remember. 🙂

    Val, train long gone! 😉

  53. Paotie Says:

    Ann_C ..

    You said: “we’re all human beings and when we accept others as they are, it empowers us all. ”

    I’m gonna get that copyrighted!


    Great point, though.



  54. White Ghost Says:

    Wonderful story, Paotie.

    EVA? Let’s call an actresses Eva Mendes and Eva Longoria to visit you! 😛

    Lucky you, darlin’ paotie if it happens! ;-D

  55. Ben Vess Says:

    That is an awesome story.


  56. Dianrez Says:

    Paotie, that’s a great story. I’d be very pleased to see EVA gain acceptance in all community happenings. Good stuff!

  57. Candy Says:

    This is an Exceptional, Very Awesome story!

    The idea that anyone would let anyone tell anyone who to hangout with is a nuh uh!

    Paotie, really, that was awesome.

  58. Paotie Says:

    A quote from Helen Keller:

    “It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.”

    There is a very poignant aspect of her quote: she suggests people learn to accept others, rather than wasting energy on negative focuses (“the devil”).



  59. Candy Says:

    Yea – Pretty much how I live my life everyday in dealing with all kinds of people. But, ya know personalities get in the way lots and if one were to take that quote to heart, it’s amazing what could happen.

    There’s this discussion going on over at MZ regarding why deaf people feel oppressed by Cochlear Implant and as I was reading and commenting over there, I was thinking about EVA and then your next Helen Keller quote makes it all even poignant. Some are saying it’s not the C.I. itself the symbolism behind a C.I. I say that if we bother to focus on that negativity (Audism and C.I.), we’re not gonna get anywhere. 🙂 I find that if we look for good, usually things falls into place, acceptance is all it takes.

  60. kmayes Says:

    Paotie, that is an awesome story, about EVA! Just be accepting of anyone… instead of being too quick to judge.

    Yup, I agree with you, Paotie… Huh about Deaf Culture coming down hard on CI, oral, etc.? Not definitely EVA. Especially with increasing paranoia over audism nowadays :o/.

    Oh well.

    Way to go!

  61. grendelq Says:

    ” … the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui” – I love that quote!

    Viva EVA (Li-Li’s Mom)

  62. Ecnarb Says:


    I cant give a reply since I may be a fool. BUT your story has inspired me.
    Thank you,

    forgot to add…

    Susan Boyle too


  63. Paotie Says:

    Candy ..

    You said: “There’s this discussion going on over at MZ regarding why deaf people feel oppressed by Cochlear Implant”

    The people who consistently hawk the idea of oppression are generally those who have the most to gain, politically and economically, from those forms of advocacy. Mishka and Amy Effin’ Cohen claim AG Bell Foundation “oppresses” them and others – and they do so because they probably want to benefit DR/DVTV’s rankings and Sprint’s corporate profits by driving “controversies” about oppression.

    Didn’t the DBC leadership try to bilk money from deaf people in a profiteering campaign that funneled deaf people’s money to the DBC leaders under the banner of “Deafhood?”

    And Amy and Mishka did nothing to stop it, probably because they were “bullied” by DBC “cults,” in which “groupthink” was pervasive (quoted words are THEIR words, not mine). Or at least, they waited for someone else to save them but did nothing to save/help other deaf people from the same things the two women allegedly experienced at the hands of the DBC leadership.

    CIs = oppression?


    DBC/DR/DVTV = oppression.




  64. Paotie Says:

    Ecnarb ..

    I do not see you as a fool. Only different than I.

    We have much we can learn from one another.


    Cool beans, dude!



  65. White Ghost Says:

    Don’t forget to add AFA = oppression. Bad public relations. ” Stop CI”, it’s oppression.

    “Don’t ask, don’t tell” controversy.

  66. Paotie Says:

    White Ghost ..

    AFA = militant stupidity.



  67. Candy Says:



    You have a point there. FYI, it’s Purple now. Sprint, sprinted away.


    Gosh, I do have to get off, it’s such a beautiful day! But first! I have two more chapters to go with Eclipse and then I’m goin shopping! Getting Breaking Dawn.

  68. Paotie Says:

    Candy ..

    Ahh .. yes, it IS Purple.

    My, I’ve been gone so long from DR that I didn’t even notice that. Thanks!



  69. kmayes Says:

    I just started New Moon… ;o) Depressing beginning, Edward disappearing and Bella moping….

  70. kmayes Says:

    I am really done with paranoia over audism… I ain’t gonna be part of this kind of audism witchhunt… feels like McCarthyism to me.

    So what, everything and everyone is ism’ish.

    Embrace ism’s.


    Excuse me for not making some sense, been battling bad ear infection which is tiring…

  71. ireflections09 Says:

    In case some people are befuddled as to what Candy and Karen are talking about, they’re discussing the Twilight series of books…They are hooked diehard fans. I dunno if I should even start, I’d probably get nothing done, much less blog! Ha!

    Paotie, your bon mots are sorely missed and your story is a gem!


  72. Joseph Pietro Riolo Says:

    I don’t know the source of strong emotions that Paotie had toward the bloggers Mishka Zena and Ms. Amy Cohen Efron. I feel that I need to defend them for a moment here. They are great bloggers that carry moderate voice among the deaf community. Regarding their role as editors at DeafRead, perhaps, the concerns should be brought to Mr. Tayler Mayer. After all, it is he that earns or oversees profits from the advertisements and sponsorships.

    I realize how this can be argumentative but I want to give some support for these two bloggers. Maybe, I am misunderstanding something and if I do, I am open to corrections.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  73. Paotie Says:

    Mr. Riolo,

    I respectfully disagree with you. In the first place, Amy and Mishka pretend to be some sort of advocates “for” the deaf community, whether as DR Editors or bloggers.

    I say “pretend” because their advocacy, while it has helped somewhat, has also caused untold problems because both women were “abused” by the DBC leadership – as they claim. If they were, indeed, “abused” by the DBC leadership (in the form of “bullying”, etc.) and nothing has been done to resolve that issue, where is their responsibility in that since people are STILL being “bullied” by the very same DBC leaders.

    THEY helped the DBC leadership do (“bully”, “intimidate”, etc.) what the DBC did to them and other deaf people, whether they meant to or not.

    If their claims regarding the DBC’s “bullying” were NOT true, then they’re, quite simply, liars.

    And if they were “confused,” then their handling of the entire DBC fiasco suggests they do not exhibit the appropriate skills necessary to be considered as “neutral, and professional-like” DR Editors.

    Either they have abused their positions as DR Editors, or are liars, and/or Benedict Arnolds.

    Crappy advocates, in other words.



  74. Dianrez Says:

    “They are great bloggers that carry moderate voice among the deaf community.” We need more of those, thanks Joseph!

    In the past year we have seen the loss of bloggers such as Patti Durr due to attacks on them instead of honest discourse…words like “stupid” and “asshole” are examples of attacks. Let’s encourage those moderate voices…they are positive writers, clearheaded and mindful of including diverse viewpoints.

  75. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    Many, many, many bloggers left DeafRead BECAUSE of Amy and Mishka.

    Additionally, YOU empower anonymous comments to proliferate on DeafRead by continuing to address them.

    A good example: Suppose I say, “DIANREZ IS FREAKIN’ STUPID!”

    My advice to you is simply to ignore it.

    But, since you do not ..

    You are not very bright.



  76. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    One last thing: I’ve been called so many names far, far, far worse than “stupid.”

    Do you see me whining about it?


    But since you do ..

    You just may not be the brightest bulb in the house.



  77. Dianrez Says:

    Paotie, I don’t understand your input regarding the two mentioned bloggers and their relationship with DBC. You weren’t part of it, so why do you mind?

    DBC, like AFA and many other movements before them, have their mistakes and their good points. Like bloggers and respondents to blogs, all deserve a voice in contributing toward a better society. What we should be doing is encouraging, not tearing them down, and including their contributions as an addition to our collective wisdom. EVA.

  78. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    Yes, we should be encouraging EVA but I do not see you doing that. I see you assigning blame to OTHER people but not Amy or Mishka at ALL.

    And I care because I was one of those people the DBC targeted, remember? And if you recall, my first question to Mr. Egbert was, “What can I do to help?”

    So, I have a vested interest.



  79. Dianrez Says:

    Jeepers, Paotie, what was all that for? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. People like you lose credibility when they resort to insults and name calling. Come on.

  80. Dianrez Says:

    Oh. There’s a history and you don’t forget. Okay. Can we just call it a disagreement and overlook that in favor of the positive aspects in the other persons or organizations?

  81. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    Also, you said: “DBC, like AFA and many other movements before them, have their mistakes and their good points.”

    So, on the one hand, it is okay for DBC/AFA, etc to make “mistakes” and if AG Bell Foundation mentions Pepsi, then you freak out into silly serenades about “legacies.”

    Nice and convenient, isn’t it? And not fair at all. You expect so much from AG Bell Foundation and so little from DBC, do you not?

    Seems so, given that you are okay with the numerous, ongoing, “mistakes” DBC and AFA continue to make.



  82. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    You assign blame to other people but NEVER to the people you mentioned above. ALL share some blame.


    It is not like they said, “Let us stop fighting! Let us work together!”


    Neither have you.

    I have and did. And I will continue.

    And I will continue to describe you however I want because at the end of the day, you are part of Amy and Mishka’s little sorry clique that got “bullied” around by the DBC.

    I apologize for addressing your lack of intelligence.



  83. Paotie Says:

    One more thing:

    I said, “It is not like they said, “Let us stop fighting! Let us work together!””

    “Us” in this context means the deaf community, including oral deaf (they focused only on protecting their own little clique members and themselves, instead.)



  84. Dianrez Says:

    I expect a LOT from both sides. (Remember the activists were there precisely because of past mistakes made by AGBell.) And I expect a lot from you, too.

    Attacking isn’t it.
    EVA is.

    It’s too important a concept to muddle by venting spleen, okay?

  85. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    I apologize if your spleen ruptured.

    So, you are going to agree to cease attacks and negative innuendo regarding AG Bell Foundation and work to promote EVA so that we can end all these negative campaigns that restrict deaf people’s freedom of speech rights?

    If so, I will hold you to it. And if you do agree, I PROMISE I will stop inferring that your last remaining brain cell is about to expire imminently.



  86. ireflections09 Says:

    Interesting, Paotie, that you made a point about expecting high standards of both AGBell and DBC/AFA, as well as other deaf organizations.

    Then we need to start expecting high standards of NAD, if any of us want it to be the 8,000 pound gorilla to match AGBell.

  87. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    A point of clarification (sorry, I have really spotty Internet connections today, and whenever I click “Submit comment,” I do not even know if it went through or not until several minutes later, so I apologize for the multiple comments to you and Ann_C):

    You can disagree with AG Bell Foundation but I hope you cease your attacks on AG Bell Foundation because as with many DBC supporters, any attack on the DBC can be viewed as an attack on DBC members.

    Audism and reverse audism have to stop, first with us, then with other groups.

    So, I apologize if you felt insulted by my comments. And regardless of whether or not you agree with EVA, I will just stop, okay?

    I am sure you a good person behind your computer. I am sure you are very passionate about our community – that is never a question.

    Two wrongs do not make a right, yes?

    So, I am sorry for insulting you and will not do it again, regardless of whether or not you accept EVA.



  88. Dianrez Says:

    Promoting EVA, fine. I’ll still say what I think without attacking persons.

    You also have your freedom of speech, but attacks on persons lower your credibility in respecting the principle of EVA that we all agree upon.

    NAD also deserves the same scrutiny and expectations that we have of the groups discussed here.

  89. Dianrez Says:

    All right, Paotie. Thanks. Hugs.

  90. ireflections09 Says:

    Correction: I meant “to match AGBell” by meeting in equal strength to AGBell in influence and political clout, not to attack AGBell.


  91. Paotie Says:

    Ann_C ..

    Actually, my view has always been that NAD members should be demanding MORE from the NAD, beyond silly lawsuits concerning NFL games.

    Like, helping deaf people find jobs, health care, housing, quality of life issues, and so on.

    I’ll never be a member of NAD, though.



  92. Paotie Says:

    Dianrez ..

    Cool beans!


    And regarding your comment about the NAD, I agree.

    NAD needs to overhaul its leadership, mission objectives and organizational structure, among many, many other things.



  93. ireflections09 Says:

    Boy, I struggle to say the right words at times.

    Thank you, Paotie and Dianrez, for trying to practice the EVA concept.

    It’s something I’ve been trying to practice for the last two years on the deaf blogosphere and never could put a name to it. That’s from my struggle to put words to something I can’t put my finger on. I’m sure some people are gonna think, of all people, Paotie put a name to it.

    Yeah, I can see what some people are thinking. “Oh, he’s just putting on a good face, he’ll turn on ya the next minute.”

    Don’t forget it was Paotie who genuinely asked “What can I do to help?”


  94. Candy Says:


    Cool Beans!

    Glad to see the workings of EVA in action. The story helps along with the “name.”

    Now, I can be content and get back to my reading. 😉

    Paotie, thank you for ‘splaning things and Dianrez, thank you for listening and Ann_C thank you for your blog!

  95. Ecnarb Says:


    Thank you for this cool comments plus your blog (I think your shortest post with almost 100 comments was unheard of. :))


  96. ireflections09 Says:

    Candy, thanks for your input and the compliment, too!

    Ecnarb, LOL, you’re the first to bring my attention to the fact that there are nearly 100 comments to my short-but-sweet 180-word blog. I’d actually like to see more dialogue than blog, as I like to read other views besides my own. Hope that my future blogs here can encourage further dialogue in the deaf community! Thanks, you’re sweet.

  97. White Ghost Says:

    Thank G*d there is no John E. to be around…… 😉 Don’t need him to be preaching…..

    Nice to seeing Paotie and Dianrez to be peaceful and eva….. 😉

  98. Joseph Pietro Riolo Says:

    Hi Paotie,

    Thanks for your response. Without knowing what was happening behind the scenes, I feel that it is not appropriate to add any more speculation to what was discussed and so, I will not continue it. I want to repeat that I do support these two bloggers in spite of the shortcomings and faults that they had.

    Hopefully, the peace will emerge somehow, if it is possible, between you and these two bloggers, perhaps through EVA :-).

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  99. kmayes Says:

    Well, WG, bring John E.., DeafChip, etc. aboard and see if we all can practice EVA without using DBC to use Ann_C or anyone’s blog as a stage for propangada ;o)

    But, yes, it was Paotie who first volunteered to be of help to DBC and John just more or less snapped Paotie’s head off :o/ .

  100. White Ghost Says:

    I got to become the 100th! I won! I’ve gotten a golden ticket! 😉

    Yes, John E. have snapped many people’s head off when he disagreed with us and the 12 victims who were the former DBCs.

  101. Valhallian Says:

    Paotie – your EVA story is one of the best I have seen among my years of reading deafread. Many of the readers often do not come back over and over to the same posting to read the comment and they may have missed your story.

    That being the case, I urge you to make a posting out of it, if not, then at least allow someone else to post it for you. I’m tempted to post it myself, but this story is so good that that it needs to be ensured that you are specifically credited for bringing it up.

    If you do not want to post it, then at least allow Ann C post it for you as it was her blog where this story come up and if neither of you will, then I will. and yes, it is that good of a story and it would be a real shame not to give it the maximum exposure that it so deserves!

  102. White Ghost Says:


    Your cute and funny menacing on Paotie will be cool!

    FYI — he’s very busy like a bee. He’s grad student and is now working on thesis/dissertation right now. I fist-smack him when he made many sarcastic jokes in his blog.

  103. Paotie Says:

    Valhallian and Ann_C ..

    Sure, go ahead and post it on your blog(s), so long as you credit me as the author.

    And please, do not use it as a weapon. Please, let us use EVA to HELP one another and not FIGHT one another.

    Cool beans?



  104. Valhallian Says:

    Great, Thanks Paotie!! Ann C, ya wanna do it or shall I?

  105. Ann_C Says:

    Eric, I’ve been discussing your suggestion with Paotie, so it looks like I will be posting his EVA story soon. Thanks.


  106. Valhallian Says:

    Great. looking forward to reading it 😉

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: