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January 12, 2006 | Read comments | Post a comment

Gimp groups, Alito and 'deaf'

On Monday Ragged Edge reported that the American Association of People with Disabilities and the National Association of the Deaf had sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter (R.-PA) and ranking committee member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) urging them to ask Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito some hard questions about his views on disability rights.

In late December, both the AAPD and the National Association of the Deaf issued statements expressing "concern" about the Alito nomination. While other disability groups have spoken out opposing the nomination , these two groups remain in the middle of the road. Seems sad.

After all the criticizing I did last summer about how groups didn't speak out on the Roberts nomination, the current statements from the groups opposing Alito are a good sign.

And I was glad to see that the website civilrights.org posted the NAD press release. I've been noticing that articles citing opposition to Alito often do now include the phrase "disability rights groups." That's progress -- and progress is occuring, despite misses like the one I discussed Monday.

I was searching to see what mass media news organizations might have written about the National Association of the Deaf and Samuel Alito (didn't find anything). But I did find these things:

Every American should shudder at the prospect of an ethically tone-deaf judge sitting on the one institution in Washington ... ( Baltimore Sun)

Russert, acting as if he were deaf, asked Schumer again about a filibuster against the Alito confirmation. (American Politics Journal, FL)

Alito ... also must avoid the brutally frank and politically tone-deaf answers... Newsday)

Anti-Alito Tour Is Drawing Small Crowds: "This was meant to inflame the grass roots, and it just seems to be falling on deaf ears. (New York Sun)

Okay. I discussed something like this awhile back. Then it was the word "blind" being used as a pejorative. Now it's "deaf."

I continue to think it's a big big problem. Even though, it seems, I'm pretty much a one-woman band on this one.

Posted by mjohnson on January 12, 2006 05:56 AM



If it's any consolation, I have been noticing it as well. And although it ground on my nerves, it hadn't occurred to me to say anything about-- well, that's not quite true either, the real truth is that I pretty much thought that "this must really grind the teeth of many folks in the disability community but if they aren't complaining then maybe I'm wrong."

Still, that's not a good excuse on my part and from here on in will say something because it happens often and with many phrases eluding to a word that happens to fit many of us in the disability community.

Okay, I confessed. Now who else out there has also noticed this but hasn't said a word thinking things like I did or similar? Com'on--time to fess up. (it does do a heart a world of good to fess up--I feel better already about what I saw, heard and felt yet said nothing at the time of how (grrrrrr!) it had me feeling inside. Why just this fess-up post alone, my honor is restored, not to mention my horrible silence was absolutely wrong but now corrected, as that happens to be one of those things I adamantly oppose. So from now on and always it will be the spoken/typed mentioning of these things rather than worry about what others may think.)

Another resolution on my part.

Com'on, go ahead folks, there's no shame in it--just misconception and this is what we're fighting against, so certainly it should start with us, right? Right.

Posted by: Denise on January 12, 2006 07:41 PM

Does "tone-deaf" count as "deaf" in insults? It refers to a completely different (if still insulting in the context) problem, much like colorblind isn't the same as blind.

Posted by: Elotaria on January 12, 2006 09:54 PM

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