Yesterday I participated in Northern Colorado’s Annual Jingle Bell Run – the Virtual edition of 2020.
This weekend, Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Runners across the country have been coming together to attempt to break the Guinness World Records® title for the largest remote 5k in 24 hours. To be included in the world record attempt, your virtual “run” must be logged on the RunGo app between 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 12th and 12:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, December 13th.
I started running/walking the Jingle Bell Run back in elementary school – though truly I only remember back to the walk I did in Middle School. I wasn’t really into running until college – so these ‘runs’ were always walks. They were also usually at the Oval on the campus of Colorado State University. I miss running in the snow on the Oval!
Yesterday I walked down to the waterfront – Canton Waterfront Park – specifically and then back. There were TONS of people out in Baltimore yesterday as the weather was nice and in the 60s. I’m assuming it’s only worse today. Canton is particularly bad for lack of social distancing and mask wearing compliance.
Once I stopped at the waterfront, I immediately went northwards on a side street and made a point to avoid the main thoroughfares where lots of unmasked people were congregating. Getting outside makes a huge difference in my mental health but with my chronic illness I really want to avoid any exposure to the virus. My illness is on the list of particularly high risk – and outcomes of people who have it and get Covid are really bad right now so I am doing everything in my power to stay safe.
Thanks to the Memphis Oral school article I’m learning lots and lots of hearing people have no idea about the prevalence of AG Bell’s ideas and how he was one of the strongest proponents of oralism in the United States – his theories are still evident in deaf education today.
“Oralism” which was the pedagogical approach of suppressing sign language in favor of speaking & lipreading. Oral instruction existed in the U.S. as early as 1840, with establishment of Lexington School and Clarke School in 1867, oralism established deep roots in the nation. Bell applied his study of eugenics to his goal of preventing the creation of a deaf race and presented his paper Memoir Upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race to the National Academy of Sciences in 1883.
In this paper, he proposed to reduce the number of deaf people by discouraging deaf people from marrying others who are also deaf or who have multiple deaf family members. He suggested presenting legislation to prevent this as well. AG Bell also advocated for speech reading and articulation training (oralism) and removed the use of deaf teachers and sign language from the classroom – this is something we see impacting the community today as a number of teachers of the deaf are not deaf themselves.
These strategies for assimilation into the hearing society presented by Bell still impact all areas of early intervention for deaf children today – seeing as 90 to 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. And the first deaf person these people ever meet is their child. Also, the first person to tell them about their child and deafness is usually a doctor or a audiologist, or possibly an educator, all professions that still see deaf people in ways impacted by Bell and his ideas.
I’m sure I could go on… but let’s just say that sign language is not often brought up first by these professionals and many parents do not learn sign language for their children in spite of ALL the people I see saying of course they would and how abusive that is.
Finally, I am just a Deaf person. My degrees are in social studies and history with a legal bent. I am not an expert by any means. Just wanted to say that this is what it is.
(Also, I have linked the article in my comments but TW for audism and ableism).
If you’re a disabled person considering visiting ARTECHOUSE in Washington, D.C. here are a few things you will want to know before heading out and shelling out for a ticket.
First, the location is nondescript – the entrance is next door to chain restaurants well outside the typical D.C. center – don’t plan to walk to this museum from your stop at the Capital or the Lincoln Memorial.
Be prepared to do a lot of unusual standing and sitting. The foyer where you enter the museum is a small square space, all hard surfaces with only a few small benches. Everyone has to read and sign documents upon entering about understanding the nature of this exhibit – even before you get to see what it is, or have an idea what you’re agreeing to.
There is one elevator that services the museum, however, it is very small and as we are not wheelchair users, we were not able to absolutely tell if it was possible to get down to the museum level by elevator (or other accessible means).
When you get to the rooms where all the technological art is displayed – there are warnings at every doorway to let you know that if you have vertigo or any issues with flashing lights to not enter. I’m sure it was somewhere in the initial paperwork we signed as well, but it *is* disorienting if you ever have issues with balance or flashing lights. Be aware of this. I have vertigo and was mostly ok, but if I was having a bad day it would not have been the place for me.
The whole point of the exhibit was the special Infinite Space room, which required signing up again, and waiting for up to 30 minutes – for what was a mere 2 minutes in the exhibit – shut in with two or three other people you didn’t know. Something to be aware of. We ended up in the space alone because of being Deaf and having a lot of difficulty communicating with the staff members who were taking names and making phone calls for turns.
We did enjoy hanging out in the beanbags and getting kombucha at the bar.
As the current iteration of ARTECHOUSE is data based, my computer programming partner looked over all the code he could see and was not impressed. We still enjoyed the overall experience, but if you’re knowledgeable about data and coding this might not be much fun for you.
All in all, it was an interesting experience – worth it for one trip – and probably not something we would ever venture out to see again.
The weekend before last, my partner and I traveled to Washington D.C. for a day full of Deaf community events and meeting up with close Deaf friends from my childhood.
When we arrived in D.C. we rushed down the street from Union Station to meet our friend at the entrance to the building where Yoga Noma is housed. We entered right behind him, and he showed us how to get to the actual studio. My partner doesn’t do yoga, so he said his hellos and adjourned across the street to a coffee shop to do some work. This friend and I brought out our mats, and settled in right before the teacher took her spot in front of the class to begin teaching a hatha yoga sequence.
Now that I think about it, I wish that every hearing yoga teacher had the opportunity to take a class fully in ASL from a Deaf yoga teacher. It’s a valuable practice, being open to understanding how very different the practice is for a bunch of Deaf people with a Deaf teacher. It also would help with some of the severe lack of diversity in our yoga studios. I don’t think that hearing people should be teaching Deaf classes though – and this is a tangent for another time.
Anyway, the class was perfect – since I don’t generally practice Hatha yoga – it was just the right amount of clear and understandable with a Deaf teacher speaking ASL and just the right amount of challenging for someone who comes from the Power Vinyasa school of teaching. I felt just challenged enough and just sore enough on Sunday that I didn’t work out again!
After yoga we went to lunch with our friend! It was really wonderful to just sit and converse about everything under the sun (as we always do), in ASL, and feel perfectly connected and understood.
I want to talk more about relationships and connecting another time, but this weekend was a refresher we both needed as we haven’t made very many local Deaf friends and especially not couple friends.
Our friend had to go study – and my partner had work to do – so we split up. We were planning to go see Avengers – Endgame with the D.C. Deaf Moviegoers Group that evening, so we were staying longer.
While my partner worked, I walked around D.C. I headed for Gallaudet University and the epicenter of the Deaf community. I saw families out walking, a whole crew of students sitting out and cheering on the baseball team, I walked by Union Market and many little corner shops. And when I had walked enough, I turned around and headed back to where my partner was working.
Finally, it was time to pack up and go see Avengers – Endgame. I’m not here to talk about the movie at all – only about the community that D.C. has built with the Deaf Moviegoers group. We were all waiting in line well before the movie was scheduled to begin, so we spent time talking, mostly about the MCU and other movies we had seen. But the nice thing about this group is that we already have two important things in common.
We filed in, and this theatre had assigned seating, which was sort of unfortunate for us because we got seats very LAST and had to sit almost underneath the screen!
When the actual movie started, there still weren’t captions on the screen. All around me, hands started flying. This was supposed to be a Deaf social event, wasn’t it? My partner – being the assertive person he is – got up and immediately went to someone in management to complain. Thankfully, since the theatre had so many Deaf attendees, they shut off the screen and re-started the movie with captions on. The thing I noticed, though, being highly aware of my surroundings as I am, was that a whole row of people got up and left when the captions came on.
With the open captions up on the screen, the movie was so much more enjoyable for us. Because the captions were up there for everyone to see, there was no dropping signals or missed dialogue. It was 100% correct from what I could tell and it helped me enjoy the movie out with a bunch of my friends like everyone else in the world gets to do.
What was your favorite recent movie pick? Or if you haven’t seen anything recently, what is your favorite movie ever? I look forward to your answers in the comments!