"See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil": Donald Trump and the Deaf community

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract

A PBS documentary synthetizes Donald Trump’s comments about his belief that some people are genetically superior than others. The eugenic ideal is the antithesis of the self-made man American value and is a controversial view among Deaf Americans that still remember the work of Alexander Graham Bell. The famous scientist, inventor and engineer was an eugenics enthusiast and wrote a book against the “deaf variety of human race”, defending the prohibition of the endogamous marriage of Deaf people and the eradication of Deaf spaces and even managed to pass these ideas as laws in some American states. However, this is not the only underlying friction between Trump and the Deaf American community. Trump has also been accused of disregarding requests for captioning improvement in The Apprentice, a show that got particular attention by the Deaf by featuring the Oscar winning actress Marlee Matlin – who Trump invited and later disrespected by calling her “retarded”. David Perry of the LA Times wrote an article entitled “Trump’s not just racist and sexist. He’s ableist” published in October 2016. Trump shocking behavior as a citizen persists and now the USA have a President that is reversing decades of work and discourse for human rights, against racism, xenophobia, or more recently, ableism or audism. Following Trump’s election, a woman used her laptop to communicate in American Sign Language with a Deaf friend at Starbucks. A man marched up to her and yelled on her face “This is White America now. Take your retarded self and go somewhere else. Trump is president now.” Are declarations like these becoming acceptable, desensitising us, since they go unpunished, or are they shocking us in a way that help us create awareness? Nevertheless, regarding freedom of speech, should Trump be entitled to publicly state his beliefs, or is the presidential seat a place where no freedom of speech is allowed?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018

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