Friday, October 13, 2006

DPN Through the Eyes of Yoon K. Lee

Earlier I mentioned the Deaf President Now protests, in which students at Gallaudet University, the United States' only liberal arts university for the deaf, occupied their campus for a week to protest the appointment of a hearing President.

Yoon K. Lee was a 24-year-old deaf student and photographer in 1988. DPN Through the Eyes of Yoon K. Lee shares over 100 of the remarkable images he captured through a week of protests, rallies and action.

They're stirring images of an incredibly important moment in Deaf culture and history. Maybe it's hard to understand if you haven't had the experience of people treating you like you're mildly mentally retarded because you're deaf. Or unless you've spent your whole life being casually referred to as "a dummie". But at the time, and now, DPN was really, really important, a sea change in the way Deaf people saw themselves, unequalled, it would seem, since the University itself was established and deaf access to higher education was established as a norm.

Meanwhile, today at Gallaudet, students are once again occupying their campus over the appointment of an incoming President - probably, in spite of student leaders' denials, because English is her first language and she didn't learn ASL until she was 23. Jane K. Fernandes has been quoted as saying that some people do not consider her "deaf enough" to be President.

This time, the motives for the protest are much murkier, the goals are much less clear, and this protest doesn't feel very inspiring to this late-deafened, late ASL-learner at all.

ronnie

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

I would be interested in getting a real sense of the balance of opinion among students on this current crisis. I suspect there are a number of Gaullaudet students who feel that, if they don't join in opposing this president, they are against Deaf Culture and thus against the deaf, too. Tough position for a 19 year old who has just found a place to be "normal."

9:49 AM  
Blogger ronnie said...

Mike, I think that is a *very* astute observation. I'd guess that there's a lot of that going on.

ronnie

8:51 PM  

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