Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Funny OR Offensive?

**I'm sorry that I can't seem to fix the highlighted paragraphs on this post from being edited. Just bear with me and enjoy!**

This week post for "It's the Deaf Thing" is a bit unique, I shall say. It is not my normal posting per se. At the same time, it is almost too irresistible for me not to write about this. I am gripping my sides in a roaring laughter yet at the same time, I can't help but shake my head and do a massive face-palm. 


From time to time, a controversy will spark up in Deaf community, and everyone is in uproar about that issue. Most of the time, I tend to keep my nose out of it and shrug. Most of the time, it doesn't even warrant a blink of my eye. Not that I'm saying issues are to be neglected or to be pushed aside; it just doesn't apply to me most of the time, and I'm Laissez Faire when it comes to trivial issues in Deaf world. 

However, today; one of my good friends brought this up to my interest and told me to check it out. Intrigued, I decided to check out the group on Facebook, and immediately came to the fact that this group of Deaf people were boycotting a woman named Kristin for what she was doing. 

Here's her mug shot: 

Apparently, Kristin is a hearing woman in her early 20s, and she has already attended a smaller college for Deaf people in New York City (not to be mistaken with Gallaudet--that school is in Washington DC). The school is called RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), and it's really for Deaf people who are more on oral side (talking, and using hearing aids, etc). Hearing people do attend there as well. Okay. No big deal.

Just a word of caution....if you want to click on the link to Kristin's personal blog then please be aware that there are inappropriate signs that can refer to drug use, sex, and just plain crude language. If you are easily offended, then don't click on the link to her blog, okay? 

Apparently, how she become famous is due to her infamous dirty videos on youtube, and posting them on her personal blog: http://www.dirtysignswithkristin.com/.

Before I proceed with this any further, I want to clarify something: This is very different from hearing people sincerely wanting to learn and applying sign language in the everyday life. I am very encouraging and understanding. I appreciate the gesture and love it that they try. Everyone signs differently as much as hearing people speak differently. Some sign a bit more SEE (Signed Exact English--word for word), some sign a bit more mixed (word for word yet more relaxed with slangs and ASL thrown in), and some are very purely ASL (American Sign Language--not exact English at all; a language of its own). It's all good. 

However, in the case of Kristin here; it is almost very painful for me, as a Deaf person, to witness her attempts at dirty signs. It is almost as if someone is pulling my fingernails out of my fingers with a dull rusty nail clipper. I am not sure if I should cry in agony or laugh at this sheer ridiculousness. I cringe when Kristin attempts at signing dirty because it is not even in the ballpark! It's WAY OUT THERE WRONG conceptually. The grammar usage is off base. There is no flow with her signing despite her claims of learning sign language for some time now.


I opted for laughing while watching her videos on her blog. I laughed so hard to the point that I almost pissed in my pants, and you know that was not a good news for 8-months pregnant woman! I did not laugh because Kristin was funny in a humorous way. She was not even that funny, you see. I was simply laughing because not only Kristin severely misrepresented dirty signs that she used, but she also made herself look really, really bad especially to the Deaf world. By the way, you, especially as a hearing person, don't want to make yourself look bad in the Deaf world, trust me. 

Now here comes the controversy in Deaf community with Kristin's Dirty Signs. Kristin's signs are very misrepresented. It is extremely inaccurate. It's also dirty as in disgusting in a really embarrassing way, and it is a lot coming from me (I find humor in pretty much everything and laugh it off).  

One hearing blogger, who is currently learning ASL, tied it in beautifully:

Deaf people aren't cruel, exclusive, cold people that want nothing to do with us hearing people who want to learn about them and learn their beautiful language. Dirty Signs with Kristin is basically shitting on everything all of our language and history teachers have done for us and taught us. I don’t know where she does to school, who her teachers are, what she plans to do with sign language other than wrongfully exploit it, but it makes me sick that here she is doing something with a language that isn’t hers. Also, I just have to say that I went to her youtube channel and already I’m pretty disgusted. Cum bubble? Your wife has a loose anus? You donkey raping shit eater? Please stop tainting a beautiful language with what I’m ashamed we can even do in English. She’s a piss-poor excuse of a hearing ASL student. She’s a piss-poor excuse of a person, to exploit and make a profit off a community of people she has nothing to do with and has no intention of helping or interacting with in any way. 

This embarrasses us, as Deaf community, so much because now there are over a million curious viewers learning and watching Kristin's grossly misrepresented signs and probably using those signs in social settings. I can only cringe while thinking about this because imagine this, a hearing person attempting at signing like this to a Deaf person in a social setting.....won't bode well at all. I can guarantee that a Deaf person will look at you as if you have grown eyes out of your head because he/she won't understand what the hell that signing was. Ultimately, the hearing person unintentionally ends up looking like an idiot instead of ha-ha funny. 

Kristin also comes across to the Deaf world as being insensitive and not funny. This is a perfect example of cultural misunderstanding. Frankly, what Kristin is doing is in a really, really poor taste.

I wouldn't want someone to come up to me and show off the fact that he/she has learned dirty signs. How is that is supposed to be good for the first impression? Really. This is how the Deaf world feels. Don't mistaken this for an occasional funny moments. My friends and I have done that and ended up laughing our butts off. It is just the context and appropriateness of language to be put in a social setting. 

Our language is not to be used as a bait for humorous things. Our language is not to be abused. Our language is not to be defiled, and ridiculed at. It's sad when I come across to issues like this because our culture is used as a laughingstock whether unintentionally or not. It is probably why I find myself being stuck between feeling speechless and having to laugh at the ridiculousness of this situation. The Deaf world wants our language to be recognized as a true language, to be embraced, and to be used in a positive light. 

1 comment :

  1. You are so poised and such a person who writes and seems to live straight from the heart, which is beyond genuine to me. I, too, can't appreciate what she's doing. It's plain distasteful and ignorant. I'm embarrassed as a hearing person, a woman, and just a human in general. Hope she decides to do something of merit with her life, although, doesn't seem like it will be an option to her, unfortunately! Just keep on spreading positivity and real humor!