I hate to admit it, but I am kind of grateful to Thamsanqa Jantjie. Call me crazy, but he has done something for (to?) the Deaf community that seemed unattainable last week: He unconsciously brought Deaf rights to the world stage.
When else have the eyes of the world, hearing eyes most especially, been on the global Deaf community? Sure, sometimes deafness pops up in the news here and there with a publicized murder or Switched at Birth or Miss America Heather Whitestone, but this is surely one of the first times (second only to DPN) that the ENTIRE world has seen Deaf for who they are: human beings deserving the basic right of communication.
“Communication apartheid”, as stated by Braam Jordaan, was made evident at the Mandela Memorial this week. Cathy Heffernan pointed out that “poor quality sign language interpreting is a common problem.” The divide between hearing and Deaf worlds has been disclosed. How exciting is that?!?
I am saddened by the fact that Nelson Mandela’s memorial was tainted by this so called interpreter. However, I have a feeling that Mandela wouldn’t mind that his funeral marked the advent of social change for Deaf. What do you think?
Just for fun, a friend of mine posted this and I thought it was hilarious. 🙂