Hello ASL Heroes!
Topic: Is Kissing Part of Deaf Goodbyes?
In a message dated 6/7/2006 1:10:16 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Kristin@______ writes:
I have a question about Deaf culture. I know you mention on your website how emphatically Deaf people greet one another with lots of hugging. My sign teacher is deaf and blind (but has some vision) and he is a big fan of long hugs. This is fine with me. But today we were practicing sign outside of the classroom and at a local park. When it was time to leave, he hugged me but then also gave a quick kiss on my lips. Is this customary? It kind of threw me for a loop. I don't want to be insulting if that is part of the culture, but i am not sure that it is something I am comfortable with doing. He is significantly older than me so i'm fairly certain it wasn't any romantic thing. I just wasn't sure if Deaf people greet and say goodbye to each other like that as well.
No, it is not customary for Deaf people (in America) to kiss upon greetings or departures.
The range of culturally appropriate and/or socially acceptable behavior of a Deaf-Blind individual will vary widely--depending on the current age of the individual, age of onset, the extent of the condition, and the relationship to others in the environment.
Even so, it is still "inappropriate" for an instructor to be kissing his student on the lips. Have you seen him kiss any other students on the lips? Does he kiss the male students on the lips as well? Does he do this behavior when his boss is around?
The fact that we Deaf tend to hug other members of our community doesn't excuse an instructor to start kissing his students. Notice I said "other members of our community." Just because I hug my Deaf friends more doesn't mean I hug my Hearing friends. I have a very good Hearing friend from childhood. He is not a member of the Deaf community, (but he speaks up when he is around me, he faces me when he talks to me, and he has learned how to sign a bit). After many years of friendship he and I were driving across town working on a project and I had to stop by a Deaf event to pick up some papers from an associate. After thanking my associate I gave him a hug and hopped back in the car. My good friend looked confused and concerned. After some coaxing the friend asked me, "Why did you hug him?"
The question was totally understandable in that my lifelong Hearing friend and I had never hugged nor had he ever seen me hug another guy. So I explained the difference in culture to him and he said "Oh" and we went on with our journey.
When Hearing people come to our events they experience a bit of culture shock to see us communicating with lots of facial expressions, stomping on the floor, banging on the table, waving our hands, flashing the lights, tapping shoulders, making "pah" and "cha" sounds, lingering goodbyes, and hugs.
Most Deaf however are bicultural. We "behave" Deaf around other Deaf, then when we are in "mixed" company we switch over and to some extent follow the norms of the larger Hearing society.
For more information and to better understand the topic of kissing and how it relates to Deaf-Blind people, I suggest you check out the text:
"Introduction to Sexuality Education for Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind and Significantly Developmentally Delayed" by Kate Robbeie and M. Bolashsa. (Here is a link to a PDF format file: http://www.tr.wou.edu/dblink/pdf/sex-ed.pdf)
If you feel uncomfortable with being hugged or kissed by your instructor--do not feel obliged in any way to participate. I realize this is easier said than done.
If he insists on hugging you, don't hug back or if you feel you have to be polite then hug with only one arm and then only to pat him on the back twice as if burping him. Bend somewhat at the waist so as to prevent full body contact (using a slight "Oriental style bow"). Bend the other arm at the elbow and place your forearm across your chest with a fist on the end to function as a spacer between your bodies. Turn your face away from him during the hug to make it very difficult for him to initiate any kissing. Suppose it was your right arm that you were patting him with--after a couple pats on his back bring the arm around to the front and place it on his shoulder as you gently force him back from you and immediately begin signing something like "THANK-you, SEE YOU TUESDAY CLASS."
In a message dated 5/1/2006 3:41:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time, wesrox@ writes:
Hi Dr. Vicars,
Thanks for the feedback. It truly is a pleasure being able to provide a forum to put forth the "other side" of the story.
Best wishes in your ASL endeavors.
In a message dated 5/1/2006 7:14:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time, cynk______@ writes:
In a message dated 5/1/2006 4:17:47 PM Pacific Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
First bit of advice is don't become an "interrupter" because interrupting is considered rude. Heh. Um...sorry. Just pointing out that 'interrupt" means to hinder or stop a conversation, action, or process. What you mean is "interpret."
Sure, I have lots of advice for you. And it is already posted conveniently in the Lifeprint Library at: http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/topics.htm
Just scroll down to "interpreting."
If you have questions after reading those articles (and after visting www.RID.org) feel free to ask.
In a message dated 5/2/2006 8:38:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time, andrews_suttorp@ writes:
It's funny...I know signs can be regional, but a lot of times, the signs on Michigan State's ASL browser are different from what I learned in my classes--right here in Michigan--but your signs are the same. (?)
That's because I'm pure of heart and therefore entitled to better inspiration.
Er...either that or I have many well-traveled d/Deaf coworkers who are helpful (in a piranha-like but reassuringly sugar-coated way) as to informing me of the "right" way to sign. Heh.
Plus, whenever I see more than one variation of a sign, I instantly start interviewing everyone within 100 meters regarding "their" preferred sign for that concept. Hmmm, who would ever have thought that "obsessive compulsive" tendencies could actually turn out so beneficial. :)
In a message dated 5/1/2006 3:11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Dear Dr Bill,
I suggest you read the "Reflections of an ASL Student" blog at my website: http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/reflections.htm
Of anything I could suggest, you are ALREADY doing the best thing: You are going out of your way to interact with members of the Deaf Community.
Some ideas to improve:
1. Buy the biggest, most comprehensive ASL dictionary you can find and go through it systematically and expose yourself to every concept in it.
I did this once with Martin L. Sternberg's book (the unabridged one not the "concise" one) way back in my "youth." Even though my new vocabulary acquisition and articulation was "imperfect" due to the limitations of the 2 dimentional media, I know for a fact that later on while going through college I'd often see a sign for the first time and recognize it instantly because I had "learned" it from a book. Some people will scoff at this, but after many years of systematically expanding my vocabulary I know it works. Besides, it's fun to know signs like "hedgehog" and "broadband."
2. Watch ASL Videos. You can find names of videos at http://aslaccess.org/. Then you can order them via Amazon.com or other source of your choice. Rewind and watch the same segment over and over again until you absolutely recognize what is being signed.
3. Put in earplugs when you go to Deaf events. This will help you do a paradigm shift and start to think more "deaf."
4. When you see someone signing something...always visualize yourself signing it. Actually reherse the movements of your hands in your mind. Feel the motion in your mind. See your hands moving through the air similar to the hands of the person who is signing to you or whom you are watching. This will help develop muscle memory and enable you to recall signs faster and produce them better the first time you actually attempt to do the new signs.
5. Remember, just because the "naysayers" think something will be difficult for you doesn't mean it will be. Decide for yourself. Some people think parachuting is scary (most people actually). But there are others who think it is simply thrilling and fun.
In a message dated 4/4/2006 6:31:19 PM Pacific Daylight Time, NeoAnderson48 writes:
You would use the sign "summon" (see my website under CALL--scroll way down) or you'd sign "Tell BOB come-here." Or you could use the "air tap" where you tap on the person's shoulder (even though he is in the other room).
As in, YOU-MIND "air tap" BOB? (which would be interpreted as would you mind going and tapping Bob on the shoulder for me?)
In a message dated 4/5/2006 8:45:02 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, americansignlanguage@ writes:
Hmmm, this sounds like a complex situation and I'm concerned that I don't know the situation well enough to be dishing out advice, but I'll tell you what comes off the top of my head and if it is useful to you, then good.
I would be hesitant to post a bunch of graphics showing ASL signs.
You might consider doing a "language neutral" series of four simple photographs.
You could have the first picture showing a person in front of the button.
Picture two: Pushing the button
Picture three: Looking at wristwatch
Picture four" Police officer arriving
Four photographs wouldn't take up much room and would communicate across language barriers.
Dr. Bill Vicars
In a message dated 4/5/2006 8:22:18 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, LainGwingil@ writes:
Hi, Mr. Bill, it's me, Bailey, once again. :)
Just sign home and then school.
Technically, when you compound the sign, you would only touch your cheek once and only bring the hands together once. (You lose the double movements).
In a message dated 5/4/2006 11:30:17 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
I don't think many Deaf have given this as much attention as Hearing people have. You do bring up a good point. I'll post your email address for any individuals who are interested in this topic can contact you.
In a message dated 5/9/2006 10:57:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Foonrodan writes:
Compare the situation to that of Blacks in America.
There are different shades of Blacks from light brown to "very black."
For many years it has been much easier for "light brown" people than it has been for Blacks that are "very dark" to succeed in their interactions with White people. (For confirmation of this consider examples of Blacks in employment, television, and movies. The ones who made in-roads were those who were "light brown.")
Being Deaf is like that.
The people at Gallaudet are tired of being told that to be acceptable you have to be a light brown shade of Deaf.
The students and faculty want a "very black" shade of Deaf to be president.
In a message dated 6/5/2006 7:08:25 PM Pacific Daylight Time, hirethedeaf@ writes:
Here's the latest version of my ABC wallpaper, see:
A teacher asks:
"I know you do not teach babies sign language, but what would be the recommended price for that age range and specific audience that includes family members?"
In a message dated 7/8/2006 3:37:03 PM Pacific Daylight Time, jhender@ writes:
Hi again Bill,
Yes, you are certainly right, but the thing is...I have lots of really young kids using that site.
Even putting the word "h o r n y" on a web page can get it banned from some searches.
I'll post this to my newsletter though.
Thanks for the email (which happened to be about the sign "email" heh).
I have adjusted that page a bit and added the following statement:
<<Note: A person emailed me stating that the sign for 'email' above is for "a singular, noun form of email. If you wanted to verbize it, or make it plural, you'd use a b-handshape instead of a 1-handshape, signifying more than one email."
My own experience is that the "1-handshape" (passing through a "C" handshape) version of this sign uses a single movement as the verb form and a repeated movement is the noun form.
Back when email started becoming popular I noticed the bent-B-hand version being used prior to the index finger version. As time passed the index finger version started showing up more than the bent-B-hand version. Thus I think of the index finger version as the new form of the B-hand version.>>
That makes me wonder, Justin, where you got that idea from? What area of the country do you live in?
Seems to me the usage you suggest is a "neologism." (A term, or phrase which has been recently created ("coined") — often to apply to new concepts, or to reshape older terms in newer language form.--Wikipedia.org)
I'll be following the usage of this sign closely to see if a consensus develops. I'll chat this up with my colleagues at the college and see where it goes.
In a message dated 6/13/2006 12:23:24 PM Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Great to hear from you!
Thanks for the information regarding MSL resources!
I'll be posting it in an upcoming newsletter (I already have a couple months in the pipeline, but it will show up eventually). :)
Plus I'm going to set up a page over at Lifeprint.com in the Library titled Mexican Sign Language and put an edited version over there.
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