Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NAD Sends Mixed Message on Civil Rights


The Invitation and its Messages

The NAD invited Dennis Daugaard, the governor of South Dakota, to present a prominent speech at the upcoming conference in Louisville on the subject of how deaf people can become more involved in the political process. This invitation generated furor within the deaf community surrounding Daugaard’s position on gay marriage and the closing of the South Dakota School for the Deaf. Why should NAD members care about Daugaard’s position on same sex marriage? Because the NAD’s invitation and response leaves us with some damning messages.

Daugaard voted for the constitutional amendment in 2006 that defined marriage in South Dakota as being between one man and one woman. In other words, he supports legal discrimination against a minority group. This is a denial of equal access to citizenship and its privileges. From the statement on Daugaard’s campaign website about same sex marriage, one gets this message: Individual groups should not be given special privileges. One could say that about the deaf too, be it the 1900s and deaf-deaf marriages, or 2012 and internet captioning.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."—Martin Luther King, Jr.

The NAD is a civil rights organization. As a civil rights organization, it has a duty to support all civil rights. The NAD’s invitation and subsequent response sends the following messages both explicit and implicit:

  • Not all civil rights matter.
  • Deaf people are more deserving of civil rights above other minorities.
  • Not all deaf people within the deaf community are equal.
  • Deaf people must choose between their deaf identity and the other facets of their identities be it gender, race, sexuality, etc.
  • As an oppressed population, we lack empathy for others whose rights and access are being circumvented.

If we support discrimination against LGBTs by inviting and allowing Daugaard to speak, how can we argue for our own rights? If the deaf are not willing to stand up for the rights of others, how can the deaf expect or ask others to stand up for our rights?

Civil rights vary from group to group but at the end of the day, the fundamental truth of civil rights is they are about full access to citizenship and equal protection under the law where no one group exercises special privileges above another.

On May 19, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) made a powerful assertion that civil rights are not flexible and attempts to codify discrimination in the law harms all. Standing by and allowing legal discrimination in any form without speaking up sets back the civil rights movement as a whole. The NAACP sent this message: we must stand in solidarity against all forms of oppression as a civil rights organization. The NAD needs to follow their example.

Mirror, Mirror… Echoes of the Familiar

Here’s a little tidbit, NAD. The LGBT civil rights movement is the fastest growing civil rights movement in history. Gays and lesbians hold tremendous economic and political power. Deaf people do not. It behooves the NAD to reach out to the LGBT community and consider them a potential source of powerful allies toward building a coalition that acts to secure civil rights for all groups, including the deaf.  

The deaf community and the NAD should empathize with LGBTs and their struggle for marriage equality. A mere century ago, there were efforts to codify discrimination in the law by proposing that deaf people be prohibited from marrying other deaf people in the best interests of society. The arguments back then are echoed in the present day arguments against same sex marriage. Arguments include the premise that deaf couples/gay couples are not capable of raising children and that those marriages constitute a threat to social order, weakening society as a whole. Deaf adults back then, as gay adults do today, struggled with claiming the right to bear, adopt, and raise children. For all the struggles the deaf community has undergone to claim the right to marry and have children, we should be the ones most sympathetic to the marriage equality movement.

For all the struggles the deaf community has undergone to claim the right to marry and have children, we should be the ones most sympathetic to the marriage equality movement.

The NAD’s Response and an Appeal to the NAD

The NAD’s response to the concerns shared by those who opposed Daugaard’s position on same sex marriage was insipid. They asserted that their invitation was based on Daugaard’s unique insights as a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) and as a governor. The deaf experience and his position as a governor enables him to share how we can become more involved in politics. There are many other politicians adequately qualified to speak on the subject of political engagement who also have a stellar record on civil rights. This speech is about political empowerment, not sharing cultural experiences. This also would have been a good opportunity to invite someone on board who may not have strong personal relationships with the deaf community or knowledge of its unique needs in regard to civil rights—thus creating a brand new ally/advocate who could still share the same powerful message on engaging the political process. Say, the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley.

Just as civil rights are civil rights, political engagement is political engagement. The last thing the NAD needs is intracommunity division or to send a message to the general public that some rights are more important than others. Unfortunately, this is precisely what Daugaard’s invitation led to.

The last thing the NAD needs is intracommunity division or to send a message to the general public that some rights are more important than others. Unfortunately, this is precisely what Daugaard's invitation led to.

The NAD response also magnifies the fact that NAD officers and board members operate from the position of white, heterosexual, cisgender, and primarily male privilege. The NAD’s response held no understanding of the real issues at hand. Civil rights are not the arena where we can say things like “we may have some disagreements.” Because someone out there just might turn around and tell us the same thing about the things that matter to us. Say, open captioning spoils the movie viewing experience of the majority so we’ll just have to disagree on that, shall we?

NAD, get onboard and understand that civil rights are civil rights- and they are nonnegotiable, whether or not they personally apply to you. Stand up for principle and declare support for marriage equality.

Second, your LGBT luncheon does not speak to a true desire to be inclusive of all your members, and is rather condescending in this context, truth be told. Offering up the LGBT luncheon is a red herring, meant to distract us from the thoughtlessness surrounding the decision to invite Daugaard and your inability to recognize your privileges. Hosting this luncheon then turning around and inviting an anti-gay speaker speaks volumes as to your commitment to equal treatment for your membership. After the LGBTs socialize and chow down on lunch, what are you going to do to include the LGBT sector of the deaf community in the NAD or address their issues? The NAD has a long history of marginalizing deaf minorities. This has not changed. It is time for you to stop giving lip service to inclusion and start taking real action.

It is time for you to stop giving lip service to inclusion and start taking real action.

The NAD needs to recognize that the messages it is sending in its response to our concerns is all civil rights do not matter, that the deaf do not stand with all other oppressed groups, and that not all deaf within the deaf community equally matter to you.

Remember. This message isn’t just being sent to your membership. This is being sent to the public at large.

Declare support for marriage equality. Admit that your message needs fine-tuning. Promise that your officers will examine the place of privilege they are coming from: white, heterosexual, cisgender, and primarily male. Renew your commitment to reform, change, and inclusion.

Take Action

I urge all LGBTs, deaf and hearing alike and their allies, NAD and deaf community members who support civil rights for all, and all those who believe the NAD needs to stand unequivocally in support for civil rights to correspond with the NAD and make our position clear. Retweet this article, repost on Facebook, and write directly to the NAD.

Email: CEO Howard Rosenblum and President Bobbie Beth Scoggins
Twitter: @nadtweets, @nadconf, @howrose
Sign the petition.

Octavian Robinson is a PhD candidate working on the final stages of his dissertation about the deaf community's campaigns for citizenship during the early 20th century. His field of expertise is the expansion of citizenship in the United States and the advancement of civil rights for women, African-Americans, people with disabilities, and the American Deaf Community. When not writing, he basks under the Southern California sun with his four-legged sidekick and a pile of books.


  1. a great blog. you've echoed all my thoughts. MZ

  2. Since NAD is a civil right group as mentioned by the author and I'm sure it's backed by many supporters like others and me; I am absolutely stunned by how many people out there does not look at NRA, National Rifle Association, as a civil rights group.

    This is entirely a different matter here, while gay marriage may not be a civil right issue however the issue here is more or so our presently federal law, namely the Defense of Marriage Act, which presently is in effect and describe a marriage as one between a man and a woman. Beyond that, barring any personal opinions, the matter of the gay marriage is ultimately left up to the states.

    The other issue on hand regarding gay marriage, I think on all sides are tax related advantages of being married on the federal level and in some cases, several states as well.

    Personally, I think the term 'marriage' should be left up for the religion institutions to use. On the other hand, all "marriages" on the state level and the federal level should be recognized as civil union regardless of the sexual orientation of such people marrying the other. It is with this implementation that we can achieve several things for people's rights.

    1) Civil Unions are being applied to all genders regardless of their partner's sexual orientation at both the State and Federal levels ensuring civil rights being equal and all.

    2) Religion Institutions can elect to marry or not marry people of their preferences (their marriage will be considered as a Civil Union under both the State and Federal Level) freeing up issue of Freedom of Religion.

    3) Tax Implications will be equal for all of these involved in the Civil Union regardless of the sexual orientation. Defense of Marriage Act has to be repealed and the Tax Code will need to be codified to reflect the changes of such equality.

    It is with such implementation that one's personal belief of such civil union / marriage will not be offended. Now while NAD's goals are entirely intended for the deaf rights, not necessarily other rights. It's akin to saying that we should be offended because NAD, (entirely fictionally), elected to support particular person whom are anti-gun which is another civil right issue.

    It's sheer nonsense. NAD has one mission and it is not an exclusive Civil Rights group encompassing various civil rights. Perhaps I have the wrong idea of a particular right group advocating for other rights outside of its intended mission. I don't know and I wonder how NAD would response to such accusation. Perhaps we will find out quite shortly.

    -Jonathan M

  3. Octavian -

    I thank you.

    Justice and Equality for all - y'all.

    re: the commentor above - no worries. this is NOT a states rights issue. Folks run to that as a cloak. Slavery, Suffrage, etc all were push and pull via the states in an attempt to DELAY and thus DENY our Constitutional rights and the founding creed of this country - all folks were created equal.

    Try as ya may to deny the envitable but truth and love always win. Think of it always said Gandhi.

    in terms of the "marriage" word and who owns it - it is a GOVERNMENT word - i have a "marriage" certificate from the state of NY - so does Jose and Bobby and Sue and Latasha.

    Religious groups want to "preserve" intolerance and injustice - they can come up with their own terms such as "sealed"

    Again Octavian i think u

    I have NO idea how some of the good folks who plan to go to NAD in KY can stand by that choice given what the NAD is playing at presently.

    "injustice ANYwhere is a threat to justice EVERYwhere"

    NAD could find a TON of great presenters who have merits beyond their pedigree of Deaf parents. They could find a female person of color who had done GREAT things for our community and our country or they can bring this bloke who thinks HE can decide what women can and can not do with their bodies, who can and can not marry, and that Deaf schools are not needed.


    oy NAD

    STAND - would ya, could ya, should ya - YES indeed u can and should but will ya - well that has been the question for the past 50 years it seems

    WAKE UP and do right by all of us cuz its the right thing to do!



  4. NAD should not invite ANY legislator or governmental figure who supports closure of schools for the deaf and enforced mainstreaming.

  5. Beautifully epoused (written), Octavian!

    I was pretty distracted by everyday life and errands lately. Very blessed to have someone like you writing out all details, ex. ironies and hyprocrisy within NAD leadership.

    Surely love your writing style without resorting to the cheap theatrics and anger.

    Also thank Misha Passeck aka Misha Insane for her e-petition to re-consider NAD's extended invitation to Governor Dennis Duggaard.

    No questions about Ricky Taylor aka Ridor9th entirely started the "earthquake" regarding NAD's decision to invite Governor Duggaard as a plenary speaker!

    Look forward to work for the real pluarlistic society as everyone is equally treated as a member of general society.

    ASLize yours,
    Robert L. Mason

  6. Well Done. :)

  7. Jonathan M, so what you're saying is that its fine for the NAD to tell the Deaf community (that they supposedly represent and fight for) thatits not ok to be gay? So if a Deaf person is gay, that automatically trumps being Deaf, and therefore that gay Deaf person has less rights? Way to fight for your Deaf community, NAD, and way to go Jonathan for making it look like your mind is open while the door is apparently closed shut. It is the responsibility of the NAD to fight for ALL Deaf people's civil rights, not just the straight ones. It's no different than back in the early 1900s when Black Deaf people were not allowed to be NAD members. Going by your argument, the NAD didn't need to fight for them, either.

  8. Octavian,

    Thank you for your blog. I agree with what you have said, and I also agree with having NAD host the "LGBT" luncheon which kind of counters having the anti-gay keynote speaker. I have sent your blog to LGBT luncheon MC for "his/her" consideration.


  9. Octavian, very well put and I couldn;t agree with you more. Deaf people should not put up with an organization that does not represent all Deaf people equally. If that's the way the NAD feels, they should change their acronym to NASD (National Association for the Straight Deaf). At least they would be honest with everyone then. I recently posted a blog that questioned the true motivations and aims of the NAD (though the entire blog was not about them). I would love for you, Octavian, and all of your readers to come go to this link. It's really about wanting to see people fighting Audism at the root of the problem, which is something I don't believe the NAD does. Here's the link - -

    I am now following you by email. I am so glad I found this!

    1. Haha - I really love your suggestion "National Association for the Straight Deaf"... make that "National Association for the Straight Deaf White Men" This is much more fitting ;)

  10. I must extend a few rounds of applause to you, Octavian, for doing this article.

    Few emailed me in private to admonish my efforts to raise awareness about NAD's terrible invitation. They told me to give Dennis a chance to speak for himself. My response to that "chance"? Dennis had 3 attempts and he scored 3 strikes on civil rights, human rights & linguistics rights -- is that enough? You bet it is.

    The lack of NAD's official response is obvious - they are hoping that the ruckus will go away in time for NAD Conference in Louisville. It is clear to me that NAD Board members thought the social media is nice thing to have but they do not regard the potentials of having social media to change things as we see.

    Barack Obama, NAACP & Gen Colin Powell supported the marriage equality as of now. Umm? NAD? Are you seeing this?

    Again, thanks for doing this powerful article. I hope this will prompt NAD to do something about the ill-advised invtation of Gov. Dennis Daugaard.


  11. First of all, RLM is right- Ricky (Ridor) is the one who started the earthquake. He brought the issue to my attention and I thank him for that. His vlog got me to thinking to the point where I realized I needed to roll up my sleeves and join in on the debate.

    Second, Ridor- I know that the NAD is hoping that this will go away. But this will not. I'm stubborn when it comes to things I really care about. This is one of them. I will not let go of this issue. I suspect you wont, and many others won't either. I have a short term plan to continue to bear pressure on the NAD and their sponsors. For the long term, I will need my fellow LGBTs and Allies to help carry out the long term plan and bring community pressure if there is no response by the time the conference takes place.

    Third. I will back off for a few days next week in order to allow the CaptionThis movement to have the energy, resources, commitment, and attention from the deaf community and its allies because the accessibility movement is also very important for us. The folks whoa re behind the captionThis movement are also tremendous allies and advocates for LGBT rights and I want to honor their support by returning our support to their cause and efforts as well. I hope that all of you will join in.

    Fourth, Ridor again- one of the major objectives of this movement is to show the NAD the power of social media as a tool for engagement, mobilization, recruitment- beyond being an information clearing house- and that they need to step up their social media game if they want to be an effective civil rights organization in the 21st century and in the Internet Age. With the success of this and the captionThis movement, I hope the NAD will see the light of the day and focus more efforts in this realm.

    All of you- Keep fighting the good fight.
    -Octavian "Tavian" Robinson

  12. Daugaard did not propose closing the South Dakota School for the Deaf. That link above to the article by Don Jorgenson was from January 2009. Daugaard became governor in January 2011.

    In the first line of that article where it says "The Governor proposes closing the South Dakota School for the Deaf", that was Governor Michael Rounds who was governor of South Dakota at the time. Daugaard was only lieutenant governor and the proposal did not come from him. That proposal mentioned in that article was not adopted.

  13. RM Fraser - went to ur blog. important write up. Thank u

    Tavian - thank u for all u have done here and for giving the hats off to ridor for starting the earth quake. he is good at shaking things up and using social media for social change

    social justice does require us to be SOCIAL and not just with folks of our own kind (that there is elitism personified and we have enuf of that to last a life time - time to get out and about NAD and to use social media beyond trying to get folks to ur conference)

    I keep thinking of their conference theme of "nothing about us without us" and how it dont groove with their selection of the Governor Daugaard

    seems to me he is a mighty: Everything about you all without you all as in -
    1. republican men deciding what the women of the US can and can not do with their own bodies

    2. republican "straight: men deciding what constitutes marriage (contrary to our constitution - see 14th amendment)

    3. HEARing republicans pushing for the 2nd wave or Oralism (yep almost all of the PRO Oral / aural ONLY ie anti-ASL+English folks are white well to do republicans

    ah nothing about us without us hmmmmm

    as ridor noted - three strikes against social justice and equality is not cool at all NAD. not cool

    Tavian - thank u for wanting Deaf Politics blog to have the #captionTHIS focus and for putting the letter writing campaign to NAD conference sponsors over at ur blogsite

    you are doing real important stuff

    ill try to write me letter today or tmw and share etc

    thank u again

    "its better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"

    we stand

    NAD be a TRUE civil rights organization - dont promote civil wrongs.

    Dennis dont do Deaf dignity - uninvite so we can unite


    patti durr

  14. Anonymous (9:17 AM): Like I said on my previous vlog, I would encounter people like you who claimed that Dennis Daugaard did NOT propose to close SDSD. After all, the proposal started in 2009 and he was elected to Governor in 2010. Well, you're not exactly telling the truth. South Dakota is a small state, everyone knew each other in its government. And Daugaard was elected twice as Lieutenant Governor between 2002-2010 under Governor Michael Rounds. Dennis COULD have prevent or say something to keep the school open -- he has the abilities in his power to save SDSD from being closed. And he did do nothing about it. Don't distort this information.


  15. ridor9th... So you think it's a good idea to assume that he favored closing the school when the lieutenant governor is not a powerful position? How do you know that he is not acting to help protect the school now? Did you ask him?

    1. Anonymous (May25, 2012 5:00PM) The position, Lieutenant Governor, holds significant position, from what I understand in my former home state, Virginia. In addition, South Dakota is a large state with small population. Only 15K lives in its capital city. Surely, Daugaard could position himself to make an influence on SDSD. But he never did. The press made it clear that the state is intent on closing the school. Dennis Daugaard could jump in to share his experiences but he chose not to. He allowed the school to close.


  16. Comments/Questions:

    1.) I support gay marriages and believe that anyone who opposes it is an idiot and that their arguments are shallow and devoid of logic.

    2.) RE: Closing of SDSD, well...all deaf schools are closing all over the country and they were paying 2M for 30 students or $66K per student. I hate it when deaf schools close down, but it is usually an economic decision so I give Daugaarad a pass on that.

    3.) Daugaard is a by default he has to be against gay marriage to cater to his party's platform. See his campaign contributions here: Looks like a lot of organizations that are anti-gay marriage.

    4.) Has Daugaard had the chance to re-state his stance like Obama did? Doubtful he would change it unless he abandoned the GOP though.

    5.) By the logic of protesting Daugaard's upcoming speech, you tell me that you would have also protested Obama giving a speech at the NAD convention in 2008-2012 as he was anti-gay marriage then?

    6.) While I am all for NAD being a civil rights organization supporting the rights of ALL people regardless of gender, race, sex, etc... I think the NAD needs to be careful about trying to be "all things for all people" because it is really a small organization with vastly limited resources (compared to other disability organizations).

    7.) Has NAD issued an official response to these grievances? Or has it ignored you guys so far?

  17. JJ, once again, you're doing the red herring.

    I'll skip #1.

    AS for #2: Economic? I believe there are articles that clearly explained about the benefits of deaf schools vs the costs. Having a deaf school minimizes the real costs of having an interpreter for one or two deaf students in hundreds of public schools all over the state. Can you compare that as well? Your attempts in giving Daugaard a pass is duly noted His parents were members of SDAD for *60* years and surely, Daugaard should know the benefits of having a deaf school vs the costs. Not only that, he was also an interpreter as well. You claimed that it is reasonable for him to close the deaf school in order to save $2 million to balance the state budget. Have you realized that the state is trying to balance $4 BILLION dollars by cutting only $2 MILLION dollars at SDSD? Do you truly think cutting SDSD of 2 cool million dollars will help to balance the state budget with 4,000,000,000.00? Oh, please.

    #3: Precisely. And still NAD invited him? He already had 3 strikes on Civil Rights, Human Rights & Linguistics Rights (All of us knew that he's conservative Republican) and yet, NAD still invited him? Your argument is that since he's a member of his party, by default, he is bound to be against the marriage equality. Umm, Dick Cheney? Gen. Colin Powell? They are Republicans and they already announced the support for same-sex marriage. Your argument is moot, really.

    #4: Actually, he had 3 attempts, he had 3 strikes. So far, he has not changed his beliefs on this subject.

    #5: Obama *never* campaigned nor pushed anti-gay policies at all. Not even one. Between 2008-12, Obama left it up to the public to decide. He was instrumental in repealing the DADT policy as well as acknowledging many gay events/organizations/persons. Then in 2012, he realized that it is all about civil rights. On other hand, Daugaard supported & voted FOR the same sex marriage BAN in South Dakota. Your reasoning is absurd, especially trying to portray Obama as anti-gay leader when he was never to start with.

    #6: That's not even important nor the point at all. NAD has a Mission Statement that explicitly stated that they are for Civil Rights. It has to stick up for what it believes. Small or big, it is all about the principles. It is evident to me that you wanted to skew the principles just because the organization is small.

    #7: They issued the statement on Marriage Equality but continues to avoid the Dennis Daugaard fiasco. So far, they're defying us on this.

    Now are you going to pull more straws out of this in your attempts to confuse & divide the people who protested against NAD's contradictions?


  18. JJ,

    Some people have expressed similar comments so I do want to clarify something very carefully because this is a really important point.

    Opinions vs. Making a Law that Discriminates.
    People are entitled to have opinions. Talk, by itself, can be harmful. Making statements against same sex marriage or equality in general can be and often is harmful, especially if you are a powerful or well respected person/celebrity/politician.

    BUT... Daugaard actively passed laws that specifically targeted women, Muslims, and LGBTs. He made laws that discriminate against people. Amending the law or removing the law is a lengthy, difficult, expensive process.

    Now, IF you were right in Obama stating he did not support gay marriage, his opinion would have been harmful- but significantly less harmful than if he had passed a constitutional amendment that would take years, if not decades, to revoke. BUT

    Obama technically never spoke out against same sex marriage.When asked about the question, he has always responded that he favors civil unions as the solution, hence avoiding really saying what he thought about marriage. Until recently.

    Being a Republican does not mean you have to be a Social Conservative. Until the 1960s the Republican Party was a party of fiscal conservatives and national security hawks. Lots of military spending, low taxes, and government stays small. They had 4 points to their platform. That was it. Now with the Religious Right invading the GOP, it has become socially conservative- but it is not necessarily how the GOP has to be. GOPs are now in a position where they can redefine the party as one of fiscal conservatism and reject the social conservatives- but that will be a process that takes time.

    as to your point #6) I am NOT arguing nor have I ever argued that the NAD needs to actively advocate for gay rights, or other civil rights. It is not to be "all things to all people"- Its primary mission is deaf and hard of hearing civil rights- BUT it needs to simply stand by its principles of civil rights and send a consistent message. It also needs to take in consideration the make up of its membership. NAD has a set of principles that it needs to stand by and that doesn't cost a single resource.

    7) They have a statement on Marriage Equality which you can see on the NAD webpage. I declare that is not enough- and you can see myre sponse at

  19. Ridor,

    Red herring? Nope, not trying to change the subject, but am trying to understand it. I havn't signed the petition because I haven't made up my opinion yet. Some of us like to think things out a bit...sorry.

    As for Obama, I stand corrected. I checked and Obama actually sported civil unions in a quote when he was running for the senate.

    As for two million vs. four billion...a penny saved is a penny saved. I do however agree that Duaagard should have stepped up more though because he was the Lt. Governor and I can't find any evidence that he even fought to keep the school open. However, 66k per pupil is VERY high...if you took those 30 students..ut them in mainstreamed schools..180 school days a year... 8 hours a day = about 43000 hours needed to interpret times an average rate of 40 an hour = roughly 1.6 million....

    As for Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, I would liked to see them make those statements when they held an office. My point is that you likely won't find a republican support gay marriage while holding do so would be political suicide..and it is even risky for Obama who will likely make some of his supporters upset...Obama did wait until the political winds blew the right way, IMO.

    Tavian, Duggard actively passed legislation against gays, women, and muslims...can you summarize the laws he actively supported that targeted gays, women, and muslims? Looking for some detail here...because it sounds as if he is just a conservative republican to me...

    As for the GOP, yes it has been invaded by the religious conservatives and it is sad....but as long as we have a strong voter base in the bible belt...republicans will cater to them.

    My issue is not with Duugard himself...I do agree that he is not someone I would imagine the NAD inviting to give a speech or issue is with associating the NAD with Duugard's beliefs. I just see it as NAD inviting a CODA politican to speak about..well...politics. I also agree that the NAD could have invited someone more closely aligned with NAD's liberal stances though...but to admonish the NAD for this? I don't know....I guess I need to know more.... For example, if the NAD invited someone who was guility of war crimes against humanity (e.g. some warlord who committed mass genocide), I would totally be on your side... but I see it as NAD inviting a republican...while the GOP isn't my cup of tea..we can learn something from Duugard, no?

    As for the NAD's statement....they did mention that they needed to work with many parties to advance the needs of the Deaf. It brought to mind the quote, "politics makes for strange bed fellows". The NAD will need to work with all kinds of politicans.

    Again, just my two cents....but do post links of Duugard actively promoting legislation vs. gays, women, and muslims....I will sign the petition or not based on that.....basically if he is worse than a mere republican...I will sign.

  20. JJ-

    You can do a simple google search for the legislation on Daguaard's support for legislation that limited the rights of Muslim, women, and LGBTs. You can also look at my website, I have a letter explaining what those laws are and exactly how they are racist, Islamophobic, anti-gay, and how they repress people of color, poor women. If you see the Facebook group page, End One, End All, there is an article about intersectionality that illustrates why we must stand in solidarity for all civil rights.

    As for Daugaard and the GOP- I have no interest of engaging in an indepth discussion of the history of the GOP, its being hijacked by the Religious Right, and the changing demographics/powerbase of the current GOP. I teach a 12 week class on the subject so I know it is impossible to adequately address this point in a comment box.

    As for NAD's statement: there is a significant difference in behind the scenes politicking in securing the rights of deaf people on legislation that specifically addresses the rights of deaf people- and the NAD giving a prominent platform to an anti-human/civil rights politician and prominently featuring him on the NAD website. It is an implicit endorsement of his positions and my concern also lies with the message that the NAD is sending to the broader civil rights community and minority populations across the United States. This is a point I have belabored in my article, on my blogs on my website, on Facebook, and in my comment responses. This is an important difference that we need to understand.

  21. Thanks for that, Tavian. I'll look over there.

  22. heye JJ

    this is the NAD's stated reason for bringing Daugaard to the NAD 2012 conference in KY:

    "Gov. Daugaard will talk about political power and the importance of deaf and hard of hearing people participating in the political process. He will describe how to best advance our community’s civil, human, and linguistic rights with politicians."

    this is ludicrous given the FACTS that:
    1. Daugaard did nothing to try to preserve the only Deaf school in SD
    2. he has passed legislation that deprives women, GLBT, and Muslims of equality

    so what is the point in bringing him to NAD except to teach us how NOT to do things

    this conflict is lain at the NAD's doorstep entirely by their own doing

    They chose Dennis now they need to decide if they are going to choose him and injustice over justice.

    Do they choose doing right and standing by We, the People? or do they do wrong and keep Daugaard as their plenary presenter?

    To my knowledge the NAD has not responded directly to any of the letters or tweets or b/vlogs on this issue.

    that in and of itself speaks volumes

    NAD can you hear us?
    NAD can you see us?
    NAD can you feel us?

    (kinda from Tommy the Who song that Bobbie Beth spent some public time explaining to the Deaf community)



  23. Tavian:
    Couldn't agree more with your sentiments. There is one thing on which I wanted to comment/expand.

    You said: "This also would have been a good opportunity to invite someone on board who may not have strong personal relationships with the deaf community or knowledge of its unique needs in regard to civil rights—thus creating a brand new ally/advocate who could still share the same powerful message on engaging the political process. Say, the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley."

    Martin O'Malley is no stranger to protecting the civil rights of Deaf people. In August 2009, Governor O’Malley sent letters to the Maryland Congressional delegation encouraging them to support the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. I believe Governor O’Malley was the first and only governor to do this.

    While other states are closing Deaf schools, Governor O’Malley is building new ones. In September 2009, he cut the ribbon to a new, state of the art elementary school for Maryland School for the Deaf.

    On November 20, 2009, Governor Martin O’Malley became one of the first Governor’s in the nation to post his online videos with captions.

    In 2010, Governor O’Malley signed into law legislation making access to captioning in places of public accommodation a civil right enforceable under state law. This law was proposed by his Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

    And just a few weeks ago, there was another ribbon cutting at Maryland School, this time on a $3.5 million cafeteria.

    Most recently, Governor O’Malley signed into law authorizing a task force to study and make recommendations about establishing a Deaf Cultural Digital Library in Maryland.

    It seems to me that Governor O’Malley has done a lot for the Deaf community. Perhaps more than Governor Daugaard. And it would appear that Martin O’Malley is a front-runner for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President in 2016. Talk about a sound investment of the NAD’s political capital.

    If the NAD is truly interested in cultivating relationships with politicians that “walk the walk” of civil rights, they will wake up and rescind their invitation to Governor Daugaard and instead invite a real civil rights leader like Governor Martin O’Malley.

  24. I myself am a hearing, minority (Hispanic) girl. As of late, I have fallen in love with ASL and have a deep appreciation for the Deaf community. I have and continue to study its rich history and language. I have respect for homosexual people and have friends that fit into the LGBT category. They are fully aware of my beliefs on their sexuality, yet they respect me because I respect them as people and the friendships I've had with them have been great. Nobody that knows me on an intimate basis could ever justly call me "anti-gay," or any other "you-hate-gay-people" name calling.
    Moving on...
    1) Apparently it "behooves" the deaf community to jump on board of the LGBT movement, because of the political power they yield. I am not deaf myself, but I find these statements to be demeaning and degrading to the deaf. Why? This is sending a disturbing message that the deaf cause is not "good enough" to stand on its own, so therefore it needs to piggy back on the civil rights parade of somebody else. This paints the deaf into a corner, "You HAVE TO support gay marriage, because if you don't that compromises your POLITICAL SAFETY." Wow, talk about a loving, tolerant advocate for civil rights and servant of the people.
    2) Can't a deaf person choose for themselves what they want to believe regarding homosexuality? Interlocking same-sex marriage to deafness is a cheap, cheap tool to use deaf people to raise the already towering influence and infiltration of the LGBT movement. C'mon. Even my LGBT friends give me the freedom to be totally against their sexuality, why can't deaf people do this, too? I am not saying that deaf people can't think for themselves. I'm just saying that the language found in this publication bullies the Deaf community into getting in bed with the LGBT movement, with a sign on the door that says “Civil Rights.”
    3) The NDA is not the ACLU. I think their reasoning should be taken as a sincere answer. Their focus is deaf issues. Is there something wrong with having a specific focus or do we have to be Mother Theresa to everyone at all times? Even she only focused on one person at a time. Or is there some sort of attempt to try to gain some sort of personal satisfaction of being some sort of savior? You don't see the Meth Project trying to campaign for correct food labeling, do you? Their focus is METH! If a gay/deaf/hearing/straight person wishes to fight for both causes, well then that's great for them. However, don't force the NDA to do what it was not intended to be in the first place. Maybe the NAACP should start advocating for the rights of Asian people!
    4) White, heterosexual, cisgender, males are not the Great Satan of humanity. Wow, and people complain about how they are marginalized. This sort of mentality is SO damaging to a society. Why? Because minorities, women, etc. are laid to rest in eternal tombs of victimhood. That type of mentality benefits nobody, not even the individual themselves, it makes society get STUCK, NOT move FORWARD. Yay, for progression! Therefore, this sort of childish blame put on white males is nothing but that, childish. I am a Hispanic minority, with a rough background, but I don't cry late at night in my bedroom about how the "white man ruined me" because I'm a girl and a minority...blah...blah.... The gay movement pretends to be the ultimate cause meant to absorb and annihilate all other causes in a very illegitimate narcissism rage and tyranny.
    Personally, I find that a person is most empowered, when they come out of that victimhood and overcome their negative past and own whatever the "side-effects" of their mistreatment was and rise to greater heights of human self-respect.
    If you believe in the dignity and legitimacy of your cause, THEN DON'T BULLY PEOPLE INTO SUPPORTING YOU and don’t allow yourself to be bullied because you envy the prominence.
    I believe in the legitimacy of the deaf cause.

  25. A wee small voiceJune 4, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

    I already know plenty of people who agree with me on every issue and I know what and how they think. If I want to change what goes on in the State Capitol - I have to understand the opposition: how they think, what they think, and why they think so. Only then do I have the opportunity to convince them to Think Different.

    As a Gay, Deaf, Gun-toting, physically disabled person, I am already a minority within a minority within a minority. I have have already seen enough angry rants, pointless law-suits, and destructive street protests.

    Now I am old. I want to understand how "Other" people make decisions. I want to understand how to influence those decisions. I would have liked to see a sitting Governor speak at the convention, even if I do not agree with him. Perhaps I might have had a chance to meet him in the hall with my partner and have a short chat about gun rights and gay marriage and the difference between "special privlidges" (a gilded private staricase) and "equal access accommodations" (a wheelchair ramp.)

    Too bad that oppportunity is now lost to us.