BSL Recognition

J asks the question:

Have Deafies stopped being political now that BSL was recognised as a language in 2003, and think the work is finished (it???s not!)?

I don’t think Deafies are apolitical just because BSL was recognised as a language in 2003. I think they are just apathetic generally. Strictly speaking, the Deaf activists are in a minority these days, and I for one think it is a shame. Joe talks about the BSL March or lack thereof. I am the R he speaks of. It is something I feel passionate about, but I’m just put off by my own inexperience. We do need some more experienced people at the helm to make sure that we pull it off.

I am astounded to learn of this conference on 7 December 2005. I wonder whether the lack of publicity about this event has anything to do with Government fear of the BSL community. After all, if you were an hearie like Anne McGuire, the Minister for Disabled People, would you wanna face the wrath of the Deaf community? They must know that they’ve fucked up.

  1. The Department of Work & Pensions was the Government department that officially recognised BSL. Hello! Since when does language recognition have anything to do with the department that deals with welfare benefits and pensions?!
  2. The £1.5million that was awarded to fund 10 projects – what was that? I mean, the point of it was? How exactly does this promote BSL among the general population? I can count all the projects I’ve actually heard about on one hand:
  3. Has your life changed since BSL was recognised? I don’t see a difference, particularly when in my casework for clients. The same old barriers and obstacles are still there for us Deafies; and
  4. I am sick of tired of the general ignorance out there about BSL/English Interpreters and the need for service providers to actually provide them. The number of people who assume that Deafies are coping just fine without communciation support just continues to astound me. Raising the profile of BSL would do just that, but it hasn’t happened, so the profile of BSL simply isn’t effective enough.

What’s the British Sign Langauge Initiatives Conference for?

The conference will provide information about 10 British Sign Language projects funded by the Department for Work and Pensions to support the statement made in 2003 recognising BSL as a language in its own right.

The projects are intended to increase access to training for BSL tutors and increase awareness of the language amongst employers, amongst service providers and in the wider community.

It will be an opportunity to hear about lessons learned during the projects, share good practice, and view the products that have been developed including websites and DVDs.

In other words, it’s an opportunity for the DWP to beat their own drum and tell the world how fantastic they were in offering £1.5million to all these d/Deaf organisations and how much they’ve done for BSL (!).

I wonder who the delegates that have been invited are. I should find out if anyone from RAD is going. I wouldn’t mind going myself, actually, just to laugh at the DWP’s feeble attempts to pacify us Deafies.

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