Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ASL Vlog 1: October Worries

Since my study in ASL began in 2004, this is my very first ASL Vlog.  Here, I discuss some of the things that are on my mind, such as my research paper for SOC 3000, my presentation for ASL 3530, and my presentation for the EAU Education Conference.  I also touch on my social life, and silent weekend.  Be sure to let me know what you think, any suggestions or questions are welcome!  I just might do my next vlog about your quesiton!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Looking Back...

I thought I would go back to one of my blogs that I started and still use to post my literary work.  There I found a poem I wrote back when I was in high school.  It still seems profound to me today.

This was originally written on September 5, 2006, it has been modified, and edited by me, ...on September 17, 2006.

Life is Like a Piece of New Sheet Music

Life is like a piece of new sheet music,
it is filled with sharps, flats
and unknown time signatures.

You have to watch for the little things,
the nuances, to make it
accented and memorable.

In some parts it is louder
and more profound,
while at other times,
it is soft and peaceful.

Like life, in music you have musicians,
instruments and directors.

In life you must find the right musicians,
you must tune your instruments and
watch and listen to
the directions your directors give you.

These things you must do
to get you through,
that piece of new sheet music
that is life.

I really miss my creative writing class.  *sigh*

If you feel so inclined, you can see some other work at this URL.

And yes, e.e. moone is my pen name.  :) 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Wish I Hadn't ...

So, this morning was a little frustrating.

Ok, so the entire morning wasn't frustrating, but part of it was. I woke up early so I could get to work on time, since I was opening and covering for another co-worker. I began to set up shop and go through the process of preparing the store for the day and the employee I was working with shows up, which was fabulous because at that point there was the two of us who were working.

So then another employee shows up, but I didn't know if he was working because he wasn't wearing his work shirt... yet. So, I find out that he's working. Awesome! I thought. Three of us in the store would make time pass by fast. Then I heard the third-arriving-employee comment about covering for another co-worker. I asked for clarification. He and I were both covering for the same guy!  This meant that one of us would have to clock out.

I began to feel selfish.

I began thinking all of these different thoughts, all of which were "I" statements, like, "I woke up extra early," or, "I commuted 50 miles," or even better, "I was here first!" Then it got worse. I started to take my frustration out on my fellow employee.

I began criticizing him.

I started naming all of the reasons, in my head, as to why he should leave.  "He isn't dressed appropriately," or "he was late."  The list went on.  Then, I had to try to decide how to professionally address the matter to one of our superiors, and I had hoped that one of them could make the decision as to who would go home, because I didn't really want to have that awkward conversation.  I knew it would be awkward because we had discussed in previous conversations, the importance of needed hours for income.  And really, who doesn't need income - especially in this economy?  So, I decided to go talk to one of our superiors and present the situation in a diplomatic manner, so as to address the issue that both of us faced and not just me.

 I didn't want to...

I was reluctant to explain what had happened and I was reluctant to go back to my station and have the "who is going home" discussion.  But I did, because I knew it was the right thing to do and the professional thing to do.  We talked it over and came to a common conclusion that it was he who would stay today.

I tried to look on the bright side.

I started to consider the positives of the situation.  It wasn't my fault.  And, more importantly for the sake of my criticisms, it wasn't his fault.  The responsibility for this mix up fell on the person who called us both and agreed to have us both work during that shift.  I thought about what I could do during the time that I had off.  I could go get breakfast.  I could do some social networking for the E.A.U., and finally, I could get an actual post published to my blog.  (Hooray!)  I could see a friend on campus.  I could actually read my e-mail and not just glean from the subject lines as to whether or not I should even look at them.  Then, BAM!  I was back into the mind-set of criticizing my fellow employee again, and the worst part was, it was something that I feared another person, friend, family, or stranger, doing to me.

I judged him.

I won't get into the details about why exactly I judged him, but what I will say is that in Utah, where the dominant religion is "mormonism" it is ironically far too easy to not be so "saint"-like.  In the multicultural class that I took during the first block of summer semester we discussed the influences different aspects of culture, ideology, and society have on us as human beings trying to figure out who we are exactly.  I realized that at this moment, I was taking stereotypical thoughts about people who are LDS in Utah's society, like me, and I was applying those thoughts to him and faulting him for what he had, or didn't have.  As soon as I had said the words I said, I felt my the color rush up into my cheeks.

I wish I hadn't said it at all, let alone thought it.

Who was I to know about what his life is like?

I thought about the things that I would hope that no one judged me for and realized that there was no reason why I should be judging him.

Anyway, I think that while this was an unfortunate even to occur, it was an important time to recognize that I can see what I did wrong and that I want to make my life be a better one and live it in a better way, so that I don't have these issues come up again in work or with my family and friends.  

Are there any little social issues that you regret?  Those little miss-communications that occur because of your mind being too set in your own gain?  Tell me what you think. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If I Had a Nickel for Every Minute I Multitasked...

Seriously people, if I had a nickel for every minute I multitasked, then I might just be a millionaire.

So, if you are a facebook friend of mine then you might have seen my post earlier then you might remember, among all of the various posts I made that I said, "I am sorely overdue for a blog-update... I have way too much on my mind, I just need to spew it all out onto my blog page."  This post is in response to the thought I had when I saw the little status box, which has the words, "what's on your mind?" in it.

Some of the topics I hope to cover are... *drum-roll please*
  • American Sign Language songs
  • Adventures with the EAU Board
  • Camp Spike and Wave planning 
  • Cuddling with a baby
  • Culvers
  • Deaf Culture
  • Deaf TV
  • Epilepsy awareness and education - Glenn Fenster vs. Joy Baher
  • Frustration moments and Facebook wars
  • Gag Policy for anti-gay-harassment
  • Glee is good for you
  • Lady Gaga's new album
  • the NEW Epilepsy Association of Utah
  • Prospects of Performing in London
  • Quotes via twitter
  • my Sister
  • Summer School Teachers
  • "Switched at Birth"
  • Taylor Swift's "Mean"
  • Working on capus

So, since that facebook post, my list has grown... and the actual blog-post, itself, hasn't really happened yet - I need to finish up schoolwork for summer block.  However, if you are interested in anything that I've listed and want me to write more about it let me know and I will get on that first.  Otherwise, this is a general guide to the posts that are soon to come (sometime in the future).  ;)

Over and out!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vegetarian? Vegan? I Love Me Some Meat and Cheese!

So, about an hour ago, there was a young lady who came up to me while I was eating my lunch and asked if I would be willing to sign a petition to have more vegetarian/vegan-friendly choices for students at my school.  I am happy to sign a petition to show my support of vegetarians and vegans.  They deserve to have several choices of food too.  I agree.  So upon my signature I was given a pamphlet, from PETA2, claiming to tell me "everything I need to know about animal rights."  As I read through it, I found it to have good information, but it was obviously biased towards animal cruelty and why we should all be vegetarians and vegans.  I honestly didn't see a list of "animal rights," or anything related.  

This is my question for you:  "Is it a hypocritical way of life to be a 'meat-eater,' but then promote no cruelty to animals?"  

restated:  "Just because someone's a 'meat-eater,' doesn't mean that they endorse animal cruelty - does it?"

To continue, the pamphlet went on to say...
  • Pigs are smarter than dogs and young children. They are affectionate and like to play video games.
  • Hens and their chicks talk to each other ...even while the chick is still in the egg.
  • If you give an apple or a small ball to a group of turkeys, they'll play with it together, kind of like they're on a football or soccer team.
  • Cows are excellent mothers - they even take turns babysitting for each other!
  • Fish grow underwater algae gardens.  Using their mouths like we use our hands, they weed out algae they don't like so the tastier kinds can grow. 
 So, as you can see, the authors are personifying animals, and discussing their lives as if they are, on the whole just as important (if not more important) than human beings.  This is a tactic to easily sway a reader on pitying an animal. 

My Physiology of Interpreting professor said (multiple times), "the only real difference between humans and animals is our thumbs," that move up, down and side to side.

I am one of those strong believers that everything that God put on the earth was put here for a purpose and I believe that animals serve various purposes and overall - they are to serve humans (in various forms).  I mean, I highly doubt that God just put animals on earth because they are pretty to look at.  And at the same time that I sit in a steakhouse with my medium-well 8 oz I am not thinking I hope that this cow was brutally slaughtered, abused or forced into stalls. 

Oh, and I just loved how the pamphlet used quotes from popular TV teen idols and their comments about how it's cool to be vegan or vegetarian.  Did you catch my sarcasm there?

Are all places that provides meat and animal bi-products really so violent?  Or is PETA just telling us about the few that are cruel to animals?

What's more, as I did some online searching for PETA, the first images that come up with their articles and on their official website could be considered pornographic, or at least inappropriate, in nature.  I'm guessing that PETA is putting a sexy-spin on their cause in order to gain more attention.  Not cool, not moral, not family friendly.  Nada. 

Now, my rant is done.  I am hoping that I get feedback from ya'll.  Tell me how you feel about being vegan/vegetarian.  Tell me what you know and how you feel about how some animals are treated in the mass production of meat and animal bi-products. Give me good links and sources so that I can be more informed in my opinion.  Because, for now, I am sticking with my Genesis reference of the King James Bible.  (Genesis 1:24-25 & 6:5 through 8:19).  I mean come on people, why would God ask Noah to bring animals aboard the ship he built, when the earth was going to be flooded for 40 days and nights, if not to preserve them for our use?  (LDS Primary Lesson) 

All I have to say for now is, "I love me some meat and cheese!"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Introduction to Understanding Disability Part 2: Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame

Previously Posted: Personal Preface


Does the media provide a correct portrayal of people with disabilities? Is Quasimodo, of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, accurately portrayed as a person with a physical disability? To address these queries we will discuss, first, the plot of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, then examine the specifics of Quasimodo’s character, and last and most importantly, we will scrutinize whether or not the portrayal of disability is an accurate one. In order to understand the main character and his disability, we must first understand his story.

Plot Summary

What is The Hunchback of Notre Dame essentially about? As inspired by Victor Hugo’s classic novel published in 1831, the story takes place in medieval Paris in the year 1482, specifically starting on January 6 – the day of the historical ‘Festival of Fools,’ which really did annually occur in Paris.2 It begins with a flashback of Quasimodo’s infancy, showing how he came to be raised by the antagonist, Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice.3 “Frollo, . . . . who detests adopted Quasimodo when he was a baby as a penance for killing his mother, . . . . but tells Quasimodo that his mother abandoned him at birth.”4 Clopin, the narrator, and male leader of the gypsies, explains the meaning of the cruel name Frollo gave Quasimodo – “half-formed,” then brings the story back to the present, twenty years later, introducing Quasimodo as a young man – “the man and the monster.”5 During Quasimodo’s first appearance, we see part of the monster.

After Quasimodo’s first appearance, we see the master/servant relationship that Quasimodo has with his “father,” Frollo. Despite Frollo’s sermon-like lecture to Quasimodo about the importance of staying in the bell tower, Quasimodo heeds his three gargoyle friend’s advice to, essentially, assert his independence and go to the Festival of Fools. Quasimodo has always watched it, for the past twenty years. He had been in fear of disobeying his master and not being accepted by the normal people. However, someone who grows to be more accepting of Quasimodo is Esmeralda.

At the festival, Esmeralda, a beautiful, tempting dancer as well as the female leader of the gypsies, mistakes Quasimodo’s appearance to be costumed and masked for the purpose of the festival’s King of Fools competition. She invites him up on stage and he is later discovered to be real (instead of masked). Clopin then invites the crowd to crown Quasimodo the King of Fools for having the ugliest face in Paris.

For a few moments Quasimodo is celebrated. Shortly after, however, he experiences a terrible humiliation, where food is thrown at him, and he is tied down like a wild animal. He sees the crowd’s tyranny and hears the awful calls and jeers reverberated in his ears. Esmeralda, soon realizes what is happening to the “poor creature,” and takes pity on him and the plight he is in.6 She cuts the ropes binding him and helps him to his feet.

Meanwhile, while this entire humiliating situation is going on, Quasimodo’s master sits back and watches while, in degradation, Quasimodo learns his lesson – essentially encouraging the peasant-crowd’s oppression of his would-be son. Frollo, regardless of the desire he feels for Esmeralda, charges her for the insolence she displays when he asks her not to help Quasimodo. At her retort of calling him the real King of Fools, he demands her arrest. The Guard then marks her as a fugitive, and Frollo marks her as an object of his desire. Frollo is not the only man who is spellbound by Esmeralda, there are two others – Phoebus, Captain of the Guard, and Quasimodo, Bell-Ringer of Notre Dame.

Realizing they have a common love interest, Phoebus sees past Quasimodo’s appearance when Quasimodo helps Esmeralda escape. Quasimodo and Phoebus become allies in aiding Esmeralda (and the gypsy population). Phoebus further encourages Quasimodo’s assertion to independence as well as acceptance. Quasimodo feels that friendship is strained for a time when Esmeralda chooses Phoebus as her love interest instead of Quasimodo. While Esmeralda is kind to Quasimodo, and even sort of identifies with the discrimination he experiences, it’s apparent that she is still somewhat repulsed by his appearance. This is an example of “the main theme of [Hugo’s] book…,” as well as the re-occurring theme in the movie – “…the cruelty of social injustice.”7

The violent search for Esmeralda and the gypsies is led by Frollo, and despite Phoebus and Quasimodo’s rebellious actions against Frollo, Esmeralda is apprehended and put to death by burning at the stake. In contrast to Hugo’s novel, Quasimodo’s rescue of Esmeralda, both of them live. In another contrast to Hugo’s novel, instead of Quasimodo throwing his autocratic master/father off of Notre Dame, Frollo falls to his death from a weakly attached gargoyle that gives way from his weight. Now that we understand the story surrounding Quasimodo, we can look further into his character.


Wikipedia. (2011). The hunchback of notre dame. Wikipedia: the free
encyclopedia. Retrieved February 6, 2011, from

#3 & 4
Wikipedia. (2011). The hunchback of notre dame. Wikipedia: the free
encyclopedia. Retrieved February 6, 2011, from

#5 & 6
Hahn, Don (Producer). (1996). The hunchback of notre dame [VHS].

Wikipedia. (2011).  Quasimodo.  Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Retrieved

Friday, February 25, 2011

Films with Deaf Characters - Critique #1

You'd Be Surprised
From the golden era of movies comes a film that is both a comedy and a murder mystery; it is entitled, You’d Be Surprised. This silent film was released in 1926, towards the end of that golden era, which the older generations of the Deaf community remember. The film’s director was Arthur Rosson, who directed two other films released that same year – Wet Paint (a farce) and Stranded in Paris (based on the play). B.P. Schulberg, who was, after the golden era, Head of Paramount Pictures in the 1930s, produced You’d be Surprised. Overall, a viewer of today’s generation can appreciate the work they put into the cinematography of the film. A few elements of the cinematography to discuss are the script, direction, acting, and plot. First comes the comment about the script.

A typical viewer of today would find the script of You’d Be Surprised, to be surprisingly entertaining, mysterious and comedic even upon it’s repetitiveness. A couple of phrases that were said at least four times to add humor to a seemingly serious moment were phrases such as, “Don’t touch anything! This is a case for the coroner,” as said by varying degrees of policemen and inspectors alike. There was also the daunting word, “guilty!” which was said by the bizarre jury who seemed just as keyed up to be done with the investigation as the coroner did. Their excited anticipation added superfluous humor to another, feasibly intense, moment. Another great thing about the script that a viewer might notice were the coroner’s witty statements on the title cards. It started with Aesop’s quote, then there is the playful accusation of murder to one of the women, and the coroner says, “Mayhap you did it – in a spirit of jest?” Or there is the solution to finding out who committed the crime, “…let’s offer a prize.” Other title cards are ironic, or they have the use of puns. While the script was written well, it wouldn’t be much use without the directing of the film, the second element of cinematography to be discussed.

The direction of the film seemed to be creative. It was referential to a few superstitious things such as the date, Friday the 13th, and the black cat that skulks around the houseboat. The film initially follows this cursed cat around – allowing the viewer to see different scenes of what is happening during the party before the mysterious murder. As for the acting, a viewer would find (in contrasting movies of today) gestures and expression really made up for the lack of voice or sound. Also, those who know sign language and are involved in Deaf Culture will recognize the extra effort taken for gestures and expression are especially beneficial to Deaf people’s understanding. Just as there were repetitive, comical things written in the script, similar actions were given as well.

Actions such as the coroner taking the inspector’s badge to indicate that he had solved the crime. Or there was the coroner’s corny flip of a coin to let fate decipher what would happen next. It usually worked to his advantage. Then there were the times when the policemen were told to take away the accused woman (Dorothy) and the coroner comically prevented it by his gestures and slaps. This happened three times with the inspector (Mr. Brown) and once with the deputy district attorney (Mr. Black), which provides an ironic parallel since he actually knows she did not do it. The last notable repetitive, comical action was when the coroner tries to use himself as bait, and every time he tells a man to turn off the lights, someone tries to surround him from being killed. First it’s Dorothy, then the jury, then the police officers. While this last set of actions is comedic, the resolution that follows isn’t quite as consistent.

Upon viewing the movie a second time, the viewer will notice more about the man who they arrest – Mr. Black. While he fits the character of murderer quite well with all that he says and does, the way in which he is arrested and accused is quite un-ceremonial (as compared to the interactions that happen between party guests and the playfully accusing coroner) and it is very disappointing to see that the coroner doesn’t really give him much of a hard time about being the murder. This is somewhat un-satisfying to the viewer. When something like this occurs in media, many times the viewers will observe other ways to present the same type of media to their satisfaction.

It is possible in today’s media that such a story, even to remain silent, would be a really comical and satirical skit/spoof for shows such as Saturday Night Live or Mad T.V. It would also be a good short play for high school and/or college drama programs, as I believe it would teach aspiring actors how to use more than just their voice to say what they need to say in order to portray the story. It would be very important, if the media did a re-make of You’d Be Surprised, to portray the role of the deaf butler in a more correct form, because anyone who is involved in Deaf culture will know that as a deaf character he was not portrayed correctly.

The butler was not portrayed correctly as a deaf character; they really made him seem less intelligent as they were not consistent with the idea of him having the use of his peripheral vision. Also, they seemed to direct him to have a face vacant of expression. This is another thing that misrepresents the Deaf community, as Deaf people are usually very animated in their body language and facial expression. An additional way that he was not portrayed correctly was having him hide childishly behind the chair and lastly, the fact that he was not included in the conversations, he stood as still as statue until the coroner addressed him. Even if this were how he was to act for the role of the butler, an advocate to the Deaf community would see this as an oppressive action to not include him in the conversation. Aside from the inconsistencies about the deaf character there was only two other inconsistencies that I found to be startling, first there was the positioning of Grey, the butler, when he is supposedly stabbed to his death. Then there was the fact that Grey miraculously re-appears as the deputy coroner. Let’s discuss specifically the positioning of Grey upon his “death.”

As Grey stood in the center of the room, waiting for the lights to go off, the viewer sees that he is facing the left side of the room (from the viewers perspective). When he is struck dead, he is laying facedown towards the right side of the room. Unless the murder is further investigated, this is a visual inconsistency. The viewer is to understand from this that the directionality and positioning of Grey’s body presents a sort of parallel with that of Mr. White’s dead body at the beginning of the film. This is the only real problem that a typical viewer might find within the film.

You’d Be Surprised is a witty, funny film about a murder at a dinner party, which seems like it could have been part of an influence for the game, Clue. Raymond Griffith keeps viewers on their toes for his moments of hilarity, irony, and wit. Overall, a very enjoyable silent film – especially enjoyable to those who understand the beauty of facial expression and body language. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hunchback of Notre Dame Teaser for Part 2 of Understanding Disability

Personal Preface

Imagine in childhood, being raised to love classic Disney movies and then at the age of eight, not being allowed to see one of Disney’s most moving animated films before the year 2000.

In the summer of 1996, Disney released their rendition of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame.1 I didn’t question my parents; I just did as they wished, agreeing to obey their request to not see that movie, nor ask to see it.

As time went by, I had only begun to understand why my parents asked me not to watch it. I made a small, visual connection between the theatrical preview of the movie and one of my dearest family members – my Grandmother, Florence Ruth Summers Kofford. She was born in 1908 and later had a case of polio that affected her spine from when she was very young.

I never saw her as any different from anyone else I knew. I didn’t see her as disabled either. I saw that she looked different, but I also knew of her unconditional love for my family and me. This gave me no reason to see her as anything less than a normal loving grandmother. She taught, took care of, and loved her entire family.

...As I think back on my memories of her and the few stories I knew about her past, I guessed that she was an oppressed woman for the way she looked and because she didn’t move the same way as others did. I deduced that she may have been humiliated at times, that others may have mocked her, whether it was verbal abuse, sideways glances or any other demeaning actions.

Eighty-eight years after my grandmother’s birth, and eight years after my own, was when I saw the first sign of someone who looked a bit similar to my grandmother in the media, and it was one of the few Disney movies I was not allowed to watch. Approximately fourteen years later, and twelve years after her death, I made the distinct connection between my parent’s banned movie and my grandmother. Which brings me to Quasimodo, the protagonist of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, specifically the film as released by Disney. 

...Check back later for more about my thoughts about Quasimodo and his physical as well as his socially constructed disability.  

Feel free to comment!

~Aud Fairy

IMDb. (2011). The hunchback of notre dame (1996). Retrieved February 6, 2011, from

© 2011 Holly E. Ferrin

Understanding the Importance of Language & Culture, The Humanity of Respecting Diverse Populations, and the Deaf Community.

Why should deaf people exist?  Why should we care?

(For a preview to this paper, please see my previous post)
This is a query that is morally and ethically disturbing but necessary to address. First and foremost, the question should not be, “why should deaf people exist?” but rather, “why should deaf people not exist.” Furthermore, why should any human being not exist or be appreciated for their cultural heritage, for their language, for their having a life on earth? This is the short answer to the query at hand, which leaves one with ponderings of all of the above questions. But it would be imprudent to leave one to musings alone without any other answer. The above questions will be answered by focusing on four main elements: first, the various definitions of a human within humanity; second, basic monotheistic religious beliefs; third, the societal perspective of disability; and fourth, the existence and richness of the language and culture of the deaf. So I will now ask a question once more, its focus being that of the definition of what deaf person is first and foremost – a human.

Starting with the simplest, yet most complicated of questions, what is a human? The Oxford American Dictionaries1 defines a human as being “a person as distinguished from an animal or (in science fiction) an alien.” Even with this definition, full understanding of what it means to be human is not gained. In turning to the thesaurus, which also comes from the Oxford American Dictionaries, there are many synonyms given to suggest further meaning of the word human. All synonyms are used as adjectives, words describing imperfection, compassion, as well as the form of a human. Let us look to the first two sets of synonyms, first being imperfection.

Humans are not perfect. This we can all agree upon. We, as humans, are “imperfect, vulnerable, susceptible, erring, [and/or] error-prone.”1 In recognition of this fact, we can then realize why we do not always give every other human being on earth, in America, in our own state, even leading to giving humans in our own community, the respect they deserve for their history, culture, language and for being a fellow human being. However, this fact describing human in imperfect forms is not justification for disrespect, belittlement, or pity upon another group of humans. Acknowledging this fact, for one-self, allows us as humans the opportunity to change what can about how we choose to live our lives and how our lives affect others. Taking advantage of this opportunity, upon self-acknowledgment, allows us to do the humane thing and treat each other with the respect deserved. In reference to acts of humanity, we can now look to the next set of synonyms, which is initialized with the word, compassion.

Humans have the capability of being compassionate. This too we can all agree upon, because compassion is a characteristic that can be learned and chosen to be utilized. Compassionate is at the front of the second set of adjectives; adjectives which are synonymous for the word human, and focus on words that are humane in nature. Words such as, “compassionate, humane, kind, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant; approachable, accessible.”1 Interesting, is it not, that a word originating from the word human is used as an adjective for “…showing compassion or benevolence?”1 Let us delve further into our thesaurus and see what some other words are for humane. Synonyms for the word are,

“compassionate, kind, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant; lenient, forbearing, forgiving, merciful, mild, gentle, tender, clement, benign, humanitarian, benevolent, charitable; caring, solicitous; warmhearted, tenderhearted, [and] softhearted.” 1

Listed also in the thesaurus are antonyms as well; humane has a solitary antonymous word: “cruel,” remember this antonym.1 One could then imply from the given differing verbiage that humans would be humane since they are connected via verbal origin. Yet it seems that if that truly were the case, we wouldn’t even be wondering why we, as people whom are a part of a community, society and population, are asking a question about a group of people who are oppressed by audism.

If humans are as humane as we’d like to be in understanding the value of another person and who they are, then we would not be questioning the importance of their language, culture, heritage and even their living existence. Do not misunderstand the meaning here, please, question another’s heritage, learn of their history and language; but question why it is important that another group of people exist and especially exist peaceably? The thought, in and of itself, is inhumane. Thoughts lead to actions, and therefore we can account for the cruel and inhumane actions that arose from these types of thought. What then, can assist us in the prevention of everyday cruelness to our fellow human beings? The answer then lies in the un-solidified and ever-changing nature of morals, ethics and philosophy.

It seems the most obvious standard of morals and ethics, taught to a vast number of the worldwide population, would be the basics of religion. A few of those basic principles will be addressed in order to describe the equality of all human beings. The majority of religious people believe that there is one divine creator. Call the creator what you will, however, for this purpose the creator will be referred to as God.

God created the world and all things in it, the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, accounts for this.2 There are multiple notations in the Bible, and other religious books, of the past and present populations being sons and daughters of God. For example, in the book of Psalms, chapter 82, verse six reads, “…all of you are children of the most High,” in this context, the most High2 Here we recognize that we, as humans, have more in common with each other than just being of the same species. We recognize that the same divine being created us all, God created us all. refers to God.

In recent years, modern-day spiritual leaders reiterate this basic principle as we view ourselves as the offspring, or creation of God, “Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes.”3 In this quote, man is used to refer to all human beings, male and female. Aside from that, however, note the last phrase of the sentence and how we, as children of God are endowed with divine attributes. Many interpretations can be made from this, but no matter how it is interpreted, it literally means to be given qualities or characteristics that are set apart for each individual. So, while we were all created by God and share that as a universal similarity, He created us to all be different, to be unique people. Do the differences God created us with, give us justification to not “…love one another?”4 What is it, exactly, that causes look down upon others who are different from ourselves? How different, really, are deaf people from hearing people? Why are the Deaf so oppressed? In a blunt word, commonly associated with medicine and law, they are disabled.

Disability is the highlighted topic in Joseph P. Shapiro’s book, No Pity, which presents many points of view concerning ideas about disability and the experiences of people who live with it. People with disabilities make up a large part of what is considered to be diversity among the population. In specific reference to the disability movement, which didn’t even emerge until the 1970s, diversity is a central characteristic.5 Shapiro presents the common treatment of those who have disabilities, “[they] have been a hidden, misunderstood minority, often routinely deprived of the basic life choices that even the most disadvantaged among us take for granted… [and] … the struggle is far from over.”5 It has been over 40 years since the conscious emergence of new civil rights disability movement. Has significant progress been made? Do we really understand where our framework, for what disability It is a psycho-social effect which takes place as we are raised in society, influenced by the media, and by those people immediately around us. means, is coming from?

Shapiro goes into further detail about the psycho-social effect in chapter two, “The Social Construction of Disability.” Critical for understanding here is the point of influence, as we develop into contributing, adult, human beings, – society and culture. They are the two largest influences on how we, as a population, see what disability is and how we treat people with disabilities. We have to deconstruct what society and culture have influentially constructed and re-learn how to respectfully and ethically treat disabled people. We have to realize that every person, no matter their race, sex, physical or mental abilities, deserves to lead a life that is accessible to them, in every way, shape, and form; especially, the Deaf community. They deserve that as well, in maintaining the value of the existence and the richness of their language and culture.

The Deaf community exits in a system of biocultural diversity. According to Luisa Maffi, biocultural diversity is “…life in all its manifestations – biological, cultural, and linguistic ...”6 As language and culture are directly related, it is imperative to understand – one cannot communicate fluently in another language without the knowledge of their culture. Furthermore, it is also imperative to understand – one cannot interact fully with the people of a culture without the knowledge of their language. The concept of language, and culture is not universal. It doesn’t matter where a person is, the language and culture are going to be different from what they consider to be “home”. This type of diversity, like most, is to be appreciated. There is “…a ‘moral imperative’ to preserve diversity and to strive not for uniformity but for unity in diversity.”7 Not only is there a moral imperative to preserve that language and culture of the Deaf Community, but there is an imperative in a historical sense as well so that future generations can learn from our social and societal wrong-doings as well as rejoice in the justice we are working towards in appreciating various cultures, especially the culture (and language) of the Deaf. Comprehending diversity, especially biocultural diversity, “…should contribute to our understanding that diversity in nature and culture makes us human.” Having the understanding of diversity in nature and even in our and other cultures gives us the ability to recognize that all people are human and should be treated equally. The Deaf community are humans and deserve to have a life that is of equal opportunity and should be allowed to live up to their fullest expectations. We have shown the various perspectives for equal opportunities of the Deaf, using these four main elements: first, the various definitions of a human within humanity; second, basic monotheistic religious beliefs; third, the societal perspective of disability; and fourth, the existence and richness of the language and culture of the deaf. All of these elements, individually, show that the Deaf are important members of society and are crucial to not only their own culture but ours as well.


Top, edited, photograph:

1. Oxford University Press, Initials. (2011). Oxford american dictionaries, Retrieved from
2. Bible – King James Version
3. First Presidency, "The Origin of Man", Ensign, Feb. 2002, 26
4. John 13:34
5. No Pity Introduction, pg 11
6. Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Diversity journal, pg 602
7. Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Diversity journal, pg 603

~Written by Holly E. Ferrin, Deaf Studies Senior~

© 2011 Holly E. Ferrin

Friday, February 11, 2011

Understanding Disability - Part 1

This whole thought process started with a homework assignment from my professor in my Disability Theory class. The questions, on the outside, seemed like they would be simple enough to answer. I was grossly mistaken. I thought, thought and thought. I researched, read, and studied. I even resorted to asking friends on Facebook what they thought so I could get more opinions and ideas. Little did I know that it would be quite the controversial topic. The official question was this... "Why should deaf people exist? Why should we care?" The first response happened within the hour and I sighed upon reading it, virtually smacking my hand against my face.

Andrew had blatantly replied with, "
Sounds like someone is looking for an excuse to commit genocide." Great, just great, was the first phrase to come to mind. We now have the idea in mind that this question leaves the questioner looking for an excuse to commit genocide. That was the last thing I ever wanted coming up, but Andrew did make a great point, which then stemmed my next thought and honestly lead me to the basis of my response. I said, "Well, [my professor's] thought is that if we are going to be advocates for the Deaf, then we have to start by advocating their life. [I do agree with him about this] ... I personally believe we are all God's children and that we should treat one another as we would want to be treated. That is my short answer..." The comments from that point varied, and I appreciated all of them.

The next great comment made was written by Jillian, she said, "[Deaf people exist]
Because differences exist - to make us realize that we have to tolerate others. We should care because if deaf people ran the world, then we would be the minority and we'd want them to care." She made a brilliant point with this, especially in recognizing that deaf people exist in a minority. The next comment made was from the mouth of a teenager. Teens are stigmatized into a social category of not really caring about anything else other than themselves.

Kevin, who is also my relative, made the following comment, "
A deaf person can accomplish anything a person who isn't deaf. ...we should care for them because they are still human beings." If Kevin had been there in person, I swear I would have kissed him on the cheek for his youthful honesty.

I save the meanest, but best, for last. I must note the acting antagonist in the thread of comments. Peter, who can also be found on blogger, gave us a taste of reality with his comment - because sadly, this is how many people see it.

I could argue in defense of the beautiful language that is attached to deafness that would disappear, but our society already frowns upon the language, encouraging Cochlear Implants and Oralism. I hope you understand what I mean with that statement. If not, let me know and I will explain further.

I could also argue in defense of the incredible culture of the Deaf, but our society is ignorant to its existence anyway. Its preservation would only be for the "burdensome" minority and its "sympathy" followers like you and I.

Lastly, maybe one could argue that God made them that way, and they are perfect just the way they are. But we all know that God wouldn't do that to someone... put them through the pain and struggle of being deaf. It is clearly the best choice to allow science and technology to "cure" them of their ailment."
I didn't feel terrible about this comment because I know Peter is a good guy and he was only re- opening my eyes and the eyes of my peers to the reality of society's views. It was good to think about. It was good to have dignified view in opposition of my own. Peter later suggested that I view this video on YouTube. I urge you to view it as well.

There were many other great comments and I wish I could quote them all, but if you are one of my "friends" on Facebook, then you've probably already read it. Until then, click on the link below to read my paper for further information. 


Please Comment!


~Aud Fariy

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Benefits of Attending Crop Because You Care: Camp Spike and Wave

So, for those of you who aren't aware, I am very invested in volunteer work. I love volunteering. I frequently volunteer at the local community center of the Deaf, but I have another form of work in mind at the moment. Crop Because You Care (CBYC) is coming up at the end of February and if you don't know about it, this is your opportunity to learn more. Check out the links below and then I will tell you a bit more about Camp Spike and Wave.

The Official Crop Because You Care site, where you can learn more about CBYC, and the Epilepsy Association of Utah (EAU), as well as register for the event. (It's only $25! for a full day of scrapbooking for a good cause!)

The Epilepsy Association of Utah's blog, where information about CBYC can be seen as well as more information about the EAU, epilepsy, and seizures.
The Crop Because You Care blog, where the entirety of the blog is dedicated to the sole purpose of giving information about CBYC. (Psst! By the way, did you know, Stacy Julian is going to be attending this year's Crop Because You Care?! Click on one of the above blog links to learn more about her!)

If you are a Facebook jukie, like I am, you'll find various pages there about the EAU and CBYC, as well as people who are interested in the EAU and CBYC. It's pretty easy to find. You can also look over in the side bar as see the Facebook page badge.

If you are into tweeting, then feel free to follow either (or both) of the following twitter accounts. First there is the EAU Twitter account. Then there is the CBYC Twitter account as well. This is great if you get mobile updates via twitter. You'll know information about the upcoming crop while you are on the go!

Personal statement on YouTube about epilepsy, the EAU, and CBYC from one the founders - Karen! She has several videos on there about CBYC and epilepsy. Start with this one and then, if you wish, search for a bit more from there.

Ok, so now you've had the chance to become clued into what the awesome scrapbooking event, Crop Because You Care, is. If you haven't diverted your attention from my blog thus far, that's ok too. So, you may be wondering what the "scrap" this is all about - and what exactly you are cropping and caring for when you attend CBYC. Well, all proceeds of CBYC benefit the Epilepsy Association of Utah (EAU). From there, a large amount of those proceeds go to funding a summer camp for pre-teens & teens who are affected by epilepsy, a seizure disorder. Here is a little blurb about the camps offered from the National Ability Center, where the kids go for Camp Spike and Wave.
Each summer the National Ability Center offers camps packed with fun, adventure and activities that will challenge campers to discover their abilities, while making friendships to last a lifetime. These activities encourage campers to make friends, build social skills, strengthen physical agility and develop recreational skills while having more fun than they've ever had before.

About eleven months ago, I attended Crop Because You Care. A little over six months after that, I had the opportunity to attend Camp Spike and Wave as a volunteer.

I was able to assist in so many awesome things that the kids did at camp. Let me direct you to a few pictures so you can see the different types of things we did.

So, as you can see, we did so many exciting things - especially things that people with epilepsy cannot do in a "normal" situation. The kids rode horses. They braved the high ropes course, which includes elements such as the catwalk, bosman swings, tango bridge, cargo net and many more! They went on hikes (which some of them cannot do in a "normal" situation because temperature, whether it be hot or cold, are triggers for their seizures). They climbed rock-walls. They had fun with archery. And of course, we did all of the traditional camp things, such as crafts, games, becoming better friends, and eating s'mores. It seriously cannot get much better than that (not to mention that we were in a really nice cabin!)

Camp Spike and Wave Campers, 2010

I had a great time at Camp Spike and Wave, I think what I liked more than anything was the opportunity to have fun with kids (and other adults) who are affected by epilepsy. A sense of camaraderie was there, knowing that these people have dealt with a lot of the same problems I have. (Yes, I have generalize epilepsy) The same stigma we experience, the same types of exhaustion we feel at times, the side effects that come with medication and the knowledge that while we were together we were totally free to be ourselves and not be worried about what others would think if someone had a seizure.

So, you can see why this is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope that I've given you the chance to understand why CBYC is such an important event to attend. And not to mention, FUN!

Thanks everyone,


Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Thought on the Societal Perspective of Abnormality Among Normality

My paper and media collages as originally submitted on January 10, 2010,
with an all inclusive collage at the conclusion.

There are so many different ways that I could have approached the topics of what it is to be “normal,” and what it is to be “disabled.” I decided to reflect upon society since it is society who responds to media in regards of normality and disability. It is also society who influences community, and culture, which then leads to the environmental influences upon a person’s schema of various topics and ideas.
I chose to do my media collage before starting this thought paper. I believed it would expand the probably-small schema I had about normality and disability, and, in a way, it has. As I did various searches I began to understand the way society perceives both normalcy and disability. While Internet searches are not scholarly, I justified it because the majority of Americans have access to the Internet as well as access to sites where they can contribute their opinions and ideas.
While my searches gave me a different sort of understanding, I became frustrated with the top items that would come up in the search – especially when I used the search term, “disability.” It seems like the most common idea of disability seems to be someone who is wheelchair-bound. I was frustrated with this because, while my understanding of disability is not a full one, I know that there are other types of disabilities – whether they be mental or physical – and obviously there is a lack of media representation of those various disabilities.
I was even frustrated with my search results for, “normal.” I had to add words for more specificity since it was too broad of a term. So when I added, “man,” or “woman,” to the search, I found that the majority of top hits were semi-famous people who were described as being “just a normal man,” or “just a normal woman,” for whatever purpose it served. These results for “normal” people were frustrating because it showed photos of people that are digitally retouched and photoshopped – they are probably as far away from the societal norm as someone who is labeled as being disabled.
What does “normal” mean? “Normal” is defined as a way of “conforming to a standard,” or in the way of describing a person, it is someone who is, “free from physical or mental disorders.” (Oxford American Dictionaries) When someone says they are normal, when someone says their child is normal, I believe it is a label – a way to safeguard themselves, and their offspring against societal criticism and disparagement. While socially safeguarding themselves, I believe it also allows the “normal” speakers the opportunity to believe it for themselves, as illogical as it may be.
Definitions aside, I must recognize that as “politically correct” as terms can be, there is nothing “politically correct” about the way people with recognizable disabilities are treated by others. From my experience with the word, “disability,” doesn’t seem to be a word that a person would voluntarily use when describing him self. I think it’s more of a word used as a label by others, usually it is the “politically correct,” way to describe a person who has “a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities.” (Oxford American Dictionaries) I suppose that when a person does use the term, especially when parents use it when describing their child, that it is a form of acceptance of oneself, for one’s child, and it is a way to acknowledge a person’s problems while marking one’s individuality.

So, what do you think???

Read more about my thoughts Disability


Just a brief moment in the musings of my mind.

I was browsing through TV this morning, and happened upon "Home Delivery." The show is about these "life-changing" events that the show generously provides as their form of entertainment. This particular episode was about this woman who had immigrated to New York City from Russia. She was employed as a cab driver in NYC and had an American boyfriend. Now, I don't know who initiated her "Home Delivery," but I was upset with her makeover.

Her "before" picture was completely fine, she is a cutie, modest style and humble appearance. There is nothing wrong with that. Her "after" appearance seemed to be more focused on looking sexy and seductive. All of the men hooted and clapped their approval upon seeing her, which, in my opinion, is objectifying her.

The words" gorgeous," and "beautiful" were common upon response to her appearance. Which is awesome, don't get me wrong. But, what is this telling this young woman from Russia? Did it tell her that she is only beautiful when she is made up to look all sensual and sexy? Did it tell her that beauty only comes from the outside - from the way she looks?

What happened to uniqueness? Individuality? Originality? Personality? Inner beauty? Self esteem? Why is it that we must turn to America's media to be told how to assimilate into what is acceptable and considered beautiful?

I find it frustrating to know women are so oppressed and pressured by the media, consistently and subtly being forced to assimilate to what is considered "beautiful."

I think it's OK to do things for yourself to help you feel good about yourself, but if you don't have a knowledge of your own inner beauty and self esteem, then what good is fashion, makeup and fancy hair?

I don't know, I just feel really frustrated with this concept of bettering people's lives by making them look better...

What do you think?