If you look at the concept of signed languages as a basis for equality we see ttheWFD resolution in 1991, the EUD with EU parliament resolutions in 1988 and 1998. But all the resolutions are not defining what equality means for Deaf people.
There is a global desire among Deaf people for equality, and the way to achieve this seems to be through the recognition of sign language.
The general critique is:
- Are they sufficient to advance equality?
- Equality remains exclusive though collective sense of pride / confidence occurred
- Legally, SL users are not better than in previous situations
- Education wise, SL user rights are still expendable.
- Socio economic status appears to be lower than hearing people, although there are individual successes
Even though SL is legally recognised the Deaf community is not receiving equality. So SL recognition is not the only way to get equality.
The presenter then gives an overview of the different acacemic critiques given by various academics from different nationalities. The academic critiques elaborate why sign language recognition does not support the equality rights of deaf people.
One can see that the legally recognised sign languages are often excluded from language policies at an operational level and are often administered under the framework of disability policy. Deaf people seem to accept this for pragmatic reasons, considering it at least as one step forward.
The presenter then proceeds to propose an equality framework of three levels: equality of condition, liberal egalitarianism and basic equality.
- Basic equality: basic respect
- Liberal egalitarians: universal citizenship, toleration of differences, public / private distinctions
- Equality of condition: Universal citizenship, celebration / acceptance of diversity, redefined public/private distinctions, critical dialogue
The presenter then gives an overview of the equality framework linked to the status of sign languages.
We must have a debate on the equality of condition and less on the recognition of sign languages.
This lecture is dedicated to the memory of late Laura Sadlier (RIP)