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Tweet Explained: Why not to buy manual alphabet cards from peddlers
General Interest | Tuesday, May 13, 2014
We are constantly posting tips, facts, and learning resources related to sign language and Deaf culture on our Twitter @SigningSavvy. Occasionally we get questions about our tweets and explain them further with a followup article, like this one.
Peddlers who pass out cards with the manual alphabet like to frequent high traffic places like airports and coffee shops and cafes in big cities. Peddlers appear to be uneducated, unskilled and unemployable — a victim of society. In truth, some of these peddlers are very clever. By preying on gullible hearing people, a successful peddler can earn quite a bit!
The majority of Deaf people are hard-working taxpayers who bitterly resent the stereotype that these peddlers perpetuate. For years Deaf people have spent time and energy educating the public and trying to undo negative, demeaning perceptions of the Deaf. Most damaging is the fear that strikes the heart of a mother or father whose child has just been diagnosed as deaf and thinks “Is my daughter or son going to become one of t-h-e-m?”
There is a big difference between buying something from a peddler on a sidewalk and being psychologically pressured into “paying any price you wish” or for an ABC card by someone who comes up to you in a public place. ABC cards aren’t a legitimate product. They’re a gimmick. Selling them is a con game. Kind hearted hearing people who really want to learn the manual alphabet to communicate with Deaf people shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for it. If you truly want to “help deaf people” there are many good ways to do it:
- Buy a ticket to a Deaf theater performance.
- Contribute to a Deaf school fundraiser.
- Buy books by Deaf authors.
- Buy art by Deaf artists.
Sadly, many of these “deaf” peddlers aren’t even deaf. They’re hearing people faking deafness. As proven time and time again when a person approaches them and asks in fluent American Sign Language (ASL), “Why are you doing this?” Watch them make a quick escape!
Have you been approached to purchase a manual alphabet card before? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.
Sources and Related Books:
Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America
By Jack R. Gannon
For Hearing People Only: Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions about the Deaf Community, Its Culture, and the “Deaf Reality”
By Matthew S. Moore and Linda Levitan