want to set the record straight a little about why hearing people stare at those who sign. Don’t get me wrong… it’s still considered rude to stare at anyone no matter what the reason, and I’m not making excuses. I just don’t think that Deaf people always realize how much hearing people admire ASL.
I’ll admit it, before I learned better I was one of those people staring at signers, trying to look like I was minding my own buisness and doing a really bad job of it. As I looked at the signers, I always thought ‘what a beautiful language. I wish I could do that.’ Feelings of envy and longing washed through me as I watched others do something I thought I would never learn to do myself. I’m sure the look on my face wasn’t always so friendly, but inside I was filled with nothing but admiration. Every other hearing person I’ve talked to has told me that they feel the same, whether they plan to learn ASL or not.
My teacher said something the other day that made me think Deaf people didn’t always realize this. She implied that she always felt like people were judging her for not speaking, that ASL was somehow a taboo to hearing people. While I still think staring is rude and people shouldn’t be doing it, I also thought that deaf people should know that it isn’t usually judgement that you see on their faces, it’s usually envy. Hearing people think ASL is as beautiful as Deaf people think it is, we just get fewer chances to experience it.