Leave Jane Fernandes Alone?

Even though IKJ has encouraged us to put down our “weapons of words” and begin healing, articles from the AP continue to roll in every day stating that the protestors ousted JKF because she’s not “deaf enough.”It’s kind of hard to say, “no, that had nothing to do with it,” yet at the same time not give alternative reasons for why she was ousted. If we lived in a world where the Press had gotten this right in the first place, I’d immediately say, “yes, leave JKF alone now.” But we don’t live in that world, and we have a right to defend ourselves (not just as protestors, but as a people) and continue to tell our side of the story. That’s the only way we’re ever going to start undoing the enormous damage to Deaf Culture caused by Gallaudet’s PR Department.

And the following message is for that very same PR Department:

Don’t tell me ”we didn’t spin anything… we pushed it.” There’s no difference. You seized upon something that wasn’t the major issue and you turned it into one of the major issues so that you could distract and detract from what actually were the major issues. If you were an outside PR firm I wouldn’t be surprised, but you aren’t–you’re Gallaudet’s PR firm, and to that extent, you are supposed to be for deaf people too, and not just for administration.   Maybe it doesn’t say that in the accursed A and O Manual… maybe it doesn’t say that in your job descriptions, but I offer you the same argument that I’ve often given to Deaf Ed teachers whom I’ve thought over the years were not making the grade: you can go anywhere. You could become PR reps for Big Tobacco (and I dare say you’d do a damned fine job) or something like that. But if you’re here, then you’re first love should be for deaf people, and not Administration.!

If you’re here solely to push the official positions of the Administration, and that Administration is at odds with what the people want, then you’re the enemy. Don’t expect them to trust you now, or work to defend you or keep you around. And from now on, every time that you write “Mecca” in yet another one of your fake PR creations, you remember that it was you who destroyed the Mecca in the first place. Because a lot of people here honestly had no problem with JKF being “deaf enough,” but you screwed us all over, possibly for the rest of our lives. What am I going to do now, if I go out looking for a job and my potential future employer says “Oh, I’ve heard of you, you’re one of those Deaf Culture militant nuts.” Thank you very much–you just cost me the job that could’ve been mine. And God forbid someday we’ll all have to stand up and protest genetic engineering before it wipes us out… you just dangerously weakened our ability to do that, because once again, the press, and through them the public, will perceive us as a lunatic militant fringe group.

Should that ever happen, so far as I’m concerned, it’s on your shoulders.

Enjoy your career.


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