Saturday, February 24, 2007

Discrimination on one of two qualified applicants!

In this vlog David discussed "discrimination" If two qualified candidates are finalist for an ASL instructor position. The ASL instructor position will favor one candidate who would it be?


Carl Schroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl Schroeder said...

We all do discriminate. A few years ago, I was approached by my instructional dean who was concerned by the lack of diversity in ASL program. All my part time instructors were either white or deaf. I was then asked to try to hire people of color or a hearing instructor. Was he discriminating? Yes!

Bug said...

Hearing person is not a member of Deaf Culture, correct? I prefer to have a Deaf instructor to teach ASL just like I want to have Native American teacher to teach if I want to learn Native American history. If it's okay for a hearing person to teach ASL, then I can teach Women's Studies even though I am not a female.

Anonymous said...

Are you that stupid?

drmzz said...

I would hire the third person, who is hard of hearing, just to play fair. ;)

Jay said...


and a CI person, and then a person with left eye blue, and so on.

It would be impossible to be perfect here. Always a challenge, and I would naturally pick a Deaf person with exact same qualifications because its not exact anymore. For the job, the Deaf has an advantage in this situation.

Anonymous said...

If the administrator wanted you to select one of the qualified applicants for that position, they shouldn't tell you that you discriminate against other person because they're at fault for wanting you to select one and they should leave it up to you. I bet that they would select a hearing applicant, therefore they're discriminating against the deaf applicant. Would you select the one who is a coda/koda?

Julie B.

Anonymous said...

Well, I clarified for myself the definition of the word discrimination: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

Therefore, since the two individuals have the same exact qualifications (is that even possible?) except for the fact that one has the Deaf experience (therefore not exactly the same), then the selection of the Deaf individual would be considered discrimination by your approach to the question (same, same). However, if the qualifications were slightly different in some small respect (one has the Deaf experience, therefore, they're really not equal, are they? Am I making sense?), then perhaps it would not be discrimination if the Deaf individual were selected upon some other basis. Just my thoughts.

BTW, I like the way you ask for ideas and thoughts. You are really building up the community by asking questions.

You know, I would love to do some research investigating the new explosion of vlogs and community cohesiveness and level of discourse and so on... Just my simmering ideas for now... Any takers or interested others? Let me know via this strand.


Anonymous said...

This leads me to wonder how many ASL instructors out there are deaf and how many are hearing. More deaf ASL instructors than hearing or vice versa? And how many of them are qualified?

I know of some hearing ASL instructors, like hearing teachers for the deaf, who rarely or never bothered to be part of the Deaf community in their private lives.
Does it strike odd that they're work as an ASL instructor.

Without true understanding of culture and language, which is through immersion, are they really qualified in spite of their job experiences on their job resume?

So, when measuring qualifications, did the person in charge of hiring includes the fact whether or not this applicant has a full immersion of the Deaf community and is still involved? Should this be one of qualification criteria?


mishkazena said...

I get the impression that the the majority of ASL instructors are hearing, for myriad of reasons. The leading reason for the severe shortage of qualified Deaf ASL instructors is the lack of formal education in ASL, then we have the occupational discrimination against deaf people. I hope some day there will be more deaf ASL instructors.

NavyBeagle said...

Is this a good time to think that maybe being an employer is a NOT a great idea? Sometimes, it burdens the employers to make the final decision. You have probably noticed that many big companies have the committee make the final decision to hire a particular employee, which prevents anyone of being suspected of independently having the power in the hiring process.

I truly understand your point; many places have pressures to determine how they hire the employees. They want to honor the ADA or whatever in order to obtain the support in different ways including the financial needs from the state or federal government.

Another point, if a non-Christian and a faithful Christian apply for a secretary job in the church, which one would get hired? Christian would be hired just because they have the similar interests and is already a member of the church. If you don’t want to discriminate, the non-Christian would be hired and ruin the church or maybe that person would become a Christian eventually. It does not work with the Howard University example because the Caucasian cannot become an African American.

Michele said...

Wow you presented an interesting dilemna. I would pick a person who is extremely skilled at teaching, regardless of whatever they are because not everyone can teach. A good teacher will make an ASL class very successful and will result in positive student outcome that they are able to understand and master ASL.

Of course, I would pick a deaf person first but I would see how well they can teach. Sometimes a hearing person will make a good ASL instructor because they can teach hearing students how they were able to learn ASL and understand it.

I am pretty sure that Howard University has white professors as well as people of color as I looked through their website and saw some faculty/staff pictures.

There is always a risk of favoring person over one another, that person may not take his/her job seriously, may not perform well, or anything like that. So we cannot be "deaf-blind", like "color-blind" when it comes in hiring people. We need to hire people based on their qualification, experience, skills, abilities and how they relate in an interview. Supposedly if you picked a deaf person to be an ASL instructor, that deaf person did not interact very well with the hearing students, did not know how to explain or teach ASL and students became frustrated. Or vice versa with hearing person. We need to keep this in mind when we hire someone to make sure that this person is extremely well-qualified and will do their job right.

Anonymous said...

So my question is :

Are we demanding that all ASL instructors be Deaf? No buts, ifs or what's. Is that a fair hiring practice?


Anonymous said...


Let us suppose that you are chair of the English Department at Gallaudet. Both a deaf applicant and a hearing applicant meet your job description. Which a deaf applicant or a hearing applicant would you select to teach English at Gallaudet?

Entirely based on your argument on your vlog, you would reject the deaf applicant!

Jean Boutcher

W.F.T. said...

Jean, for some deaf people, English, indeed, IS their first language. Signed, maybe, but English nevertheless. Interesting point, though!

Tom Krohn said...

Since the job opportunities for deaf people are very limited, it is rational to hire deaf applicant over hearing applicant as hearing applicant has more unlimited opportunities than the deaf applicant. Hence, if hearing applicant really care about deaf people, he/she should allow the deaf applicant to have the job to reduce the unemployment rate among deaf people and increase the standard of living for deaf people.
So if hearing applicant complain that he/she is bypassed over deaf applicant even though both of them are equal in qualification, then that hearing one is obviously an opportunist or an audist that doesn't care for the betterment of deaf people.
I agree that deaf applicant is more qualified than hearing applicant in term of equal qualification since ASL originally belongs to deaf people as ASL deaf teacher may be the first hand-on experience of hearing students who take ASL course.

Toby Welch said...


You brought a good issue. We faced it many times. For example, if a hearing and a Deaf applies a same job, Deaf is more qualified than hearing, then most common hearing is hired. Why? Maybe they don't know if Deaf can do job or not enough knowledge of ASL? Or any reason why they hire a hearing over Deaf. It is depend on where job is. I would prefer Deaf to be hired over hearing. But if a hearing has a very good knowledge on ASL than Deaf, some people would prefer hearing. There is so many issues we need to resolve. That is why my vlog about encourage Deaf people to take ASL classes, etc.

Anonymous said...


The best thing to do is ask the applicants to bring sample syllabus, materials and teach the class during the interview process with the Department chairman,or lead faculty, full time ASL faculty. Let them decide which applicant is the best qualified ASL instructor to teach.

Judge said...

It is not going to be real easy! I just questioned one situation and what would you choose??


Anonymous said...

i agree with navybeagle..
you chose the best qualified or the one who is the best match for your program..
you feel that this person has more to offer to your program.

end of discussion.

David said...

Hi David

Deaf instructor has an unlimited ASL experience. The Deaf instructor breathes, signs, sleeps, plays, laughs, watches, loves, cries, reads, eats, dreams and socializes ASL. That is a huge point for the Deaf Instructor while Hearing instructor almost have none of that. Deaf is the victim of employment discrimination and the society is responsibility in eliminating employment discrimination and barriers. If Deaf instructor is not being hired, then that is a pure and absolute discrimination. Nothing more, nothing less.

David Kerr
Ontario, Canada

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David A. Martin said...

Response to Phil

RLM said...

Your vlog definitely raise the hard question facing us on daily basis whether someone is truly qualified to be hired for this vacant postiton.

Let me play as a devil's advocate! If the chairperson of the ASL and Deaf Studies happens to be hearing at one of the higher education institution. He/she choose hir own hearing fellow to teach the ASL instructional course.

Is that really discrimination on the part of hearing chairperson of the ASL/Foreign Language Studies or what?

Most people intentionally hire someone based on similarity of their own personal background and experience whether he/she is deaf or hearing hirself.

Unforunately, too many hearing individuals end up hired as the ASL instructors over other qualified and trained deaf individuals across the country. Who is really in control of our precious language - American Sign Language.

The given situation with the Howard University. It would face the major employment discrimination suit without any good reason why the same university ought to hire their own fellow for this postiton. What about the urgency for exposure to the so-called diversity of life within the university.

Many deaf individuals surely do not know the linguistics of their own given language - ASL as compared to the hearing graduates at Gallaudet University . How true!

I personally urge the ASL department to hire more and more of deaf people to teach ASL over hearing people.

How can be likely for deaf people to be hired in the regular higher education institution without the ASL Department, ex. teaching other courses than ASL.

Good to see you on your vlog! I really did not realize that you married this elegantly beautiful lady. Excuse me for saying - 'She is surely hot". Don't worry about me and your wife. I am gay myself. :)

Class of '89ers,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)

Anonymous said...


It is an ethical question to play with. Based on experiences and knowledge of deafness, I would go for a deaf person to hire to teach ASL courses. This is the way students can get authentic interactive experience with deaf instructor who teaches. I believe that a deaf person who can teach ASL to students can share his/her profound experience pertaining to deafness. That is a given knowledge that no hearing person can share.

To response to RLM, leave the comment about the wife of David, it is unnecessary to comment how beautiful or hot she is. I congratulate David and his wife for having children to bring into the wonderful world where they can be appreciated. They deserve this.


RLM said...

SLW (Slemo Wargin?),

I am not much on political correctness what I would make comment on someone else. At least, people would know what I really think, not pretend to be someone else.

I do somewhat agree with you how inapporiate to say someone's wife really hot. I must admit my own personal flaw for saying some stupid things.

At least, I stand by my comment like saying "eloquently beautiful" to David's wife which she is really. Ladies would appreciate such compliment(s) while they are married to someone.

I usually comment on ladies whose I personally do not know them like their clothes or hairdos. Ladies always say "thank you very much. I truly appreciate it very much". Those comments would be seen as sexual harrasment.

People nowaday are pretty scared of expressing things which they really think.

I put up with a lot of people saying or doing such inapporiate things to me. One lady did carasses my thigh at the time. I keep my cool and gently remind her please do not frolick upon me.

I never intentionally seen David's wife as some kind of sex object. Deborah is really a beautiful human being which her personality surely glow off on many people with warmth and sponatetity.

I guess that I am more visually-oriented and European myself than you and some deaf Americans. I am a native-born American. I feel much comfortable with deaf Europeans where they could express themselves more freely than emotionally restrained Americans.

Same thing with the hearing people's misconception of deaf people behave inapporiately.

Let's go back to David's subject on the discrimination of ASL instructor hiring issue.

Robert L. Mason (RLM)

SDA said...

Hello David,
I have read your comments and viewed the Judge's response and your response as well.
I would like to respond to the 'hyopthetical' situation (I know this kind of situation did take place many times, though)
From my graduate studies in Teaching ASL, I have come to understand that from linguistic point of view, non-native/ hearing people can actually teach ASL because any true language can be learned and taught. If we are to declare that hearing cannot teach ASL, we are shooting ourselves in the foot, saying that ASL is not a language after all. We don't want that.
However, from a political-social point of view, the hearing shouldn't be teaching ASL. They should clearly understand that we, the Deaf, have experienced oppression and discrimination on a daily basis. The hearing ASL teachers need to know their place in the Deaf-World and remove themselves as the 'obstacles'. They need to switch their role from a "gatekepper" to an "ally."
One last thing, I need to be honest here. I became a little uncomfortable with some comments regarding comparing the blacks and whites, justifying our thinking based on their backgrounds. I strongly feel that it is not our place, as white people, to decide what would seem appropriate should it is a black vs. white thing. We should try to avoid becoming "interpreters" of other races or cultures.Thank you. :-)

David A. Martin said...

Point well taken! I viewed my video again. I never said hearing cannot teach ASL in fact in my other vlog I mention that 80% of ASL teachers are hearing. In this vlog I raised a hypothetical situation where it boils down to 2 qualified candidates. Who would you choose? Seems to me you undrstand that. Yes we DO NEED hearing people as our ally but they need to learn how to be an ally and at the same time we Deafies need to learn to be sensitive to hearing culture. I believe about 10 years back Dr. Judy Coryell and Dr. Tom Holcomb did workshops on understanding the 2 different cultures.

Anonymous said...

Tom Holcomb has an awesome DVD out about Deaf and Hearing Cultures. I used with my deaf students and they enjoyed it. I've never used it with hearing students. Check it out. Pricey, but worth it!


Anonymous said...

It is all about political incorrect and always will for ages. Discrimination will always fall on either side should one feel priviledge was injustice. The best solution is what you feel is right no matter how complication situation may be. Follow your instinct and you will do right by it.

I am a Deaf ASL Instrutor at a Hearing college and I believed that my answer in the interview, apply to everyting whether discrimination or not, when I was posed with this question, "Tell us why we should hire you?"

I pondered this question carefully before answering this, "It is all depend on how you want your school to reflect, your interpreting students or even for anybody who want to learn sign language for leisure purpose. If you make a right choice then the students will benefit that for ages." I made a eye contact with all of 3 interviewers with this question, "Who would you be interested to learn ASL from, given all inteviews you had or will have. If you did what I just ask then all three of you will know who is the best canidiate."

I was hired the next day and enjoy teaching to aspiring interpreting students since then and our interpreting program has grown into a succesful program. If three of the interviewers did not follow their instincts, who know what will happen to our program presently?

It is all about instinct and nothing can go wrong!

Anonymous said...

ASL teachers are foreign language teachers. Look at how foreign language teachers are hired. Often the native speaker would be preferred over the non-native speaker with all qualifications being equal. In my dept, out of 9 foreign language teachers, 6 are considered native speakers. Perhaps there's research from the foreign language field to support it?

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