A Challenge for DBC and AGB

This weekend -- June 27-29, 2008 -- will go down in history as the first time the Deaf Bilingual Coalition and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf hold simultaneous conferences right across the street from each other.

It's a great opportunity to build a bridge between the two. Especially for parents of deaf children who are looking for as much beneficial information as they can find.

That said, I'd like to issue a challenge to DBC and AGB.

Part of the challenge is, I'd like the two organizations to acknowledge that they do have some similar goals: A better life for deaf and hard of hearing children, and to empower parents with information.

I hate to be cynical. But the similarities, as we all know, kind of end right there.

There's still hope, of course. At a recent DBC rally there were some folks from AGB who joined the DBCers for some very productive dialogue. That's a nice first step.

The next step, obviously, is DBC hosting its own conference. There's a very powerful lineup of guest speakers and I greatly regret not being able to attend this year. It's truly history in the making and I'm optimistic that DBC will continue to grow and thrive. I'm definitely keeping an eye on what's going on (it's so great to have the blogosphere where updates are readily available).

Back to the challenge:

As many of you may already know, DBC is a mix of deaf people from various backgrounds. Yes, there is a veritable list of Who's Who in ASL supporting the DBC, such as Ella Mae Lentz, David Eberwein, and so on. I've learned so much from them and they, among others, have a lot to offer.

But there are also deaf people like John Egbert, deaf people who survived (or didn't survive so well) in the mainstream environment, who felt a strong need for a DBC to exist in the first place.

I'm one of those people. I'm a mainstream success. Sort of. Depends on how you define "success."

And with that in mind, let's get to the root of my challenge.

Below you'll find three links to articles I've written in the past. All of them are funny bits involving my alter ego, the one and only Super Phony.

This amusing superhero is not mine alone. Countless other deaf and hard of hearing kids out there have taken turns wearing the infamous Super Phony costume. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of skill. But we've done it. And it's time to stop.

These stories are funny on the surface but maybe not so funny at the core. And thus I would like to ask DBC, AGB, and parents of deaf and hard of hearing children to do two things.

One:

Read these articles:

Super Phony

Super Phony on Spring Break

The Return of Super Phony

Two: Identify the underlying issues behind this strange behavior. Find a way, collectively, to hang up Super Phony's cape for once and for all. There are still too many Super Phonies flying around out there. We've got to rein them in and encourage them to live authentic lives.

Can it be done?

We'll see.