DPN First Draft Many believe that discrimination against deaf individuals is not present, but they are unaware of the social injustice that the deaf face. The deaf population is shunned from society, and have trouble communicating their needs with hearing people. This is apparent in the workplace. While most employees are judged based on their skillset, deaf employees are judged by their ability to communicate with their coworkers. This communication barrier causes employers to reject deaf people, creating financial issues within deaf families.
While there have been previous organizations that attempted to assist deaf employees in the workplace, deaf individuals still did not receive assistance in social settings. Deaf President Now was an activist group consisting of deaf students from Gallaudet University who sought equality. Though some staff in Gallaudet University opposed students, Deaf President Now found positivity within the deaf community and impacted society’s view of the deaf with their successful protests that greatly reducing discrimination. The origin of Deaf President Now was forged with prejudice and discrimination.
First, according to Gallaudet University’s article, “The History Behind DPN: What Happened… ” prejudice and discrimination against deaf people continued, even after the establishment of the University in 1864 (3). Many individuals were uncomfortable with deaf people because they could not interact with them. Though Gallaudet University did not ease deaf discrimination then, it helps today’s society accept deaf individuals. Fortunately, according to Christensen B. John and Sharon N. Barnartt, the authors of the book Now! The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University, the National Association of the deaf and the National Fraternal Society of the deaf were other organizations that contributed to deaf preservation (16). Before the development of Gallaudet University, other organizations, like the ones previously mentioned, existed to relieve discrimination directed toward deaf people. Though there were other options, Gallaudet was most successful in preventing discrimination against deaf individuals. Meanwhile, nearing the end of President Merrill’s, a past president of Gallaudet University, term, “several [individuals] in the deaf community, including Dr.
Merrill himself, began promoting the idea of a deaf president for the University” (The History Behind DPN 4). Staff began to suggest that a deaf president should operate the school because he would connect with the students better. This idea shortly passed because individuals believed that deafness was a boundary of communication between the hearing staff. This is the issue that Deaf President Now wished to protest. Deaf President Now was forged from discrimination and prejudice. Deaf President Now provided strong and strict goals that they wanted to meet with their protests.
Initially, Deaf President Now set four demands: “[First], Elizabeth Zinser [,a nominee for president,] must resign and a deaf person [would be selected]. [Second], Jane Spilman must step down as chairperson of the Board of Trustees. [Next], deaf people must constitute a 51% of the majority of the board. [Finally], there would be no reprisals against any student or employee involved in the protest” (The History Behind DPN 1). The demands for Deaf President Now were instantiated to provide a clear goal for their protest and to those watching from outside of Gallaudet University.
They had four demands detailed through direct statements that they wished to have honored. Though these requirements were difficult to honor, the DPN protests convinced the University to comply. Later, according to R. G. Gentry, the author of “Why We Won at Gallaudet; Maybe You Have To Be Deaf To Understand Our Struggle”, Deaf President Now hopes to inspire deaf people everywhere to fight against discrimination (1). Not only does DPN strive to improve conditions at Gallaudet, they want to provide benefits outside the university. DPN had a wider mindset, fighting for not just Gallaudet, but also for the deaf community in general.
This is what made Deaf President Now successful; they reached out externally for support, rather than in just at Gallaudet. Deaf President Now provided strong and strict goals that they wanted to meet with their protests. Deaf President Now had many people who participated in the protests and presidency. Notably, according to Joye Mercer, the author of the article “An Unusual Reunion at Gallaudet–10 Years After Push for ‘Deaf President Now”, Dr. I. King Jordan was one of the three finalists for the Gallaudet presidency (1). Jordan volunteered for the place of president because he was qualified.
In fact, Jordan was more qualified than Elizabeth Zinser, due to his doctoral degree in 1970. In any case, by March 9th, “Ms. [Elizabeth] Zinser was in Washington, trying to help resolve the crisis” (2). Even as a heavily opposed president, Elizabeth Zinser attempted to resolve the DPN protests because the protests were against her. Deaf President Now was proving successful because she eventually stepped down before the school began to break apart. Deaf President Now had many people who participated in the protests and presidency. Deaf President Now had many individuals who supported their protest cause.
Above all, according to Nick Anderson, the author of the article “Deaf President Now, 25 Years Later”, Jordan, the eventual president, made a statement that he was supporting the student protests (2). Jordan was connecting with his peers to fight for their rights. The students were then more likely to vote for Jordan because he understood their needs. This was one of the main reasons he was president until 2008. Coexisting with other organizations, the PCD was an advocacy group who felt that the needs of deaf people were overlooked by hearing people and hearing administrations (The History Behind DPN 4).
The PCD helped deaf individuals receive jobs or promotions. They protected deaf interests at Gallaudet, but were not as successful in their efforts to merge deaf with hearing individuals in the workplace. Deaf President Now had many individuals who supported their protest cause. Deaf President Now and their participants encountered many struggles while taking part in the protests. At one point, one reporter stated that many people believed that if they did not fit into a specific mold, they do not belong in Gallaudet University. (Geyer 1). This a common misconception Gallaudet University, and it affects many students’ lives.
Individuals are hesitant to take part in societies that exist to assist their needs because others may be more dependant. Gallaudet attempted to remove this boundary by accepting hard of hearing and deaf students of any kind. In addition, according to Molly Sinclair, the author of the article “Gallaudet Euphoria Fades into Reality; 6 Months After Triumph, Obstacles Remain for Deaf”, The deaf world is struggling to progress in worldwide acceptance (1). Due to society’s resistance to change, deaf individuals continue to be accepted. People who are contrasting with their community stand out.
Their constant attention from other populations make them feel less important, and less self-confident. Previously, many deaf people were despised, and even feared in public areas (Sinclair 3). Individuals are avoided and even feared because of the lack of understanding between deaf and hearing people, resulting in a less connected bond between the two groups. Deafness is overcome with a new method of communication, which is not understood by the majority of society. Deaf President Now and their participants encountered many struggles while taking part in the protests. Deaf President Now was extremely successful with their protests.
Surprisingly, television reporters arrived on campus after finding students camping out and blocking traffic on Florida Avenue, one of the main streets (The History Behind 6). Deaf President Now protests were immense enough to attract the attention of bystanders. Their cause is being acknowledged by others outside of Gallaudet due to their efforts to fight for their cause. Afterwards, Deaf President Now posted “flyers, [which] likened the protest to a civil rights movement, drawing parallels between the deaf community and other minority groups” (The History Behind DPN 6).
The Deaf President Now group attempted to raise their needs to those of other groups, such as race equality. This method of external understandment made their protests more effective, meaningful, and successful. Furthermore, during the next few days “[after March 1st], a flurry of activity occurred. Students began camping out in tents on the lawn of the president’s home, the president of the Student Body Government, Greg Hlibok, wrote Zinser a letter asking her to withdraw her candidacy, and the NAD and the GUAA sent information out of their constituents about the successful rally” (The History Behind DPN 6).
After DPN’s efforts to succeed in their protest, Elizabeth Zinser finally resigned due to the severity of the protests. Though they reached their first goal, they will continue their protests until all of their demands are met. Deaf President Now was extremely successful with their protests. Deaf President Now heavily improved social attitudes for the deaf in the past. Before the protests, it was common for others to “look and say, ‘See, deaf people are not really ready” (Anderson 2). Before the Deaf President Now protests, deaf individuals were criticised for their lack of communication.
This lead them to be outcasted in society and have difficulty involving themselves with society. Unfortunately, many deaf people have experienced being turned down for a job or promotion because the communication barriers were too great, or other excuses (Gentry 1). Another issue for deaf individuals is the inability to truly succeed in work. They are not seriously considered for job applications on promotions because of the untrusting of promoters. Thankfully, the Deaf President Now protests allow people to have more academic and career choices than before, due to the widespread of Gallaudet University and their protests in 1988.
Deaf President Now heavily improved social attitudes for the deaf in the past. Deaf President Now was an activist group consisting of deaf students from Gallaudet University who sought deaf equality everywhere. Though this group was opposed by some staff within Gallaudet, Deaf President Now found positivity within the deaf community and impacted society’s view of the hard-ofhearing with their successful protests, greatly reducing deaf discrimination. Gallaudet provides a learning environment where deaf people will excel in classes and prepare themselves for jobs.
All of Deaf President Now’s demands were met successfully: mainly that Elizabeth Zinser willingly resigned her position as president of Gallaudet, deaf people made up more of the Board, and that any individuals that participated in the protest would not be punished. After many supporting votes from staff and students, Deaf President Now surpassed Gallaudet’s expectations. The protests were so successful that the Gallaudet campus was shut down temporarily. Global communication can help make successful progress towards common issues; even in today’s society.