Linguicism: prejudice against sign language

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, a renowned Danish linguist and activist in language rights against linguistic genocide in education, coined the term linguicism which defines as, in concise, a form of prejudice based on language.

Wikipedia defines linguicism as "a form of prejudice, an "-ism" along the lines of racism, ageism or sexism [or audism]. Broadly defined, it involves an individual making judgments about one's wealth, education, social status, character, and/or other traits based on choice and use of language."

Prejudice against sign language is as highly prevalent as audism. These scenarios are a few of numerous examples of linguicism.

Scenario: "ASL exists as a communication option for deaf children. However, it is just one such option and its use is declining" -- AG Bell, 2016

This not only exhibits deep-rooted audism, but also is a form of linguicism. This information is misleading and it gives a typical propaganda, reinforcing hearing ignorance and audism.

ASL is not an option nor a tool. It's not an alternative. It's a language. It's every person's birthright. The attempt to decline a language of the people is genocidal. Depriving a child, especially a deaf child, of their language violates a human right.

Scenario: At a clinic for my toddler's immunization at 18 months, the nurse asked me a series of questions on developmental milestones. As she came across a checklist on language development, a few lines of conversation revealed that her perception was that American Sign Language wasn't counted, despite the toddler's advanced language acquisition. But, she accepted the count of a few English words (as my kid's second language).

Years forward in kindergarten, my kid speaks both languages, ASL and English, natively.

Scenarios: there are variants of a scenario in which a deaf child tells an intricate story in ASL with rich grammar and vocabulary in front of hearing and hard of hearing students. At the end of his/her story, the class lightly applauded. Next, a deaf kid speaks a few words in English or tells a very simple story and the class cheerfully applauds.

Related topics: audism, ethnocentrism.