ASL Thoughts on Respect
September 10, 2019
Hello, I’m Adrean. This is a short video sharing my thoughts. I have been dwelling on the word “respect” for a while. The English term as fingerspelled is “to show respect.” I feel that there is an increase in social pressure to show certain forms of respect. This is happening especially in regards to the U.S. flag, the United States as an entity, the government, the president-elect, and so on. The pressure is disturbing. This is my experience, straight from my heart. I grew up as a deaf person. My family is hearing, and I was [partially] mainstreamed in public schools. I have experienced unhealthy, abusive relationships. The list goes on. My life experiences reveal a connection between “respect” and abuse. I have said things in the past that were rooted in serious concerns and once those things were said, violence erupted. It is sobering. Merely sharing concerns led to invalidation. What does “respect” mean then? Where is it? I looked in the dictionary to see what “respect” means. The answer was illuminating. It means “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Hmm. People today experience increasing marginalization. Their lives are affected so much they fear for it. Will they be killed in the streets? The fear and worry is troubling. How can anyone think that is trivial? How can marginalized people be in “deep admiration”? How can they show respect to a government that condones violence against them? It is concerning. State-sanctioned abuse, oppression, and crackdowns; Those things are emotionally-wrenching. I am not advocating sedition. I am advocating mercy and compassion. Empathy. Those who are not in governmental roles yet advocate forced respect through intimidation: Your actions are oppressive. You advocate marginalization of communities. Step back. I want you all to think about the true meaning of respect. What is it? How is it said? How do our interactions show respect? Are we meeting community needs in our thoughts and interactions? We know that there will be hard experiences in time to come. There will be struggles. I encourage you to disengage from oppressive actions. Take the time for reflection, to examine yourself: Your words, your language, your behaviors, your thoughts.