The Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Inc. (ALDA) supports the call for social justice and stands in solidarity with the African-American community in the effort to end the police brutality and racism permeating the collective consciousness in the United States. The recent events in Minneapolis and Louisville are just the latest in the long and sordid history of racism in this country. Enough is enough. America must change. We must value and respect all human life and human rights regardless of skin color.
This is not and should not be about politics. Rather, it is about systemic racism that has been part of this country since before the Civil War. Instances of police misconduct towards people of color have been with us for over a century and, unfortunately, have become the unwelcome sidekick of racism. Certainly, there is a clear line between peaceful protest on the one hand and wanton looting and violence on the other. Let’s not confuse the two.
One may ask: “What does this have to do with us as a late-deafened, deaf and hard-of-hearing organization?” Most people do not consider themselves to be racists any more than they consider themselves to be intolerant of deaf persons. But people still click their car doors when seeing a few black men standing on a street corner at a stop light. They still make assumptions about how educated blacks are the exception and probably got there by affirmative action, whereas most are stupid. By the same token, many view the deaf as lesser people. In either scenario, these viewpoints weave themselves into society. If we can change the way people think toward race, we can also change the way people think toward persons with disabilities. So, in the final analysis, there are parallels to be drawn that bring the two universes together. We need to make a better America. Let’s start now by ending racism in this country, our country. We must do this together—and we will.