Mall Santas, It's Time To Learn ASL
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Hey Santa! Before You Disappoint Any More Kids, It's Time To Learn Sign Language

It's not that hard. Seriously.

Santa waving

Imagine this: you're six, waiting in line for ages just to see that big man with the fluffy white beard. Johnny said that he pulled it right off one year, but no one believed him—after all it's SANTA for crying out loud! No one can pull off Santa's beard! One hour, two hours, three... and finally, you're on his lap! His lips open and—

You cry. His lips are moving, but you can't understand him. Santa, someone who was supposed to fly all over the world in one night and know how to speak in all languages for all children, couldn't speak to you. You couldn't hear him, and he couldn't figure out a way to help you understand him.

Next year, you're traumatized. The next, too. And the next, and the next, and the next. Eventually, your parents have to explain that Santa isn't real just so you don't feel left out, like that big jolly man didn't love everyone in the world execpt for you. You're deaf, and Santa doesn't like deaf kids.

Now let's go back in time, maybe a week before you went to go see Santa. Santa went to a seven day class on how to say "Do you want a big present or a small present," "Are you excited," and "Act out [sign he doesn't know]." Santa wouldn't necessarily need to know the sign for "dinosaur," that little six-year-old child could simply tell Santa about the giant dinosaur they wanted by acting like a dinosaur. They would know that Santa liked them, and they would have a great time—just like every hearing child there.

Unlike most spoken foreign languages, American Sign Language (ASL) doesn't take years to figure out. After two years of German, I still can't say "I played a really fun video game when I was a child," but after two classes a week for 42 weeks, I can easily sign things like "I really need help with my math homework. I had to pick up my medication and the pharmacy closed during class, so I had to miss it."

21 classes and I could sign things like that. 21 classes and, while I'm still a slow signer, I can keep up in a conversation and gifure out how to sign words when I don't know the actual sign for it. I can act it out, look silly, look excited... and guess what? Mall Santas can do this, too. Seven days to save a child from the idea that Santa doesn't love them enough to learn their language.

This lack of support is just one of the many signs of audism in America, a lesser-known form of oppression that states that people are superior based on their ability to hear and prevents the adequate treatment of Deaf individuals. Most people are hearing, so why should we accomidate the Deaf? Why do basic doorbells that alert the Deaf to visitors cost a minimum of $30 while a more advanced one for the hearing can be found for as little as $13? Why do people stare when I sign in public, but not give me a second glance when I'm speaking? Why did the servers avoid us like the plague when I was at a Deaf event, but suddenly crowd around me when they found out that I was hearing?

We have treated the Deaf horribly over these past few decades. Institutionalization, being refused an interpretor after being arrested, being forced to speak when they can't hear what they're saying... It's time to stop. Let's start reforming the way we treat the Deaf by starting with their children and making sure that their holidays are as merry and bright as everyone else's.

So come on, mall Santas. Let's take seven days to learn some basic signs and make some children happy this Christmas.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments