Despite what society likes to teach people, sign language shouldn't just be linked to the deaf community and their loved ones. Not only is that assumption drenched in ableism, but it also ignores the value that sign language has in everyday life.
Throughout history, deaf individuals have faced many versions of discrimination. While denial of rights was common for the deaf community, St. Augustine and the general beliefs of the Dark and Middle Ages explained that being deaf was a result of being punished by God or being possessed by a demon.
This is partly the reason that sign language was taken out of schools. Despite sign language being taught in schools for some time, a resurgence of discrimination leads to a dismissal of these programs.
In recent years, the deaf community has been working against this discrimination, but the stigma around the community runs deep. This is why people fought so strongly against teaching American Sign Language in schools, but this isn't just hurt the deaf community. It is ignoring how much ASL offers to everyone.
The beauty of ASL is being able to use it in situations where you can't exactly talk. Imagine workers in high noise environments, like construction sites and factories, being able to talk without yelling. For situations where you have to be quiet, like libraries or performance events, you don't have to risk disrupting others in order to communicate with others. In situations where you can't talk, like after certain surgeries or while chewing, your hands are able to hold a conversation for you.
Everyone should learn sign language. It's a skill that is not only helpful in talking to deaf individuals but also helpful in everyday life. Having that skill could change the way that people communicate with each other in tough situations. Whether through school or through self-teaching, everyone should invest in ASL.