Dear Rebuttal Readers
We are very proud of The Rebuttal. It has been going now for six years and published 223 articles in that time. In those six years The Rebuttal has received over a million hits and more than that in page views. It is not without influence.
On Tuesday we published what we considered to be a constructive and thought provoking look at the Kangan Auslan Saga. We suggested among other things that the crisis had provided an opportunity to review and revamp Auslan Instruction to bring it into the 21st century. We suggested also that the current course fee structures were precluding a number of mature age students who because of their accumulated life experience would make excellent interpreters. We suggested that the Kangan course may have become outdated and now is an excellent time to improve it. We suggested that the VicDeaf entrance into the saga provided an opportunity to fill a void for students wanting to study part-time and this may help in diversifying student intake. Finally we suggested there was scope to include technology into Auslan instruction to make its delivery more relevant and flexible. We considered these suggestions constructive.
This was based on discussions that the author, Gary Kerridge, has had with several interpreters and people over the last few weeks. These interpreters fear speaking out for fear of being victimised. Said one, “If I speak out there is a high chance that some people will muddy my name and it will be impossible for me to work ever again.” What the hell is going on here?
Just half an hour ago from writing this the author received a text message from an interpreter colleague that said in part, “ Can you name the learned interpreter, everyone thinks it’s me and I am getting emails and phone calls from angry people accusing me.” This sort of victimisation is disgraceful and very sad. And all because The Rebuttal raised a few issues that are being said quietly but not openly. These issues are not being raised publicly because people fear victimisation. What a sad community we are living in.
We ask that people re-read The Rebuttal. We believe it has provided some constructive suggestions to improve Auslan instruction. Comments to the article have been generally supportive and understanding. For the life of us we cannot understand why people are angry.
Let it be known that The Rebuttal sees victimisation as a form of bullying and views this very seriously. The Rebuttal is a forum where readers can rebut what the author has written and these rebuts will be published. If you disagree, just write in and say so and put forward an alternate argument. It is that simple.
Lay off the witch-hunt. We have an environment where people already fear speaking out. The Rebuttal will continue to raise issues of importance to the deaf and disability community. What we will not do is name people and have them slandered and victimised when all they have done is speak up because they care.
We have two words for the people who are doing the victimisation … GROW UP. Surely we are all more tolerant than this.