Ryan Moriarty - Stop profiteering off the Deaf!
This petition made change with 603 supporters!
UPDATED 12/12/2013 - MOST OF RYAN'S WEBSITES HAVE BEEN REMOVED! (See below for list.) KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
A petition directed towards Ryan Moriarty and Curious.com:
Since the beginning of time Deaf individuals have been oppressed and discriminated against.
Aristotle boldly stated that, "Those who are born deaf all become senseless and incapable of reason." During the Holocaust, tens of thousands of Deaf were exterminated and/or sterilized. Even Alexander Graham Bell attempted to have sign language banned from the United States and tried to get legislatures to pass laws prohibiting the Deaf from getting married and having children.
It wasn't until the 1960's that people even began to start considering that American Sign Language (ASL) is a real language with its own grammatical features and syntax. Many educational institutions continue to resist giving ASL the respect that it deserves because they believe that ASL is a "lesser" language, or not really a language at all, but rather a system of gestures and miming.
Today the Deaf continue to struggle with discrimination and lack of respect towards their culture and community and towards their language. Audism (the view that being able to speak and act like a hearing person is superior to signing) is a widespread view that the Deaf constantly struggle against.
Thus, when individuals such as Ryan, who know nothing about ASL and the culture/community that uses it, create videos pretending to teach sign language, that continues to make it challenging for ASL to get the respect that it deserves as a rich, unique, and COMPLEX language that is every bit the equal of any spoken language. Incidentally, research has suggested that ASL is as challenging as Chinese to master.
Ryan actively creates videos spreading misinformation about how to accurately use ASL. His signs are incorrect and the sentences that he demonstrates do not use ASL grammatical structure at all - which reinforces the fact that he knows nothing about ASL. An example - The sign that Ryan uses for "HELLO" is actually the sign for "DON'T-KNOW." The irony of that would be extremely funny if it wasn't incredibly sad that hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting individuals have learned these signs incorrectly from Ryan.
Ryan admits that he is "self-taught." He learned signs (and no grammar) simply by looking them up in a book and by looking at online signing dictionaries. While he admits he is not fluent in sign language, he does insist that he is simply helping others to get their foot in the door. It is disturbing that Ryan feels he is a self-proclaimed ambassador between the hearing and Deaf worlds simply because he knows a few (inaccurate) signs.
But, delusions of grandeur aside, the truth is simply this - Ryan has recognized that there is a large audience out there that is beginning to develop a fascination for learning ASL. Ryan is profiteering off that interest by creating a conglomerate of websites and accounts specifically to promote himself and his videos for profit. To date, Ryan has earned THOUSANDS of dollars from his conglomerate.
This is a call for Ryan to stop. We, the undersigned, are demanding that Ryan give ASL and the Deaf the respect they deserve and to stop taking advantage of them for his own personal financial profit. This is also a call for others who are like Ryan to understand that the Deaf is very much a minority culture that deals with constant discrimination and oppression because of the actions of those who downplay the Deaf and their language for their own personal gain.
This is also a call for Curious.com to delete Ryan's account and to develop an increased awareness, understanding, and sensitivity in realizing that by being a platform for individuals such as Ryan, they are equally responsible for the ongoing discrimination and opression that the Deaf deal with.
As a whole, the Deaf community welcomes those who are interested in learning ASL and in developing positive relationship with the Deaf. We applaud the growing fascination for learning sign language and would encourage individuals interested in learning to seek out accurate sign language models to learn from. ASL is a beautiful language and we desire that those who learn it are accurately exposed to the language so that they can learn its true beauty and how to express themselves correctly with ASL.
The Deaf community would also encourage internet companies to please vet their sources before providing a platform to inaccurate sources looking to profiteer off the Deaf. Make the effort to look into their background and verify their credentials.
The undersigned appreciate your support and sensitivity towards helping a minority culture to get the respect it deserves and to have their language and Deaf individuals to be treated as equals to the hearing world.
Below is a video link for - An open video to Ryan Moriarty. Re: "Sign Langauge 101"
Ryan's known websites so far:
Https://curious.com/signlanguage101 (still open)
http://www.youtube.com/user/SignLanguage101 (marked private)
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