nuance shows up in translation
June 8, 2020 12:35 PM   Subscribe

How do you sign ‘Black Lives Matter’ in ASL? For black deaf Angelenos, it’s complicated.
The phrase begins with four fingers cut across the brow, followed by two thumbs drawn up like breath from navel to chest, ending with a fierce tug with two hands down from the chin into fists toward the heart. Black. Life. Cherish. This is how Harold Foxx and many other black deaf Angelenos sign “Black Lives Matter,” though it is by no means a universal translation.
(LA Times link)

In the accompanying LA Times video An ASL interpreter's message: Black Lives Matter, translator Rorri Burton discusses some of the nuances of the use of certain signs by Black people and by non-Black people.
posted by Lexica (9 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I'm really glad that I have this information now, thank you so much for sharing it.
posted by bleep at 1:21 PM on June 8

Thank you for sharing this post. As a third grader in my Florida elementary school in the early 1970s, we learned basic ASL. I've retained a lot of what we learned, and I am grateful to have that knowledge.

However, I was today-years old when I learned about the nuances of using ASL, with respect to race. Ronni just taught me that. It made me cry, watching the video, because I realized that as woke as I thought I was, I still have so much farther to go.
posted by sundrop at 1:51 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]

Wow. Thank you for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:56 PM on June 8

That video is really compelling. Thank you for the post.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:06 PM on June 8

My child is about to transfer schools to get into an ASL major program. They said not only are there differences in races, and how they "ASL" but even between California, Oregon, and Washington, there are different dialects. Really interesting, though I suppose, not unexpected.
posted by Windopaene at 9:40 PM on June 8

i saw the video clip on twitter this morning, and learned the sign. thought it useful and good; but this article adds such depth to the matter, puts in into context - thanks so much for sharing.
posted by lapolla at 10:23 PM on June 8

I learned a different sign for "Black (race)" (from a Black ASL speaker) and now I wonder if this is personal or regional or BASL or what. Let me go dig up video since I'm not sure I'm remembering the signing...
posted by away for regrooving at 12:30 AM on June 9

Really appreciate this video, thanks, will show my family.
posted by away for regrooving at 12:33 AM on June 9

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