Did you know Andy Mineo’s sister is deaf? Most would expect him to know sign language (how else would he communicate with her?), but he didn’t learn until recently.
“About 3 years ago, I was at my nephew’s graduation sitting at a picnic table, and a group of Deaf people came over and started speaking to me in American Sign Language (ASL). Awkwardly, I tried to respond with them by mouthing, “I’M SORRY! I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I DON’T KNOW SIGN LANGUAGE.” They all looked at me with a bit of confusion. My sister, Grace, who is Deaf, came over and used ASL to explain to the group that I didn’t understand their language. I knew what they were thinking: “You have a deaf sister, and you don’t know ASL?”
As they continued using ASL with each other, I sat there, utterly alienated from the animated conversation around me. I had no clue what they were saying, and I wondered, “Are they talking about me? Are they saying nice things? Mean things? Are they making fun of me? I want to know! I feel so left out!” At that very moment and for the first time in my life, I felt to a small degree what it was like to be my sister – to be a deaf person in a hearing world. I felt what it was like to be the minority. To be left out of the conversation. To try and catch even a word here or there. How lonely! How isolating! How frustrating!”
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