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St. Jude Radiothon 2024

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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.

He writes,

“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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