Monday, March 17, 2003


If Christy Smith, the first disabled competitor on Survivor, thinks she's facing adversity in the Brazilian jungle, wait till she gets back home and faces some of her deaf fans.

As the newest and most visible deaf celebrity on TV, Smith, 24, has become a magnet not only for praise, but also scathing criticism. On one hand, the deaf community is proud of the Colorado native who is a graduate of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the world's only liberal-arts college for the deaf.

But on the other, many deaf people are angry that she is not openly displaying more pride in deaf culture. They want her to use sign language when she speaks, and to teach other members of her all-female tribe how to sign. They are particularly critical of her choosing to read lips and speak instead of insisting on a sign-language interpreter during the Darwinian game show. Those choices are particularly insulting to strong proponents of deaf culture.
More here. Thanks to Orrin Judd for the tipoff.

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