Thursday, April 23, 2009

ASL to the Curbside by the U.S. Census 2010

Ricky Taylor's coined term of "putting the ASL to the curbside" always leave me immerse with hearing audists treating our beloved language in that manner. I like his creative way of pointing out such audistic way how the hearing people treat our ASL.

The U.S. Census 2010 team are actively looking for the tabulation of foreign languages being used in the United States for past 10 years. They also hire temporary U.S. citizens with their native foreign language usage to reach out to the linguistic minorities in the United States.

After checking out the U.S. Census 2010 website within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NO

Noticeably, many deaf foreigners living in the United States seems have the ability to read and write English pretty much as compared to hearing foreign individuals.

Should we demand that the American Sign Language and regional sign language users to be counted in the U.S. Census 2010 or what?

Here is the newspaper article from Fort Lauderdale's "Sun Sentinel" newspaper (FL) -

When it comes to the U.S. Census, language counts
U.S. officials seek foreign -language speakers to make sure no group of people is left out
By Georgia East South Florida Sun-Sentinel
April 23, 2009
Urdu anyone?How about Hindi, Vietnamese or Q'anjob'al?With Census 2010 about a year away, the U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting employees with hard-to-find language skills to canvass South Florida communities and build relationships."This is the first time we're making such a concerted effort to hire people with these skills," said Pam Page Bellis, a census spokeswoman for Florida.
Related links
U.S. Census Bureau wants to get the word out
Florida population: More people leave than move in from other states
U.S. Census Bureau begins Florida's 2010 count
Answers to your 2010 Census questions
Census officials want to make sure no one is left out of the count, and they know that newcomers may be more comfortable speaking their native languages. They used census data and information from community leaders to determine which languages were most needed."With the influx of various minorities, we're realizing there are populations that are linguistically isolated," Bellis said.The number of foreign-language speakers in this region has jumped by about 7 percent since 2000, according to census data. Among Broward County Click here for restaurant inspection reports's roughly 1.7 million residents over age 5, about 35 percent speak a language other than English at home, compared with 26 percent statewide. In Palm Beach County, about 26 percent of the 1.2 million residents over age 5 speak a language other than English at home.That's not just Spanish, Haitian Creole or Portuguese. South Florida is becoming home to an increasingly diverse population, including Iranians, Iraqis, Vietnamese, Chinese and others."The issue of reaching the minority community is one of our highest goals because, traditionally, minorities are the ones who are not counted," said Scott Medvin, with Broward County's Census 2010 Complete Count Committee.Altaf Ali, of Pembroke Pines, said he wasn't surprised to learn the Census Bureau was looking for employees who speak Urdu, the language of Pakistan."The growth in the Indo-Pakistani and Arabic community in South Florida is evident in the Islamic centers that are popping up here and there," said Ali, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.As of 2007, census estimates showed about 5,000 households in Palm Beach and Broward counties where Urdu was spoken, nearly double from 2000.The number of Guatemalan and Mexican Mayans is growing, too, especially in Palm Beach County. The most recent figures show Guatemalans in the county have tripled in the last decade to about 20,000 from 6,000. And advocates say the 20,000 figure is low."I've seen the growth," said Jill Hanson, president of El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center in Jupiter.Within certain minority groups, subgroups also move here, bringing a variety of languages and customs.In the Mayan community, for instance, there are more than 23 dialects. Vietnamese dialects can differ widely, too."It would be physically impossible to have someone who speaks every dialect on staff," Bellis said. "Our partners and the organizations that reach out to the communities can help."The Census 2010 questionnaire, to be mailed next March, will be available in only five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Russian.Some have raised issues in the past about the census form not being published in Haitian Creole, with so many Haitians here. But Bellis said those decisions are made based on large populations that report they can't read or write English.The census also is looking for people who can work with the Caribbean community and Spanish, Haitian Creole and Portuguese speakers.Quan Cao, of Boca Raton, a liaison to the state's Vietnamese Community Association, said the face-to-face contact with a census worker of similar ancestry will be vital in some immigrant communities."Even though English is crucial, the ability to ask these questions in a native language is important," said Cao, who said immigrants can be wary of government workers asking them personal questions. "First you have to help people overcome the fear."Georgia East can be reached at or 954-356-4629.


ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)

No comments:

Post a Comment