ERIC Number: ED381330
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Awareness of Deaf Sign Language and Gang Signs.
Smith, Cynthia; Morgan, Robert L.
There have been increasing incidents of innocent people who use American Sign Language (ASL) or another form of sign language being victimized by gang violence due to misinterpretation of ASL hand formations. ASL is familiar to learners with a variety of disabilities, particularly those in the deaf community. The problem is that gang members have invented their own hand shapes and signs that closely resemble ASL. This is a critical consideration when teaching students with disabilities sign language. These signs, which are essential for conversation, can be dangerous in some communities, including rural areas that have seen an increase in gang activity. Professionals in rural areas need to inform students on how to avoid conflict with gang members. First, students need to find out and then avoid gang colors, symbols, and styles of clothing. Secondly, students need to be aware of how to handle a dangerous situation in gang territory. For example, an individual may accidentally give a hand signal that offends a gang member. The individual needs to politely explain that sign language is how they communicate and that no offense was meant. Finally, one should avoid any interactions with gang members. An individual's behavior or attitude may be viewed as disrespectful if he or she refuses to complete a request by a gang member in authority. A table that compares examples of ASL terms and hand formations with gang signs and hand formation is attached. (LP)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reference Materials - Vocabularies/Classifications
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Reaching to the Future: Boldly Facing Challenges in Rural Communities. Conference Proceedings of the American Council on Rural Special Education (ACRES) (Las Vegas, Nevada, March 15-18, 1995); see RC 020 016.