Demanding Free Labor of Academics

A tidbit from Twitter. On July 20, Jon Henner tweeted about the RID’s response to the NAD. Their response said that Anna Witter Merithew was not acting in the capacity of RID when she testified as an expert witness on deaf people’s civil and linguistic rights.

Henner disagreed and offered this powerful perspective: “RID depends heavily on the volunteer work of the deaf community. Which is sad because most interpreters expect to be paid for their expertise. I’m working very hard to be recognized as someone who knows something about assessing signed languages. In fact I’ve published a bit on the topic, and I have a few more things coming out this year. AWM contacted me to see if I’d volunteer to help them develop the new NIC certification exam. I asked for pay, mindful of how much free labor deaf people are expected to give. AWM gave me a lengthily email admonished me for asking for pay and reminding me about how much RID depends on volunteer labor. And she was doing that while getting paid to dismantle the rights of deaf people. Fucking hypocracy. That’s why RID’s defense rings hollow. AWM wasn’t volunteering her time to the defense lawyers. And I’m damned sure she never volunteered an equal amount of time that she expected deaf experts, who clawed to their position and knowledge in spite of hegemony, to give.”

Mic drop.




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