The Milan convention in 1880 should be recognised as an act of damaging discrimination
In 1880 a group of educators met in Milan for the Second Congress of Deaf Mutes. This congress ended with the conclusion that only speech should be used to teach deaf children, an act of discriminations that has reverberated for deaf and non deaf people to this day and should be treated as such by wider society
You can also add to the debate by leaving your comment at the end of the page.
A damaging move made by the tyranny of the majority
In 1880 the congress of Milan decided that oralism or (only using speech and not sign language) was the only method that should be used to teach deaf children. It was an unrepresentative decision only two of the 150 teachers present at the conference were themselves deaf, hardly representative of the amount of people or an act of empowerment[[ "Deaf Info" http://www.deafinfo.org.uk/history/education.html%5D%5D. It was also a classic example of people automatically blaming disabled people's disabilities for societal problems such as the exclusion or isolation of a group of people in this case the isolation of the Deaf Community being down to the primacy of speech.
The move did not just apply to deaf people
The impact of Milan does not just apply to deaf people although it was non binding. By declaring speech having an "uncontestable superiority over signs" It has also caused problems for other disabilities where the best form of communication would be an alternative form of communication such as using computerised or note written communication. For example through putting speech as the measure of human communication it can be arguing to have inadvertently diverted people's time and energy from developing forms of communication that could help Deaf and non verbal people achieve and function effectively in society. [[http://www.milan1880.com/Historical/Milan1880congress.html]]
Convention undermined a culture and people who were developing positively
The Milan Convention is regarded by historians as something that undermined a community effectively regressing the deaf community from a standing that was close to normal in the early eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to an inferior status which still exists despite efforts to turn things around. Apparently there was historical evidence that deaf people worked as politicians, poets or as lawyers. Milan 1880 effectively put the brakes on that by making their language illegitimate.[[Nick Sturley "http://www.milan1880.com/Historical/pro-milan.html]]
Milan actually benefitted the Deaf Community
While Milan pushed the Deaf Community back on some areas it also generated a positive effect for the deaf community. For example deaf sports clubs and cultural institutions developed and people created drama and poetry for Deaf People. As a result a much stronger community has resulted from the past injustice.
Clarifying something that was already there
Milan wasn't a codification it was clarifying something that was already in existence an established belief and doctrine that speaking was the only form of expression worth having. The history goes right back to the ancient Greeks and pre history to show that speech was the established form of communication for all people .
What do you think?