National Sorry Day

Image: “National Sorry Day” Sorry in Sign Language by butupa on Flickr.

National Sorry Day commemorates regret for the historical mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. It also symbolises the need for our nation to address the ongoing socio-economic disadvantage of our Indigenous population as a result of colonialism, including these facts:

  • Indigenous people have a life expectancy that is up to 11.5 lower than the national average
  • Indigenous people are six times as likely to die through homicide, with 65% of these deaths involving alcohol. This connection between homicide and alcohol rate is three times the national average
  • Indigenous people are 12 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault, and four times more likely to be hospitalised for alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders
  • Indigenous child mortality rates are up to three times higher relative to other kids, and Indigenous children are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital
  • Indigenous youth are 20 times more likely to be detained in custody
  • Indigenous students graduate high school at half the rate of other Australians.

Read references and more discussion on my blog.

Generational Changes to British Sign Language

A three year study has charted the changes to British Sign Language. Younger deaf people no longer use signs that are now considered culturally offensive, while older people continue to use these signs depending upon region, age and class. Some signs have been re-appropriated by minority groups, such as the “old” sign for gay. Just as spoken language is influenced by sociological factors and historical changes, so too is sign language.