Reproducing Whiteness in Sign Language Interpreter Education: A Critical Examination of Curriculum
Moutinho, Shannon Marie
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This study examines how sign language interpreter curriculum functions to reinforce and reproduce white dominance in the field of sign language interpreting. At more than 90% Caucasians since the field’s inception, sign language interpreters are not equitably representative of the diverse client voices they serve. This study uses a methodological framework devised from combining Critical White Studies and Inclusive Deaf Studies and utilizes qualitative content analysis methods to systematically review 28 syllabi that comprise the curriculum of an accredited bachelor's degree program in sign language interpreting. Results suggest that: a) interpreter education narrowly conceptualizes “diversity” as a Deaf versus hearing binary as opposed to intersectional diversity of race, class, gender, disability, or sexuality; b) education on multiculturalism is insufficient and conducted through one self-contained class but is not embedded throughout the curriculum; and c) educators lack the cultural or instructional competence to facilitate learning on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is my hope that this work will inform educators on trends in interpreter education that must change if we desire to grow a more intersectionally diverse body of interpreters.
SubjectInclusive Deaf Studies, Sign Language Interpreting, Whiteness