Even quieter than the sound of one hand clapping

The Guardian reports that Manchester University’s students’ union has become the latest student body to vote to replace applause with “jazz hands” in an attempt to make events more accessible for people with disabilities. Quote.

At its first meeting of the academic year, the union voted to use British sign language clapping, which involves waving your hands in the air, instead of audible clapping, at events.

“This union notes that since 2015, the National Union of Students (NUS) has been using British sign language (BSL) clapping (or ‘jazz hands’), as loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, can pose an issue for students with disabilities such as anxiety or sensory issues,” the motion read.

The union resolved “to swap audible clapping out for BSL clapping at SU events in order to make them more accessible” and “to encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as part of inclusion training”.

In a statement, the union said that the vote did not constitute a ban on clapping and that BSL applause would be used at democratic events and not gigs, theatre productions or sport.

They said: “Inclusivity is one of the students’ union’s founding principles. We recognise that minority groups are underrepresented in political environments and we are working to address that. This policy is one way of doing so inside our union.

“We have already received many positive responses from disabled students (some of whom are deaf or autistic), who are pleased to feel more included in our democratic process. Some of them plan to attend upcoming democratic events at the SU for the first time, thanks to this policy.”

The NUS voted to start using BSL clapping in 2015. Speaking at the time, Nona Buckley-Irvine, the then general secretary of the London School of Economics students’ union, told the BBC: “Jazz hands are used throughout NUS in place of clapping as a way to show appreciation of someone’s point without interrupting or causing disturbance, as it can create anxiety.

“I’m relatively new to this and it did feel odd at first, but once you’ve used jazz hands a couple of times, it becomes a genuinely nice way to show solidarity with a point and it does add to creating a more inclusive atmosphere.” […] End of quote.

So deaf people who can’t hear the clapping but can clearly see people applauding, and would know what that meant, now feel more included because people are waving their hands in the air?

Using sign language ‘clapping’ is, apparently, more democratic.

How do blind members of the audience know the performance is finished if they cannot see everyone waving their hands about?

What about the students with Chirophobia?

Chirophobia is the fear of hands and a whole room full of people waving their jazz hands in the air is going to upset all the Chirophobic students.

Who is thinking about their democracy, their inclusivity and the safety of this minority group?

 


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WH is a pale, stale, male who does not believe all the doom and gloom climate nonsense so enjoys generating CO2 that the plants need to grow by driving his MG.

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