Oaxaca Mexico now has a contingent of [d]eaf police officers, to monitor the non-audio equipped surveillance cameras that watch goings on in parking lots, markets and on streets. The belief being that these natural lipreaders will be able to observe conversations and other indications of criminal activity.
Known as Angels of Silence the city of Oaxaca has hired them based on their heightened vision and ability to read lips.
Well, I’m certainly glad that these people are getting work, but I think the city’s in for a rude awakening when they discover that Deaf do not have heightened visual acuity, nor are they born lipreaders. And even if they were, lipreading isn’t magic. Even the best lipreader isn’t going to be able to discern a conversation from a surveillance camera – on a darkened street during the wee hours. It’s not like most criminals plan their nefarious activities at high noon.
Marsha Graham from AnotherBoomerBlog is an exceptional lipreader. And yet, when I talk with her, I need to be looking straight at her, and I can’t be doing all the things Hearies do, like smoke cigars, chew gum, drink coffee, eat, pick our noses… etc. I doubt the Oaxaca criminal population will be looking – clean shaven and empty mouthed – directly at these cameras.
Our contributor, Dr. Jean F. Andrews had this to say.
The lipreading ability is exaggerated. And to give press to this hurts the deaf community in the criminal justice system. I just came off a case where police and detectives assumed the deaf woman was lipreading as they read her Miranda rights, and did not provide her with an interpreter. So, it promulgates the myth that deaf are expert lipreaders. The prosecutor in the case even swayed the judge on this issue.
If you’d like to read more on this, go to
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
- Lipreading: What It Is, What It Isn’t (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- What does placing your signature on the Miranda Waiver Really Mean? (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Lipreading Mom’s Show Me Your Ears Campaign (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- What I Learned from a (Deaf) Baseball Player – From Lipreading Mom (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- 15 Tips When Communicating with a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Person (lipreadingmom.com)
- For the First Time in 15 Years, I Can Hear Voices in the Car (lipreadingmom.com)
- Angela McCaskill Speaks Out (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Why Can’t This Young Boy Sign His Name at School? (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Show Me Your Ears! – Lipreading Mom’s New Campaign (lipreadingmom.com)
- Individuals with Disabilities and the Issue of False Confessions (deafinprison.wordpress.com)