This comes via Distriction (which I found via a Yahoo news story).
President Obama recently was greeted by deaf college student on a rope line with “I’m proud of you” in American Sign Language. The President responded in ASL, with a “thank you.” Check out the video:
Now it is up for debate as to whether or not the President understood the meaning of the young man’s signing, but the simple fact that he has taken the time to learn to at least minimally communicate with people different than him speaks volumes.
It turns out that the First Lady is also able to communicate in ASL:
The University of Iowa has declined to invite the University of North Dakota to a spring tack meet due to UND’s use of the Fighting Sioux mascot.
UI denies North Dakota invitation to meet by Emily Schettler from the Iowa City Press Citizen, Feb. 27, 2012
The University of Iowa has decided against inviting the University of North Dakota to compete in an upcoming track meet because of its use of the Fighting Sioux mascot.
UI policy prohibits the athletics department from scheduling competition with schools or attending tournaments hosted by schools using American Indian mascots unless those mascots have been approved by the NCAA and their respective American Indian tribes.
It makes me proud as an alumnus to see the University of Iowa stand up for sensitivity and respect. Words have meaning, strength, and consequences.
It is worth noting that there are limits to UI’s policy:
The University of Illinois, whose nickname Fighting Illini also has come under fire, is exempt from the UI policy as “a result of our contractual obligations within the Big Ten Conference.”
Competitions that UI has no control over scheduling, such as bowl games and NCAA or conference-sponsored competitions also are exempt, as are competitions with institutions that have NCAA approval for the use of American Indian mascots.
All in all, I find those to be fair exceptions to the policy given the reality of collegiate sports obligations.