I just got this in the weekly World Wide Words language newsletter I subscribe to.
As every deaf person knows, signing is not just a shorthand to aid comprehension, but a series of fully developed languages with their own grammars, dialects and slangs, and which evolve over time. In a development that echoes debate in the USA over the nature of some signs, it has been reported this week that Vee-TV, a programme for deaf people made by the British TV station Channel 4, has banned certain signs because they might be thought racist or homophobic. The Daily Telegraph said that: "The abandoned signs include 'Jewish', in which a hand mimes a hooked nose; the sign for 'gay', a flick of a limp wrist; and 'Chinese', in which the index fingertips pull the eyes into a slant. Another dropped sign is that for 'Indian', which is a finger pointing to an imaginary spot in the middle of a forehead." These signs have been replaced with others considered inoffensive. Some critics are said to feel that the ban is a form of discrimination against the culture of deaf people.
Any comments from the only expert on BSL I know--spacefall? I'd like to know what they've been replaced with.