Different Countries’ Treatment of Their Deaf Citizens

Originally written July 31, 2012:

How many of you actually know that Miss Deaf America was performing the National Anthem during the Super Bowl? It was aired live, but the part with Miss Deaf America was cut from the broadcast, and can only be found on YouTube, taken by someone who filmed it at the game. This is how the US treats their deaf citizens: like they are diseased, or a dirty secret that must be hidden. Any TV shows prominently featuring deaf people have to be heavily advertised and have a large following on cable to be taken seriously. How many of you know there’s a show featuring deaf actors on ABC Family called “Switched at Birth?” If you would like to see it, it’s available on Hulu and Netflix, with captions.

Contrast this with the UK: During the Olympic Opening Ceremony, deaf kids were featured, performing a song in BSL, and a deaf drummer performed. Obviously, in the UK, deaf people aren’t a dirty, dark secret to be hidden.

Quite frankly, it angers me as a deaf US citizen, to see such a contrast. The US considers itself to be the best country in the world, yet racism runs rampant through our society. Our citizens here work against our President because he’s black, but no one will say that openly. Oh, wait, did I just say that? I’m probably going to be persecuted and to be crucified now. No one cares what he has done or tried to do, because he’s black.

How about our ignorant citizens here? They see a deaf person and freak out. They think we’re contagious. They don’t know how to communicate with us. They ask stupid questions like, “Can you drive?” How about this: you hearing people wouldn’t have texting that you like so much on your cell phones if it wasn’t for deaf people, their TTYs and TDDs that they used for decades, and their deaf pagers that gave way to Sidekicks and Blackberries. If you didn’t know that, it shows your ignorance. That goes for bulletin boards, video blogs, IM services, and programs like Skype, too. If the deaf didn’t embrace them and use them and promote them among themselves, you wouldn’t have them. They would have died out.

 

Update 2/1/13: I decided to publish this unedited.

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