Deaf Actors in the Media – Deaf Representation

TEDxIslay – Linda Bove: Why We Need Deaf Actors in Deaf Roles

I watched this TEDx Talk about the importance of having deaf actors in deaf roles. I think it is done very well and brings up very important points. 

Representation in the media is not about putting minorities on a pedestal or exploiting them, it is about giving them an equal opportunity to be represented truthfully to the world. Representation is important for people who are not part of that minority to be educated on the culture of a group, and what people of that minority are like. Representation also abolishes stereotypes. If people see deaf/hard of hearing characters who are played by deaf/hard of hearing actors, they can be educated on the culture and see how deaf people are actually people.

A show like Switched At Birth on ABC Family which includes deaf actors, can educate a lot of people on deaf culture. It has healthy representation that takes away the stigma of what hearing people think the deaf community is like. 

Deaf/Hard of Hearing representation in the media also gives deaf actors the opportunity to do what they love, act. They also get to do it in the mainstream media and be praised for it as hearing actors are. 

Class Project – #ASLAwareness #ASLInOurSchools

For Innovations our project is based on getting the word out, making the students of our school aware of deaf/hard of hearing people and culture. Spreading awareness of something like ASL is interesting, it’s kind of a hard task to plan. I don’t really know how to go about it myself. We just have a few ideas. Here’s a few ideas to start off with simple awareness:

Idea #1: Posters throughout the school

We have the idea of making small posters with simple, basic signs and posting them around the school for students to see and read as they are passing by. Students will see them, and hopefully it’ll spark an interest and awareness for this language and community. If everyone sees the importance of learning basic communications we could create something really cool, I think. 

Idea #2 Snapchat account

Making a public snapchat account, adding students, and posting public ‘stories’ each day of a new sign that students can watch is an easy way to spread awareness of ASL. Basic every day signs, available in a way that teenagers use everyday. 

Add us at redriverasl  

 

TEDx Talk – Deaf-Blind Theatre

What we learn from the deaf-blind theatre: Adina Tal at TEDxHiriya

This TEDx Talk is done by a women who started the first deaf-blind theatre in the world, in Israel. I had honestly never even thought about that. I wasn’t really aware that deaf-blind was a thing. I think what Adina Tal has done is really awesome. The work she and everyone involved in this theatre has done is something worth talking about. This TEDx Talk is so interesting because it is important for hearing and seeing people to be aware of deaf-blind culture.

Adina talks about how their shows have been invited to come to New York and other countries around the world. They started with a show that take place over the timeline of making bread. This may sound really lame, like why would you want to see a show about bread rising and then cooking? But it is done this way so the actors have a strict timeline of events for what is happening during the night. Obviously, other entertaining stuff happens while they’re doing it, this is just the basis. After the show the audience is invited to eat the bread made with the members of the cast and crew. I think this is such a cool, different concept.

While my main focus for this Innovations project is ASL and deaf/hard of hearing awareness, I think this aspect of deaf-blind awareness is something important too. While this is a whole other topic, it is related.

Thoughts/Comments welcome.

TEDx Talks

For innovations we were asked to watch TEDx Talks and report what we watched and learned. I found these two:

“Opening our Ears to the Deaf” Pamela Weisman at TEDxCoMo

“Opening our Ears to the Deaf” Pamela Weisman at TEDxCoMo

This is the first TEDx Talk that I’ve ever watched that I didn’t absolutely hate. I’ve just never really cared for them. I really liked this one, though. It is information that is worth learning. It’s important. Hearing people should watch this because she brings up many good points of what hearing people should know. She talks about how the phrase ‘hearing impaired’ is offensive because it implies that they are impaired of something. That they need to be fixed. Hearing is not the default. She explains how hearing people can make an effort to work with deaf and hard of hearing people.

“Navigating deafness in a hearing world” Rachel Kolb | TEDxStanford

“Navigating deafness in a hearing world” Rachel Kolb at TEDxStanford

This TEDx Talk is done by a girl who is deaf, but has had over 18 years of speech therapy to be able to speak. She told a story of a time she gave a presentation in class and the teacher insulted her for not using an interpreter. The teacher condemned her for making the other students have to listen to her. This was heartbreaking as all of her efforts throughout the years were shattered by a teachers rude comments. She also talks about deaf children in hearing/deaf families. 90% of hearing families do not learn how to effectively communicate with their deaf family members.

“Deaf people are capable of doing anything hearing people can do, except hear.” She says. She grew up not thinking of herself as disabled because her parents, family, interpreters, speech therapists, and friends did not treat her as such.


These two TEDx Talks are very important for hearing people to watch and learn from. One from the viewpoint of a hearing person, and the other from the viewpoint of a deaf person. There is so much to be learned about deaf culture. These are a good start.

Innovation and Communications

My name is Seth and I am a senior in high school. I’m into musical theatre and wiener dogs. How’s that for an introduction.


Third hour, first semester I’m taking a course called Innovation and Communications. We’re to choose a topic, a problem, or something we don’t know too much about and educate ourselves as well as our peers. Our goal is simply to do something about it. 50 minutes a day we’re doing something. Educating, innovating, and hopefully making a change.


Some other topics students are exploring include encouraging kindness and positivity in our schools, changing the view of anti-smoking campaigns, educating high school students on rape culture, and educating and promoting equality of transgender people and students.


My friend Kelly (kellydrieth.blogspot.com) and I are grouping together in a project to promote awareness of the use of American Sign Language and respect for deaf/hard of hearing people. I’ll be using this blog to document whatever projects we do and what we learn.