Inclusion within the Deaf Community

Exploring the Importance of Inclusion

Sometimes the Deaf community is underrepresented. From learning more about the community, how they are represented, and appropriate treatment, we can begin to understand these people in a more wholistic way.

A 12-year-old signs in a video explaining, “There are so many different people who consider themselves Deaf. Some can speak, some can hear a little bit, some of them are blind. Deaf people have all different identities, but we still call ourselves Deaf because it’s one of the most important parts of who we are.” (Lucy) . It is important to address people in the Deaf community as hard of hearing or Deaf–not hearing impaired as that  can be interpreted to mean they cannot do things others can. When using the word Deaf to refer to someone, itis important to capitalize because it gives a cultural identity. If speaking of the condition of being deaf use a lowercase d.

Who is in the Deaf Community and Why it is Important

The Deaf community has a wide range including people who do not have the sense of hearing or who have impaired hearing. Oftentimes, disabilities, such as deafness, ostracize people by defining them, limiting accessibility, and misrepresenting them—among other things.  These things take away from their rights and experience as a human being; therefore, it is important to implement practices that offers the same opportunities to a Deaf person as a hearing person.

Importance of Inclusivity

Even when there is representation or resources provided for the Deaf community, it isn’t always what they need—which can be even more damaging. There have been multiple press conferences or speeches where the interpreter was fake signing to the audience. While this is very disrespectful, it is also putting many people at risk. During important warnings that inform on natural disasters, pandemics, and healthcare, it is important Deaf people are getting the same and appropriate service to meet their needs and properly educate.

Some accommodations that the Deaf community use involve lights, vibrations, interpreters, captions, etc. to make the world more accessible. You can help make an impact by posting videos with closed captioning, being open-minded, learning basic ASL, and volunteering in the community.

Interpreters Making Headlines

A little impact can make a difference. There have been steps forward to make the community more recognized in media, such as the movie CODA—Child Of Deaf Adult. This type of representation invites people to more personally learn about intimate experiences within the community, and hopefully, inspire positive change.  Another example is the Rhianna’s Superbowl halftime show, Justina Miles made quite the impact on the audience hearing and Deaf community.

Don’t Encourage Ableism, Encourage Kindness

The Deaf Community among many other communities fight to have the same opportunities as anyone else. It is important to recognize their needs and meet them where they are at to help accommodate for them. Allowing more individuals access shows inclusion, kindness, and overall equality. It is important to not discriminate and care for others needs.

Emma Koa
Outreach Housing Ambassador