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Positive Use of Hearing Privilege in the ASL Community?

Hello, ASL community! I’m in an airport lounge, on my way to Kansas to hang out with Deaf youths and give a workshop for ASL professionals. Today, my thoughts begin with Captain Valor, a YouTuber that posts song interpretations. He recently made an effort to raise some funds so he could make more of his videos; the Deaf community reacted with outrage, demanding that he cease his efforts. You can read his response, I’ll include a clickable link to it in the section below this video. Here’s what I think of his article: *slow 80’s clap – not sarcastic* After doing his due diligence (researching the matter), this man issued an apology to the Deaf community. Not only that, he then proceeded to lay out an articulate explanation of privilege, what it means and how it relates to his work, song interpretations. So not only did he show much respect to the Deaf community, his words serve to educate people inside and outside the ASL community. Now, I’d like to discuss privileel;42 [hand error 404] ugh, can’t spell… privilege. [here’s how I sign it] Privilege is when society assigns certain persons an elevated status, affording them a freeness of movement through society that others do not enjoy. Truth time: I’m a white, straight male in his late 30’s who is hearing… I’m pretty much the poster child for privilege! Society has granted me an an exceptionally elevated status. This being the case, I often wonder: How do I use my privilege? I recently came across a video of a black woman relating an experience she had while grocery shopping which includes a discussion of privilege… My sister-in-law, who’s half black half white, but looks white: Blue eyes, whiter than most white folks. Very white. She and I, we kind of grew up together. We raised our children together so they’re first cousins and we, you know, it’s a wonderful very very multicultural family. So we’re going into Safeway one day and Kathleen, my sister-in-law is in front of me and she’s writing a check for her groceries. Now my daughter, who at the time was ten years old was standing with me and I was directly behind her you know, getting ready to get my groceries. So Kathleen comes up and the checker, who’s a strawberry blonde, freckled, very delightful warm… you know, the checker, this young woman, is talking to Kathleen: “Hey, how you doing? Isn’t it a nice day today?” They’re just chatting up. So Kathy writes her check and she steps off to the side with her groceries cause she’s waiting for me. Of course, again, Kathleen looks white, right? So I come up… No conversation, she looks up at me absolutely no… just… little chatter, and I write my check. My daughter, however, is ten and notices immediately the difference in how she responds to me. So I write my check and she goes, “I’m gonna need two pieces of ID.” At which point my daughter looks at me and she gets very, very embarrassed and tears are kind of coming up in her eye like, “Mommy you’re not gonna… not gonna let her do this? Why is she doing this to us?” Right? So I’m trying to figure out what I should do. Behind me are two elderly white women, right, I’m thinking, “Ok… so then I become the ‘angry black woman.'” Right? And they’re gonna be… and I’m just trying to second-guess all the drama. So then I just give her the two pieces of ID. You know, some things you gotta choose your battles, right? Then it gets worse. She pulls out the ‘bad check book.’ Right?! This is the book that shows the people who have written bad checks. So she starts searching for my license in the bad checks, at which point it is out of control. Just as I’m standing there, trying to decide what to do and this is really, deeply humiliating … now my daughter is full-blown emotionally upset (she’s ten)… my sister-in-law walks back over and she steps in and she says, “Excuse me, why are you doing this?” The checker goes, “What do you mean?” [Kathleen] “Why are you taking her through all of these changes? Why you doing that?” [checker] “Well… um…. this is our policy!” [Kathleen] “No, because you didn’t do that with me.” [checker] “Well, I know you, you’ve been…” [Kathleen] “No no, SHE has been here for years, I’ve only lived here for three months.” At this point, the two white elderly ladies go, “OH! I can’t believe what this checker has done with this woman, it’s totally unacceptable.” At which point, the manager walks over! So the manager walks over and says, “Is there a problem here?” My sister-in-law responds, “Yes, there is a problem. Here is what happened….” So, you see, she used her white privilege and even though Kathleen is half black half white, she recognizes what that means and SHE made the statement. SHE pointed out the injustice and SHE as a result of that one act, influenced everyone in that space. What would have happened – I can’t know for certain – had the black woman said, ‘This is unfair. Why are you doing this to me?’ Would it have had the same impact? Kathleen knew that she walked through the world differently than I did. She used her white privilege to educate and make right a situation that was wrong. That’s what you can do. Every single day. Extraordinary! This woman’s story gives me pause: How do I, and other hearing members of the ASL community, use our privilege? Do we use our elevated status to unwittingly trample upon the Deaf community? Even if that’s not our intent, at the end of the day, it’s not about our intent; it’s about our impact. It’s all about our impact. Or, on the other hand, do we use our privilege to create opportunities for Deaf community members, creating positive impact? It’s not just the Deaf community; members of underprivileged communities often cry out for support from those who have privilege, in essence saying, “We’re in this together, where is your support?!” As hearing members of the ASL community, it’s our responsibility to use our privilege to the advantage of the Deaf community. Here’s my question for you: What are some ways that we can use our hearing privilege to the benefit of the Deaf community? I’d love to see your comments and thoughts below this video, either typed or filmed. To see the previous episode, click here! All the links for everything I’ve discussed can all be found below this video. Here’s my name sign; ASL Power!

100 Replies to “Positive Use of Hearing Privilege in the ASL Community?”

  • Looking forward who comments below. Im totally agree with you, must respect our deaf community and i know hearing asl if they music or acting is easy to be famous and all fan us. use privilege in ask community t hat world realize its beautiful language 🙂 
    I'm deaf
    From Dominican republic. good video ^_^

  • Interesting topic to be discussed.  Privilege is applied to anyone regardless.  Good example would be Deaf: Deaf from Deaf family (privileged) vs. Deaf from hearing family (underprivileged).

  • Eh, u r right privilege term in terp world is very negative! Often ITP would " blue law" saying that terp should stay away from socialize deaf community…. I'm ASL instructor, often ITP would NOT use deaf in the ITP but almost always use terps to teach in the ITP! So it is "segregation" in terp programs that lead to outside terp world… I have all the skills and qualifications, prob much greater than those ITP terp teachers!! What's more to role play, of course deaf people would have far greater role playing lesson than do terps, obviously they NEVER use interpreter eh! Mmm so I'm really annoyed by ITP programs and I'm limited to adjunct teacher, I prob will never be a full time teacher at this college! So my opportunity are out in here! I notice it's same for 100, 100 of ITP mmm

  • I'm pretty sure any other interpreter programs other than ASL would prefer to use the person who are fluency in the language to TEACH huh

  • An eye opener! Good analogy. Even within Deaf community have this privilege advantage such as HH and Deaf. This should be educated across the board.

  • My favorite metaphor for any privilege is "A power tool" (for example: a chainsaw, or a nail gun, or a jackhammer). They can be very useful, and can do a lot of good, but if you don't read the safety manual, wave them around without being aware of where they're pointing, or, worst of all, forget you've got one in your hands, a lot of people could get seriously hurt. 

    And when someone says: "HEY! Watch where you point that thing!" it's best just to say "Oops! Sorry!" and carefully put it away, instead of what a lot of people do, which is to get angry, and start blaming the person who called them on it of having a "Bad attitude."

    "Captain Valor," provides a good example of finding the off-switch. 🙂

  • Interesting question and backstory to your vlog. As a Deaf person, to be honest, I'm leery about hearing people having positive priviledge in the Deaf community. I do see your point, but I see too many interpreters regardless of years of experience rather 7 years, fresh graduates or 30 years abuse their position to 'take over' without checking in with the Deaf person. Also those type of interpreters would say they mean well, they are helping, they are advocating but they are doing it in their own way. Their way may not be the way the Deaf person wants or needs.  I will think on this some more and make ASL vlog. There are some situations in which my trusted interpreters, I would ask them to advocate for me, ie when naive hearing people are being audist. 

  • Cracking the Codes – YES!!   Our school use this video for our diversity training and for you to bring this up – awesome!  And of course your vlog elaborating Captain Valor's sincere letter is very helpful!  Thank you!!

  • And a suggestion – put all of pictures on second layer instead of first layer because sometimes your hands go by the picture and it blocks.  If you put on second layer, your signs will not be missed – not even once.  Know what I mean?  🙂

  • thanks Austin.  It's an universal theme.  Nice of hearing people to include and support deaf individuals but if it were me, I think I may reserve the rights to be selective towards to those who are deserving, kind-hearted, passionate, etc.  In other words, I wouldn't want to deal with selfish ones, whiners, those who wouldn't want to take some responsibilities for themselves and expecting "help me, pity me, poor me" etc.  that's my 2 cents.

  • Marvelous video and supplemental materials. Interestingly, one of my ASL students has been using the topic of audism in debate competitions, but judges often cite the fact that the student is hearing as a negative effect on the student's speech. This discussion provides much needed counter-ammunition.

  • Great vlog Awti….I had missed Captain Valor's link and really liked the grocery store story. As for how hearing people can leverage their hearing privileges for the  betterment of the ASL community….that's a tough one to tackle. At least..for me as a deaf person..I have never really wanted "help" and have always especially been intent on doing things on my own. Maybe it is because I grew up in a hearing family/hearing world and always felt as if I had to prove myself over and over again. Then on the other hand during any sort of conflict between deaf/hearing people, I often feel that we need a LITERAL voice to be heard. I do not mean to offend hearing people, but it has always been my impression that hearing people process information primarily and faster via their ears. So, sometimes the deaf community needs a person with hearing privilege to step up and serve as a literal voice. Case in example, a deaf person is pulled over by a trooper, but has a hearing passenger….in that situation the hearing passenger is a great ally to diffuse any issues that might arise from miscommunication. I think you are doing it the correct way…by asking the community first. I think the answer is on a case-by-case basis.-JJ

  • Love this. It really made me think. Privilege seems akin to preferential treatment, as in the example. How to use that preferential treatment for good? That's a tough one. Perhaps it comes down to making the best of a bad situation. The situation doesn't become less-bad, but some people choose to act nobly, and that is what elevates others.

    An example, you say? Picture a deaf/Deaf colleague at work who is leading a project and running the latest meeting. The simple demeanor and behaviour of someone who knows what to do (how to be) is itself an example to the ignorant hearies. This person-who-knows may have to call someone to task but they will do it so skilfully, so nobly, and openly, that the lesson is understood by all. Knowledge is power. ASL power.

    *air guitar*

    Sorry, more – I was responding to the supermarket scenario, but then thought maybe I should check and see what the whole controversy and response was from Steve. Seems a bit different. The problem here (if I understand it right – I've not seen his videos) isn't preferential treatment, it's misrepresentation. Bit like a band saying 'we're punk'. No one cares until you're making money.

  • EXCELLENT! Thank you very much for sharing your ideas with the world. Very helpful. Hope to  meet you one day. Sorry to see that you are straight. LOL. And yes as LGBT person. yes, there is priviledge to being male, white and straight. Remember the opposite of priviledge is discrimination, or even bullying…other terps and agency will not hire me just because Im gay. thank you again very much, just seeing THAT VLOG is encouraging. John Hancock

  • Do you own an operate "That Vlog?" How is this different?

    Did you create that sign for "privilege?" Or was that from input by deaf individuals (first time I have seen this sign).

    I also believe you performed at NAD conference? Hopefully I am wrong. However, that is taking stage time away from deaf performers?

    And, privilege is not about "pulling others up," it is about dismantling the fact that they exist in the first place. It doesn't work by pulling others up, it works by yielding space and allowing the center to expand.

    I appreciate your allyhood, though there are mixed messages in what you are saying and what you are doing.

  • Thanks so much, Awti! Here's a video I've been showing my ASL classes for years, asking them to relate it to hearing privilege:  I've been wishing someone would do something similar for hearing privilege. Maybe it's already out there and I just haven't seen it – anybody? In the meantime, your video is going on my must-see list for students!

  • I was pulled over once by a police officer who insisted that I was not allowed to have a licence because I was Deaf. My sister is hearing and she was interpreting the whole interaction for me. I don't think I have ever seen her so mad. This police officer was accusing me of obtaining my licence ficticiously and was threatening arrest if I didn't tell him how I managed to get a licence in the first place. My sister used her priveglige to educate the police officer. She literally had this police officer threatening her with arrest before he finally called his superiors and was told to back off because I did in fact have a valid driver's licence. My sister has since started working with the local polive force, teaching them how to interact with Deaf people and I got a formal apology from the commisioner of police.

  • We, at DHN, like to think that we positively use hearing privilege. DHN is a bi-weekly news broadcast that uses ASL, spoken English and captions in each broadcast. All of our anchors and some of our staff are Deaf. All of the hearing crew members sign. The show was founded by a hearing student at ASU who's well connected in the media world. She was able to use her privilege to partner with her local Deaf community and create the show. She's also able to use those connections in the media to inform the hearing world about the Deaf community. From the feedback we've gotten, I'd like to think we've positively impacted the Deaf and hearing communities.

  • The grocery store story is a perfect story about privilege. I am white and I could use white hearing privilege if I didn't open my mouth. It is rare for me to see the sudden change in the other person's behavior when I started speaking but it had happened.

    I am not sure about using this positive privilege because I like to be independent however I could see how using this positive privilege as a spring board to something big that will help other deaf people. I don't see what could be used as a positive privilege yet.

    Discrimination is not the only thing I hate. I also hate the Crab Mentality. I think Deaf people should show emotional support for other Deaf people who have the skills to start up a business so they can turn around and hire Deaf people (and hearing people for the phones). It is sad for me to see many Deaf people with limited education. I want to see most of them attaining a college degree.

  • Great post!  Just want to add that the word "privilege" can also be used to mean the same as "honor"…such as "It was my privilege to work with you."

  • would love to have it included voice over??? i believe it benefits hearing family of deaf children and hearing ASL users …. don't ya agree?? let me know if it adds voice over.. I will be happy to share it with my family and hearing friends. ;-D

  • Hi!! Great thought provoking vlog! I'm clueless on the Captain Valor saga except that I've seen his vlogs and commented years ago directly to him about this topic of what to me looked like a disingenuous representation of "ASL".  Then I dropped it.  I have thought about this topic often.  I personally have a lot of satisfaction in effectively using my meager privileged status and social capacity to positively impact a situation.  For example, I can as the interpreter be supportive of an inmate who wants the interpreter to also go interpret with the jail nurse about a health concern.  Although that might not be the norm, my "privileged" support of the D/HH person's request, and willingness to take time, stick with it when the admin don't really want to allow that kind of privilege, wait patiently but expectantly while they deliberate etc…and eventually allow the person to go with "the interpreter" "just this once" to meet with the nurse for 6 minutes makes a difference.  I could go on and on with examples of ways in which I am able to make connections with people that benefit access for the D/HH person and bring a more equal experience for the person.  If I get time will make a vlog ;o)  Cheers!!!!!!

  • My husband and I were invited to join some Deaf friends for sushi at a local restaurant.  My husband is learning sign.  I'm hearing and fluent in ASL.  When the waiter came to take our order, we all ordered by non-verbal methods.  My husband saw the waiter struggle to understand one of the Deaf customers and suggested I interpret, but I explained to him why I would not.  Deaf people go out to eat, to grocery stores, etc and don't have an interpreter with them throughout their day.  It is important for hearing people such as that waiter in the restaurant to learn different ways to communicate with their Deaf clients.  I was asked to be with my Deaf friends to hang out with them, not to interpret.  It would have been rude for me to  jump in, uninvited, to interpret in that situation. If I had, my friends would not have been happy with me at all. I let the waiter know I was hearing by telling him my order verbally while signing to provide access to our conversation for the others at the table.  Sometimes the best way we can advocate is to hold our tongues.  We had a lively conversation during dinner about hearing people who are learning sign jumping in to interpret without being asked, when they are not needed.  It actually is a form of audism and continues the oppression of Deaf people.

  • This video is terrific. I hope you and others will continue to unpack privilege and what the best ways to handle it might be on both sides of the fence.

    Then all of this discussion should be pulled together in some sort of central location so all of it can be easily found and used as a valuable resource by interested parties or those who are urged to look it up.

  • Using my privilege, myself personally, would mean speaking the truth if someone asked a question about deaf people or made a mean or stupid comment against deaf people or ASL… But more importantly, to instill love and respect for deaf people and others in my students — so the next generation will end audism.

  • I don't have an answer yet to your question, Austin, but I think this is a much needed discussion. Thank you to all who have contributed. The discussion of privilege is one that I have been encountering (and considering) more frequently lately as it relates to all manner of marginalized/privileged people – Deaf/hearing, disabled/able, gay/straight (or passing as such), female/male, person of color/white… the list goes on and on.

    I'd like to share this article that helped me to put my own privilege (and in some cases, marginalization) into a new perspective:

    From the article: "It is about systemic imbalance. It is about injustices that have arisen because of the history of racism that birthed the way things are now. It’s not saying, 'You’re a bad person because you’re white.' It’s saying, 'The system is skewed in ways that you maybe haven’t realized or had to think about precisely because it’s skewed in your favor.'"

    Thank you for the links to the videos – I'm looking forward to watching them and furthering my understanding of this heady topic.

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That's all I can say.. We need more people like you to be a great allies to our ASL and Deaf community. Hugs

  • Excellent presentation. Hearing privilege can (and should) be used in much the same way as expressed in the Vlog regarding race differences.  At best, if the hearing person does not want to confront the perpetrator, we could inform those who are Deaf of whatever sidebars or injustices we observe and allow them their unalienable right to equal treatment.

  • I so love this sign for PRIVILEGE. That said, I used it in a class presentation, and the Deaf instructor marked it wrong.

  • I really appreciate this video, the statement made is profound. Too often in this world pre-judge others, sometimes without realizing it. I am glad my ASL teacher chose this video for this weeks discussion. It gives me an opportunity to internalize and reflect on how many times in a day I see a form of judgment. It begs the question "how do we stop this?" Thank you for posting this wonderful video!

  • Love the discussion between you and Mark Ramirez!

    You asked, "Should hearing members of the ASL community (like me) have a space in defining our community?"

    Well, technically you already took a space in trying to define our community by proposing a name change of our community from 'Deaf community' to 'ASL community', and then going ahead and using it in your vlogs and your discourse.

    Not criticizing you, mind you….just pointing it out.

    Also, somewhere in the thread below somebody half-joked about the money issue…actually the central issue with regard to Captain Valor, Paul & Tina, et al., was CREDENTIALS and FLUENCY.  Clearly as a CODA, you have both the credential and fluency, so even if you earned hundreds thousands of dollars per year, I don't think anyone would challenge you on these points. The only challenge that might occur is in regard to privilege.

    One more thought about privilege…people like Paul & Tina think that they are using their privilege to "help" the Deaf community and "help" spread ASL awareness and "help" with building a bridge between the Deaf community and hearing community, when in reality their "help" isn't wanted or needed.

    So that's where hearing people need to really listen to the Deaf community.  If only 100 Deaf people tell Paul & Tina that they are abusing their privilege and disrespecting cultural/linguistic boundaries, that should be enough. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

    I don't have all the answers…I'm still thinking about this.

  • One example that comes to mind is when my girlfriend and I were out to dinner – she is deaf, I am hearing. Some people at the table next to us were joking about us being overly affectionate, and I interpreted their remarks. At the end of our meal she approached the table with a sassy response to one of their comments, leaving them appropriately shocked, awed, and apologetic. In this way I didn't take her power by playing the rescuer, or blast my privilege all over the place, but rather enabled her to call out their behavior of her own volition in a hilarious way that drove the point home much more succinctly than some lengthy call out. I think her note simply said "we're not drunk or on drugs, just in love. ;)" I'm sure they will never again talk about a signing table under the assumption they won't know.

  • I have a son who is nonverbal. He is hearing but nonverbal and we just learned that he cannot use PECs but uses sign language. I have since started entering the deaf community to reach out and learn some specific signs since he is unable to finger spell. I want to communicate with my son but I fear that as I reach out I might be sending out the wrong message that I am sad that my son is nonverbal (Ok I am sad) but then realize that might offend deaf people. Because they don;t seem sad about being deaf at all. They are proud. Many friends ask me why I am focused on ASL and I say because I want my son to be able to be a part of some kind of community. Any kind of community and perhaps he will be welcomed into the deaf community one day. How does the deaf community welcome the hearing nonverbal? How can I 1) not offend the deaf community 2) teach my son to be proud of himself. 

  • really terrific. I will try and 'share' it on my FB.  Interesting, as I myself went to a NORC conference two years ago in New Orleans; the topic of the entire conference was "White Privilege" …  One presentation I went to was by Jane Hernandez, the Gally Prez appointee who was ousted in the most horrific ways by White 'Deaf" privilege… (my opinion:)  Anyway,  your perspectives are spot-on, as the British like to say haaa.  White AND Hearing…wow, I've been making that analogy for decades but the "hearing" world is mentally deaf/closed.  "What matters, deafness of the ear, when the mind hears?  The one true deafness is that of the mind."  Victor Hugo   🙂  Namaste. 

  • I agree 110% with what was said. Our biggest responsibility for those of us who are privileged is to educate ignorant privileged people when injustice occurs.

  • I don't think it's possible to have positive hearing privilege for various reasons.  You certainly could go by 'alliance', but you also have to remember you really don't want to "pull them up" but back them up.  By pulling them up, you can also inadverdently give the target audience/person the false impression that the underprivileged is less capable.

  • My hearing husband sometimes uses his hearing privilige when someone in public gets rude with me because I did not hear them. I have mixed feelings about this because I feel that I rather have the means to stand up for myself than to have someone always coming to my "rescue". I feel it cheats me of being able to learn my own mechanisms of defending my own honor. Does anyone else feel that way?

  • Loved this video (kiss fist!!)  – as a CODA and SODA, I have experienced both the white and hearing privilege opportunities I have to help educate others.  Byron Bridges recently brought up this similar point in a FB vlog and it's a "hot button" topic these days.  I have subscribed to your channel and looking forward to many more!  Thanks for all you do!!

  • Thanks much for providing these videos! Have you considered providing CC of the actual ASL/signs you're using instead of English? That would help immensely as people like myself attempt to learn. With CC of the ASL, we could see a one-to-one correlation and truly start to understand how to form proper ASL sentences.

  • My mother is deaf and I've been raised knowing ASL all my life.When I first started having friends over a lot of them didn't know what being deaf even meant so I would always explain and teach them a little ASL and help them be able to have basic conversation with my mum through finger spelling. Now that we're all older and have jobs I have found that a lot of my friends with encounter members of the deaf community and will use the signs I taught them to communicate. I think that's one way of me using my privilege to help as well as normalizing ASL communication

  • Hi Deaf, focus on your intention and goal to build the machine of the hearing and deaf communities and work together on the result. Without engine, the machine could not be worked. If anyone feels interested in deciding to do, he should have to DO what his passions come on.

  • I thought about this many of times but never thought of calling it my privilege being a CODA I realized I could help out the deaf now.

  • hello. wondering where you live? and are you involved with Community Access Media ?  love your stuff and wish was more widely known and seen:)  thanks

  • Wonderful Vlog, and excellent example of how hearing people can use their privilege to create more equality for their Deaf compatriots. As an interpreter, I recently volunteered to interpret for Deaf advocates who wish to do community education workshops for first responders in our community (fire dept., police officers, hospital workers, EMTs, etc.)
    It's important to me to give back to the community I work inside of….particularly because the Deaf community provides me with a fulfilling and stable career. It's the least I can do, and I hope our efforts will improve their lives in every interaction with these important service institutions.
    Thanks so much!

  • Long overdue, long response. Video: (note- transcript also available in comments under video). 

  • perhaps by educating others who are un aware, that deaf people CAN !
    do anything !

    I have many deaf friends, and have been out socially, and ultimately, treated differently, and have had to explain, and educate others to speak normally, face a deaf person, when u speak to them, and do NOT shout, it doesn't help

  • I know ASL well about half of the language but your way to fast for me I guess I'll have to hit the books and practice to 🙂

    PS love your blogs 😉

  • As a high school student who plans on attending Gallaudet, I think using my privlage as a white hearing person is important in education. Telling people it's important when interacting with an oral deaf person not to over mouth words, not to talk to fast, and to make sure you're facing them. Same with non oral Deaf people, that it's important people understand they are just as capable and that it's not something a lot of people want "fixed", and that deafness is also a culture, sign language is its own language, and that it's important to make the adjustments needed for the Deaf person.

    Your signing is really beautiful even though I have a small problem keeping up with your finger spelling, but that's on me. I really love these education videos and ive been voicing them to help myself get better at interpreting on the spot, since I plan on doing interpreting as a career

    Keep making these awesome videos!

  • I think what you do on YouTube is a wonderful example of using your privilege for good. making visually appealing and engaging ASL videos. I hope you kep doing what you are doing. best wishes. 🙂

  • I know I I made a comment relating to this comment on a different video, but I'm going to ask it again. Is there anyway you could, like your blog, have somebody read the subtitles? Is this we with this one, and other ones that relate to communities that are, and societies view, lower-class. At least with my experience, a l A lot of people, no matter what the difference, are viewed as lesser. They could definitely use the video. And if they're not able to read the subtitles, or understand sign language, they won't receive your message.

  • materializes I'm an anglophonic homeschooler who doesn't communicate with anyone outside the house in any language and is therefore not yet a part of any larger non-internet community, but I personally find this stuff fascinating. vanishes

  • Just today I played this video for my ASL 3 class that I have this year. I assigned them to write a response to it: 1. Do you agree/disagree, and why? and 2. the question you had on the screen at the end about using priviledge to help.

    One student had a very insightful response for #2: "I agree it isn't our job to trample on the ASL community {we have deaf students and interpreters in our school}, but just help. But if we put too much power in ourselves to help, then we still have all the power. It makes it seem as though they {the Deaf people} need to be coddled, which doesn't improve anything."

    I agree with her, and think it's a very fine line we priviledge Hearing have to walk — to help, but not to the point of giving the hearing world the impression that Deaf people can't advocate for themselves and thereby perpetuate the myth that they are "handicapped" and therefore lesser. I told my student I thought she was very wise in her response.

    Thank you for posting these videos. The captioning helps the kids whose ASL skills aren't as high as the others in the class.

  • The most important thing we can do with our privilege is to bring it to others and let them know that Deaf people are just like everyone else. Like Marlee Matlin has said over and over that the only thing Deaf people can't do is hear. We don't want to coddle them or speak for them. But we also want to bring awareness of the deaf community. That it is out there. That when a child is born or becomes deaf that is not the end of the world. And that is what our privilege is for.

  • I just discovered this channel through an awesome friend of mine, Rikki Pointer. It's weird because even though I am Deaf, because I speak so well and lipread so well sometimes I feel like I have an unfair advantage over my other Deaf friends. I definitely have seen a difference in how hearing people treat me vs my Deaf friends who do not talk and were raised in Deaf culture. It was really evident when we were filming our "Different Colors" video in Hollywood. So many stories! There is also a noticeable difference between how people treat me on days without my implant on (when my Deaf accent comes out and I rely more on writing and ASL) vs days with it on too…. Hmmmm hamster wheels turning…. Thanks for making this video! 🙂

  • I didn't really understand the concept of privilege until my first social event with a group of Deaf people (at the time, the only signing I knew was the alphabet and numbers). I really felt left out, and realised it must be what it's like for the 90% of Deaf people from hearing families.

    Edit to ad: Now, many years later, I'm married to my date from that night and I'm studying towards becoming an interpreter.

  • Wow great video!! I am learning ASL and the hardest thing expelling as English is not my first language. I just really wish I could practice it more often!

  • My hearing sister and I (also hearing) have been teaching ourselves ASL since we were 10 and 12 years old respectively. Last year, we went to a bowling alley together. As per usual, we were signing the whole time, and neither of us were voicing. When my sister went to the register to request a lane (in spoken English), the cashier only acknowledged her. She asked my sister if she was bowling alone. When my sister said it was for both of us, the cashier said "okay" annoyedly and continued using her computer. She only asked my sister which bowling shoe size she would like and neglected even to bring up the idea that I might exist and need bowling shoes. It was very sad to see how this person treated someone she thought to be deaf. I wish I'd have thought of the right thing to say in that moment. Even if I were deaf, I still could see the disgust in her eyes. What sort of response would be appropriate in that sort of situation?

  • Someone just now brought this to my attention Austin. Seriously honored by the 80's Slow Clap. ^_^ I'm blushing over here. Keep up the great work you do for Deaf, Hearing, and the World alike!

  • "Positive Use of Hearing Privilege in the ASL Community?" I don't understand this video, yes it is because i don't understand ASL (Though I am trying to learn, if only on my own time) but sub titles for those of us that are making an honest attempt to try to bridge the gap would be nothing but a boon to farther your cause. Now i will state that yes, my limited exposure to ASL is, as stated, limited, but how can we learn when you don't give those of us that want to attempt to learn the means.

    now i don't fully understand the context of this video because of the afore mentioned issues but i will say this, regardless of the videos actual context, Captain Valor has found away to bridge the gap and made ALS relaetable and a little more approachable.

    Again there is no subtitles for this video and thus i can not truly understand its context, all I am going on is the title and emotion proved from the creator, if i am wrong a sincerely apologize, but as someone that wants to learn this just seems counter productive.

  • I'm not really a part of the ASL community, just learning ASL by myself without knowing anyone who is Deaf or signs. But as I was watching this I was thinking about the autistic community. And while there are some non-autistic people who support autistic people in our fight for our rights, sadly we're often more oppressed by the non-autistic people who should be part of the community than by outsiders. Some of the most hateful things said about and to autistic people are said by parents of autistic children. Even among professionals, as someone who is both autistic and has PTSD, professionals who deal with PTSD are way more respectful to me than professionals who deal with autism. PTSD professionals treat me like an adult, someone who has problems and needs help but who knows what I need and has the right to question anything or say no to anything I'm not comfortable with. Autism professionals treat me like a misbehaving child, who has no idea what I need and should just shut up and let the adults decide for me. In their eyes, I could be eighty years old and I still wouldn't be an adult, just because I'm autistic. So the autism community is divided between autistic people and those few who actually support us, and the non-autistic people who should support us but instead trample all over our rights and our voices.

  • I'm entirely new to this concept but I'm glad I found this video. Wondering if any of you all have thoughts on the tv show Switched at Birth

  • Thank you for this post. I really appreciate it. As a hearing artist working with the Deaf community and primarily language-deprived Deaf youth, I see my role as a bridge-maker, and a conduit to bring awareness to the hearing world of Deaf community issues such as language, literacy, education and opportunities, in hopes of having an effect on policies that will improve things for Deaf people generally. But it's a fine line. Although I use sign language and am working at improving my ASL, I will never be a native speaker, and I am not Deaf. I don't have a family member who is Deaf, although one of my very best friends in the world is Deaf, and I am working with her and her students. Deaf issues are not my issues, and I don't get to make them my issues. Even though I want to use my privilege as you so eloquently explain, to help in any way I can, I have to be very vigilant and sensitive around appropriation of Deaf issues. At the same time, I want to reach and educate the hearing world, and because I am hearing, I know how to snag their interest and I know what will make them pay attention. As a theatre director, I have to watch how I work with the Deaf community so that I am attentive to their particular culture, stories, and traditions, and make the work accessible and relevant to Deaf audience members, while working to shape the message so that a hearing audience will be receptive and affected. It is a very challenging process and very fulfilling but one of the hardest things I have ever done. Thank you so much for helping me see more clearly what my role is! It brings a lot of peace of mind!

  • I found this video a refreshing look on 'privilege'. Instead of sitting around complaining we don't have enough; this video shows how we, who have the privilege of hearing, can enhance the possibilities of society becoming more " Deaf aware". This can only bring about good, because than Deaf will be treated with the equality that they should be treated with. Good, good , good! 🙂

  • Awesome video.. I was here just to re watch Deaf Ninja for the 1,000th time and write down the structure in which the story was told so I can emulate and recreate stories more visually in ASL. Then…. I read the comments. ALL of them. So here I am, intrigued, enlightened, inspired, frustrated, angry and full of love. I would like to say AWTI you champ! I love the videos and work you do and can't wait to chop it up with you again or go down another zip line with you. Mark Ramirez, I agree with most of what you have said on such a "taboo" subject. There is one area in which I must raise my voice.

    I have noticed the definition of audism has changed in the last few months..

    Before it was: "To perpetuate or exhibit discrimination on someone's ability to hear or not hear"

    Now it is: "discrimination or prejudice against individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing"

    Which is an interesting distinction. Reason I bring this up is because as a hearing child of Deaf adults I have experienced discrimination based on my hearing status first hand. It used to bother me but now I just chock it up as… meh. Part of the package I guess. There are those who understand and want to build the bridge of ally ship and understand what it will look like. It comes with both sides running the gambit so I disagree that it is such a one-sided affair. Everyone indeed needs to work together and bring all their talents together and instead of keeping a "well the grass is greener" mentality, they need to knock down the fence and share the damn lawn and good grounds-keeping tips with each other".

    I appreciate the conversation and it did spark in me a deeper interest in how to remove oppression that anyone could face. Thanks for the time! –Si

  • Wow!
    I am a kitchen manager at a middle school. My boss recently hired a deaf gal and it has been so great create an environment in which hearing and deaf folks work together in Lunchlady Land. I am so proud of my kitchen being the only kitchen in a school district made up of 52 schools that hearing and deaf employees work together to serve our kids. It is a total blast! My ASL skills are improving, to say the least 🙂

  • That's also kind of makes me a little bit mad and peed off at some of the HEARING! Community because they (Act like) when you TALK TO THE D/deaf word (they're think Dumb!! and Stupid!!) with them/DEAF or Not! and they think!!?? they know! every! thing about everything about life and about things but!!! yet!!!!!! they! don't! know (D/deaf!) .(DEAF!) people that don't know………………. the HEARING PEOPLE don"t sign language ……….they don't know the (American/HEARING) (Leaves!!!!! OUT!!!!) (Deaf culture) all danm! TIME! .. .AND IT NEEDS TO S-T-O-P!!!!!!!! …..and there (are PeoPle! too!) they have hearts! they have minds they have lives!) (BUT!!) when? a deaf person as is for (information!!!!!!!!) …….it's like Excuse! me THAT"S what Hearing says TO DEAF PERSON . LIKE (DON"T BOTHER!!!! ME! .you should already know that so people of the (Hearing!) Community have a (little bit of attitude) (GET! OVER! IT! IT IS NOT! ALL! ABOUT! YOU! ..YOU KNOW!) that should not have to care to not care around at all and here's a Really Sarcastic joke ! oh! Excuse Me! oh I (forgot) you're an (Americans!)….they! /Americans (don't Do! that)………

  • So appreciate the comment about the restaurant situation. My third grade teacher wrote on my report card "too helpful" lol. I always feel pressured but oppressive at the same :/. Problem solved ~ now I'll know what to do. Thanks!

  • I can hear im privileged i can see im privileged i live a nice house i will always be grateful for that but i will never pity anybody because u always have a chance to be better then anyone i see people as they are equal to me.

  • Ouch! Guilty myself of jumping in and taking over to "help" or to do small things that looking back, would cause that degree of separation. Good lessons.

  • V. interesting. I learned PSL while doing volunteer work in Panama. Now I'm interested in ASL. The nice thing about the volunteer work I do is that none of our members discriminate or use their knowledge to dominate others, which is a sad reality today (Ecc. 8:9). Rather, it brings us together creating an international community that's united (Micah 4:1-4).

  • Watching this video reminded my of my elementary school years, when in the 1970s my school was one of the first to offer full integration to deaf and hard of hearing children in my town. However, many hearing children mostly avoided the non-hearing children. And I remember thinking, as a 9 year old, that if I were a beautiful person I would stand up for the non-hearing children. Until I realized, that I didn't have to be beautiful to befriend non-hearing children, all I had to do to show my alliance with the non-hearing children was to learn their language. And I did learn some limited signing, but mostly I learned how to make new friends with such amazing children. It's a lesson that stayed with me…. and I went on to pursue a career in working with children who are marginalized in some way or other because of a physical, sensory, or cognitive limitation. Once upon a time I dreamed of attending Gallaudet U, but I wasn't admitted because I lacked fluency in ASL.

  • Hi AWTI I want say thank you for make this vlog so amazing, I do subscribe your channel but did not watched all your vlog, I just starting want see all your vlog, it's worth my time. will do share your amazing vlog on my wall. again thank you.

  • I believe that we shouldn't try and 'help' just by ourselves, unless it is something that people do by them selves like saying to people they know not to say things that would be offensive stuff like that, we should always work WITH the community to help them use the voice they have. Hearing people can learn sign language so people who use it can communicate easier, they can advocate for rights that the community doesn't have because if hearing people advocate for deaf rights it will probably be more respected, they can do a number of things to share the community's voice. They need to realise that the community doesn't need to gain a voice, they need to get their already existing voice heard.

  • Yasss!! Thank you for sharing this. I have felt the same way for years, as a CODA. I have said this many times in the community. So glad you used your platform on social media to talk about this topic! Awesome vlog!

  • Hey there,
    I am a hearing student at Chanhassen High school in Minnesota, I have been taking American Sign Language for 3+ years and plan to continue learning throughout my life. My ASL teacher is an Alumni of Gallaudet University, he is the only deaf person in his family- his wife and 3 children are all hearing. Over the past few years, I have become more and more interested in the factor of Hearing Privilege.
    Being my junior year I plan to make a large documentary about Hearing privilege and show it around the school and if possible in different businesses. In order for this project to work, I need multiple people from the deaf community to help me with accurate information. To get this information I have created a survey that on average takes 6 minutes to complete. (Attached). Please send this link around so I can accurately collect information.

  • This is sad. I didn’t know the deaf community could be so weak in this perspective. I will never stop using ASL how I please. It is my language now too as an American hearing signer.

  • Are you serious? i mean, how do you sign hypocrite? Look, you make some good arguments but to be honest. That man paid for his ASL lessons. How he chooses to use them is totally his decision. Now you can always try to reason with him and show ways he can support the '" ASL" community. Besides I never heard of an ASL community and ASL power. It's ridiculous and to assert some sort of ASL privilege is offensive. I'm a CODA too and think you're being hypocritical . Don't you profit form the ASL work you do and the YouTube Videos you make??

  • There is no voicing in much of the video this has eliminated many people from getting the message. Many do not sign ( they need the information). Many do not have visual equity to read captions or English is second language for them they hear and speak it but do not read it; Please make all the video's information accessible for everyone. Thanks 🙂

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