What Does Deaf Mean?

Sep 17, 2018

[Subtitles available in English & Spanish | Subtítulos disponibles en español y inglés

For Deaf Awareness Month, we celebrate and honor different identities within our communities.

At NDC, we recognize that everyone has different experiences and journeys. This is reflected in the data, resources, and work we create and share. Whenever possible, we highlight differences by gender, disability, race, and ethnicity in our data reports and resources. In recognizing these differences, we support all paths towards #DeafSuccess!

Video Description Link: https://tinyurl.com/yxdyzff7

[Begin visual description. Video. Upbeat music plays in between dialogue.
Black screen fades into a scroll of 10 diagonally split screens depicting close ups of 7 different people speaking or signing. From left to right: a black woman in scarf and bangs, a biracial man in a dark button and 5 o’clock shadow, an Indian woman with shoulder length hair, a white man with dark glasses and goatee, a Latinx woman in a ruffled blouse, a Latinx woman with rings on her fingers, a white man with beard, a light skinned woman with glasses, a white woman with dark curly hair, and a white woman with long hair. In the center, a text insert in white reads “Deaf people are not all the same.”
All people who appear on screen appear in the center, from the waist up, portrait style.
Next, we see the woman from the final split screen panel standing in front of a wall of whiteboards. The furthest whiteboard on the left has writing in blue marker. A slightly transparent grey bar emerges from the left side of screen with white text reading “jessica”. The woman wears a thinly striped black and white long sleeve top. She holds her hands palms together as she speaks and continues to gesture. She says:
“Deafness is a spectrum. It’s not just one definition. Someone like myself who is late-deafened.”
Now we see a latinx woman who is light skinned with freckles all over her face, neck, and arms. She has brown hair and brown eyes and wears a black sleeveless shirt with white text that says “THE EARTH” with the rest of the text cut off by the edge of screen. A transparent grey bar emerges from the right side of screen reading “valerie”. She sits in front of a large outdoor mural depicting white daisies with yellow and red centers and a large animal that appears to be a parrot fish in light pink with a spiked blue collar around its neck. She signs:
“I am deaf in one ear and hearing in the other. Some people view me as a deaf person, some view me as hearing, but it’s not one or the other.”
Next is a black woman with shoulder length dark hair and bangs. A name bar on left side reads “felicia”. She wears a printed black scarf, a cream cardigan and a tan shirt. She stands in a facility with a wall of windows behind her and other buildings seen in the background. She signs:
“I was born deaf. My father is deaf in one ear, so it’s hereditary.”
A balding white man appears with a dark beard. He wears a brown polo with a blue shirt underneath and sits in a living area with plants, couch, french doors, wooden island, and shelf in the background. Other items such as a change jar, pillows, blankets, pans, are also seen. A name bar on right reads “bruce”. As he looks down offscreen then up towards the camera, he signs:
“I am the youngest of 5 siblings. All 3 youngest are deafblind.
Next is a white woman with black glasses and short curly blond hair pulled back. A name bar on left reads “shira”.  She is outside with a river and boulders seen in the background. She has a purple tank top with a black bathing suit underneath and wears a necklace with two charms on it. She signs:
“I switch between deaf and deafdisabled because I’m also a little person.”
Next, a biracial man with dark short hair and a salt and pepper beard sits inside an open space that has half brick walls with white on top and terra cotta tiled floor. A name bar on left reads “kriston”.  A dark statue of two or three people clustered together on a granite block sits in the middle of the space. He wears a dark short sleeve button up with small white triangle print all over. He signs:
“Being deaf is a big part of who I am, but that’s not my only identity. I’m a person of color, biracial: half black and half white, and gay.”
We see a Latinx female with long wavy brown highlighted hair wearing a light purple button up shortsleeve blouse with ruffles down the center and puffed sleeves. A name bar on left reads “tanya”.  She sits in a kitchen next to an island with granite countertops. A large ceramic cream vase sits in the middle with purple grapes and stalks of pussywillows set inside. A double wall oven is seen in the background as well as dark brown cabinets, sink, purple orchids in a pot, coffeemaker and a green bowl. She speaks as she gestures with her hands:
“This is a condition I have, it’s called Usher’s Syndrome. It’s a hearing and vision loss.”
Next is a white woman with shoulder length curly hair wearing a denim jacket and a black top underneath. A name bar on right reads “rachel”. She sits in a brown patio lounge chair with rainbow stripes on the cushion outdoors with a brick wall and rectangle flower planters with pink and purple flowers behind her. She signs:
“I grew up oral.”
Next is a white man with black glasses, short brown hair and goatee, and a black long sleeve shirt. A name bar on left reads “matthew”. He sits in a living room with light walls, a large picture window and yellow curtains behind him along with a pink couch covered in a white blanket, lamps, blue art, and plants. He signs:
“A lot of people consider me hard-of-hearing.”
An Indian woman appears in a wood paneled room with sconce lighting on each panel, the floor is wood as well. A name bar on right reads “shilpa”. She has long dark hair and wears a shit long sleeve and green scarf. She signs:
“People do call me hearing impaired. But I’m not. I am deaf.”
We return to Felicia as she signs:
“People think being deaf is a bad thing, but I see it as a positive thing. The culture, language, and history make me who I am today.”
We return to Bruce as he signs:
“The deafblind community, tactile ASL, the use of space, the culture, all became a part of me.”
We return to Tanya as she says:
“I’m learning little by little about Protactile and I can’t wait to learn more. I am most comfortable speaking English.”
Next is Shira as she signs:
“People with additional disabilities, have to think about access and what they want. Do they know what they need?”
Then, back to Rachel as she signs:
“Throughout  educational years, I used note takers. I didn’t have interpreters because I didn’t know sign language.  I didn’t know ASL until I was 14.”
We return to Shilpa as she signs:
“I used CUED speech and was mainstreamed throughout high school.”
We come back to Matthew as he signs:
“I went to a public school in the morning, then a deaf school in the afternoon; it was the best of both worlds. The instructors used ASL , which I found to be more inclusive.”
Bruce appears again as he signs:
“I was in both deaf and hearing classes. I wore a bilateral hearing aid, cinched across my chest. Very unpleasant.”
Now, we return to Rachel as she signs:
“I got a cochlear implant when I was 15 and went through intensive speech therapy.”
Next, we come back to Valerie as she signs:
“In high school, I would sit to the far right since I could hear on my left side.”
Shira appears again and signs:
“In large group discussions, where there is dynamic conversation, I use interpreters.”
Jessica speaks:
“In my own experience, captioning and interpreting together were the most effective.”
Shilpa signs:
“I want more of a long-term, designated interpreter. Someone who knows me well. Who knows my work.”
Felicia signs:
“As a black person, I want an interpreter’s voice to match me. My culture can’t be overlooked.”
Kriston signs:
“People automatically think deaf people are all the same. But that’s not true. We have layers upon layers.”
Bruce signs:
“When you meet us, have an open mind and open heart.”
Screen fades to white and returns back to the clip of Bruce as it zooms out to reveal a grid of clips featuring everyone we’ve seen so far along with some clips that are cut off by the edge of the screen. The color fades to a tonal teal and white text insert appears in the center reading “Celebrate differences.” Gradually, the tonal teal fades into a solid teal background.
The text fades and an animation of the NDC logo forming plays. It moves up to reveal “National Deaf Center” in larger letters and “on Postsecondary Outcomes” in smaller letters underneath. The logo moves to the right, separated by a vertical teal line, more small text appears reading: “This video was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, OSEP #HD326D160001. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.” Underneath, three logos appear. The first reads “IDEAs that Work” with an arrow drawing a circle from “IDEAs” to “Work” and the words “U.S. Office of Special Education Programs”. The second logo shows a red-and-blue star with text next to it that reads “TA&D”. The third logo shows a blue circle around a tree. In the blue circle are the words “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.” End visual description]

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© National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Video licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International

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Topic(s): Deaf 101
Type of Resource: Videos

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