I am so not a football fan. What do I know about tight ends? I thought they were called tight-asses for the longest time. Shame on me. But as I said, I am not a football fan.
So why write about SuperBowl 2011? Because this is the game that will be remembered by many of us who are hard of hearing and Deaf/deaf. It’s the first time, a broadcasting station and the advertisers have agreed to caption the game as well as every single commercial and promotion during this SuperBowl game. And of all stations, its the FOX channel who has decided to make this year closed caption accessible.
I also just read on the NAD (National Association for the Deaf) website, that the NFL has agreed to a 22 year old deaf woman from Texas to sign in ASL the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. What I found interesting was that the NAD stated that they wanted a deaf or hard of hearing person to sign the two songs.
I sincerely applaud the NAD for achieving this momentous occassion, however, I truly feel that this is how hearing people develop the misconception that all hard of hearing people sign. I truly believe that this is why it can be difficult to get an employee to agree to CART and ask us why we can’t do with a sign language interpreter.
Over the years, I too would request a sign language interpreter at work, when I felt I needed assistance in meetings. I never requested CART, and up until I joined the SayWhatClub, I didn’t even know CART existed. Since its inception, I had always used closed captioning on my television and I will no longer watch anything on T.V. without CC.
My point is that I worry about this misconception that all hearing impaired people know sign language. I am concerned that hearing people will continue to believe that we are ALL signers. Most hearing people do not know sign language themselves yet, they get off the hook trying to communicate with us by believing we sign. This way, they can write it off as either the hearing person (themselves) not knowing the “language” or the hearing impaired person (us) who doe not sign, cannot understand receptive language. Rather than just trying to communicate with a person that is hard of hearing.
When its all said and done, I am starting to believe that there is a hard of hearing culture and we need to ban together to make CART and remote CART totally accessible for the hard of hearing. The Deaf cultured community is a strong group because they have the NAD working to help them. It’s time for us to become louder and stronger about our needs as a group so that one day, we will be able to say, we are as important as any other culture and people will not only HEAR us but will be more sensitive and patient about our needs.
Oh, and by the way, this momentous occassion will not be appreciated by the hearing population unless they have a friend or loved one who is deaf or hard of hearing. Just like our disability is referred to the hidden disability, this very special day will be hidden and go unnoticed by many.