Today when I ventured onto DeafRead for my daily dose, I came across Carl Schroeder’s vlog, “Stop Exploiting the DeafBlind!” and I was genuinely surprised at Carl for making such accusations towards v/bloggers who in turn wanted to provide ACCESSIBILITY to DeafRead’s DeafBlind patrons.
First of all, Carl, you are NOT DeafBlind. You’ll never have the misfortune to become one. You simply have NO idea what the DeafBlind community has gone through in the past millennium, with advancing technologies and ignorance that puts us further behind with our DEAF peers.
I grew up Deaf. I went to a Deaf school for 15 years before going to Gallaudet and completing my Bachelor’s. I have hundreds of Deaf friends. I was involved in the Unity for Gallaudet protest, and I embrace my Deafhood foremost before my blindhood. Yet, with shifting changes in the scope of Deaf telecommunications and social standards, the DeafBlind are not being considered for their upbringing as a Deaf person, rather, for their blindness. That’s the problem many people in general have with us – they think of us as BLIND people rather than DEAF people. Forget that we grace ASL skills, forget that we support activism to up the educational standards for the Deaf, forget that we have this thirst for knowledge that circulates through the sighted Deaf community. Forget me, whom had dedicated 28 years of my life being part of the Deaf community. The same goes to thousands of near-sighted, blurry-sighted, full-blind, or those with Usher Syndrome.
Carl, instead of accusing the others of pitifully exploiting us, see through that mindset that ASL needn’t be ruined for anyone else – the hearing, the oral, the parents, the ASL-deprived, the DeafBlind, you should think about how to provide accessibility for us other than “summaries” and removing subtitles. Think of logical solutions, rather than going against the v/bloggers who are attempting to call into foray the “forgotten” – the DeafBlind v/bloggers who matter. That, my friend, is deficit thinking. It wasn’t expanded nor logical, rather a unjustified rash of emotions surging from your passion of ASL. You forgot that people like me who are blind have the same passion for ASL and are being left out of the increasing number of vlogs made.
I have a number of vlogs with transcripts, and am working on a “library” of transcripts. I have gotten comments and emails from the legally blind and the hearing that they appreciate the transcripts, because it helps them have an idea of what I am talking about – even if the transcriber did not translate 100% from what I had signed of. But it is also my responsibility to EDIT the transcript to my preference.
As for subtitling, it does NOT have to happen, but transcripts are a wonderful alternative…. Yet, we have to practice what we preach with subtitling – if we demand to the hearing majority that we want accessibility through captions, we should do the same thing for them so they can SEE that the Deaf community has issues and pride and passion.
You forget that the Deaf community is “forgotten” to the hearing majority – and right now, the DeafBlind people feel forgotten to their own Deaf community.
Please stop pointing fingers and in turn, be creative with ideas how we all can be involved. It would be a sad day when I become blind completely and am completely shut out of everything ASL.
Unite, not divide.
Tactile love, Coco Roschaert
To v iew Carl’s vlog: