Celebrating Representation, Identity and Diversity of Black Deaf Families Part 3

This blog is part 3 of 4

In continuation of our series “Celebrating Representation, Identity, and Diversity of Black Deaf Families,” we want to take a closer look into what it means to be Black Deaf. This week our focus is on the various intersectional identities within Black Deaf communities.  

Catch our first two blogs featuring wholesome stories from Black Deaf and CODA content creators and a discussion on the representation of Black Deaf families.  

 

Identity is defined as the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks, and/or expressions that make a person or group. Our sense of self is a combination of the things we are taught by our families, society, and the things we discover for ourselves. The culture, language, experience, and appearance of Black Deaf people is so diverse, yet many elements are shared. If you ever wondered why many identify as Black Deaf versus Deaf Black, it is because these shared elements cannot be denied and are a huge part of how we are perceived by society.  

To better understand the nuances of Black Deafhood, it is important to watch how Black Deaf individuals present themselves. Here are some videos and resources you can view to better understand the intersectionality of culture, experience, language, and appearance to the Black Deaf identities.  

Culture

We are storytellers

Black culture is very difficult to explain to people who don’t have any direct contact with it.

Jess Row

Experience

We are resilient in the face of adversity.

I speak to the Black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition–about what we can endure, dream, fail at and survive.

Maya Angelou

The Black Deaf experience is rooted in racism, discrimination and division. However, a strong culture of advocacy and activism has kept the community defiant in the face of adversity and hopeful that things will get better. Below are a series of videos from Black Deaf individuals detailing the challenges of being Black, Deaf and more in today’s society.

 

Language

We have a rich and unique linguistic heritage

Every Black man is bi-lingual, we speak street vernacular, and we speak job interview.

Dave Chapelle

Just as Black communities across America use a variant of standardized English or  African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Black Deaf communities also use a unique dialect called Black American Sign Language. Learn more about it below.

Appearance

Black is beautiful

I find in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy, a strength, a secret cup of gladness.

Ossie Davis

Black people come in all shades, creeds, and intersectional identities – all are beautiful. Here are some videos of Black Deaf people sharing their pride for who they are.

The Black Deaf identity is multi-faceted and complex. These videos and resources only provide a glimpse of what it means to identify as Black and Deaf. Shared culture, language, appearances, and experiences have helped to define a collective sense of identity that is always shifting and changing. If you identify as Black Deaf, what does your identity mean to you? Send us a message on of our social media platforms or email us your response at share@csd.org and we will feature your responses on our pages

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That’s Not All!

Be sure to check out our other blogs for more Black History Month resources:
Join us in mobilizing resources for our deaf communities!