What kind of stories do you see about Deaf people in the news or in your social media feed? What sorts of words, language, or images do you notice are associated with Deaf people?
Are they stories of woe and despair turned into hope? Are they stories about overcoming adversity and challenges? Are they stories of people not letting being Deaf stop them from being whatever it is they want to be?
That can feel positive, but these stories often have a dark flip side – an unseen narrative that implies that being Deaf is not something to celebrate, but something to get past, to overcome.
For the millions of people who consume stories like this, unconscious bias can creep in, creating and reinforcing damaging misperceptions about Deaf people. Biases based on inauthentic, negative representation can affect everything from personal or professional relationships to the likelihood of being hired for a job.
That is why CSD is undertaking a new initiative designed to address inauthentic representation, and the biases and misperceptions it perpetuates. Our new #DeafinMedia campaign will foster a healthy dialogue geared towards positive change. The campaign will be led by Jenna Beacom and Tyrone Giordano, with the support of CSD’s PREP team, and will be living mostly online and in the social media spheres.
CSD CEO Christopher Soukup says, “I am proud of the culture that we have cultivated at CSD, with Deaf and hearing people working seamlessly together. We already know here at CSD that Deaf people have incredible value to offer the world—something that the world at large is slowly learning as well. With every story we tell about our community and the people in it, we can accelerate this learning.”
#DeafInMedia will engage the public by interacting with the stories about us that are circulating out there. #DeafInMedia addresses three main areas: representation of Deaf people, Deaf professionals who work in the media, and audiences that consume media on a daily basis. #DeafInMedia is meant to celebrate good portrayals as much as it is to critique problematic ones, all in the name of positive social change.
Tyrone Giordano says, “In two decades of working in news and entertainment media, I’m beyond convinced of the power of telling stories to create positive change, especially when stories about Deaf people are told by ourselves or with our active participation.”
Let’s advance the conversation about Deaf people, and ensure that the stories told about us accurately reflect who we are: human beings who contribute to the wonderful diversity that is all of collective humanity.
Visit the #DeafinMedia website here: www.deafinmedia.com