Imagine turning on the radio and hearing nothing. Imagine going to the hospital and having to use pen and paper the whole time in order to communicate important medical information. Envision having to always have to put in a request for an interpreter for meetings and other important life events. Think about being pulled over for speeding and not being able to explain anything to the cop. Visualize never being able to go to a movie theater because they don't provide closed captioning.
These are hearing privileges. These are the struggles that people within the Deaf community face on a daily basis.
First, I'd like to say that I am hearing. Second, on behalf of all hearing people, I would like to apologize to the Deaf community for not accommodating them and for always expecting them to accommodate hearing people. I am a college student in my third level of American Sign Language and have only recently learned about some very popular hashtags going on in the Deaf community. These include #hearingprivilege, #whyisign and #audism.
These three popular hashtags are meant to raise awareness of the injustices that we, as hearing people, do to deaf individuals, and to promote equality and acceptance of Deaf culture. It's time to start thinking differently.
As hearing people, we take hearing for granted. We don't realize all the conveniences we have. When we meet someone who is deaf, we ask them, "Do you read lips?" instead of being able to sign with them or even attempt to accommodate them whatsoever.
Have you seen that cool hand glove that turns a sign into speech? Well, how is a deaf individual supposed to hear that speech? Once again, we're making them accommodate us. How many YouTube videos aren't captioned? Commercials? How many times is a deaf individual denied something in everyday life because they're deaf?
We need to stop expecting someone who is deaf to accommodate our hearing and start working towards an equal community where everyone can utilize what they need and everyone can communicate. It's not hard to learn a couple of signs or to take the time to caption a video. It's the little things that you can do to change the world.
So, to any deaf individual, I am sorry that you have been denied so many things. I am sorry that because I am hearing, you are the one who suffers.