The conversation addressed ableism, or “the practices and dominant attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potentials of persons with disabilities,” as defined by StopAbleism.org. Ableism is something that affects the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as people in minority groups and those with disabilities.
After being addressed with the common phrase “falling on deaf ears,” Karamo wondered if it was offensive. He took to the social media platform to get some thoughts.
Someone just said to me, “I feel like my message is falling on deaf ears…” and I told them that I felt that “saying” is inappropriate. It seems disrespectful and rude to the deaf & HOH community. She said I was being over sensitive. Thoughts?— Karamo Brown (@Karamo) May 23, 2019
I spent a lot of time reading through the conversation on Twitter and was intrigued by the variety of responses. More than anything, I was proud and happy to see the deaf communities provide their genuine thoughts.
I personally don’t take offense to the statement, but I loved and resonated with these responses best:
Ableist language is “part of an entire system of ableism, and doesn’t exist simply by itself,” says writer and activist Lydia X. Z. Brown. “Language reflects and influences society and culture. [It] isn’t important for silly semantic reasons, but because it cannot be separated from the culture in which it is deployed.””
“Language reflects and influences society and culture.”
Overall, I think Karamo’s discussion about the phrase “falling on deaf ears” opened up a good exchange. I noticed people were learning from each other, which is more than what can be said about most Twitter threads.
Reading everyone’s comments breaks my heart. I don’t know how much power I have but know, the next time I’m at Netflix I’m going to bring up this issue internally & wont stop until something changes. Deaf & HOH people should have the same experience as everyone else! #TypoFixed https://t.co/AQ4emvgUBv— Karamo Brown (@Karamo) June 28, 2018
What do you think of the phrase “falling on deaf ears”? Do you think it is offensive to the deaf community? What other phrase could we say instead? Let us know in the comments!