Christine Sun Kim’s Tedtalk presentation introduces us to her world. A world without sound. She was born deaf and for some time, she felt excluded from the hearing world because of her deafness. She learned very early that everything she does makes noise, and because of this she became hyper aware of sound. Her self awareness of living in a hearing world makes every action a conscious thought to maintain hearing etiquette. Like not to scrap your utensils, don’t slam doors, don’t burp in public etc… A world we don’t even give a second thought, because as hearing individuals this is the world we live in. In Kim’s Tedtalk, she presents to us not only inspiration in her art work but something hidden in-between the lines. The deaf community is a large and very over looked minority group that most hearing individuals simply don’t understand how to interact with, foreigners in their own country. Kim explains in the eyes of society, without a voice, you hold no social currency. So in order for her to be seen as an equal or to even be taken seriously by others in the art community, she needs to seek out interpreters that WILL see her as an equal and become her voice. Kim teaches us about deaf culture and encourages us to go out and learn more about the deaf community and its rich diversity. She encourages us that ASL isn’t just for the deaf, just like how music isn’t just for the hearing.
This is still an issue that is very much present and dealt with poorly because the lack of education and understanding of deaf awareness. This is a truth most deaf individuals simply live with, for instance going to the movies is un-enjoyable because of outdated equipment and most theaters refuse to have separate show-times for movies to include subtitles. Going out to eat can be exhausting if the server doesn’t know how to interact with someone who is deaf, or worse interacting with a police officer who has never encountered someone who is deaf, the list goes on and on. The ASL sign for “hearing” is the same sign for “public“. This is something I find disheartening because this implies the public isn’t for the deaf. I have two questions I want everyone to ask themselves, have you ever met someone who was deaf? And what could we do to help deaf individuals feel more included in today’s society as equals without taking away their culture.