5. What role has social media played in the lives of younger black deaf generations? Can you relate to these experiences in any way?
Option 1: Explore Black ASL on TikTok.
Would you like to learn more about the nuances of Black ASL? Spend a few minutes watching Nakia Smith’s videos on TikTok (find her at @itscharmay). Then, discuss with a classmate or write what you discovered using these prompts:
What are some of the most notable things you learned about the culture and history of Black ASL or Black Deaf while watching Ms. Smith’s videos?
What other questions do you have about Black ASL?
How effective do you think TikTok is as a medium for Ms. Smith’s message? Why?
Option 2: Discuss the importance of media representation.
How often do you feel represented in the TV shows or movies you watch? Do you often see yourself in the media that you consume? Or is your particular identity not contained in most of the things you see?
In “When more deaf people are seen on television, others want to be heard,” writes Ilaria Parogni:
While filming the reality series “Deaf U,” Rodney Burford didn’t focus too much on the effect he and his cochlear implants would have on viewers. “In my own mind, I was like, ‘Yo, I’m really on Netflix,'” said the 22-year-old performer on the show, which is expanding a group of students at Gallaudet University, the country’s only liberal arts college for the deaf.
Things changed after the show debuted last fall. Parents of cochlear implant users began to share how seeing Burford on screen had affected their children. “So I would say, no question about it, I’m proud,” he said in an interview. “I’m very proud.”
Many deaf and hard of hearing people have welcomed the increased visibility that deafness and hearing loss have enjoyed on television recently. In the current season of “The Bachelor” on ABC, Abigail Heringer can be seen, who is considered to be the first deaf candidate and wearer of cochlear implants on the show. The hard of hearing actress Angel Theory is currently playing on “Kinderfänger” on Facebook Watch and plays Kelly, a character with hearing loss, in AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. and Disney + announced that a Hawkeye series in development will feature a Deaf Native American actress, Alaqua Cox, as Echo, a Deaf Native American superhero.
Have you seen any television show or movies that star deaf actors or tell stories about deaf people? If so, what was it like to see this kind of representation on the screen? How well do you think deaf people are represented in the media?
What ideas do you have for increasing the representation of the Deaf in general, and of the Deaf in particular, in TV shows and films? How could production companies ensure they accurately portray the Deaf culture or the Deaf black culture?
Describe a time when you felt like you saw part of yourself – your identity or personal experience – in a book, TV show, or movie. How did it feel to be portrayed like this? Did the presentation feel fair and correct? What do you think books, TV shows, and movies could do better to portray something unique about who you are?
In your opinion, how important is the representation of different cultures and communities in the media? How important do you think it is to see deaf people from different backgrounds on the screen? Why?
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