SUPER BOWL XLV Will Go Down in History

I am so not a football fan. What do I know about tight ends? I thought they were called tight-asses for the longest time. Shame on me.  But as I said, I am not a football fan.

So why write about SuperBowl 2011? Because this is the game that will be remembered by many of us who are hard of hearing and Deaf/deaf. It’s the  first time, a broadcasting station and the advertisers have agreed to caption the game as well as every single commercial and promotion during this SuperBowl game. And of all stations, its the FOX channel who has decided to make this year closed caption accessible.

I also just read on the NAD (National Association for the Deaf) website, that the NFL has agreed to a 22 year old deaf woman from Texas to sign in ASL the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.  What I found interesting was that the NAD stated that they wanted a deaf or hard of hearing person to sign the two songs.

I sincerely applaud the NAD for achieving this momentous occassion, however, I truly feel that this is how hearing people develop the misconception that all hard of hearing people sign.  I truly believe that this is why it can be difficult to get an employee to agree to CART and ask us why we can’t do with a sign language interpreter.

Over the years, I too would request a sign language interpreter at work, when I felt I needed assistance in meetings.  I never requested CART, and up until I joined the SayWhatClub, I didn’t even know CART existed.  Since its inception, I had always used closed captioning on my television  and I will no longer watch anything on T.V. without CC.

My point is that I worry about this misconception that all hearing impaired people know sign language.  I am concerned that hearing people will continue to believe that we are ALL signers. Most hearing people do not know sign language themselves yet, they get off the hook trying to communicate with us by believing we sign.  This way, they can write it off as either the hearing person (themselves) not knowing the “language” or the hearing impaired person (us) who doe not sign, cannot understand receptive language.  Rather than just trying to communicate with a person that is hard of hearing.

When its all said and done, I am starting to believe that there is a hard of hearing culture and we need to ban together to make CART and remote CART totally accessible for the hard of hearing.  The Deaf cultured community is a strong group because they have the NAD working to help them.  It’s time for us to become louder and stronger  about our needs as a group so that one day, we will be able to say, we are as important as any other culture and people will not only HEAR us but will be more sensitive and patient about our needs.

Oh, and by the way, this momentous occassion will not be appreciated by the hearing population unless they have a friend or loved one who is deaf or hard of hearing.  Just like our disability is referred to the hidden disability, this very special day will be hidden and go unnoticed by many.

0 thoughts on “SUPER BOWL XLV Will Go Down in History

  1. You know, what you said about hard of hearing ‘culture’ was interesting. I blogged about that a while back too. There are different definitions of culture. The definition I’m referring to here would be #5 from “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture” as opposed to definition #6 which has to do with anthropology. I know when Deaf say they have a culture they mean it in anthropology terms. But I think the HH have a ‘culture’ of sorts. I do feel a kinship with people like me who can’t hear well. The ability to sign or not sign is secondary to that.

  2. I do believe you’re right about the differences in definitions of culture and how it applies to the Deaf vs. Hard of Hearing. The Deaf do see their culture as purely the language of the Deaf that bonds them. We as hard of hearing and late deafened feel a kinship by the mere fact that we are hard of hearing. We may experience parallel lives of the Deaf but the hard of hearing have a very different issue when it comes to hearing people not understanding speech discrimination and that the hearing aid does not give us 20/20 hearing. They just don’t get it!

  3. I love the idea of a Hard of Hearing Culture. I just wish we could come up with ONE word to describe it instead of that awkward three-word thing we have going. Great post, Pearl!

  4. You’re absolutely right PJ, the advertisers’ are responsible for including captioning. I apologize for not including that and will make the correction. In anycase, everyone should make a point of thanking the sponsors.

  5. Thanks for the Blog – all of it!
    We continue to be impressed with the design of this blog also :-), so attractive visually!
    Here’s to all cultures!
    Lauren/CCAC – all volunteers, free membership, join us soon to add your voice to a captioning advocacy group

  6. I’ve been made more clear on this issue after learning about the Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC). I knew captioning was a good thing, and am not saying ASL is not as good, but as you say, Pearl, not everyone who can’t hear signs, but most who can’t hear are able to read, so I agree with the points made in your article. I’m sure you’ll find those who see what you say as dissing ASL, but in a world where most who are hearing won’t appreciate that the entire Super Bowl broadcast being captioned–they actually might even complain about it, if they are anything like some of the people I’ve come across who see captioning as an infringement on their right to watch TV without distraction–I think whether we sign or need captioning we should be grateful for each other and any mode of making what is spoken more understandable on a broader level. I’d love to know and use ASL, but truthfully, in my life, it wouldn’t make much difference at all for me to know ASL, as I rarely come across any opportunity to use it. Captioning is something I use every day. Just a fact.


  7. Personal, I know that deaf girl who doing the sign language in National Anthem at Super Bowl. Her name is Candice Villesca. However, I find it disappointment that camera doesn’t give enough time to video of her in beautiful signing. It move dash for less 3 seconds.

  8. So I’m curious..

    For the national anthem, was Candice aware of Christina A messing up the lyrics, and how did she handle it?

    Great that society is finally catching up with your needs.


  9. Thanks for shinarg and this is probably the most powerful information I have ever seen. I plan to share it with my colleagues at NCSD on my first day of the school year on 15th of this month.

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