Deaf power (!) and Caption power (!)

May 26, 2011 Comments Off on Deaf power (!) and Caption power (!)

Deaf groups and individuals (that’s Deaf with a capital D for Deafhood, Deaf Identity and associated culture, language)……Deaf groups were protesting around the world yesterday in support of Italian Sign Language. Good for them. More power to them! We admire their concerted efforts.

Meanwhile, millions of “deaf, deafened, and people with hearing loss” – 95% or more of all Deaf, deaf, deafened, and those with hearing loss, who do not use Sign Language and often need Captioning as their receptive language – seem to lack a “voice” – where are the protests?

Where is coordinated action and a coherent agenda to demand inclusion of quality captioning universally? Captioning is our ramp for equal access. It’s our right (also) and a choice. More power to captioning also.

Get on board. Understand these needs also. The CCAC is one place, yet if there is anyone or any group who can organize real action for INCLUSION OF CAPTIONING UNIVERSALLY – go for it, tell us more soon.

Individual advocates and good organizations do a lot to make noise for captioning inclusion – among many other resources they also advocate for – in pieces – in movies, in museums, in other places – and very effectively at times. We applaud them also. Yet this is something different from coordinated action for captioning inclusion universally – removing bariers across so many places where no one mentions captioning yet at all.

It involves recognition that Caption is a powerful word. It’s so much more than a line under a photo, a bubble in a cartoon! It’s verbatim speech to text translation, and like all other valuable translations, it connects people, it includes us.

For one example, today we are informed that a huge event at major national cultural center mentions that Sign Language is available, and there is no mention of captioning at all. Not even mention that captioning is available on request! Advocates have spoken with this esteemed institution in past years. Is it to fall through the cracks, again? Do we need to remind each and every venue, over and over again, to mention that captioning is available also, each and every year?

Captioning serves millions who are not deaf also, millions who use it for other valid reasons – for literacy, for language differences, for a variety of real learning differences, for record-keeping, and more.


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