Cultural Thursday Dec. 5 – Insights into Deaf Culture


(audience chatting off mic) – Okay good, see I
think we’ll get started. If you have a cell phone please
remember to turn that off so that it’s not a distraction, I need it, just for some information here. So today we’re fortunate to
have Emily Smith-Lundberg. She will be talking on Deaf culture. Emily was the former governor
appointed board member of the Minnesota Commission
of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans. She’s also one of several deaf mentors for the Minnesota Lifetrack Deaf and Hard of Hearing Family Services. So please join me in welcoming Emily. (audience clapping) – [Interpreter] Thank you. Okay, I have to get a
drink of water first. Deaf people get dry mouth too
your hands don’t get tired but your mouth gets dry, I don’t know why. Maybe we’re nervous, I don’t know. Okay, thank you, I’m so
excited to be here today and share with you about deaf culture. As a deaf person, I live
breathe and sleep Deaf culture. How many of you have never
met with the person who’s deaf or hard of hearing before? Never, like never, come
on be honest, right? Good, good, good, good. Well, I’m excited to share
with you about my culture. Three important points
that I wanna touch on today is what is deaf culture? And some examples of Deaf culture. And then what I wish
hearing people knew about our culture, and ASL
and the deaf community. The world over there are 466 million deaf and hard of hearing people. That seems like a lot, right? But really, it’s not. If you count all the
hearing people in the world it’s a very small percentage,
but we love each other. (laughing) So what is deaf culture? Deaf culture really is the heart and center of the deaf community. Deaf, there’s a deaf social linguist called Barbara Kannapel. And she developed a specific linguistic
meaning for Deaf culture. And it’s a set of learned behaviors from a group of people who are deaf, and they have their own
language and their values and their rules and their traditions. Let me give you some examples. Let me give you just
a tiny bit of history. In 1880, there was a very large
conference in Milan, Italy. It was mostly hearing people
that went to this conference, hearing educators and the
purpose of this conference which is to decide and to set up goals for how to Teach deaf
and hard of hearing kids. During this conference, there was a huge there was a lot of controversy
during the conference. And they were trying
to decide the best way to teach Deaf and Hard
of Hearing children. They decided the best way to teach deaf and hard of hearing kids was
to use oralism or speaking. And that time it was a terrible
blow to the deaf community. They were afraid that the deaf community was going to be extinguished. And at that time, a few years after that George Veditz was the president of the National Association of the Deaf. Each state has their own
Association of the Deaf, and they get together for
conferences every year, okay, and this conference was in 1913. So at that time, that was just the start of the age of the movie and film. And so the deaf community
really took advantage of that in order to
preserve their language and to preserve what was
happening at that time in history. There’s a wonderful presentation he gave, and there’s a very famous
quote at the end there. He says, I didn’t wanna
fall off the stage. “As long as we have deaf people on earth, “we will have signs, and as
long as we have our films, “we can preserve our
beautiful sign language “in its original purity. “It’s our hope that we will love and guard “our beautiful sign
language as the noblest gift “God has given to deaf people.” And I watched this video,
I always am very inspired. Because, wow, at that time,
people were afraid that ASL was gonna be gone and
they did not believe ASL was equal to English, but, it has happened periodically through history as well
not just at this time. Let me show you just a snap of that. Let’s hope this works. George, do you know how to do that? It should link to YouTube. And if not, that’s fine,
we can get by without it, But, okay, that’s okay. It’s a YouTube link but if
you type in George Veditz, and preserving sign language, you will get just a short 11 minute video. And the last part is
probably the 30 seconds is this quote that you can
see him sign it’s very cool. Okay, let’s do some
examples of Deaf culture. How many of you know deaf people? How do you get their attention? Okay, I’ve got some waving, yep. Somebody said yell their name. Okay, well, how about this one waving? If there’s a deaf person in the room, and you can wave at them absolutely. How about light flashing? You can flash the lights one or two times. Don’t do it a whole lot because, you know. Shoulder tapping, you can totally one or two times if you do it more than that,
it means there’s an emergency, or you want their attention right now. How about on the table? Tapping a table. Now look, don’t pound hard because right, the whole room will look at you, but you totally can do that. You can stomp your foot. Not like you’re mad, but okay. So if you don’t wanna look
like you’re throwing a tantrum. So, a couple times. This happens all the
time, I love this cartoon. People are signing, however many people and a hearing person comes and is afraid that they’re gonna cause an obstacle and they don’t know how to
get through the conversation. Let me explain. Deaf people are chatting,
they make eye contact, and they must make eye contact,
it’s extremely important. Because if you’re distracted, and you break that eye contact,
that connection is gone. So people think, oh, gosh,
I can’t walk between them. But really, the best thing to do is just go ahead and walk through. You don’t have to say excuse me, you don’t have to say just go on through. It’s not rude. In hearing culture, it would be rude, yes, but in Deaf culture, it is not rude. It’s rude to distract us, right? So just go ahead and walk on through. The man who does this cartoon, His name is Matt, he is a deaf cartoonist, and his wife Kay is a hearing interpreter. And they have three hearing sons and he does amazing comic strips about real life and deaf
culture, it’s very great. All right, how to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people. Make eye contact for sure,
that’s very important. Hearing people, for you, how do you know that you’re
expressing your emotions? How do you express your emotions? Your voice modulates right? Your voice goes up and down. So when people are
signing for deaf people, we use facial expression, and that’s really part of our language. It’s the structure and grammar in ASL. And hearing people in the community. Sometimes they’re like, “Oh, deaf people are
really mad all the time.” No, we’re not mad, we’re
just using facial expression that’s part of our language in signing. Lip reading, oh! I hate this one, “Can you read lips?” Okay? The best lip readers in the world only get 30% of the English language, 30%. So that’s every what, third, fifth word? There’s no way you can
communicate like that. So please don’t rely on lip reading. Mouth movements, when you’re speaking, if you exaggerate your mouth movements, is that something you
normally do in a conversation? Not really. So and it’s the same when
you’re talking with deaf people. Please don’t exaggerate
your mouth movements because it makes it harder and don’t cover your mouth, right? Because we need to see your face, we need to see your facial expressions. When you’re chatting with deaf people, another thing to keep in mind is really we depend on information
when we communicate, and so we don’t have a
flat facial expression. So when I’m communicating
something to you, I need to know that
you’re understanding me and we’re on the same page. So I needed like a head nod, okay? Lighting is very important. It’s important to have good lighting so that we can see each other. If it’s dark or dim, it’s harder to see, if it’s super bright, that’s hard too, so you need a good middle ground. And when you’re speaking
with a deaf person, make sure that there’s not a bright light in front of you or a window. Make sure everybody’s comfortable. If I ask you to repeat what
you’ve said, please do that. Don’t ever say never mind
or Oh, it’s not important. I mean, if it was important
enough the first time it’s important enough for the second time, I wanna be part of the conversation. I wanna be in the situation
I wanna be involved. And if something happens,
and I don’t understand, somebody says maybe, “I like your hair.” But I say, “Oh I’m sorry, what is that?” “I like your haircut, right?” Because it’s just varied a little bit. So if you keep saying the
same thing over and over, it’s not as helpful to help figure it out. And then also, when you go
to a store or something, it’s fine, right? Right back and forth
with your deaf client. And you can use basic
gestures, but write it down. Technology is great, text it on a phone, you can read it on the phone. I have an app. My friend is developing
a deaf friend of mine, it’s a specific app that’s
used with hearing people, with large text, so it
makes it easy to read. So that’s kind of cool. Or Hey, how about learning ASL? CLC has a wonderful ASL
classes here that you can take. Maybe just learn ABCs, just that is great, it’s wonderful. If you finger spell,
I’ll show you the sign, and then you’re learning at the same time, you’re learning vocabulary. Okay. Again, deaf people are very visual people. And so we have really wanna know a sense of our environment. We wanna know what’s up and
what’s happening around us. So if people leave a
conversation or group, you always let somebody know, “Hey, I’m gonna run to the bathroom. “Hey, I’m gonna go pick up
the kids and then come back.” We share information. For example, growing up and still today. When I go to bed, I wake up I
checked everything around me when I wake up, it’s to see
if I’ve missed anything, if anything’s happened at
night when I was asleep. Like the Christmas, it’s Christmas now. And so the Christmas tree
is up, and we have a cat. And so guess what happened this morning? That Yeah, so I always check those things the first thing when I wake up there’s also something called
Deaf Standard Time, okay? This is not for real, this is like not for work or school, it’s more for social things. But what happens is, is
that it’s this picture. This is a restaurant, and
they’ve closed, right? Obviously, they’ve closed
because all the chairs are up and all the deaf people are
still there chatting away and the people are trying to leave and the workers are
like, “Come on, get out.” And deaf people are still there. I remember going out with friends and restaurants were closed. Then we go to Perkins, because
they’re open 24 hours, right? And when Perkins was done, then
we went to the parking lot, chat, chat, chat chat, and then we got in our
cars and chatted more. And then as we’re leaving,
we’re still talking, because this is something
we really cherish and that’s our communication and we live in the hearing world where people are talking all the time, and they have access to
that kind of conversation. But for example, when
you go to a restaurant, you hear other people’s
conversations, right? Or maybe pumping gas, people
are having a conversation, you can chat with people at the gas pump. Deaf people really make up for
that when they get together. So they take advantage
of that precious time to chat and to continue
that bond that we have. And we have the same bond
because we have the same culture, we have the same experiences, and we share information
during those times. And we stay until everything closes. (laughing) And ASL students who
are taking classes here, when you go to an event, right, they learn that very quickly. Holy cow, it went for a
long time (laughs) right? Okay, so. So people are in general are late So, with deaf individuals, they typically will
explain why they are late. It’s not just because,
“Oh my appointment long.” They go into full detail and explain that the nurse messed this
up and so on and so forth. So then they explain all
of those minute details because they want to
provide that communication and provide that information and the reason why they’re late. So when somebody shows up
late, it’s a distraction, so everybody looks
therefore they explain that. So hearing people typically
just show up and that’s it. Or they don’t go into detail or they just the surface information. Okay, so we for setting
up the environment, we are very visual. So of course the lighting we
talked about a little bit, but at a restaurant, typically
we will pick a restaurant that is good with deaf people. For example, a restaurant that has, is willing to change the
tables and the chairs so then we can move them around
and also have good lighting. Sometimes when you go to a restaurant, you know they have that darker lighting, that mood lighting kind of thing. So we asked them, “Hey, can
you turn it off please?” And kind of go back and forth because then they’ll turn it back down. But we also look for a restaurant that has good waiters and waitresses. So then we have easy communication access, and having a good customer
service experience too. So at different events. Let’s see, I’m gonna just step back and explain my wedding what happened. So most weddings, typically
you have rows of seating with the aisle in the center. And the bride and the groom
typically are standing facing against the audience
and toward each other. So my wedding was the complete opposite. There was no aisle and whatnot, it was just we had the
all the seats lined up. And we had a stage that
was facing the audience. Therefore, everybody could see us when we were signing back and forth, and they could see that
connection have that connection. And the pastor was deaf as well. And so we had two interpreters. And one was a male
interpreter for my husband who was voicing for them, then we had a female
interpreter voicing for me. And so they could see both
of us at the same time. And it was a very fluid interaction that everybody could see and be a part of. We wanted both the hearing and the deaf people to be involved. So for example, we also had a live band. And we wanted to be able to see that music and my uncle, he built a wood floor for dance floor and my
dad helped him of course, and they put the subwoofers
and whatnot in the flooring. So then we could feel the
vibration and feel that music. There’s just a whole list of things that we made and tweaked and changed. And we had the lights and everything because we had to make it visual. And now for in the home. It’s an open floor plan. And that’s very popular
with deaf individuals. So for example, my husband
actually built our house and the living room and
kitchen and dining area is all one big open room. So then, we can catch our
kids doing mischievous things, we can catch it when
they’re out and about. But anyways, it’s an open floor plan so then it’s very visual. And then we have many windows
as well because that provides a natural lighting and if you
have lighting in the house, you have shadows and so
we’d replace the lighting to better to reduce the shadows in the house to make it more visual. Okay, we’d like everybody to just kind of take a
look at these pictures. So we have deaf artists. And these are individuals that
are really through their art, they’re expressing their experience growing up as a deaf individual. So some people have a great experience and others have a lot of trauma
in their while growing up. So this one on the left is the family dog. And this artist name is Susan Dupal. So, she had a hearing
family and she was deaf and she felt like the family dog, everybody was all How are you? How Oh, and then that’s it. That was it just Oh, how are you doing? And then that was it. So that was kind of a picture
of her experience growing up. And a lot of deaf people feel that way. And I would say 90% of deaf people are from hearing families. And only 3% of those 90% signed with their kids. So that’s a lot of trauma that
those kids are experiencing. Now we have the deaf man
by the name of Chuck Bard. He painted a mural called The Buffin Blue. And I’ll be touching
on Gallaudet University a little bit later. But this is at Gallaudet University. And these are all definitely
visuals that are connected. You can see the yellow child for example, he’s signing the sign for deaf. Yep, they have that sign for deaf. And then orange, that person
signing were the same, like I’m deaf just like you. So they have that connection right there. And this one is, like I finally found my
place, like I found home. These are my people, my culture, my language, my everything
is incorporated in that, is demonstrated in this piece right here. So a case study is painted by Nancy Roark and it’s only used primary colors, which is her tendency
when she’s doing art, just kind of another little tidbit to add, but she’s expressing the
hearing world related to the medical field. And they really only focus
on the auditory aspects and not the whole person in general. So we have the DNA strands, and it’s being cut to
remove that deaf gene from that hereditary gene. So then we also have the hands
are tied up it looks like, and looks like there’s
injuries and whatnot because they were banning
signing at that time. Schools in the past had
banned sign language, and if you are caught signing, they will hit you over
the hands with that. So that’s just three different artists and there are a plethora
of different artists and I was struggling on
which ones I wanted to pick, but these are the three
that I then decided to show. Okay, stories. So we have in Deaf culture,
there’s many different stories, of course, and it’s a good
quote there on the left. So we really believe and
cherish that passing down from generation to generation
and that storytelling. So there’s different types
of stories that we can tell. So we have a deaf folklore and deaf humor. So one story that I’m going to explain is the deaf King Kong. So do you guys know who King Kong is? You guys know the story he meets someone, falls in love with them gets
married, so on and so forth. So, deaf King Kong, he goes walking in and he’s climbing up the tower. And when he gets on top, he
sees the beautiful woman. And the beautiful woman
walks into his hand. And he’s just so in love with her and when he asked her to
marry her, what happens? Some get it, some don’t get it. So the sign for marriage is this. So imagine big old King Kong,
he’s huge and then you have a little tiny person standing on his hand and yeah, missed out on that one. (audience laughing) So we have deaf poetry. There’s a lot of different connections with experiences growing up, cultural emotional
experiences that are withheld in those poetry, now we have ASL songs. And ASL rhyming, so, deaf people naturally rhyme. music in general, we can
feel it but not always knowing that full meaning. So we have four different senses. You guys have five we have four, And so those four are heightened because we are missing our fifth sense. We have smell, sight, taste, maybe we can taste better than you guys, I don’t know and then feel of course. So our feet our sense of feel is stronger and we get that when we’re listening or we can feel the
music, but it’s different than what you guys get when
you’re listening to music. So growing up, I was not that
savvy with music and whatnot. My parents of course they loved music. And they loved Janis Joplin, that was always going really
loud, that was their favorite. And later on, many years later, so I’m gonna back up just a little bit. So for school, concerts and
things, having an interpreter, that signing the songs,
typically is very one monotone. And the interpreter was
monotone, and I didn’t get it. I didn’t have that full access. But many years later, came
to classes here at CLC. And the teacher here,
it was a very involved in doing the performance
interpreting and signing to provide the equal
experience for deaf individuals when they’re at a concert with music. So at first I thought, Oh, no, that’s way too much
tone it down too much too much. But through that process, I learned the difference of
like vibrato, for example. And how the music, the musicians themselves
and everything is included in what the interpreter needs to be doing. So growing up, I missed that. So now I really enjoy music
because I’ve been exposed to and learned that whole process. So deaf people do have a subconscious but I don’t think that there’s maybe the fully equivalent access,
but that concept is there and it’s being developed
and it’s starting to spread. So ASL hand shapes. There’s like ABC stories, for example, in the whole A to Z and they use one hand, each hand shape from A
to Z to tell that story. So for example, I will do a number story. So we have one, two, three, not three, it’s three
the thumb the pointer and then the middle
finger, four and then five. So I will incorporate those
numbers to then tell a story related to my presentation today. So the number one, a girl walked in, looked around, felt very brave and got up and spoke. Okay, watch again. – One.
– Girl walked in. – Two.
– Looked around. – Three.
– Felt very brave. – Four.
– Spoke. – Five.
– And got a standing ovation. – [Interpreter] So that is a number story which is similar to an ABC story. And then we have a narrative or personal experiences stories that really they tell their experience of their story growing up, and then movies or cinematography stories, that’s, you never forget about those movies. Because typically that story is. So for example, Star Wars. They will say like, the princess will say I love you, and then Han Solo will say I know. So we’re just gonna take
that scene, for example. So deaf people when they’re doing that, they will copy that scene when
they are then acting that out and providing that full language access to that clip, or that movie. Okay, so I have some deaf jokes as well. I mean, there are hearing jokes
that deaf people do not get because they’re based audio logically. They’re based on sound. And for Deaf jokes,
they’re much more visual, and maybe it’s our experiences
as well that make them funny. Okay, so this is the motel joke, two deaf people went on vacation, decided to stay at the
motel for the night. “Gosh, we need some snacks.” So one decided to go buy some snacks. The other stayed at the hotel. But he came back and realized,
“Oh my gosh, it’s dark. “I don’t know which room
is mine, I can’t remember.” So he sat in the car laid on the horn until all the lights came on
until one room was left dark. Oh, that’s my room. (audience laughing) All right, so a family joke. Here’s another one a man
was losing his hearing. He went to the audiologist
got hearing aids, went home with his family,
a month later went back to do a hearing aid check to
make sure everything was fine. The audiologist said “Gosh, “your hearing is back to
normal with your hearing aids. “That’s great, that’s amazing.” The Hard of hearing man said yeah, “I’m not telling my
family about it though, “because I’ve been listening to everything “that’s going on and I
changed my will three times.” (audience laughing) All right, here’s another
one, “Can you read?” Hearing man was looking at
a deaf man on the street and he wrote a note. And the note said, “Can you read?” Past it to the deaf person. The deaf person wrote
down, “No, can you write?” (audience laughing) Okay, this one’s a fart joke. Hearing people think
farts are funny, right? I mean, I know my family,
they think it’s hilarious. I don’t know, but deaf people
don’t think it’s funny. Because, again, it’s sound based, right? So, the joke is why do farts have to smell? Because God wanted to
provide the same experience for deaf people as hearing people. (audience laughing) Okay, last one, “Lights off.” Two Deaf friends went
out, chatted all night, we talked about Deaf Standard Time, right? Chatted and chatted, came home very late, chatting with each other again. And then one of the men said, “Oh, your wife was mad last night “because you came home late.” The other deaf guy said, “No. “Oh, well, she was swearing all night.” Said, “What did you do?” “I turned the lights off.” (audience laughing) Conversations done when the lights go off. Okay, so those are just a
few examples of deaf jokes. Name signs, you guys
know what a name sign is? This is a big part of Deaf culture. My name sign is this, an E, shaken? So E, for Emily and really,
maybe I should back up, really, I should, tight really, this is my name sign, Emily, because when I was little,
I liked running in circles. I don’t know why but I just did it. So then my name sign became
Emily running in circles. I don’t know. So and now it’s kind of changed to Emily just shaken, anyway. So, native tribes used to
give name signs to people, and deaf culture does the same. And a name sign can only be given by a culturally deaf person, a deaf person who knows the linguistics of American Sign Language
and knows the rules, yhey are able to give a
name sign, for example, I have a friend and I
think she’s five now. And so we had a friend was named Carey. And my five year old friend,
signed woman for her for Carey always and I thought what is the world? So that became her name sign
is a K in the same shape as the sign for a woman. So you need to have the right
place and the right time, you just don’t give name signs. They’re very precious and you have to assign them appropriately. And this is Gallaudet. I’ll explain him just in a
minute but this is his name sign. It’s a G, Gallaudet on
the head for his glasses, I believe Gallaudet. Okay, this is Gallaudet University. Who’s going to Gallaudet
University in March. Good. One of the most special
places in the world for deaf and hard of hearing
people is Gallaudet University. I cannot explain to you
how important this is. The first time I went out to campus, it was like, there are no words really. Let me explain. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
was a man who wanted to start a school for the Deaf. He wanted to work with deaf people. But here in America, there was no way he could
learn how to do that, and he did hear about some folks overseas learned cleric in France who was teaching deaf and hard of hearing kids. So he got on a boat got to France, and months and months of
begging it took for him to convince one of the Thomas
Clarke to come back to set up the American School for the
Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, and that was set up. Really it was the start of the university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Abraham Lincoln signed the charter for Gallaudet University in 1864. So it’s been around a long time. It is the only liberal
arts college for deaf and hard of hearing people in the world. So 50% of the teachers
are deaf 50% are hearing. And in order to work there or go there, you really must have the right attitude. I mean, there’s gotta be a good reason why you’re teaching at Gallaudet. You have to be taking
sign language classes, you have to be learning the five registers of ASL and the five, you
must have a certain level of expertise and pass
the test at a level four in order to even be
allowed to teach there. And if you cannot, you can’t continue to be
employed at Gallaudet University. Growing up in a mainstream school, I grew up here, I went
to school in Brainerd, I had a wonderful experience in Brainerd and my parents really made
sure I had equal access they had made sure I had a good education. It was a great experience. But then I went to Gallaudet
and my first class I walked in, I sat down and the classrooms
are set up in a deaf way. So they were set up in a half circle so everyone could see one another. And I was waiting for the teacher and the first thing I noticed
is that everyone was talking and I understood all the conversations. I was understanding all this stuff. Growing up, I never had that, I missed out on all that conversation. And the teacher showed
up and started signing. And I was like, wait a minute, I’m looking for the interpreter. And I realized oh my Gosh,
I don’t need an interpreter. I can get it right from the instructor. It was mind boggling, I
was part of the class. I didn’t have to worry about an interpreter not understanding me. I didn’t have to any of
that, I was just involved. It changed my world. People like Gallaudet who
work there in the cafeteria and the post office,
wherever they all sign. So it’s a place that is really has equal access for the community. There’s no thinking about communication. There’s no thinking about
access like I do here. It’s totally open and this is chapel Hall. And this is the first
building right on campus and the first building built there. The clock tower is a very
famous part of Gallaudet. Before Washington DC was
built up the way it is now, that’s where people would
look to, to watch the time in the whole entire town
is they would look at that. Here’s our campus, you’ll
see that’s the capital, the US Capital, and over here
is the Library of Congress. And then right next, there
is the Supreme Court. And the federal building is there. It’s a very special place. Okay, deaf people love details. Because we’re always
looking for information. And hearing people tend to say, Oh, look at the person over there. That’s the end of their sentence. And deaf people will say, Well, look at the person over there, that’s the boy, you know
the boy he’s Caucasian. his glasses, he has a green sweater on, blue pants. Sitting with his legs crossed. Who do you think that could be? Yeah, right. So they will describe on and on and on and hearing people say, well the boy. So deaf people love details
and they will give you them. They have really nice teeth, right? All of them. (laughs) And deaf folks are very
advanced in technology. We’re always looking for
ways to stay connected with information in the world and have access to communication. So we texted way before in the
90s before anybody else did. You guys all caught up later. (laughing) We have video phones, we use FaceTime. Skype and we started using
that in the late 90s. Captioning, we’ve had captioning forever. Now hearing people like to turn the captions on
for each other, right? Not just for deaf people, but
they’re good for everybody. Social media. Again, remember deaf
people really use video. Okay, and it’s great for social media, we can show each other, we have complete access to ASL and so that social media is where we share videos and information. Okay, so you know how you’ve
heard that hearing people are all people are
connected by six degrees. Okay, so deaf people are connected by one degree of separation. When you meet a deaf person, where you graduated from,
I will know somebody there I mean, that’s very common. When I meet deaf people. I always ask four questions. What is your name first and last name? Because maybe I’ve heard your name before. Maybe that deaf person knows me. Okay, where are you from? Because the deaf community is all over. There’s a deaf community in Chicago and New York and DC and Atlanta. I mean, they’re Deaf communities all over. And so you can make connections that way. Where did you go to school? Many deaf people went to
deaf schools in the past and so you would know I
went to the Minnesota School for the Deaf I went to wherever. Now more and more deaf
people are mainstreamed, so that doesn’t happen quite as often, but I say why I graduated
from Brainerd High School. And people go, “Well, yeah,
I know where that is.” So you make that connection. And then also Where do you work? Because deaf community, maybe there’s a lot of people
that work at the post office, at UPS, in the federal
government or school, whatever. So when you can make that connection then you can make that bond. We really value deaf
children in Deaf culture, because that’s our next generation. And they will carry on our language and they will carry on our values. So we hold them very dear. We wanna make sure that deaf
and hard of hearing kids have access to ASL and English
both you need to have both. You need to learn English
and ASL, and learning both of those language is in
the same part of the brain, both support each other, there is no one is less than another,
they are both equal. Okay, so a few things we wish hearing people knew about Deaf people. We do not use the word hearing impaired. I mean, No, never, ah, ah,
don’t ever use it never, why? Because it means weekend are damaged. It’s negative. Hearing Impaired is a negative term. It means less than, it’s inferior. And it does not mean that we are equal, and really, deaf people don’t know the difference, they don’t know what
it’s like to be hearing. I don’t wanna be hearing
honestly I like who I am. So please do not ever use
the word hearing impaired. Use the word deaf or hard of hearing but not hearing impaired. Many deaf and hard of hearing people have cochlear implants or hearing aids. But one thing that really
they are sick of is that when the hearing people see that you have a cochlear
implant or hearing aid, “Oh, it means you’re hearing now. “And I’m just gonna speak to you normally “and make no eye contact
and don’t pay attention.” It doesn’t work that way. It’s a tool and it helps, but that does not mean you are hearing. When you take that cochlear implant off or you take your hearing
aids off, you’re deaf. So make sure that you still
communicate effectively with deaf and hard of hearing people. Many hearing people
think that spoken English is a way to show intelligence, in the deaf community,
and this is not true. Deaf people. There ar deaf doctors and
judges and pilots and bankers. They’re not smarter
than other deaf people. So spoken language really has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence. Deaf people make jokes. We make jokes about our experiences. I remember I bought my first house. I was so excited and my
parents came to visit. And they came to help me set everything up and paint and do all that. And the first thing, I was in the house and
the water was running. I’m like, What the heck,
I left the water on, I don’t know how long
the water was running. Then my second time my parents came, the vacuum was still running. Geez, seriously. So now, when people
come to visit our house, the fire alarm is beeping. I don’t know what the deal is. We do change the batteries
every six months. But that happens periodically. I don’t know what the deal is. Growing up, I always
slammed the cupboard doors. My parents were like,
“Oh gosh, it’s so loud.” And so now when we were building our house I didn’t want to ruin our cupboard doors so I got the slow closing cupboards because then, I wouldn’t be slamming them, but now they don’t
exactly close all the way so I don’t know. I have friends growing up, who are deaf and they had the loudest
music in their cars. I mean, you could feel it a mile away. And one day he was showing me something, the subwoofer in his trunk,
and I was looking at it. And the car was right next to me and I was standing
outside and he walked in and slammed the door. The trunk on my fingers. I was like, I couldn’t
scream because he was deaf, he couldn’t hear me. So I’m like, ah, he started the car. And I’m like, wait, wait
come my pants in the trunk. He’s like, Oh my gosh, what’s now? Oh, holy cow, I slammed your hand and it was black and blue and horrible. So that’s one thing that could happen. That same friend. He has Golden Retrievers and they have a long tail of course. And so the sliding glass door and he was like, “Why
won’t this door shut? “Why won’t this door shut?” And the dog’s tail was stuck in it. And he was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” My two kids. All of their friends always
wanna come to our house because they can be as loud as
they want, and you know what? I prefer them to be at my
house so I’m fine with that. 90% of deaf people have hearing children. So, they’re called CODAs. And it’s K-O-D-A for
kids who are 18 or under. And for adults, it’s C-O-D-A,
Children of Deaf Adults. And my two kids are here today. And their first language is ASL, because that was their
focus when they were born, is we use sign language. They really are part of Deaf culture, they have that inside of them. They’re part of the deaf community. And when I asked them, what’s one thing you would
like hearing people to know? They say they wish people
knew that hearing parents and deaf parents were equal. I don’t know maybe deaf parents
even give them more love. But the point is, is they’re equal. Sometimes people think
that while you’re deaf, you can’t have kids, and
that’s not the truth. When we go to public places,
stores or we go to check out another thing they would
like people to know is that when you’re
talking to me and I say, Oh, I’m sorry, can you repeat that? Then they look at the kids
to interpret for them. Please don’t do that, look
at me as the deaf person. We can work it out just fine. But they’re kids first
they’re not interpreters, that’s not their job, that’s not their
responsibility, look at me. They think that’s important. And hearing people I think, want to start
conversations with deaf people, absolutely, but they’re afraid because they’re afraid
to looking dumb, right? Or doing something wrong, or being silly. Oh, please just try, I don’t
care if you do something dumb. It’s really easier than you think. It’s important to try,
like go of worrying about Oh, am I gonna look silly,
don’t worry about it, just communicate. I’m a happy deaf person. I’m a confident deaf person,
I’m a proud deaf person. And I get that from my parents, because my parents fully
accepted me as a person first. And when they found out I was deaf, they went to speak with deaf adults. And they wanted to know
what a deaf adult look like. They asked questions, they learned ASL, so that they can communicate
and they showed me that I could be successful. So I really thank my parents,
specifically for that. Okay, I think we’re done
with the presentation. Do you guys have any questions? Remember that people don’t clap right. So what do they do? You guys know this? Yeah. I’m open for questions if
anybody has any questions. I would love to answer. (blonde lady speaking of mic) No questions? Yeah. (man speaking off mic) Yes, I graduated from Gallaudet University and I’m a proud alumni. More questions. My kid’s name sign Stella,
her name sign is like a star like this, star and then
Bowden’s name sign is a short. It’s a B, and an O, Bowden. Oh, they’re right over here. Can you guys stand up? Stella’s 13, and Bowden is eight. Oh, yeah, I grew up with dogs always. And so specifically standard poodles. They’re very smart, I love them. They’re my favorite anyway. So I would depend on my dog to know what was happening in the environment. If somebody was outside
or a car was coming, I would watch the dog,
and the dog would tell me and so I always taught
him to sit, stay, come. And if you said those commands
even if you have a treat, okay, I would do the same with sign. And so I would tell them
to sit, show them the sign, put their butt down, give them a treat. And I had no brothers and
sisters, I’m an only child. So my parents if they wanted my attention, they would tell the dog, “Go get Emily.” And the dog would run to me and run back and forth until I would come. So kind of cool. Anymore. (woman speaking off mic) Hi is a good one, hi. Thank you. Please. For Your welcome. Really, all you have to do is
a thumbs up or a okay sign. What else they’re pretty easy. And there are a lot of
YouTube videos online you can check out, but
those are pretty easy. Before when my parents were learning sign there was no YouTube. So you had to learn from a book. And you had to go to take a class and so luckily it’s much easier now. I’m sure I’ll be seeing that. Because I’m liking all kinds of music now. You know that ASL is very
different from other countries. You guys know that right? So Africa has a different sign language. Europe has different sign languages. And ASL is very different too. So a lot of ASL is borrowed
from French sign language because I learned Clark
was from France, but yes. No more. (woman speaking off mic) Sure, yeah okay, when my kids were babies, I just ignored them and let them cry. (audience laughing) No, I’d never do that. We had a monitor and
so when the baby cried that was it connected to a
light and the light flashed, and so if the baby cried really hard, the light flashed faster. If the baby was just kind of whimpering, the light was slowly on and
off, so it was a nice indicator. We also have strobe
lights on like fire alarms or the doorbell and I
have a service dog too. He’s trained specifically
to alert to sound. (audience member speaking off mic) Yeah, depends on the situation. If you know, that, if it’s an emergency, it’s great. But if it’s like for a normal alert, sometimes it’s just irritating you. And really, deaf people
don’t wanna stand out, they just wanna be the
same as everybody else. So if there’s a light going
on and on and on and on and never stops some people
are like Geez, right. So. – [Audience Member] Emily, tell the story (speaking off mic) – [Interpreter] Sure,
well my first service dog, she was a bigger dog. And I went to shower, and she got in the shower
with me and sat down. Because she followed me around, she wanted to make sure to
give me all the information. I was like, Well, okay. (laughing) You had a question. (audience member speaking off mic) Okay, so I’m curious when
you’re signing with him. Are you kind of nervous? When you’re trying to
communicate with him, are you nervous? Are you feeling okay about that? Because I know a lot of
times like people get nervous and it kind of loses the connection, it influences the experience. If you are like, Well, whatever, if you really just try, that’s enough. It really is, because it means
something to that person. Yeah, and maybe you have the right to say,
“Yeah, write it down.” So you can understand it, but that’s good. I mean, I think that’s equal. You’re giving them equal access, they’re able to communicate
with you, that’s awesome. Just say, “Hey, write it
down, let’s communicate.” That’s great. (audience member speaking off mic) Yeah, there’s like level one is like
you can’t even sign, you have no sign at all. And then the next level is you can sign but it’s more like a word here and there. And then the third level
is, you can sign sentences but still it’s a bit of a struggle. The fourth level is means you sign clearly and you sign fluently with
facial expression, with mouth, facial mouth expressions that show grammar that’s very important, so
that’s on the fourth level. And then the fifth level is like native, a native deaf person and no English in there, yeah. I don’t know of any community
Ed that we have here, in Brainerd, I think CLC is the only place that that you can take it. And it really depends on the
person teaching the class, you wanna be careful. I mean, if you have a hearing person that really doesn’t know
sign language really well, and he just thinks it’s
really an inspiring thing, that’s the wrong reason to do, yeah. So make sure that the person really is involved in the deaf community. I know there’s a chiropractor in town who teaches some baby
sign language from a book, but he’s not involved
with the deaf community and not involved with anything at all, that’s kind of a money making thing. So that’s probably not
the best person to take a sign language class from. They have to be teaching
for the right reasons. (woman speaking off mic) Thank you, everyone.




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