A young woman by the name of Ren posted this video on YouTube yesterday, called “Eleven Things You Should Know About Deaf People”. Her poetry is quite good and actually states well known assumptions about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to understanding deaf people.
Some of her best quotes are:
(over-enunciating) NO, I DON’T NEED YOU TO TALK LIKE THIS.
I don’t need you to be a megaphone;
I need you to paint yourself on a canvas.
Seven: Cafeterias seem to get louder and louder,
a cacophony of campers calling across tables.
Instead of asking to repeat–
repeat–repeat, repeat, repeat repeatrepeatrepeat–
I prefer the silence of solitude.
Because at least I can always understand myself.
Someone tells me, “You’re so lucky you can speak.
“You’ll be so much more successful
than those other deaf people who can only, you know, do the hand thing.”
First of all, success is not contingent on the ability to verbalize
whatever ignorant garbage is churning in your mouth,
and second of all–
I didn’t even need to say it out loud
for you to understand me.
Watch the video!
About Ren and her story of why she did this: When I attended the Summer Slam Poetry Camp at Gustavus Adolphus College last year, I walked into a group of 30 campers knowing absolutely nobody. After that first day, I was so overwhelmed by all the conversations going on around me that I couldn’t understand, and frustrated with myself for not knowing how to effectively communicate the fact that I’m deaf. I would tell people, but they didn’t really seem to get it. So, the next day, Sierra DeMulder (camp counselor and two-time National Poetry Slam champion) instructed us to write a “Ten Things” poem, and I saw that as the perfect opportunity to express my thoughts to the rest of the campers. It was an absolute rush to perform this, and everyone at the camp was so, so lovely.