Deafhood and Feminism

ASC’s First Vlog: In response to many requests from our readers, we decided to post our first vlog attempt today. What are some parallels between Deafhood and Feminism? Check out this vlog to learn more.

To cite:

McCullough, C. (2006, September 19). Deafhood and Feminism. ASC on the Couch. Retrieved September 19, 2006, from http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=202

Don’t Miss Any ASC Posts: Those of you who rely on DeafRead.com for alerts about ASC posts should know that the DeafRead.com editors do not include every ASC on the Couch post in their daily listing (for example, yesterday’s post on sexism in the classroom ). Posts are screened by the editors, who use their discretion to select what they think are the most Deaf-centered posts each day. If you don’t want to miss any ASC posts, it is best to subscribe to our blog at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

  1. The One and Only Ridor September 19, 2006

    I did not bother to compare feminism and Deafhood. And I’m so glad you did. It indicated that the debate about Deafhood is indeed healthy. Feminism has been a great source of empowerment for women from all walks of life. And it is my and many others’ hopes that Deafhood may be the one for all DEAF people.



  2. GoAwayAnxiety September 19, 2006

    Great VLOG! You really explain clear and give us a better idea of what is happening with the deafhood issues that is occurred right now… Yeah you made a lot of sense and compare with feminism… Great job!

  3. Joey Baer September 19, 2006

    WOW – what a GREAT first vlog ever on your site. You explained it beautifully and helped us to think out of box. Thank you!!

    It is truly inspiring to see more and more people embrace Deafhood. Let’s continue this excellent dialogue and we deafinitely will raise standards for Deaf people. Keep them coming, readers!


  4. DE September 19, 2006


    Joey directed me to your new entry, and I madly rushed over!!! WOW—- superb superb superb superb and what lovely ASL you have!!!

    This is a process- a beautiful process, in my opinion- that is overdue and necessary. Often when I ask Deaf audiences to describe “Deaf”, the first thing that comes up in their minds is… “CAN’T HEAR!” Hmmm.. Deaf is much more than our hearing acuity, if any. This process helps us to redefine us, and at the same time, remove our internalized oppression. And brings us together more than ever!!!!!

    Thank you for your wonderful analogy, video, and your ASL.

  5. MikeS September 19, 2006

    An excellent paradigm of parallels and necessary to remind a movement to succeed through inclusion and discourse, rather through discord and misinterpretation. Indeed, we have a long way ahead of us, but it has been an exciting start! 🙂

  6. Carl Schroeder September 20, 2006

    Deafhood versus womanhood? Are we talking about the state of being Deaf or a woman? Deafism versus feminism? Are we talking about the doctrine of advocating and promoting deaf people or women? Is what-hood really different from what-ism?
    Let me now talk about my experience with the term Deaf-ism. I could still remember from my college days when ASL was criticized for its Deaf-ism by numerous Deaf (!) and CODA (!) professors. They disliked what is called a classifier today because it lacks an exact English equivalence. I came from the 1970’s when I was often criticized for my “sloppy” sign language by most Deaf professors at Gallaudet. Signing in the English word order could mean good future career opportunities for me, I was so told. (By looking at the way JKF used signs in the English word order in http://www.9thprez.com, I’m assuming rather wildly that “script reading” is still regarded highly on campus.)
    Let me now shift my focus on Deafhood. It offers us novel and rather vibrant views of the state of being Deaf. I could clearly see diversities within its continuum ranging from Deaf individuals to small groups to communities and ultimately to the Deaf world wherein the sense of pride and spirit is evident.
    These above comments are just critiques I am offering. I would like to see a new VOLG entitled “Deafhood and Womanhood/Deafism and Feminism.” I really enjoy hearing you guys out!
    BTW are there such terms like deafist and Deafistic? Compared to feminist and feministic. Imagine this Deafistic statement: Deaf people can do anything but hear. LOL

  7. Jenn September 20, 2006

    Thank you Candace for presenting this blog. I do think that stereotypes about deaf pride and deaf miltantism and so on tends to divide the deaf community.

    I’ve known people who are deaf who say they don’t consider themselves part of the deaf community period because they feel like other deaf people exclude them because they have different handicaps or they can speak and choose to function and work in the hearing world, etc.

    But if I ask them are they deaf or HoH or hearing or what they will say of course deaf. If I ask them do they have deaf friends? They say yes. Can you sign? Yes.

    So I easily see the parallel between feminism and deafhood, I know I was turned off by unthinking feminism but at the same time many issues I of course support. It’s important today as a woman, even one benefitting from the sex revolution, not to let women issues get overlooked. We can see too many examples in other countries where women are still way behind and it affects family health and income too.

    And to Carl I say thank god times have changed. I know there will be people who think ASL is low-class or inferior, but now we have research against that idea. As somebody who grew up with SEE and changed to ASL, I will say this about English order:

    There is only one point about signing in English order– to make it easier to translate directly in English. I prefer to hand my speech to an interpreter, fully typed, let her get the idea, and then go in full ASL.

    I always got top grade for presentation, because I could go ahead and use even better ASL than normal, without worrying about my interpreters getting confused.

  8. Cheryl September 20, 2006

    Way to go!! Does that mean you will do either a vlog or a blog not both? Will your vlog also be shown in English? Or is that so unDeaf? 🙂 I agree with above that we’re at an exciting stage of processing the whole Deafhood issue within our community. We just need to be sure it’s out in the open and done ‘healthfully’ not in mean cruel ways. Maybe it will be sooner, not later that the Deafist will be the norm like the feminist are nowaday as compared to just not so long ago. Again, great job on your first vlog!

  9. Jon Henner September 20, 2006


    I liked your new vLog format. As a deaf graduate student of Psychology, I come to your site often because it’s the only deaf-centric psychological forum of which I know. I’m curious to see if you can parallel deafhood with third-wave feminism. It seems to me that the conflict between second and third wave feminist thought closely resembles what is now occuring in the deaf community.


  10. MikeD September 20, 2006

    We need more professors like you at Gallaudet! Awesome job, Candace.

  11. Dela September 20, 2006

    Great job!! I never thought of it til u brought it up on your vlog.

  12. Eric September 20, 2006

    Your vlog article is great! I like your view of comparaison as right as clear.



  13. Sheri September 20, 2006

    Excellent perception of feminism and paralelling it to what you see happening with the deafhood movement! Hope to see you take up doing more presentations on Deafhood discussions!
    Thanks for your efforts!

  14. Jared Evans September 20, 2006

    That was an awesome vlog, especially for your very first one! I always run over to your blog when you post something new and am glad to see that you have figured out how to do it with video too!

    I would suggest also including transcripts with your video clips. You still want your video clips to be easily discovered by search engines which still rely on text in order to properly index your blog posts in their respective databases.

    Again, I want to say that ASC is really impressive in their assertiveness in engaging with the community using cutting-edge technologies such as a high-quality blog and now a vlog!

    Do keep it up!

  15. Aidan Mack September 20, 2006

    Very well said! I am impressed with your speech…

    There are differences between radical, social and academic feminist. I am sure it is same thing with Deafhood. It will be an interesting theory if we add radical, social and academic deafhood. I chose to be an “academic” feminist because I believe in men and women are equal. Men were being taught so many years by media, educational, and home that women are under men. If men learn about the system and how the system manipulates them into deficient thinking about women, they will be able to unlearn what they have learned. It is same thing with hearing people’s deficient thinking about deaf people. They think that Deaf people need to be fixed, are helpless and unworthy species on this earth because of the system that manipulate hearing people.

    As Yoda’s words, ““You must unlearn what you have learned.” “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…”

    I understand Carl’s point view about comparing with Deafhood and Feminist because Deafhood is a process toward a full Deaf human being while Feminist is already past the process by already becoming a full woman human being or a full man human being with an attitude of believing in women and men are equal.

    My identity is Deaf, then being a woman because there are so many fabulous women who fight for their rights as women while there is not many people fight for Deaf and ASL. So I chose to devote my time to Deaf and ASL.

    Good job! You got me thinking… Smile! I love to think… Keep it up. I love that kind of stuff..


  16. tina jo September 20, 2006

    thanks to ASC for an inspiring awe of going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary to presenting something new. i LOVE when it comes to playing with words: us being Deafistic as in realistic! 😉

  17. floridagirl September 20, 2006

    You make clear your statement.

    I remember that when I was a child, attending the deaf school in my country, we children used to have collective consciousness and conversed. Oral, hard of hearing and deaf children developed Spanish sign language because there were not any deaf adult people there. We experienced great unity at the school, and we grew our processing as well as created our growing Spanish sign language that became rich native language.

    My American parents adopted me and brought me to America. I had witnessed deaf people of many varieties and their different ways and even models of communication including SEE, TC, SPE, ASL and Cue Speech. It seemed to me that these differences caused mixture of communication and discrimination too much. It made me uncomfortable and I felt as though I hated an America and didn’t like sign language.

    It bothers me to think of the disparity between the deafness concept and deafhood concept. They have the same remedies.

  18. floridagirl September 20, 2006

    I live in America for many years.

  19. Katherine September 20, 2006

    Eloquently shared! Many others have already said what
    I want to say. I look forward to more of your vlogs
    in the near future.

  20. Suzann September 20, 2006

    Deafinitely another hurrah! I second to what Jared says re transcipt accompanied with each Vlog you make or possibly make. With the realization that this is alot of work and time consuming but it gets out and educates people about mental health and how to stay healthy with the buzz happening around all of us in each corner of the planet. It makes things clearer, too!

    Deafhood is a great term to include all of us and avoid being wiped out as the naysayers have once predicted. We always could use opportunities to discuss how our lives and lifestyles interwine and intersect without getting into tangles. Sometimes the tangles are inevitable and enmasse, we crowd in to peer in better and yet one of the two happen: the tangles become more messier and consequently bigger or disperses due to proper intervention. For the health of the larger Deaf commmunity and its relatives.

    Be well, think positive and let the signs roll!


  21. Julie Rems September 20, 2006

    Eloquently explained!


  22. Dave Smith September 20, 2006

    An excellent vlog. I agree there are parallels between the issues surrounding the Deafhood concept and Feminism. But why stop there? We also can see parallels with others like Black Nationalism, Queer Theory, and liberating ideas of other oppressed groups that also come from post-colonalism.
    We have a ways to go to sort these ideas out about what it means for us to be “Deaf” but Paddy Ladd has surely given us something to sink our teeth into.
    Let the dialogue continue!

  23. Di September 20, 2006

    Candace!!!!! You did a beautiful job of explaining the process of social change. When I was a young girl in the 60’s I recall women’s struggle and joy of the social change for betterment of women’s lives. I certainly benefited from their era of defining feminism/womanhood. I can see Deafhood is being challenged and rooted for. What inspires me about Deaf people is our ability to analyze and process the definition of Deafhood and come to a greater understanding of our own personal selves as a Deaf person, our relationship with the multi-faceted groups within the Deaf Community, and society in general. This indeed is an exciting time of our journey into Deafhood. I look forward to all of us becoming united through understanding, respect, and support for each other.

    People may think that “Deafhood” is a new concept; however, it is an old, old concept with a new name to help us process our identity and journey as Deaf people. We will not reach a consensus on the specifics on the definition of Deafhood but we will evolve over time to create a boundary wide enough to reach agreement. Like you said, women back then thought feminism meant becoming a man hater, do not cook, etc. and that has evolved into women developing her own idenity and empowered to negotiate with her partner whether it is a man or a woman what she wants and expects out of the relationship. I look forward to having this discussion 20 years later reflecting on the evoluation of Deafhood.

    I am a proud to be a Deaf of Deaf and I also am proud to be married to a wonderful man who is a Deaf of Hearing. My best and close friends are both Deaf of Hearing and Deaf of Deaf. What is important about our relationships is treating labels such as DOD or DOH as non-issue and focus on our experiences as Deaf people to bond together. I also have friends that wears hearing aid and have cochlear implant but we still can share our “Deaf” experiences without resorting to how much we can or cannot hear and how well we speak because they are not the MAJOR factor of Deafhood. I wear a hearing aid and am considering a cochlear implant because I enjoy the things that hearing people enjoy in the same instance that hearing people come to enjoy Deaf life through learning sign language, having relationships with Deaf people, etc. However, for these hearing people, their primary language will always be spoken English; they will always have a Hearing soul regardless of their involvement in Deaf world. Having hearing aid or cochlear implant is just a mechanism to those who wish to journey into another world. So for me, regardless of what I place or do not place on my ears have no impact on my Deaf soul…I’ll always be DEAF!

    I just want Deaf people to stop feeling ashamed of ASL. We need to be united to preserve and respect ASL in our society. Too often services and government legislation dimish the value of ASL by using other terms such as “signed communication”. That concept is equivalent (if we had the power) to saying that English is not a language but a “spoken communication.” This is my reason for promoting Deafhood so that we can be proud of OUR language. My mother had a beautiful ASL when I was a young girl…I was always in awe of her ASL. During the 1970’s, total communication and SEE were being popularized by education institution to “help Deaf people improve English language skills.” My mother felt horrible about her English skills and started to sign SEE. Her ability to express beautifully in ASL was gone. Now she has passed on. I feel sad that she died thinking that she was not intelligent because she had weak command of English language when in fact she had a beautiful command of ASL!

    Candace, again thanks for your awesome Vlog! I look forward to more of your Vlogs!

    Di 🙂

  24. Anne Marie September 20, 2006

    It is really inspiring to see another aslvlog mirroring me and others’ aslvlog!

    Admittedly I am not much of a feminist and do not possess any book about feminism however your analogue indeed struck me what processes we are to experience to rediscover Deafhood. I look forward to your more aslvlog and adding my url link to my aslvlog in response later so..that we can actually have more dialogues in ASL and broaden our Deaf collectivism this way.

    Anne Marie

  25. Carrie Gellibrand September 20, 2006

    Just absolutely BEAUTIFUL analogy and comparison of Deafhood and Feminism. Many many thanks for doing this fantabulous vlog. I will most certainly keep coming back to your site. 🙂

  26. Noelle September 21, 2006

    I was linked to this journal by way of deafread.com, but I am somewhat disappointed in the lack of captions for your vlog. I’m an oral deaf woman with a cochlear implant. Many other deaf people like me do not know ASL, so even though there are deaf vlogs, many of them aren’t captioned. It’s a bit ironic considering our fight to have captioning for television, for the internet, and so on….

  27. Susan Sandbach September 21, 2006

    Amazingly incredibly true that your opening remarks on Deafhood and womenhood…. they make a lot of sense because we all are searching for our own cultural identities …. exploring the avenues that enrich our lives. Persistence is the key to overcoming obstacles in discovering our inner selves. Discovering and rediscovering our true selves again is part of our daily lives. We grow as we learn more about our true cultural identities. There are similar venues for other peoples searching their own inner selves. For example, there is an African-American women website doing the very same thing — searching for their sexual identity that you are doing here. Thanks for bringing this out to an open forum like this. Keep up this great work!

  28. Anne Marie September 21, 2006


    I can understand your disapointment about lacking closed captioning. I had experimented with close captioning features from one program on my laptop. I learned few things. What we can get from our movie editing programs are pretty generic for what we need. They are good for title, dates, names but not for dialogue because for example, mine resulted in inconsistent font size from varying length of sentences. I consulted with one deaf movie maker expert and was told that the best one costs few hundred dollars. Moreover, it takes a lot of time to type. I resorted to include my written text which is about same as what I signed on my aslvlog.

    Anne Marie

  29. Noelle September 21, 2006

    Even still, it raises the question of how far we are willing to commit to the fight for accessibility on the internet, especially when major telecommunication companies are trying to merge the internet with video download services of popular shows and sitcoms that are not captioned onto portable media devices such as IPODs and laptops. If we in the deaf community are not willing to caption our own videos, then what does that say about our belief in internet accessibility? The technology is there, and I believe that one deaf vlogger on Youtube–Grant Laird, I think, is trying to caption his own vlogs. There’s a discussion about it on his blog here: http://grantlairdjr.com/wp/2006/04/21/caption-online/

  30. Katie September 21, 2006

    Candace, hand waves to you! Thank you for stretching our minds. Don’t put in text. We need our own space.

    Noelle, have you thought about learning ASL?

  31. floridagirl September 21, 2006

    Anne Marie

    you are a sweet person.

  32. Noelle September 21, 2006

    So you would exclude the oral Deaf from having access to Deaf vlogs, Katie?

  33. em September 21, 2006

    interesting discussion about captioning. i think it is more important for hearing people to put captions on their videos because deaf people can’t learn to hear words on their vlogs, but hearing or oral people can learn to understand asl and deaf vlogs. we need to motivate them to learn asl by not captioning deaf vlogs.

  34. Noelle September 21, 2006

    Now that is what I would say is being audistic, and refusing to recognize that the Deaf community has all kinds of deaf people in it. I don’t think it’s right to force an oral deaf person to learn ASL just to get access to a vlog that should be captioned. No one still has addressed the main point I brought up here, and I shall repeat it again:

    If we deny captioning access to our own Deaf community, for instance, there are many Deaf people that may not be ASL-proficient to the level of Anne Marie, then how can we reasonably expect telecommunication companies to caption video podcasts of popular television media or internet videos? They’ll just tell us, “Why don’t you get a CI and learn how to cope with your hearing to understand our videos?” That’s the equivalent of what you’re telling me when you suggest that I should learn ASL to access a Deaf video as a Deaf oral person.

  35. floridagirl September 21, 2006


    You have to respect Noelle who has a right. Can you understand my Spanish sign language without English closed captioning ?


    Don’t push Noelle to use ASL.

  36. Jared Evans September 21, 2006

    I will be experimenting with a package of freeware (software that is free of charge) that will make it easy to add subtitles to video clips.

    It will take me some time to play around with it and determine the optimal process on how to use it. I also plan to type out the steps on my blog and perhaps make a ASL vlog to explain it all as well!

  37. Carrie Gellibrand September 21, 2006

    Jared, that’s awesome! I like your approach, too. Instead of bickering amongst ourselves, why not try to come up with a solution? You are wonderful! 🙂 Many thanks, as well!

  38. Katherine September 21, 2006

    Noelle, I would suggest you to reserve your judgement until you
    hear from Candace about your concern as it relates to her vlog.
    No one can speak for her better than herself.

    While this is not to dismiss the point you made as I find it
    to be valid, I can understand the perspective of others. It’s
    like if the hearing world doesn’t, why should we? Instead of
    stooping to their level, we are better off to raise the bar
    and show the hearing world that we are considerate of everyone
    when it comes to access.

    My opinion is that it benefits the Deaf community if captions
    are included to the ASL vlogs as it will educate the public
    inside and outside the Deaf community about what we are made of
    the beauty of translation between ASL and English. And that we
    are no different than any other language minorities. I am certain that alone will intrigue some to learn about the language.

  39. Katherine September 21, 2006

    Typo! Let me correct this paragraph:

    My opinion is that it benefits the Deaf community if captions
    are included to the ASL vlogs as it will educate the public
    inside and outside the Deaf community about what we are made of
    as well as witness firsthand the beauty of translation between
    ASL and English. And that we are no different than any other
    language minorities. I am certain or at least hope that alone
    will intrigue some to learn about the language.

  40. DE September 21, 2006

    RE: the captioning issue, I can’t help but feel that English is placed on a higher pedestal than ASL. For example, some of the comments interpreted the ENCOURAGEMENT to learn ASL as “forcing one to learn ASL”, but do we interpret the captioning request as “forcing one to do English”? No.

  41. Carrie Gellibrand September 22, 2006


    Exactly what I was thinking of. English is a great language and all, sure, but so is ASL! ASL is a *true* language and it’s NOT like English at all, but nothing’s wrong with being different.

    I personally do not believe in captioning or subtitling Candace’s vlog on Deafhood and Feminism, even though I applauded Jared Evans for trying to come up with a compromise/solution for captioning the vlog. As a deaf child/teenager I grew up without captions in my life and I was told oftentimes “Never mind” when I asked for repeats. After I fought long and hard (and won, somewhat) the right to have captions in my own home with my hearing family, I did not bother to interpret everything my Deaf friends and I sign for my family. This prompted my Mom to take up ASL classes after she got a taste of what it was like to be left out.

    But it’s only a TASTE for her, unlike the many many years of me sitting at the dinner table at countless meals and not understanding what my family was talking about even though I was told to keep my hearing aid on at all times. This wasn’t only during mealtimes at the table… this happened *every damn where, every damn day* and so for Candace’s vlog (or any Deaf vlog for that matter) to be captioned for the people (hearing and deaf who don’t sign) because they don’t know ASL… forget it. I feel it’s an injustice once again. What’s wrong with learning ASL? Why not have the best of both English and ASL? Why are people demanding/complaining/whining about having OUR beautiful ASL mauled by English captions on the bottom of the screen? This particular vlog, by the way, is about comparing DEAFHOOD with FEMINISM. I feel very strongly that to have Deafhood ASL vlogs captioned in English truly loses the core meaning/healthy debate of Deafhood. What’s the point of Deafhood vlogs if we did everything Deafhood-related in English? Why can’t Deaf people have something to call our very own that we don’t have to give give give give give to the hearing masses and the English worshippers?

    Again, I ask you, what’s wrong with learning ASL? Hmmm? You tell me.

  42. Anne Marie September 22, 2006

    I concur with promoting bilingualism in our Deaf community and more public awareness. Let vloggers decide what they want to do with their video. The chance that vloggers do bi and multi-lingual texting like Europeans will receive more clickings and further dialogues.

    Anne Marie

  43. Jon Henner September 22, 2006


    Rhetorical question. Isn’t it a tad hypocritical to deny access to others while at the same time fighting for access for youself?

    My personal feelings aside, I feel that because I want equal access to everything, everybody ought to have equal access as well. For example, were I to produce a vlog, I believe I would provide a transcript because I sincerely wish that others would do the same for me. Captioning is a bonus, but is not required since transcripts would provide access, although not easy access.

    Just out of curiosity, how does interposing english with ASL lose the core meaning of deafhood? I do not call Paddy mentioning an absolute rejection of the “colonial” language. Also, it’s my understanding that deafhood is an individual process. If the process includes English, then English is equated with deafhood, at least for that particular individual.

    I feel what you’re saying, but at the same time, you use strong terms such as “english worshippers”. Paddy stressed the fact that deaf people are bi-lingual and bi-cultural. To embrace more than one language is not to worship it at the cost of another. It’s not a matter of giving or kow-towing to what many perceive as a “colonial” language. Rather, I see it as taking ownership of something which has been forced upon us. English isn’t their language anymore. It’s MY language and because I’m more gracious than them, I will provide them what they won’t provide me.

    Love thy enemy but, of course, your mileage may vary.

  44. Rachel September 22, 2006

    I feel for you. I know it is hard for you not to be able to understand hearing people’s spoken vlogs and now you can’t understand deaf people’s signed vlogs. It is definitely not a good feeling when you can’t fit in the hearing or deaf world. This should not happen. You are free to join us by joining our community and learn sign language. If I am absolutely interested in learning about the Mexican community, I would want to learn Spanish so I can talk directly with Mexican people and watch their conversations. I don’t want to force you to learn sign language, but can you help me understand why you want to learn about deafhood but not sign language? It is hard to separate deafhood and sign language in my opinion. Rachel

  45. Noelle September 22, 2006


    I actually am trying to learn ASL. I’ve only picked up a few basic signs here and there. Like any language, it takes time to learn and requires a major commitment. It’s hard to take the time needed to be fully immersed in ASL, especially when I work full-time for fifty hours per week.

    The Deafhood concept is supposed to extend to everyone in the Deaf community—not to just those that know ASL. What about those that use cued speech, SEE, or speak orally? Why use that as an unifying concept if its members here continuously point those members out to say, “You’re not Deaf enough” to be a part of Deafhood?

  46. DE September 22, 2006

    Interesting that respect is expected to be given to one because s/he wants captions but when one wants ASL (i.e.: Carrie, Katie, Rachel, etc.), I see them being criticized for using “strong words”, “rejecting”, etc.


    To me, this is beyond access. This smacks of linguicism, oppression, and aggression towards ASL proponents. And don’t call me militant- I am truly bilingual, and I always advocate bilingualism in all Deaf children. But- I just can’t stand seeing ASL have such LOW status, expectations, and respect.

    Second- the idea of captioning as a means to attract more people… well, here’s something to think about. More vlogs will attract more “grass-roots” Deaf (or “sub-altern” as Paddy says). We MUST consider them as well- not just the “desirables” (those who have, or appear to, strong English.)

  47. Jared Evans September 22, 2006

    Google Video has enabled captions for their video! I will be explaining how to add them in an upcoming tutorial that I will be creating.

    See what it looks like with one of the test video clips that I made:


  48. Noelle September 22, 2006

    Jared, I know I left a comment on your blog about this–but, the test video clip looks great!

  49. Jon Henner September 22, 2006


    I absolutely agree. We should respect everyone, including those who want ASL-only. But, in the interests of fairness, those who want english-only ought to be heard as well?

    When I spoke of strong words, I included terms with blatant negative connotations such as “english worshippers”, or “having our beautiful ASL mauled by Englsh captions…”. I reject them like I reject sayings such as “finger worshippers” or “deaf people who mangle my beautiful english”. Like you said, respect and tolerence must be given to everyone. Linguistic aggression is aggression regardless from whom it comes. How is attacking written english not a form of “linguicism, oppression, and aggression…”? What purpose does attacking written english serve? How does dismissing those who understand the use of written English propel the deaf epistemology movement?

    On that note, ASL can no more be mauled by english captions than spoken english can be tarnished by having an ASL translator at work. As a bilingual deaf man, I find both languages beautiful in all available forms. What right have we to infer that any language is ugly. Are we going to inflict purity laws on all deaf discourse?

    I do acknowledge that Paddy encouraged including the grassroots in all discourse and vlogs will work towards that goal; however, I am unsure how including captions or transcripts will alter grassroot recruitment. The ASL is still there and oral deaf and hearing people curious enough to read about deaf epistemology (I do study GLBT theory even though I am straight because I feel it will benefit me) have access as well.

    I disagree with Paddy that we need to create this US VS THEM mentality. We don’t have to bunker down and attack anything that isn’t ASL. Written english is as much MINE as as ASL is MINE.


  50. Anne Marie September 22, 2006

    I just saw it, I think it seems workable. There is a pro and con with the captioning I see you used for this test clip. The font is small also shorter length than normal to reduce visual distraction when watching signing. The con, it is difficult to see at that size. The solution to choose subtitled video or not is the best.

    On the topic of language uses and processes. I have examined venues of expressing thoughts in ASL only or English only or both or ASL before writing or after writing many times myself. Nothing is really pure. Sometime I express thoughts better in writing than ASL, sometime in ASL only. It depends on contents where one seems capable to channel thoughts better.

    I try very hard to be considerate of everyone especially for grassroot deaf people. The concept of Deafhood is pretty meta for many deaf people who do not have much experience in discussing about social issues, psychology, humanity on more theoretical level. I am thinking of Oraph Winfrey and Dr. Philps show that have been well received by most viewers with some educational background. This will take time as we find ways how to present Deafhood in languages that are accessible to most people.

    For example, I am thinking about giving an aslvlog about an overall history of research and science methods and what has been happening in our Deaf field, how they had impact on policy and decision making that affect us. I think I can make it to around 6th grade level but not below. Not everyone watch Dr. Zimmerman’s documentary shows. We’ll just do what we can.

    Anne Marie

  51. Jon Henner September 22, 2006

    Anne Marie,

    I’m very interested in the background information for your planned vlog. Feel free to contact me at

    AIM: jhenner

    That goes for anyone who wants to talk to me about any of the ideas I’ve expressed or who wants to talk to me about any deafhood or deaf epistemology/psychology subjects.

    Thanks in advance!

  52. Carrie Gellibrand September 22, 2006

    Jon Henner,

    I can see wat you mean and yes, I do think things should be equal with ASL and English but think of it this way. How many times has a deaf person been told “Nevermind” by hearing people when they ask for a repeat because they missed something in the spoken conversation? As a young teenager I grew very frustrated of not belonging anywhere in the hearing world, always being left out or being the last to know something important. (I was the last one to know I was adopted, for example!)

    My point is I am just tired of always giving to hearing people what I had to FIGHT for when it is rightfully MINE: ASL and equal access. Whether it be in English (captions for the TV) or to be able to keep up with the conversation in real time (ASL with other Deaf people).

    I don’t mind relaying or interpreting for some people sometimes. It’s just the constant DEMAND from hearing people/deaf people who do not sign that I do not like. I feel like saying “Nevermind! This is MINE and you can have some of it, but I am not going to give give give give it to you. You need to EARN ASL by LEARNING ASL.”

    “English worshippers”, yes… I’ve always been good in expressing myself in English, both written and spoken and who cares? When I say “English worshippers” I mean whose who think English is above and beyond ASL. That’s not true. Both languages are DIFFERENT, neither is WRONG or BETTER than the other. (Yes, you can even say some Deaf people are “ASL worshippers”, fine, it goes both ways). But I could NOT be a Deaf person in the hearing world with just English only. With ASL (and Deafhood supports ASL (bilingual approach, too, with English) I could then be the true Deaf me I am meant to be.

    Yes, Deafhood is an individual process, I agree with you on that. But as an individual, perhaps I just want to experience Deafhood with ASL being the main language for me? English is my first language which I used while growing up in the hearing world. (I was not allowed to learn ASL and I never ever met a deaf person until I was 17! Imagine my surprise and anger when I realized that I was kept away from the Deaf world). Now I’ve got Deafhood, a journey I can call MY OWN. I want to use ASL for this journey, what’s wrong with that?

  53. Anne Marie September 22, 2006

    I completely understand the feeling of “Hey, where is our space, it is our time”. It is good you and also you others spell this out. There are people who do need to hear this and try to understand the feeling of always having to please everyone when sometimes we really want to have our room. I used to have that feeling until I realized that it is becoming counterproductive not doing us any good in a long run. I decided to just to be open and inclusive to everyone yet insistent respect and need on my part. I found that I still get what I want while others are being happy too. This is collectivism and a goal that will really keep us in a more successful position.

    Anthropology studies revealed that minor culture groups successfully sustain are those who successfully assimilate in major culture without necessarily having to lose or compensate that much despite not being 100% perfect. They are more content than those who keep on fighting all the way to end and really lose the most.

    That is why I lend more to Jared and Jon’s views although I cannot wait to be able to get a hold of subtitling program that will enable a choice, subtitled or not subtitled version. :^)

    Anne Marie

  54. Jared Evans September 22, 2006

    Anne Marie,

    Actually, if you go directly to Google Video and view it at a large size, you’ll see that the subtitles are very readable!

    Visit it at:

    The reason that the video is small on my blog is because of the limited width that I have to work with for the content area of my blog.

  55. ASC September 23, 2006

    Hi everyone,

    I am humbled to read the many wonderful, positive comments here, to know that so many of you took the time to watch the first ASC vlog, and share your thoughts and experiences about the vlog and the issues related to it. Thank you!

    The captioning/text issue seems to be reflective of many other issues in our community, on both personal and political levels. It is something that we will all need to continue to explore over time.


  56. floridagirl September 23, 2006


    “I always advocate bilingualism in all Deaf children.”

    Some of hearing parents will struggle with fluently sign language in ASL when it will be not equal, for deaf children can communicate in fluently sign language if they can’t speak. How do parents and deaf children communicate with each other?

  57. testing_the_truth September 23, 2006

    A word of caution

    I watched this nice entry about comparing Deafhood and feminism with amazement. Yes, the parallel is fascinating! The Deafhood movement can learn a lot from the successes of feminists in organizing consciousness and action around the community they serve. The successes and achievements they present to us are greatly encougaring.

    Of course, about 50 % (a little bit more) of the population being women, feminism has a powerful support base that Deafhood or any Deaf movement cannot claim. This fact should make us cautious.

    The influence of powerful feminist subgroups are already present in Deaf matters. Think of the DHH CommUnity group composed mainly of successful deaf or hard-of-hearing career women http://dhh-community.com/about.php or the academically well-established feminist cheer-leaders of president designate Jane Fernandes at Gallaudet University. Read their letter at http://www.aslcommunityjournal.com/againsttheprotestatgu.html. Feminism can be used to manipulate, shame even oppress Deaf communities and justify the selection of inept and incompetent leadership on the sole basis that the selected person is a woman. Some even proclaim that criticising a female administrator equates “misogyny”. Of course, there are strong female characters who oppose the president designate and the academic mess she created at the university, and they offer a completely different understanding of feminism. Just as the feminist supporters of the Deafhood movement.

    Sadly, feminist groups are sometimes fighting each other about the role and meaning of womanhood. Some reject the traditional model of a childbearing and fanmily-centered woman, while others proudly maintain and define their womanhood through fulfilling this model. Some may even hate and monger hatred toward other women for keeping up the traditional model. Extreme feminism may resort to emotionally blackmailing and torturing fellow women they perceive “weak”, or blanketly accuse the ‘men-led’ society, up to a point when they are rightly characterized as “feminazis”.

    I don’t think we would need a diversion and fragmentation in our Deaf communities akin to that of our feminist sisters. We better follow a path of unification among ourselves and Deafhood could become a great “center of gravity” that is a point of crystallization for our unity.

    Sometimes those, who perceive Deafhood as a basis of collective wisdom and a collectice mind, even a kernel of future unified community action, are accused of infusing a hidden agenda into the movement. Well, there is nothing hidden in supporting unity, and it is completely natural to move into the direction of collectively acting at the scene of politics for the benefit of the Deaf community. In this regard feminism may absolutely be a desired role model for the future.


  58. CM September 24, 2006

    Bravo! Excellent analogy. Just a note to share about a bit of history about feminism – if anyone wishes to read further, please visit dwconline.org and look for Spring 2006 Issue. Or the link http://dwconline.org/spring2006.html.


  59. Joey Baer September 26, 2006

    Read all message above with much interest. As you know I am into vlogging and I do struggle whether I should add captions or transcripts to my vlogs on my site Believe me, I have discussed about this with many people and I am still interested in further dialogue on this topic.

    I have a big confession to make here because I feel very safe here (Thank you Candace and your colleagues). I always felt very inferior with my English. For example: It took me about two days to type this short message. I don’t think many of you will ever understand how I feel right now typing this. I felt like I worked my butt off trying to figure out whether this sentence or that sentence makes sense.

    It is important for you to realize that I have always felt stressed when I try to write something in English. Always! That is the way I felt since I was born. Not until when I started my ASL Vlog site, I felt so FREE in expressing my opinion without any dictation of English. Believe me, I never felt so empowered!

    And now some people are saying that we should caption our ASL vlogs. All of sudden, I feel so stressed trying to add English (captions) to my vlogs. Is that how I suppose to feel? Why do I have to feel this way? Why can’t I just do what I want? What happened to my freedom?

    I do really believe that my ASL vlogs including Candace’s here are very accessible comparing to many other ASL vlogs. I do take my ASL Vlog project seriously by signing very clear as possible and I have received many, many compliments how much they enjoyed my vlogs. Unfortunately for some others who are not able to follow, they accused me for not captioning my vlogs when they can easily ask others to interpret or whatsoever, just like I have done all of my life, asking others to interpret English for me. Why should I take the blame?

    Furthermore, I thought to myself, it is like doing a project twice. To do my ASL vlog is project number one and to caption the vlog, it is number two. You see, to do one ASL vlog, it takes time! For me, it took me maybe one or two weeks to do one ASL Vlog. So I suspect many people think, “Duh, if it is so easy to do an ASL vlog, why can’t they caption them?” WRONG! ASL do have many rules we have to abide such as facial expressions, grammar structure, fingerspelling, and many others. Do people really realize that? And now when you are asking me to add captions, it becomes stressful for me.

    Simple solution: It is time for us to stand up and say ASL is our language and we must recognize ASL. I am getting tired of people saying, “Oh, ASL is such beauty language” or “I fully support ASL.” Enough of that! We really need to put that on black and white – not through word of mouth! Therefore, I challenge us to work together and give ASL full support and respect throughout the Deaf education system and the Deaf community.

    Once again, it is important for you to understand this: It is not like I say, “It is not my problem if they do not understand any ASL vlogs without captions.” Not that but it is all about expressing myself without any dictation of English. At this time, I will just stick to my thrill of expressing myself without any interference of any other language. At same time, I will continue and observe how this important topic will be resolved but please do not interfer individuals by telling them to caption their vlogs. If they do, that’s great. If not, give them some time.

    Now you know that I have been struggling with this for long time. Why didn’t I do this in ASL? You see, English dictated me once again and do you think I feel good about it?

    Thank you for seeing me out.


  60. Christine September 27, 2006

    I just thought I’d offer my ten cents on whether or not ASL vlogs need to be captioned (very interesting discussion BTW). Before I get to that, I should probably just briefly mention my own background. I’m a hearing Swedish girl in my late twenties. I learned English as my second language starting at the age of ten and lived in the U.S. for a total of three years (divided into three separarate occasions) before returning home last year. I took one year of ASL while I was at the University of Rochester as a foreign exchange student five years ago, and have done my best to preserve and add to my ASL skills and I’m currently also studying Swedish Sign Language at the Stockholm Deaf Club.

    I have found that all the ALS vlogs out there are a great way to keep my sign vocabulary from withering away completely while also keeping up with what’s happening in the American Deaf community.

    Speaking as someone who is able to understand much – but far from all – of what’s being signed, I find the idea of requiring the vloggers to caption their videos absolutely ridiculous. People seem to be forgetting that there is a difference between the videos att CNN and a personal vlog. Demanding that large media corportation make their content accessible does not translate inte a requirement that ASL vlogs must be captioned. People should be able to communicate their thoughts and ideas in whatever language feels the most comfortable to them. For all of you vloggers out there, keep up the good work!

  61. ASC September 27, 2006

    Hi Joey,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective on the vlog and captioning issues. Your words touched me. I very much empathize with your feelings of being stressed out about the idea of writing English versions of your ASL vlogs, which, by the way, are just wonderful models of beautifully expressive and articulate ASL.

    It makes sense what you said, about feeling like captioning ASL vlogs is a whole other second project. It is true that captioning ASL vlogs is not a simple matter of slapping down some English words. Capturing all the subtle nuances and meaning of ASL is a hard and time-consuming task. It really makes me stop and wonder how interpreters do this day in and day out! You should feel free to express yourself in your language of choice.

    Perhaps the burden of captioning vlogs or providing English text should not be yours alone. I wonder if this is something that could better be resolved by having hearing allies or Deaf native English users volunteer to provide text versions of ASL vlogs? It saddens me that Deaf people should have to take on the burden of doing the interpreting work, especially if they do not feel comfortable with it, or if it is adding unnecessary stress and possibly deterring them from sharing ASL vlogs.

    Sharon Duchesneau

  62. Carrie Gellibrand September 27, 2006


    That is wonderful! You have said it so beautifully… your words are *very* touching and I am behind you all the way in support of ASL.

    You make your ASL vlog look so beautifully clear and easy to do, when in fact you POUR your energies into making it look so simple when really it’s a great deal of work. I am sure people who have sarted a vlog or have tried to start one realized themselves how much work it is and certainly applaud you for standing up and explaining that what looks so easy, really is indeed a hard task to do. Thank you for expressing yourself so eloquently!

  63. Brian September 27, 2006

    Candace, it was a pleasure listening to your point of view on the similarities between the American feminism movement and the Deafhood ripple through the American deaf community. I’m thrilled that ACS is promoting discussion of women’s health and women’s right issues (http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=153), as well as our rights as deaf and hard of hearing people.

    In a sense, we have the feminism movement to thank (in addition to other marginalized groups fighting for civil rights) for showing us it is not only possible, it is urgent for us to examine how we fit in our society and local communities, and what changes need to be effected in order to make opportunities and privileges at every level more equitable for all.

    Jon Henner mentioned a few comments ago that even though he is straight, he studies Queer Theory – how wonderful! How cool it would be if more hearing people and more deaf people took Deaf Studies.

    Since it is possible, though sometimes incredibly difficult, for us to make changes by working within the system, I encourage organizations whose mission includes service to and empowerment of deaf people to continue their system advocacy efforts, or to start advocating at the system level for the rights of deaf people.

    There will always be those who prefer the status quo. Those who don’t, can mobilize resources and get organized for system advocacy.

  64. Joey Baer September 29, 2006

    Carrie & Sharon –

    Thanks for your kind words. We’ll continue and see how things will
    work out.



  65. Katherine September 30, 2006


    Sorry I didn’t get around to reading this until now. I was truly inspired by your post and thank you for taking the time to do this! It is something others need to know about.

    What people don’t realize is the complexity of translation from ASL to English. In college, I did an oral history on a Deaf of Deaf (also a native user of ASL)’s experience going to an oral deaf school. I was getting ready to write on a pad during the question and answer session, she suggested that I videotape her and then translate it. I thought to myself, “Oh great, that’ll be much easier!”

    We rescheduled for another time with a videocamera in handy. It
    was all done in 20 minutes. I was so excited that my project will be finished sooner than I thought. Boy, was I wrong! It took me many hours to translate, for the sake of ensuring accuracy, from that videotape onto the paper. And it produced more than 10 pages!

    Eventhough I am Deaf and a native user of ASL, it surprised me about the such beauty of ASL at that time, given the oppressive nature by society in our daily lives that repeatedly embedded in us the negatives on our culture and language.

    I can understand how hard it is to have to translate every time you do an ASL vlog when you want to enjoy sharing yourself in ASL. If I am to do many ASL vlogs, admittedly, I would sigh if I have to do the translation because I know it’s time consuming.

  66. Jean Boutcher October 1, 2006

    Bravo, Candace and Sharon!
    I absolutebloody love your topic.
    I shall take the liberty to say that
    you have launched something entirely
    new in this millennium:

    « Deaf American Revolution! »

    We do not know what to do without you,
    Candace, Sharon, and also Anne Marie
    and Joey Baer!

    Merci beaucoup!
    Jean Boutcher

  67. BEG October 15, 2006

    I think you all should unquestionably consider captioning your ASL vlogs or providing a transcript to go with it. Why? I’m a deaf person who does not sign. It disappoints me to see deaf people excluding me — do I have to fight on two fronts to convince hearing people to caption their vlogs AND convince Deaf people to caption their ASL vlogs????

    It’s ironic to me — Internet used to be fully accessible to me, the first time anything was in my life! Now that more and more video is available, it is closing up again.

  68. BEG October 15, 2006

    Wow… I just read post #42, how bitter. My reaction has been, I would never want to do to others what was done to me. Think of how you felt when you couldn’t follow what was being said. WHY would you actually choose to inflict that on anyone else? “Gave my mother a taste of the same…” wow… I could never do that.

    Worlds apart, I guess.

  69. Carrie Gellibrand October 15, 2006


    Allow me to uh, “beg” to differ…

    I don’t agree with captioning all ASL vlogs, it takes away the beauty of our natural language. My Mom has taken some ASL classes and I know she understands me a little bit better as a Deaf person. I would suggest you learn ASL like we did, then maybe YOU wouldn’t be so bitter.

    Once you’ve mastered the beauty of ASL, perhaps you wouldn’t be clamouring for captioned ASL Vlogs, eh?

  70. Christine October 16, 2006

    I’ve already made a comment on the “to caption or not to caption” debate in favor of letting people decide for themselves whether or not they wish to spend the extra time adding captions to their vlogs. What motivated me to comment on this again was this statement by BEG:

    “It’s ironic to me — Internet used to be fully accessible to me, the first time anything was in my life! Now that more and more video is available, it is closing up again.”

    First of all, I want to make it clear that I am not deaf, and would never pretend to know what that’s like. I am, however, just a little bit offended as a “non-American”. A vast majority of the content on the Internet is in English only. True, citizens of every country in the world have set up websites in their own languages (okay, maybe not the people of North Korea, but you get the idea), but when it comes to news about science or world events etc, people who do not know English are at a clear disadvantage. I write my own blog in English (my second language), knowing that most of my countrymen will be able to understand it anyway, but the idea that everything posted online should be accessible to a mono-lingual English speaker is not realistic. I would advocate for more language diversity in cyber space, not less.

    There is also, as I noted before, a difference between what people do on their own personal websites and what large media corporations choose to do with their video content. We shouldn’t force people to choose between posting an ASL vlog with captions or not posting it at all.

  71. Carrie Gellibrand October 16, 2006

    Thanks, Christine.

  72. BEG October 18, 2006

    I do speak more than one language, but allow me to clarify: all english content used to be accessible and now increasingly it is not. And that’s not coming just from the hearies as per usual but also fellow deaf people. I don’t know how to process that. You know how it is to be shut out.

    If you all are going to make the point that the process of translating ASL into English subtitles is too much work, fine but then don’t patronize me by turning right around and glibly suggesting I just “pick up ASL”. It’s an entirely different language, remember? Not a cutsie code that a ten week $300 course will take care of.

  73. BEG October 18, 2006

    And trust me, if I ever produced ASL vlogs, they would be captioned. Period. Full stop.

  74. Deaf Working Mother Role October 18, 2006

    Candance, WOW great video! Thank you soOOOO MUCH for giving education on your video!

    True, myself experience with the oppressions from my job and also experience with my 2 kids (one Deaf and one hearing) in the schools.

    My Deaf son got fed up with me while I had so much pressures from work, home and my kids’s school. He prefers to live in “PEACE” by deciding to go Deaf School instead of staying in Deaf Oral School and mainstream. He got tired of transferring to many different schools. I feel that my Deaf son educated me to find more peace to stay at Deaf School with only “one oppressive working culture environment” from my deaf husband’s and my jobs.

    Same thing with hearing and deaf working mothers do have pressures with their own deaf kids who participated in mainstream schools. Too much pressures to drive the kids around after school actitivies and worn out from work and driving in rush hour traffics before cooking, cleaning up the house, yardworks, and etc… Most parents were tired of deaf/hoh kids complained “BORING” and not understanding their homeworks…

    So that’s why there are so many different experiences for th DOD, DOd, dOd, DOH and etc kids… That’s really hard for all (d/Deaf and hearing) working mothers who have do to all the choirs while the husbands have their own mind worried about other things. Sometimes we, working mothers have to educated our own husbands by speaking out our feelings… Boy, that’s hard job to have open communication with our husbands while our kids interupted or complained!

    Thanks, Candace for videoing!

  75. ToddE October 18, 2006

    Interesting discussion on captioning/subtitling ASL vlogs! I like to have it both ways, and this is why I’ve been using Google Video for my ASL vlog distribution. This is even though I know there’s superior video distribution alternatives such as QuickTime as used on Joey’s ASL vlog series.

    With Google Video, you can caption your vlogs, and the end viewer can choose to turn them on, or just watch the ASL, free and uncluttered by English. When that happened, I quickly dropped ‘printed’ subtitles on my earlier vlogs.

    Thanks to Joey, I got the ASL vlog ‘bug’! Now that I’ve created a couple, I found out they were more difficult to make than I had anticipated. It has made me appreciate all the more, the work that Joey has undertaken with his ASL vlog offerings.

  76. Jenn January 26, 2007

    ToddE, I haven’t been able to figure out how to download Google Videos on my PC. Mind sharing some tips on what I need to have?

  77. Peggy Prosser from Tokyo March 2, 2007

    Yes….. I had wonder about the similaries before. I’m thinking it is a good thing that deafhood is rising in America, a country where democracy is valued.

    Great Vlog! Will return agian soon!

  78. K.J McCune February 6, 2010

    WOW! Very well said! Should be one of the ideal topics for the workshops or seminars throughout our community.. Empowerment and education are what we all need to gain the wisdom of knowledge. Have to applaud for this wonderful idea to get this ball rolling.

    Great Candace for your wonderful vlog!


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