What Do Cereal Boxes Have to Do with Deaf People?

Rice KrispiesSnap, Crackle & Pop!: This announcement about raising autism awareness by printing public service messages on cereal boxes came into our mailbox a couple of days ago. There is controversy surrounding this particular advertising campaign, mostly because some people who have autism and who are quite functional and happy with their lives, resent being labeled as having a “neurological disorder” and having other people speak for them. Although this makes sense to us and brings to mind lots of parallels with Deaf people’s feelings about being labeled in countless ways, we do think that bringing public attention to autism or any other “difference” is a good thing. How parents choose to deal with their child’s autism is another issue and is obviously dependent on many factors.

Raising Awareness about Deaf People: Cereal boxes might also be a good place to raise awareness about Deaf culture and American Sign Language by printing lists of interesting facts and historical tidbits about the Deaf community. These might include lines such as “American Sign Language and English are two completely different languages” and “If you lived in a house with Deaf people, you might have a light that flashes when someone rings your doorbell”. When you think about how many people start their day with a box of cereal in front of them, cereal boxes could be a great opportunity to educate children and adults and de-pathologize what it means to be Deaf. What would you like to see about Deaf people on cereal boxes?

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