Culture

'Queer Eye' Star Karamo Brown Sparks Discussion About an Ableist Phrase

Karamo Brown's never been one to shy away from a discussion about respectful communication and the role language plays within upholding certain power dynamics, and the latest online discussion he's sparked is further proof of this.

On Thursday, the Queer Eye star took to his Twitter to pose a question to his followers about using the common idiom "falling on deaf ears" — a phrase he thinks is ableist.

"Someone just said to me, 'I feel like my message is falling on deaf ears…' and I told them that I felt that 'saying' is inappropriate," Brown tweeted. "It seems disrespectful and rude to the deaf & HOH community. She said I was being over sensitive. Thoughts?"

And for the most part, many — especially members of the d/Deaf/HoH community — agreed with Brown, pointing out that the phrase implies a false equivalency between having issues with auditory processing and "choosing not to listen."

"Thank you! I don't like the phrase because it implies that deaf people can't listen," one person responded. "I put 10x more effort into communicating than hearing people."

Even activist Nyle DiMarco chimed in, writing, "I think it depends on the context. It also depends on deaf individuals. However if we can find a better word/idiom, then always go with that!"

As a result, others also began suggesting alternate phrases to use such as "talking to a brick wall" or "talking to them is like trying to make a call in a cell phone dead zone."

All in all, an extremely productive conversation. Read all the replies to Brown's query here.

Photo via Getty

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