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 Eyestar 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?"
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. 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."
Thank you! I don’t like the phrase because it implies that deaf people can’t listen.
I put 10x more effort into communicating than hearing people.
Thank you for being aware & using your platform to recognize and elevate Deaf/HOH perspectives 💜
It depends... As a Deaf person, I’ve teased my friends & family, “You’re going Deaf!” If it’s light, I’m not offended. If it’s “He’s deaf & dumb!” That’s not okay ever. Or making up signs in the air. AND don’t tell me for the 100th time you want to learn sign (& not learn after).