Netflix’s Deaf U Thoughts

This show has been interesting to say in the least. I first heard of the show coming out a month prior. It was circulating on social media and the trailer looked so good. It seemed to showcase deaf struggles in the real world.

WRONG.

Reason #1 – It’s a bunch of college kids attending Gallaudet University in Washington DC. For some of us that went to college sure do know all about the college lifestyle. There seem to be a lot of drama within the characters. The group they casted somehow seem to be two-faced. Also, sleeping around with talks of getting another person pregnant on purpose? I get it. BUT it’s not something I’d want my daughter to watch and learn about my world.

Reason #2 – It’s not a very good representation of us who are deaf or hard of hearing in the real world. “Do you all act like that?” NO. The reality is there are major differences on the deaf spectrums. The hearing may like it because it’s giving them interesting “perspectives”. I wished the show showed more struggles in real life. For example, what the classrooms are like, what’s studying like, what is it like to work, be around other hearing people, etc.

Reason #3 – The episodes are very short. Not sure why but I wished they elaborate more on their lives rather than being drama and sex focused. It is a documentary and showcased real stories. There were interesting perspectives in different episodes. There were very brief stories of molestations, abortion, LGTBQ, family, relationships, etc, OUTSIDE of their college life.

On the plus side, the end of the last episode gave me all the feels. I can relate to one character named Cheyenna. She’s deaf and uses sign but also words it out with her lips. Some of her friends didn’t like that. She chooses not to use oral speech. It’s just a choice of hers but it’s not good enough for her peers. The deaf culture is separated into different groups. It can be very hateful and discriminating. It’s part of why I didn’t want to attend Gallaudet. I use oral speech and am always questioned by the deaf community about why I don’t express with my hands. How I shouldn’t use my mouth to communicate. How I shouldn’t be wearing hearing aids and be cut off from the hearing world. No matter what I do, it’s not good enough. It’s a very constant state of feeling inferior. Using oral speech is a CHOICE I chose to use. I’ve learned ASL different stages of my life and even teach my 9 month old daughter to use it.

No matter what your choices are, be a better self advocate. Educating others is a constant work in progress. Keep going. Be you. And always be kind to others.

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