Common Misconceptions About Deaf People

Sign language interpreter Barbie Parker at Lollapalooza in 2014.
Sign language interpreter Barbie Parker at Lollapalooza in 2014. / Theo Wargo/Getty Images

If you thought you were making things easier on a Deaf person by exaggerating every movement of your lips while speaking to them, we have some important news for you: Your theatrics don’t help them understand you. In fact, some Deaf people don’t even read lips at all.

On this episode of Misconceptions, four members of the Deaf community—Treshelle Edmond, Harold Foxx, Dickie Hearts, and Melissa Elmira Yingst—share some of the most prevalent (and weirdest) misconceptions people have about them. You might be surprised to find out just how often they’re offered books in Braille or even wheelchairs, making it clear that quite a few people think being Deaf affects more than just a person’s hearing.

Another common assumption is that Deaf people aren’t allowed to drive; they are, though that wasn’t always the case. And if you thought American Sign Language was universal, you should probably take another look at the first word in that phrase.

Find out more in the video below, written by Dickie Hearts and directed by Alexandria Wailes.

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