Spoiler alert: This text accommodates spoilers for Season 1 of Deaf U
Like many, we binged by way of the inaugural season of Deaf U as quickly because it was launched on Oct 9. The eight-episode collection follows a handful of scholars who’re deaf or exhausting of listening to at Gallaudet College, navigating new relationships, hookups, friendships, gossip, and all the things that one might count on from a tight-knit school campus group.
We had been unhappy to be taught within the final episode that YouTube star and influencer Cheyenna Clearbrook had left Gallaudet College because of the pervasive elitism she skilled on the school. As she put it, “I do know there are some good Elite folks, for certain … however the others have that rejective angle, like, whoa.”
As listening to viewers, we had been curious to be taught extra concerning the deaf group’s takes on the Deaf U “elite.” Hold studying.
What does it imply to be within the deaf “Elite”?
From what we have gathered from the collection, being among the many “elites” of the deaf group is a query of privilege and entry. A lot of the Gallaudet Elite college students are ones who had been introduced up with deaf dad and mom and for whom American Signal Language was their first language.
As one deaf viewer defined on Twitter, elites are individuals who come from a household the place there are generations of deafness, who’ve attended deaf faculty, discovered ASL as their first language, and are sometimes financially well-off as effectively.
However it’s necessary to do not forget that the overwhelming majority (90 %, in keeping with the Nationwide Institute of Deafness and Different Communication Issues) of people who find themselves deaf are born to listening to dad and mom who do not converse ASL and do not have the identical entry to deaf tradition and group.
A aspect impact these youngsters typically expertise is language deprivation, an necessary concern that many viewers hope is explored additional if Deaf U will get a second season.
95% of Deaf children are born to listening to dad and mom & 90% of these dad and mom is not going to be taught signal langfor their Deaf youngsters so can we please have media that’s not about Elite Deaf households w/ full wealthy Lang entry at household gen colleges for “Higher Deafs” bc that’s leaves out most of us
— 🦻🏼🤟🏽E (They/He)🧏🏼🌈 (@QueerDeaf) October 9, 2020
What do viewers make of ‘Deaf U’?
We had been very curious to be taught extra about what viewers who’re deaf or listening to impaired thought concerning the illustration on Deaf U. The overwhelming consensus, so far as we have seen, is that the “overwhelming majority of issues with Deaf U converse much less to the present itself than to the truth that d/Deaf persons are so marginalized and starved for mainstream illustration that we’ve to pin all our hopes and desires on this one (or any single) collection,” as deaf author Sara Novic places it.
On the subject of elitism, she writes: “It *is poisonous and really dangerous. Lord is aware of as post-lingually deafened I have been a recipient of its hate. However it’s also reactionary, coming from a spot of deep harm because of marginalization and stigma. It’s very misdirected, in fact, as a result of the individuals who ‘aren’t deaf sufficient’ are victims of that very same ableism, which deprives deaf folks of language entry.”
One viewer, who presently attends Gallaudet College, wrote on Twitter that she was disenchanted the present did not function “deaf individuals who skilled language deprivation or are new signers.” “I really feel just like the present will discourage these folks to be part of the group as a result of it exhibits you will not be accepted for those who’re not elite, which is not at all times true,” she wrote.
One other wished there have been extra multilingual deaf folks, and extra ladies of coloration on the present.
We hope that Deaf U is renewed for a second season, as there are such a lot of subjects that stay to be explored.