Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Deaf taking a 'STAND'


The thing about demanding realism is that it also requires an image of people will pay to see, and the suitability for the part offered.  I'm deaf but obviously cannot apply for an actor's job because I am unqualified for it.  The consensus of opinion is diversity and rights WON'T automatically mean you can get a job beyond your capability, but it has always been this way.  

Deaf people want acceptances and work on merit not just because they are deaf or it's patronisation and tokenism.  Hollywood is profit/image-driven and won't enable deaf people for no reason they have to be able to sold as a commodity, they aren't a charity.  The reality is hearing can portray deaf people but deaf cannot do the reverse.  Deaf have to up their game that's the reality.  Forever playing to own audiences are limiting their capabilities to appeal elsewhere.  There are huge areas of hearing life and lifestyles deaf have no access to, or, uninterested in, nor understand, so they should start there.  Deaf are not topical or versatile, and not aware enough to offer a full range of options to a filmmaker, deaf playing deaf is simply typecasting.

The danger is inclusion by rote, and not ability, and joe public won't go and see such films. As we know signed output is still too minority to appeal to the general public and usually ends up patronised as disability output, or even a 'foreign' film. What goes out tends to be titled too so the signed aspect is lost.   Via various inclusions on UK-TV we can see it is token mostly, and the deaf actors delivering the sermon on the mount of 'How to speak to or include deaf people who sign..'  Which is a worthy aim if you are in a focus group, but audiences don't want lectures, they want escapism, deaf have to appeal to hearing not just to their own.  Such token output is better suited for charities than mass viewing as 'awareness', albeit singular to one type of deaf person so not really inclusive as that.

I've no doubt inclusion areas in the USA cam make waves but I don't really see much change happening.  As we know no deaf signer has 'made it' since COALG, but was an exception to the rule.  I'm all for inclusion by merit, not inclusion because I am deaf too.