Another Hearing Privilege in Hollywood Industry

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Honestly, when I learned about the movie, “The Silence”, the hearing actress would play a role as Deaf person. It’s another language war. The term of war comes from old English, “wyrre”—bringing into confusion. It is also an insult to Deaf culture. It’s the bandwagon of hearing privileges that always the stronghold to overcome. Deaf people should never been confused. It’s the hearing people who are confusing.

I do not really understand this social phenomenon why hearing people keep denying by unpacking own privileges. I mean…it’s no excuse! What is so special about Deaf community? Deaf actors and actresses are talented and attuned to their people.

I remember when I was selected to act as Hansel in Deaf program in 1983, that time I was 9 years old. The joy and excitement of learning as much acting as possible through which it can be understand, intellectually and emotionally, that Deaf people can act and understand the presence in their life experience is the consequence of those learning experiences so we are better prepared to act once we leave the acting experience.

It was a big deal for me even I realized just now. It’s really big deal. You know, Deaf children are precious to be given and empowered with acting skills. The study of acting as Deaf person had shown that the study of ASL is a creative process based upon the analysis of linguistic/cultural evidence, which results in a conversation between ASL and its users.

When I become an actor for Deafhood Monologues, it was a learning experience at Gallaudet. I believe that not only in ASL but in all areas Deaf actresses and Deaf actors should have the opportunity to reach their full potential as informed and knowledge young women and men. As they have chosen to learn about the language and culture.

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It’s just impossible and unthinkable that hearing actresses and actors would deprive away from Deaf talent. It’s an invisible tool that Deaf community continues to be oppressed. We all need to be reminding of Homer’s Odyssey, Deaf people are challenged to overcome the unknown. It’s the same that goes to Hollywood industry.

Deaf actresses and actors had a joy of learning something novel—something mind-blowing. They are the ones who have gained from the learning journey that shall furnish their home. Back in 2011, I attended Toronto International Deaf Film + Arts Festival, the Gala event was a huge insult to Deaf community, the gala film was showing 88 minutes of hearing actresses and actors until three minutes left in the movie, finally Deaf actress. What does it mean?

What happened to the safe and rigorous, one that empowers Deaf actresses and actors in pursing ASL for Hollywood industry? After Gala night, the film festival begun and the opening of the festival, I’m Deaf and I Didn’t Know made by French Deaf filmmaker was the best film of the festival that morning that I decided to write down this film as best film and sure enough, the film won the best film of festival. It should be in the gala first place!

Yet, SEVEN years later, the film industry is still dominated by hearing privileges. Oh yeah, 30 years later after Marlee Matlin won Academy Award for the movie, Children of a Lesser God is still oppressed in the name of hearing privileges. I mean, what’s worst the most of all? The Silence.

The term: silence—complete absence of sound and cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking.

Yes, speaking from pain. Speaking from experience. Speaking from truth. It’s really unbelievable and insulting that Deaf culture continues to be oppressed from the absence of sound and prevent from showing Deaf talent. It’s quite shameful, hmm?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

 

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