Yesterday, on Monday, Sep 26, when Vaibhav Kothari posted on Facebook about his daily struggles as a deaf person, using the Hearing Privilege hashtag, he was expressing solidarity with a social media experiment initiated by Washington-based non-profit HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf).
He wrote, “Please check out the #HearingPrivilege posts, that reflect my struggles daily – it’s so inspiring to see many deaf people share their own experiences using the hearing privilege tag.”
Heard a song on the radio and hummed along? Dialled for medical services in an emergency? Can access guided meditations online? Don’t dread family gatherings because of communication gaps? If you answered yes to any of these, you enjoy #HearingPrivilege.
What is hearing privilege? According to HEARD, “It is a term for societal privileges that benefit people who have hearing abilities and those privileges are beyond reach for deaf and hard of hearing people in the same social, political, and economic circumstances. We need your help with the examples of hearing privilege.”
It asked people to publicly post all through Monday, September 26 across social media platforms—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr—using the hashtag, #HearingPrivilege. The purpose was “to unpack and identify words, actions, situations and events that are oppressive and harmful to deaf and hard of hearing people.” The public posts can be related to Communication, Employment, Transportation, Mass and Social Media, Medical settings, Entertainment, Dining Establishments and Education.
The collected examples will be used to educate hearing students in American Sign Language courses and students will make a socially conscious video to educate their peers, in an effort towards a more equitable society.
Well, there’s no need to celebrate the deaf community on just one day! Do go ahead and read, share, retweet and post your own thoughts on Hearing Privilege.