• Rachel Gross

We Have More in Common Than You Think

Last week, I watched Deaf U on Netflix. If you haven't heard about it, it's a show about a group of friends who attend Galludette University, a school for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. It's a reality type show, although I do think some of it was scripted, or at least, planned. But, that's besides the point.


I didn't really know what to expect when I turned it on. There were talks about it within the disability community. Some people hated it, and others loved it. Being disabled, we rarely, if ever, see ourselves represented in the media, so having a show where all of the people in it were actually disabled was BIG. So, I figured I would see for myself.


Half way through the first episode, I was so immersed in the show and thought to myself how much I have in common with these people, and the Deaf community. Even though our conditions are wildly different, we share so many similarities.


One of the things that really resonated with me was when they were talking about how hard it is to communicate with people who they've never met before, or people who are unfamiliar with Deaf culture/sign language. As someone who's disability affects the way I speak, it's so hard for me to go out and meet people. I struggle making connections and find myself shying away from conversation because I'm afraid people won't understand me and it'll get #awkward. One of the girls on the show said that she felt the exact same way. Throughout the show, you'll see them using their phones to type out what they want to say and showing it to the other person they're talking to, which is what I do, too!


Another thing that I realized we have in common is this "hierarchy" within both the Deaf/HoH and the disabled communities. Yes, you read that right. For them it's divided between people who can partially hear and speak, those who can partially hear but don't speak, and those who can't hear or speak at all. Within our community, it's based on how much strength you have and/or assistance you need. As much as we don't want to admit it, it exists. It's like an unspoken societal truth.


Overall, I think the show was done really well. I like to pride myself on how much I know about disability and our culture. But, before watching I really didn't know much about the Deaf/HoH culture, and I feel like I learned a lot from this. Watching this show made me realize that we all have more in common than we would ever know. The only thing bad I have to say about it is that I wish it went more into their lives outside of sex and relationships.


If you're looking for an easy show to watch, this is it!


 
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