NEW YORK (PRWEB) January 31, 2019
Communication Service for the Deaf Launches #DeafinMedia to Increase Authentic Representation of Deaf People in the Media, Challenge Societal Biases
Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) officially announced today its #DeafinMedia initiative, a multi-faceted campaign designed to increase the authentic representation of Deaf people in the media and challenge ongoing societal biases toward Deaf people.
#DeafinMedia highlights both damaging and positive representations of Deaf people in a multitude of media, including movies, books, television, journalism, video games and more. The #DeafinMedia campaign also provides media creators access to a variety of helpful resources, including a new media toolkit, so that they may avoid common mistakes and emulate positive portrayals of Deaf people while also providing a platform and strategies for the community to effect change. #DeafinMedia started in beta stage last November.
CSD is the world’s largest Deaf-led social impact organization and for decades has served as a leading advocate to eliminate biases and misconceptions about people who are Deaf and what they are capable of achieving.
The inauthentic representation of Deaf people has serious, real-world implications. Portrayals of Deaf people as tragic figures, unintelligent and incapable can have a direct impact on hiring practices. According to CSD, approximately 70% of Deaf people today are unemployed or underemployed and a critical part of closing this severe job gap is challenging unconscious bias and modifying perceptions.
“I am proud of the culture that we have cultivated at CSD, with Deaf and hearing people working seamlessly together,” said CSD CEO Christopher Soukup. “We already know here at CSD that Deaf people have incredible value to offer the world—something that the world at large is slowly learning as well. With every authentic and accurate story we tell about our community and the people in it, we can accelerate this learning.”
Representation of Deaf people must not only be authentic, it must exist in the first place, notes CSD. Additionally, we continue to see far too many inauthentic representations on screen – Deaf characters played by hearing actors. When people do not see themselves on the page or on the screen, that contributes to a sense that they are not important. In “Living with Television,” (1976), Larry Gerbner and Larry Gross put it this way: “Representation in the fictional world signifies social existence; absence means symbolic annihilation.”
#DeafinMedia analyzes Deaf representation across a variety of media genres, including videos, articles and public discussions. Media creators have opportunities to ask questions directly as well as have access to helpful resources such as a new media toolkit that provides information on appropriate terminology, tropes to avoid and more.
“Let’s advance the conversation about Deaf people,” added Soukup, “and ensure that the stories told about us accurately reflect who we are: human beings who contribute to the wonderful diversity that is all of collective humanity.”
The Durkin Agency
Vice President, Public Relations, Engagement & Policy
Communication Service for the Deaf