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kottke.org posts about deafness

Learn Some Black American Sign Language

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 01, 2020

After a video Nakia Smith did with her grandfather went viral, Netflix asked her to explain what Black American Sign Language is, how it came about, and how it differs from American Sign Language.

Black American Sign Language is a dialect of American Sign Language. It’s still a language. It was developed by Black deaf people in the 1800s and 1900s during segregation. For reference, the first American school for the deaf was created in 1817, but only started admitting Black students in 1952. So as a result, Black communities had a different means of language socialization and BASL was born.

Smith demonstrates a few BASL signs that differ from ASL signs and you can see more of those differences in the video w/ her grandfather, who is also deaf.

For more information, you can check out Smith’s TikTok, Wikipedia, and a documentary film called Signing Black in America.

Update: There was also a book about BASL published this year: The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL (Bookshop.org). The book includes 10 companion videos on YouTube.

Between Sound and Silence, how technology is transforming the lives of those with hearing loss

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 17, 2018

Irene Taylor Brodsky directed this short film in which about a dozen deaf people talk simply about their hearing loss and the technology (like cochlear implants) that is transforming how they interact with others. This was wonderful…I learned a lot from listening to these stories.

I was also struck by how difficult it actually is to lump “people who X” into a single category, despite the human desire to tidy people and things into groups. Even among the relatively few people featured in this short film, there were many different approaches and attitudes about deafness. Watching it, you think, jeez, what do all these people really have in common? Probably less than you might have assumed initially. (via @JossFong)

Jehovah’s Witnesses to the deaf: no masturbation in da club

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 06, 2012

Some genius paired 50 Cent’s In Da Club with a video put out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to encourage deaf people not to masturbate.

(via stellar)

What is Wrong with the Use of

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 19, 2006

What is Wrong with the Use of these Terms: “Deaf-mute”, “Deaf and dumb”, or “Hearing-impaired”? “Overwhelmingly, deaf and hard of hearing people prefer to be called ‘deaf’ or ‘hard of hearing.’”