FOR HEARING PEOPLE ONLY.com

The most popular handbook about the Deaf community

Q: “Do you have a problem
with hearing performers
playing Deaf roles?”

A: In the early days of Hollywood, Deaf roles were invariably played by hearing performers. Many of these characterizations were stereotyped (and would be considered offensive nowadays). Deaf actors and actresses began breaking into TV and film during during the 1970s, scoring important advances—e.g., returning characters, lead characters, getting ASL-speaking Deaf performers in background roles. With these advances have come a demand for authenticity. A hearing performer who takes a Deaf role (typically with a crash course in ASL and Deaf mannerisms) is rarely convincing. Every Deaf role given to a hearing performer represents a lost opportunity. We believe that Deaf performers should be cast in Deaf roles.





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