Monday, March 31, 2008

How Can We Shake Up The General Conception of Our Deaf Community Thru Spilling Over Our Black Kettle?

Barbara DiGi of the "Deaf Progressivism" wrote the real splendid letter to the CBS-TV in response to the airing of the "Cold Cases" last night on the network television. Her "open letter" to the CBS-TV could be seen on Misha Zena' blog.

My first reason is to get into the DeafRead blogosphere few years ago is to mobilize all of you, deaf readers, viewers, bloggers and vloggers to spill our concerns and expressions over the DeafRead black kettle to the general society to educate and mobilize the millions and millions of hearing people what and who we, deaf people are all about. We must not let the society at large to define and pigeonhole us, deaf people.

The best way is to pressure the CBS-TV and the producers of the "Cold Case" television programming by writing countless open letters to various publications, ex. local and regional and statewide newspapers, national and international magazines to get the formal apology and disclaimer and the follow-up reactions from the deaf community on various CBS newsmagazine tv shows and entertainment shows.

We must get together as the whole deaf community to fight off the "inaccurate/unfair" portrayal of deaf people in the world of entertainment and newsreportings. Or we will dearly pay the price for being socially and culturally passive without making any corrections or challenge their societal perspective of our own dear community.

Some deaf people like Mike McConnell, probably will scoff at the significance of fair and accurate portrayal of deaf people on the tv shows and newsreportings. Many social and cultural historians and researchers will tell you differently what really happened in the past societal occurrences/incidents.

From my past sociological research for the Gally sociology class, the sociology professor did scoff at me for doing the research on this very topic. He became mesmerized later with the reading of several books after I researched on the portrayal of African Americans from Hollywood films and tv shows over 100 years. The images of African Americans came out unfavorably portrayed and often twisted from the "Birth of the Nation" to "Pinky" films to "Andy and Amos" tv shows. The professor told me "I really did not realize about those things occurred", ex. proven racial and ethnic hate crimes against particular and targeted minorities.

The past statistics of racial hate crimes against African Americans by the white America got skyrocketed almost 70 percent after the screening of "The Birth of a Nation" - endless lynchings, widespread discrimination, societal prejudices and other things.

Vito Russo, author of "The Celluloid Closet" nonfiction book and producer of the "very same title" powerful film documentary, done the years of stealth researching on the Hollywood portrayal of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals on the celluloid images. He had to trick the Hollywood film suppliers and studios to send in their films or will never get a chance of getting the hands on endless films which often portrayed the so-called social deviance and psychologically abnormal minority in such questionable and unfavorable manners. The GLBTs ended up portrayed as scheming and twisted and pathetically degenerate creatures, instead of balanced and realistic and fair portrayal of sexual, cultural and linguistic minority (GLBTs). "Cruising" 1980 film with Al Pacino was one of the fine example of unfair depiction of gay males in the world of S&M.

The non-challenged images of African Americans and GLBTs in the world of entertainment from the 1890s to 1980s, left those minorities the hefty price from leading the decent, progressive and successful living in the United States. Their rights to the equal society had been endlessly denied from gainful employment to legal protection(s). Such misconceptions and irrational fears about any minorities led to the systematic discrimination and prejudices on the long-term hauls .

Please write the open letters to your local, regional and national publications to express your concerns about the CBS-TVs "Cold Case". We ought not to engage in the call for any kind of censorship and just engage in constructive dialogues for future "balanced" portrayal of deaf people. We ever have to forward our deaf blogs and vlogs to the movers and shakers of the entertainment world and the hearing bloggers to urge the show business people to take the deep insights how they portray us, deaf people on the silver screen and television shows.

No questions about Hollywood's true love for getting the hands on the social deviance of any groups and make money off the human misery for the purpose of entertainment. We really could make the difference in societal portrayal of deaf people within all of us. How sad!

Hopefully will see Barbara DiGi's open letter to the CBS-TV appears on the next week's "Variety" magazine, a respectable show business.

More information on Vito Russo's "The Celluloid Closet" could be found on http://en.wikipediaorg/wiki/TheCelluloid Closet or type 'The Celluloid Closet". I could not recall the titles of several nonfiction books on the Hollywood portrayal of African Americans.

Robert L. Mason


  1. any chance we could sue for defamation of subgroup?

  2. You just need to stop picking on deafies for not getting involved with deaf culture. That's it.

    People see you pick on deaf people and people talk about it at all levels.

    I have 3 oral deaf friends who are tangent lighting specialist subcontractors in several studios. They've been picked on for decades by the ASL class and they whine plenty about it to producers who remember and share this negative perception of deaf community around.

  3. Thank you, Robert, for mentioning about my letter and how important it is for us to continue to give feedback to anyone about who we really are rather than being painted by the others and say nothing about it.

    There are several letters to the CBS that I have received via e-mails and I have to say that these letters were thorough as well.

    Your blog is sending out the crucial message that we are not going to take this crap. Enough with the negativity! Enough with the false picture of the Deaf community! Enough with the labels! Enough with paternalism!

    Although it is only a T.V. show but don't forget it is much more sensitive and dangerous when portraying a small minority group. Images have changed so much for the Blacks and Native Americans since the birth of television but why can't it be for the Deaf?

  4. It is only FICTION, not fact so quit whining.

    If the Cold Case show is about a fact or true story then it would be DIFFERENT story.

  5. Anmonymopus at 12:25 a.m.

    You're out of touch with the reality! Get real!

  6. To anonymous at 12:25 am,

    The whole point of the complaints is that the show included wildly implausible scenarios that simply bear no relationship to reality.

    It is an example of a bad use of fiction. It is fiction run amok to the point of crossing the line from entertainment to propaganda.

  7. Thank you!

    I hope a next show will be better!

  8. Anonymous #1

    We could establish the "deaf" media watchdog to monitor and educate the world of filmmakers and television producers.

    Many ethnic and racial and sexual preference minorities DO have their own media watchdogs. The Arabs and GLBTs have their own excellent media watchdog organizations.

    We really could file the lawsuit against the CBS-TV based on constant portrayal of deaf people in questionable accuracy/balanced viewpoints. That would be real costly for us to finance the legal action. The CBS-TV have the big legal sharks on their team. Look at Dan Rather! He got scapegoated and unfairly chopped down by the CBS-TV.


  9. Thank you, Jean, Barbara DiGi and BR for being a level-headed individuals bringing the best out of our deaf community.

    I am a realist myself, Anonymous 12:05. :)

    Richard Roehem, I am not really picking on deaf people in any way. I did target Jamie Berke because she use "Deafness" on her blog title. I like Jamie as a person.

    That was a real fair game for Mike McConnell. He was the one, who scoffed at us, deaf people expressed concerns about the hiring of hearing person for deaf roles last summer 2007.


  10. I thought it was just a very interesting storyline primarily written up for the most drama. They brought up some issues and exaggerated them. However, I'm not going to complain because they didn't accurately portray the deaf culture. TV never portrays the blacks, the jewish or the French accurately. Drama is what sells, not the truth.