Deaf and CODA Popular Culture

CODAs live both Deaf and hearing lives. Being bi-cultural, CODAs can participate in both world’s popular culture. Pretending to be one’s favorite singer and sing into a brush or broom would describe a part of many hearing people’s childhoods, including CODAs. Going to Deaf events like a Deaf play or comedy show might be part of many Deaf people’s childhoods, including CODAs. Even though CODAs can hear there is much in the realm of Deaf popular culture that flows through to the lives of CODAs.

In entertainment and media there are so many Deaf entertainers. Deaf poetry recited in sign, Deaf comedy, Deaf plays and musicals, even Deaf music. Deaf music? Yes, Deaf music. You wouldn’t realize it, but at many of the heavy rock concerts, there will be quite a few Deaf people there. Because of the heavy bass Deaf people can feel the music. Interestingly CODAs love to have their music turned up loud and can typically get away with it in the house as long as it doesn’t have a lot of bass. Aside from music, there are some movies that are very powerful in capturing eyes through a Deaf person. Children of a Lesser God is one of my favorites. There is also a TV show that had gotten pretty popular, Switched at Birth.

I grew up in a home with two hearing parents and two Deaf grandparents taking care of my sister and I. Throughout my life I have accepted many things in the house as norms where other hearing people see it as odd. Closed Captions (CC) or Subtitles have been on my TVs since I was born. I remember seeing a TV with no CC and being very confused and wondered why the TV wasn’t working. CC was always very important in my house, not only to my grandparents but to my parents and sister too. My grandparents can be very loud at times and very often we would briefly miss what happened on TV but could catch up using CC.

Clothes that express Deaf pride are very popular among many in the Deaf community as well as some in the hearing community. These clothes often have ASL letters in place of english letters to spell out words or refer to Deafness, CODA, or something to do with the Deaf culture. I have a family friend whose daughter makes and sells shirts that have three signs on the front, ‘Live, Laugh, Love.’ The shirts not only raise awareness for sign language and the Deaf community but also raises some money for GLAD (Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness), a Deaf advocacy organization in Los Angeles.

It is amazing how much popular media is out there that includes ASL or some reference to Deafness. Things like songs that are translated over to ASL and given new and sometimes beautiful meanings are amazing ways that CODAs bridge the gap between the hearing and the Deaf world.

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3 responses to “Deaf and CODA Popular Culture

  1. Pingback: Reading and Deaf Researchers | deafinprison·

  2. I like the entry, I never realized how important closed captions are to deaf culture. I always just used them when I couldn’t understand a thick accent 😛

  3. Pingback: Felix Featured in Al Jazeera Documentary | deafinprison·

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