To cast a hearing person as deaf character is akin to cast a white woman as African American male! It is akin to cast a dog for the role of a cat! The producers assumed that it is easy to pretend portray deaf characters. You do not do that with African Americans or any races. But it is OK to do that with deaf persons.
There are many Deaf actresses/actors who aspired to break in -- but there are producers do not give them an opportunity. For instance, there was a show called SURFACE on NBC-TV on Monday nights. They had a deaf character portrayed by whom? A hearing actress who cannot sign. In fact, I got 10 emails complaining that this bitch cannot sign worth a shit. In fact, one wrote: "She was unreadable and unrealistic!"
I checked some idiotic commentators on a message board run by IMDb.com by others who attempted to justify this, you may read and laugh if you want to. In fact, IMDb.com deleted all comments produced by Deaf people who protested -- the total of 7 comments were deleted, perhaps when they responded back in defense.
Laura Malloy commented, "I think you need to calm down. The actress did not appear after the show and claim to be legally deaf. It's called ACTING. People do it every day, they play characters that are sometimes the opposite of who they are."
Laura is obviously ignorant. She probably needs to buy a book by John Schuchman's Hollywood Speaks to see the ramifications that the Hollywood has done many injustices to the deaf people in general. Laura, you're an idiot.
Another commentator, Chauliodus-1 said: "Gee when did having a disability become a "talent"? One's ethnicity, the others an impairment. The moment you see a white person or a black person you know who they are, you don't with deaf people nor do I care if this women isn't deaf.
Again, this guy obviously missed the point. This is a classic example of audism. Why do you think I loathed people like him/her?
Here is the best one, Trevor whined: "You know, I have a lot of compassion for people with disabilities. My own son has Down Syndrome, by the way. And all through college, I had a close friend who was blind, and I read his textbooks to him and walked him around campus ... Not so with hearing-normal actors playing hearing-impaired roles. So the actress's sign language was terrible. So what?"
I love when hearing persons claimed that they are supportive of disabilities then turn the table on to argue that we had no right to object that we do not like hearing people portraying us in the films and televisions. Trevor, that comment you made is bullshit. Good try but no cigar, blindness is not deafness, deafness is not down syndrome -- there is no way in Heavens or Hell that you can say that you have a compassion for this shit. Do us a favor, shut the fuck up, Trevor!
When I got these emails today, I made a phone call to Kahlil Olmstead, the so-called NBC Media twice today. I got ahold of someone who refused to identify herself/himself, instead transferred me 4 or 5 times to Kahlil's voice mailbox. What else is new? I wanted to find out more information about this subject. I also left the meesage for them to return the call or email me back to defend their turf. So far, nothing at all.
SURFACE is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio, the Executive Producers are Josh and Jonas Pate, they are ignorant twins from North Carolina. Believe it or not, the place of production is in Wilmington, North Carolina -- they could have get in touch with Gallaudet University, merely 384 miles away and do the auditions like some productions did in the past.
If you wanted to express your opinions to these folks who hired a hearing actress to portray deaf character and cannot sign worth a shit -- get in touch with Kahlil Olmstead at 818.840.3727 and/or Kahlil.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I feel that it is necessary to email or call them in a relentless manner to make them see that what they did was very inappropriate to start with. And it is time to stop using these phony actresses to falsely portray deaf characters in films and televisions! Enough is enough.
Here is a copy of Michael Krajnak's email to Kahlil regarding the situation. Do your part as well:
From: Mikey Krajnak <email@example.com>
Date: Tue Nov 15, 2005 09:59:33 AM EST
Subject: Surface episode on 11/14/05
As a Deaf person who enjoys Surface, I watch it faithfully every week. The other shows "Threshold" and "Invasion" I found them to be bit too farfetched and bit too sci fi. "Surface" is compellingly believable, authentic and mind expanding, all in all, well done kudos.
However, I was totally offended by the "deaf" female character in last night's show. Her signing was abominable and difficult to understand. The interaction between Lee and his "deaf" girlfriend was unrealistic regarding the lipreading. As an American Sign Language specialist with a degree from Gallaudet University I was saddened by the tainting of not only my world but "Surface".
I'm curious to know why this situation was portrayed in this way and why you did not choose to use a Deaf actress.
I'm looking forward to your response.
For once, let's kick their butts.