Samsung produced an ad a while ago called, “Hearing Hands.”
It was about a deaf guy in Turkey, whose community all of the sudden learned sign language to communicate with him. While I was interested in the product they were advertising, the actual commercial itself saddened me, because it emphasized the isolation that all of us deaf experience on a daily basis.
Well, Samsung is apparently in the business of wanting to create massive tear-jerkers on the backs of access and inclusion.
Okay, that kind of came out wrong.
I don’t really feel like they are using us; I recognize that they have a product that they want to sell. We (in the disability community) are partly their market and partly their product.
And their product doesn’t suck, so that’s something.
But I’m left wondering why they are clearly creating a piece of marketing that seeks to sell to DeafBlind consumers but is playing a strong pity card to do so. It would seem to me that you would want to play an empowerment card, that empowerment, access, inclusion would be the goals, not inspiration porn.
But I’m opinionating before you’ve watched it.
Here, take a look at this, Samsung’s latest commercial, about DeafBlind in India, “Caring for the Impossible”
This product looks looks awesome.
I mean, holy cow, WOW!, awesome!
I’m so psyched that I get to live in this here and now when technology like this is being developed and the world is becoming more inclusive.
What is going to make it all perfect is when the technology, culture, and marketing reach the same plane of empowerment and connection.
Because remember this from the ad?
I mean, come on!
without the ability to see, hear or speak, the deaf blind can’t express themselves
Is this for real?!
That little bit went by how many levels of scrutiny to make into an ad related to communication for the deaf blind?!
Do I really need to spell it out?
Okay, I will.
You don’t need to be able to see, hear or speak to express yourself!
I can’t even believe that is floating around there. I mean, didn’t Helen Keller teach us anything at all?! If you need a refresher, read my interview with Lisa Ferris, who is a DeafBlind mom. Or my post on how DeafBlind enjoy music.
So, of course people who are DeafBlind can communicate.
Like all communication, it might need to be tailored to that specific individual (s). We might need to communicate in a different way, and we might need to listen differently, but communication and expression most certainly occurs!
And I want to talk about the name of this, too.
“Caring for the Impossible”
How does that sound… remotely positive?
Would it be possible, you think, to change the title of that to something a little more empowering, something that didn’t make it seem like they are calling DeafBlind people “impossible” or similarly negative?
I mean, the point of this is their product, and to enable easier communication between DeafBlind and sighted/hearing. So… why a title that reflects that?
Just my two cents.
I’m sure there are going to be much better posts about this written from others in the disability community, so I”ll be updating this when I see some.
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Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.