Are Deaf People Disabled? (Ask Rikki #1) | Rikki Poynter

Are Deaf People Disabled? (Ask Rikki #1) | Rikki Poynter

Hello and welcome back
to the channel and the first episode of Ask Rikki, where you are gonna ask me for advice
on anything you want that’s something that I tend to talk about from time to time on the channel. Kind of similar to the old series,
Get to the Poynt, but for here, for this series,
I just wanna like talk and chill out and be kinda like a friend – although this is actually
a parasocial relationship – but just be chill about it, yeah. So if you need any advice for yourself
about disability, deafness, mental health, LGBT issues,
more specifically bisexuality, or child abuse, things like that. I will have the link to the form down below and I hope to get these out every Friday
as much as possible. If you like the idea of this series
and want more in the future, be sure to hit that subscribe button
and that notification bell so you don’t miss out
on any future uploads of it. Also, if you want to support this series,
I do have a Patreon page, and for all of January,
new pledges, even $1 a month, will receive a postcard
with a little letter from me in the mail. So, I’ll have that link down below as well. So, this person wants to know, “Am I considered disabled
if I’m hard of hearing? “I am mainstreamed
and my country is very inaccessible “to deaf and hard of hearing people.” OK, well, I don’t know
what country that you live in because this is anonymous but talking about
in the United States at least, from a medical standpoint,
yes, you are. From the standpoints of
the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA, yes, you are. From a personal perspective,
that’s going to be up to you. So, for me, as a deaf person myself, I, a long time ago,
used to not consider myself disabled because I was trying to fit in when I was first finding
the deaf community online. And the type that I found online, I was trying so desperately
to fit in with them, and they were very anti-disability. Like they were like,
“I’m not disabled, I’m not this.” “I can do anything but hear,”
da-da-da-da-da. And I was so trying
to fit in with them instead of really thinking
about myself and for myself. But now,
learning the disability community’s side, those with other disabilities
and how ableist that thinking actually is, I was thinking about it,
and so for me, myself, yeah, I consider myself disabled
because ADA, I need that, and also, you know,
I have other disabilities as well, chronic pain, chronic fatigue,
and it’s just, disability, being disabled, ‘disabled/disability’
is not a bad word, and it’s not a bad thing, it’s nothing to be ashamed of for that. It’s just, well, I can’t hear,
yeah, that’s a disability. Like, OK, cool, let’s move on. But I know that
for a lot of other deaf people, like I said,
they don’t consider themselves disabled, and, you know,
I’ve said I’m just gonna fall under, really, team whatever-you-wanna-call-yourself, because sometimes it can be really, it can be really exhausting trying to
break that kind of mindset. So, for you, really,
it’s going to be up to you. I can’t tell you for yourself whether or not you’re gonna feel
like you’re disabled or not. But I can tell you that
from the medical standpoint, you know,
if you go to a doctor or whatever, they’re probably gonna say,
“Yeah, so, you’re disabled,” you know, whatever. And for the percentage of
the deaf community and deaf people who don’t consider deafness a disability, or they might consider deafness a disability from a medical standpoint, but culturally they don’t
consider themselves as that, and it’s kind of like a little bit
more complicated thing. In the United States
and in Canada, and, you know,
other westernised countries, like even England for example,
maybe Australia, even – Do we count Australia as westernised even though they’re on
the other side of the world? Something I never really thought about. But like in, I know in other countries that don’t have the same amount of
access that we do, for lack of a better word,
just other things like that, they would consider themselves
probably disabled and use ‘disabled’ a little bit more, so I think I could, I may be wrong. Let me know if I am, please. I know, well, one other country
that comes to mind is Russia because they have a very strong, at least when I did a video way back when about how people
wanted to tweak genetics so that way nobody
would ever be deaf anymore. That’s what I’m thinking of
when there are countries, where people are just like, yeah,
we’re just gonna use the word ‘disabled’ because that’s what it is. But yeah, ultimately, it’s up to you, I guess, from a personal standpoint how you want to identify yourself as, if you wanna consider yourself
just deaf or just disabled or, you know, use both like I do. I think I have a video
kind of somewhere to this. I think it’s mostly about the words like ‘disability’ versus ‘differently abled’ and how I felt about those words. I’m gonna leave down a link in a card, on whichever side that they show up on. So you can watch that
as like an add-on to this video. I think that’ll also help a lot
and give you a little bit more detail. If you are also a deaf person, let me know in the comments down below
what you think. Thank you, Anonymous,
for asking a question. I hope I helped you out a little bit. If you would like to submit a question yourself, I will have the link
to the Google Form down below and hopefully you’ll be able to see
your own question in its own video. If you would like to help
translate this video, I’ll have a link
to the translation link down below, helps out a tonne. Be sure to like and share this video, that’s always extremely helpful,
especially the sharing part. Thank you for taking the time
out your day to watch this video and I will see you later. Bye. (ROCK MUSIC OUTRO)



  • Rikki Poynter

    If you like my work and would like to support it, feel free to leave a tip or buy merch:

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  • Liam O Donovan

    You're beautiful rikki you're disabilities are part of what makes you the awesome person you are love you rikki beautiful video

  • Harvey Abel

    Living in Canada, I have to have a doctor verify my disability for Canada Revenue Agency to get the Disability Tax Credit. Though I personally just consider myself Deaf. Oh – and Canadian! 🙂

  • Andrew Parsons

    At least bring up the schism in disability rights movement about the "Least Restrictive Environment" aspect of public education, where deaf students got mainstreamed isolated without interacting with other deaf students or deaf role models and government shut down sign language schools and deaf clubs because of abled parents' activism without consulting deaf adults.

    That's where the whole "i am not disabled" mentality comes from. Well, that and NAD had a campaign about job-seeking and deaf unemployment in the 1920s, which is where the "deaf can do anything but hear" thing which later got picked up again several decades later for DPN.

    RC Eckert went over deaf history about when sign language communities divorced itself from the disability rights movements in the 1980s.

  • Heart of Hearing

    Wonderfully answered. I personally, in the past, use to hate when people called me disabled or called my deafness a disability. I took it as insulting, even when they didn't mean it to be offensive. It took me a while to accept that the word disability was not a bad word and I shouldn't treat it like an attack on who I was. Your videos, Rikki, helped me really accept myself and that it was okay to be deaf. Just because I called myself disabled didn't make me less of a person. I'm much happier.

  • Cbbartelt

    Thank you SO MUCH for bringing up the fact that Disabled isn't a negative thing it just is and how much lateral ableism comes from that "I'm not Disabled I'm just Deaf" mentality. My daughter's rights have been violated SO. MANY. TIMES at her Deaf School bc they are actively teaching lateral-ableism and put all DeafDisabled kids in an (unregulated bc of how things at Deaf Schools are coded) self contained classroom and are not given access to general curriculum.
    We're doing all the legal things but will probably end up homeschooling bc she's not getting the education, peer relationship or even language access they give to Deaf Only kids.
    And some Deaf schools have sheltered workshops and pay sub minimum wage to their DeafDisabled high schoolers.
    “Are Deaf people Disabled” goes so deep because of the extensive and harmful lateral ableism.

  • Steve The Cactus

    Think of it this way. Without your disability, you wouldn't be on YouTube. You've met and collabed with other disabled youtubers. You've been to VidCon, and so much more. Im not saying you're disability makes you privileged, I'm saying that your disability inspired you to do YouTube and because of YouTube many awesome things have happened!

  • Komoli Rihyoh

    For my final in my Sign Language/Deaf Culture class, we had to write about what we, the class, as hearing people (i'm actually HoH but still i'm not Deaf) had to reason whether Deaf people consider themselves (or should consider themselves) as Disabled, Handicapped, or Neither.
    I went with "Disabled" because from the Deaf people I know, they are perfectly functioning members of society, and can do the same tasks hearing people can do. They aren't "Handicapped" because everything a hearing person can do, a deaf person can do as well, except for, of course, hear. Hence, I chose "Disabled," i.e. "Dis-Abled," because there is one aspect of their lives they are physically un-able to do (Hear). Afterwords I met with other Deaf people to ask them and the majority agreed with that sentiment, as well as with the reasons you pointed out in the video. Nice.

  • IvanMTG1

    Love ask me vids 🙂

  • Logan Holland

    YES I've been asking my self this question a lot recently (from the perspective of being hard of hearing and becoming deaf) and trying to decide whether I consider myself disabled, whether society considers me disabled, what I actually identify as etc… I find that it depends a lot on the situation I'm in, and sometimes even my mood. On bad days I tend to consider myself more disabled and vice versa…

  • Sarah

    In my country being deaf/HOH counts as being disabled when it comes to disability benefits and equal rights. Even if you don't class yourself as disabled if you want support you'll have to at least accept disability in some situations.

  • life&deaf

    Great answer. You explained it so well. This question is asked so often. I asked it myself when I first found the deaf community. I love that you included both your own personal experience and the medical side of it

  • k M

    Is she deaf?

  • k M

    I’m hard of hearing

  • Chloe Konicki

    I used to consider myself “differently abled” back in high school. I even still have a t-shirt that says that “I’m differently abled, not disabled” given to me by a well-meaning social worker. However, differently abled is just a confusing word to use. It doesn’t actually tell you anything about the person and it has no legal or medical protections. So I refer to myself as deaf, low vision/blind, or disabled these days. But if people want to say they’re differently abled, hearing impaired, or vision impaired, that’s their business and their way of self-identifying.

    Side note: I got into a bit of a fight over the use of the word “crippled” recently for that reason. I feel like the only people who get to use the word crippled are the ones who actually think of themselves as crippled, but the person I was fighting with thinks they should get to say crippled even though they don’t think of themselves as crippled. (Ex. #CriptheVote is a popular hashtag used by disabled people about disabled people voting.)

  • Garrett Reviews Supplements !

    Yes, it's considered a disability. Are we severely limited. I dont think so

  • Stephen Wilson

    FROM SCOTLAND: As a nurse I had always been taught that labels were bad and so 13 years ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes I struggled to be classed as disabled. 13 years later I feel the world is changing, challenging old perceptions and raising awareness of issues which affect us all. Just look at the strides forward advocates of Mental Health have made in the past year. Labels don't define us, we do, and by owning a label we can raise awareness and understanding.

  • Amy Vertacnik

    Hello fellow Deaf friends, HOH friends, and hearing friends! To answer the question, I usually go with I'm Deaf and disabled because I'm Deaf and have other medical disabilities. I started losing my hearing in my teen years and most of it was gone by the beginning of university. I grew up mainstream and in a hearing family, but have since learned ASL as an adult and regularly use interpreters for work, conferences, events, etc. I've lived both as hearing and Deaf and have come to the personal conclusion that yes, not being able to hear is disabling when I attend a mainstream university where nobody signs and where I require assistance in the classroom to get the same access. But, when I'm at home or another safe place alone, being Deaf isn't disabling. Compared to my medical disabilities that are disabling in all environments, being Deaf stands on its own somewhere between non-disabled and disabled. Because of this separateness, I don't place being Deaf in the disabled box.

  • Annie Elainey

    Love youuuuu!!!!

  • Theron Hutchings

    Like the baby Yoda shirt.

  • Courtney Pastor

    Your shirt!!!!!! 😍

  • IvanMTG1

    I submitted one! Hope you answer. It's to do with one of my biggesr insecurities as a non-Native signer 😮

  • Amy Woods

    Australian here, yep we are considered and do consider ourselves as part of the west, even though we are in the eastern hemisphere. New Zealand would be the same, I would think. We just have to consider things slightly differently from a geo-political point of view, but that’s a whole other thing. 😂

    This video resonates with me so much. I’ve been connected to the deaf community as a hearing person on and off for many years and so have always enjoyed following the channels of deaf/hoh individuals. That being said, I just found out that I’m autistic after spending thirty-plus years thinking I was neurotypical and non-disabled. And to see the parallels between the deaf community and the autistic communities has been fascinating, with the discussion of whether we are actually disabled and the prevalence of identity-first language. Add to that me realising I have auditory processing issues and the parallels just keep growing. It’s been absolutely eye-opening. And I agree, when you consider that society disabled certain groups like the deaf community even when they don’t consider themselves disabled, it’s something to think about. I personally consider myself disabled.

  • NikkiS42

    That’s a tough question to answer. Personally I don’t think the DHH should be labeled as being disabled if that is their only problem.

  • MolikaYT

    Oh i have too . I have deaf like you . I can speaking and i can hear.. i understand you you can speaking well.

  • Artie Mack

    Pretty much the same experience and use of "disabled" except when I was growing up I refused to even say "deaf" or "disability" and that was due to mainstreaming and trying to appeal to abled/hearing people. Now I think it's important to understand deafness not only as being a spectrum, but also how that permeates other facets of your life that shape your identity, physical responses, mental health, social skills, energy levels, etc.

  • Bert Visscher

    5:03 Top left for you, top right for your viewers; the side of the door.

  • ASL 1

    Nice response to the question. Ultimately, it’s personal decision for individuals to self-identify on different labels.

  • Psycho G

    Personally, I have always hated the term of "disability" and "hearing loss" when talking about being Deaf or HoH. As you said, there were people online that you met that were very anti-disability. That is something I fall under – being very anti-disability – I have never considered myself disabled just because of my Deafness. I have always took the route of considering myself fully Deaf – not deaf. Before, I always identified with being HoH, but now I do not.

    I will never fight someone's opinion about themselves when it comes to discussing disability. There might be other reasons of why a D/deaf person identifies as being disabled – their D/deafness not being a factor. That is entirely that person's decision. Not mine nor anyone else's. However, I will explain to them my views and why I hate being classified as disabled. I will more than likely ask why they identify themselves as disabled as well – just to get their view on things and how they see them self.

    With ADA, it has its ups and downs – the ADA said that these people who fall under the category of being deaf means they are disabled… no matter what they personally think about themselves. Now, as I said before, I'm "anti-disability", so when it comes to a medical or ADA stand point, I will fight for myself in saying I am not disabled. The ADA is there to protect the HoH and D/deaf, but I'm not sure if it has been better or worse for the Deaf community.

    Again, these are just my personal views and stands. Feel free to say or ask anything. This is just my personal opinion out of the other millions of D/deaf and HoH people.

  • Natalia Popham

    This may be a funny distinction- Ive always considered myself to HAVE a disability but not to BE disabled.

  • Matthew Brothers

    in Canada the government doesn't associate hard of hearing as a disability only if your 100% deaf. sadly people like me loose some of the benefits deaf get here. also alot of employers are scared of it if u are wanting to work in a warehouse or noisy job. we have a huge local school for the deaf here(Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).

  • do Ray mi

    as an Australian, even though we're not in the western hemisphere i believe we're generally considered a "western" country in terms of culture since Australia was colonised by england (which still has political power over us) and we have close ties to america (a lot of cultural stuff bleeds over through the media which is dominated by stuff like american tv/movies etc. a lot of Australian actors move to work in America after they make a name for themselves because we don't have the budgets to produce high quality media a lot of the time. a lot of the reason acting in australian tv/movies is considered of poor quality is because we don't have the budget for long rehearsal periods/lots of takes, not due to any fault of the actors skills. in terms of multiple takes it's not as expensive as it once was when using film rather than digital cinematography but it's more in terms of paying the actors/crew for their extra time or paying for access to certain filming locations etc.)

    this got way off-topic, sorry! but yeah Basically I'm fairly certain we fall into the western category even though we're technically not on the western side of the world

  • John Aggett

    cool video

  • Kim Baker

    If you're in the UK then hard of hearing is only considered disabled if youre extremely HoH and need assistance. Our law is rubbish and doesn't really give clear guidelines of what is or isn't classed as a hearing disability. And yes, the country is crap at taking care of HoH people. Even public transport is ableist towards the hearing because the electronic signage is normally switched off 😖😖😖😖😖😖

  • silversleeper

    The whole "deafness is not a disability" debate is actually the major reason why I distanced myself from the Deaf community. I am deaf, use a walker and wheelchair, and tube feed. All of these are disabilities, and as you wonderfully pointed out, disability does not equal bad.

    Now what I do hate is handicapped. Because none of my disabilities handicap me. I am handicapped by a society that refuses to change from catering only to able bodied people. I am handicapped by youtubers who will not caption their videos. I am handicapped by the hotel who plows their snow in the blue spots. I am handicapped by restaurants who look at me in disgust when I try to attach my feeding line to my port in their presence.

    Yes my body makes me disabled, including my deafness. But society is what cuts me off from being a normal person.

  • Jaime

    For me I say Deaf and disabled because I have Mild cerbal palsy. I don't fully consider my Deafness a disability as I'm fully in the Deaf community and follow Deaf culture, behaviours etc…. But. Ha. I do have a pet peeve when people call me Hard of hearing or hearing impaired because to me it means weak. Has being Deaf impaired Me? No! It makes me even more sure of myself. So I use Deaf because that is my Identity. However, I do think people should ask the person how they identify kinda like as if you gay but on another kinda thing… You know? I hope that person finds who she is and finds all the happiness in the world!

  • Bird Mynameisthebird

    Great video Rikki! Thought it was going to include multiple questions, but I like that you went into detail on one rather than skimming through a few

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