Inclusion has been a word on everyone’s lips for the last couple of years. Without a doubt, racial and gender inclusivity are starting to be more than just buzz words and altruistic pledges; however, when it comes to inclusion for the differently abled communities, there is still much work to be done. As content creation continues to be paramount for growing brands and independent creators alike, one of the fastest growing social apps has joined forces with some major influencers in the deaf community to raise awareness around ways to be cognizant of the hard of hearing in celebration of Deaf Awareness Month. TikTok, the current forerunner for all things imagination, social activism and even crime solving (one glimpse at the galvanizing efforts of creators to find the remains of Gabby Patito tells proves that point), has passed the mic to three major influencers—-Bree Jones, Scarlet May and Otis Jones—-to shine a light on how we can all improve our consideration for the deaf and hard of hearing communities when we are considering how to broadcast our ideas to the world.
Bree Jones, who is known on the app as @bree.k.jones had this to say about making your videos deaf friendly, “Please be sure to make edits to your auto captions -- go through your video, make sure what you really said matches what the captions say. Caption all your videos. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing want to enjoy your awesome content as well. Caption everything, not some of the things.” Many companies and influencers have only just started to consider ways to make their content accessible for their hard of hearing supporters and yet many still cut corners to avoid having to truly do the work of being inclusive.
Auto captions are available on most apps but Scarlet May says it’s ok to go the extra mile adding, “I would recommend typing out your own captions as well if you want everyone to be included!”. As with any initiative to include members of communities who are often overlooked, the best plan of action is to get them directly involved. “Also, always spotlight deaf creators when you do anything that is related to the deaf community’s culture,” says Otis Jones who regularly encourages hearing people to dive into ASL as a means of communicating with respect and courtesy for the deaf community. “Put yourself in a deaf environment where their language is exposed to you. That way, you will pick up even faster, learn slang, and see the diversity in how each deaf person signs. Also, always follow deaf creators content and always learn from a deaf person who knows the culture, struggles as a deaf person, and of course, the language itself more than a hearing person would.”, he says.
We love to see the new generation leading the way and teaching us all to be more compassionate, understanding and selfless.