Dear Mr. Brauchli:
I am contacting you as a member of the #captionTHIS social media movement, and as a member of the Deaf Community. I want to make you aware via this open letter of the #captionTHIS social media movement. We want the Washington Post, among other major internet news outlets, to caption ALL of its online video content.
Please watch this video. It is about the lack of online captioning in internet videos.
(You can also watch this video to learn about how the #captionTHIS movement got started.)
I would like you to consider several points:
1) Online videos should already be captioned. The Deaf Community has tolerated years of excuses (“Online captioning is too expensive and time consuming.”). Very few media outlets caption their videos. The truth is that no one truly knows how expensive a streamlined process would be, especially when considering all the new viewers online captions could bring in.
2) Members of the traditional “signing Deaf Community” are currently the majority of those fighting this battle. THEY SHOULD NOT BE. The vast majority of “deaf” and “hard of hearing people” are people who have gone deaf or developed a hearing loss due to age-related reasons (but for whatever reason do not consider themselves a part of the formal signing Deaf Community). Their deafness is just as real as anyone else’s deafness. By some counts there are over 30 million people in this country who are either deaf or have a hearing loss. That is a lot of people.
3) Hearing people can benefit from this. Have you ever gone into a noisy bar and watched something on television there that was captioned? The captions were on because the bar owners knew you would not be able to hear the television, and the captions were there because the Deaf Community fought to put them there years ago.
4) We deserve equal access. This isn’t a case of our deafness isolating us. This is a case of other people isolating us (from information) by deliberately choosing not to use technology that would make the information accessible. It is hypocrisy for such people to turn right around, either now or at some later date regarding deafness-related political matters, and claim that “deafness isolates.” Depending on your choices regarding deaf people, YOU ISOLATE.
Please caption all of your online media content.
(If you would like to participate in the #captionTHIS social media movement, go to this website to find out what to do.)
Christopher Jon Heuer, Ph.D.