Deaf Employment and Discrimination ┃ ASL Stew

Deaf Employment and Discrimination ┃ ASL Stew

(♪♪♪) [Jenna] Hello, so I’m alone today but I wanted to talk about Deaf people and employment… and discrimination. A lot of people have asked me questions. Wanted me to talk about the topic, so I thought sure! An important thing I wanted to let you know beforehand is, I’m only talking about myself, and what my experience is. Everybody has different experiences, so don’t assume what I say applies to everybody. Kind of a touchy topic to talk about concerning discrimination. I experience that everyday, especially when it comes to employment. My first job when I was 14, I was working with my family and I have worked many different jobs, lot of different types of jobs. I’ve worked in an hearing only environment and a more Deaf environment as well. I noticed especially during the interview process, that’s when you face the most discrimination. When a Deaf person comes in and they realize that you’re Deaf, automatically that’s one strike agaisn’t you. That’s your first impression, that you’re Deaf. Then they think, you can’t talk on the phone, you can’t do this. They don’t think about what you CAN do. They don’t think about the talents that I have and the experience that I have. They just automatically look at all the things that I can’t do. So that means I have to work even harder to convince them that I’m qualified and I’m worth it even though there might be some disadvantages. Maybe those disadvantages actually can beomce benefits, depending on the situation. So, that’s an area where you face discrimination the most. The very first thing. Another thing is talking about using an interpreter. From my experience I rarely get an interpreter for interviews. Really that’s because most of the time I’ve worked with small companies, local business, places that can’t really afford or would understand the concept of getting an interpreter, going through and agency, and that whole process. So, for example, if I say “hey you are required to get an interpreter”, then “oh that costs money… that’s costing me money”, and that means that I decided to go ahead and read lips, write things out, communicate in whatever way showing them I can communicate without an interpreter. If it’s a large corporation, then understandably they probably they want diversity, they’re looking for that. So there’s a higher chance that it would be okay getting an interpreter, they understand ADA law. But even then, still there’s some companies that kind of see that as a negatice. It’s just another cost for them, it’s money. So that’s another big issue. Really you have to educate them and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just part of communication and diversity. We all need that. All companies need diversity. So….. there’s one thing that was interesting with the Deaf Grassroots Movements, DGM. I think that’s the sign for it. I’ve seen 2 different ones. But, I really applaud them and they’re encouring people to talk with local governments and talk about rights and changes to ADA. Considering the high rate of un-employment within the Deaf community. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I know it shows there’s a variety and really it’s almost impossible to get an accurate statistic, but it’s clear that there’s a high number compared to what the nationa average is. That’s become a severe problem. So we need to do something to change that because a lot of people are qualified they’re talented. There’s just one thing and they can’t hear. That’s it! It’s just one small thing and that’s something easily we can fix with different communication tools. It’s really that simple. A lot of people don’t realize that. Really from my experience working in an hearing environment, I’m fine! One of my most favorite experiences was working in a pizza place. I worked as a delivery driver during highschool. In that environment, during highschool. In that environment, I think there was maybe one other Deaf person that was a cook. I was a driver, but everyone else was hearing and they were all from different cultures, different cultural background. Not everybody could speak English. Some could, some not so much. So it was really diverse. So we had to try and figure out how to communicate and it was really easy! We found a way, we figured it out. We know your role, you know your role, everybody knows how to work together and it ran smoothly. Every once and a while there was a hiccup, but all work environments have that. Nothing out of control. Everything was managable and it went fine. I loved that experience! It showed that no matter what, no matter what backgrounds you come from, how you communicate, or even having different langauges, you can still find a way to work together. You just have to understand how to compromise and have patience. You’ll be fine. That experience really made me think and be confident in myself that I can go into any interview and show them that I can communicate. No worries, we can figure out a way. I can show them what I can do, I can show them and hope for the best. You know, if not, then move on to the next one. That’s happened with a lot of Deaf people. It’s all about networking and having confidence in yourself. Showing people that you can do it. Showing people different communication options. I’m confident there are other ways we can communicate, whatever it is. When you show confidence, then they see, “oh you’re not nervous. You are confident in yourself.” So then they have less doubt. It’s interesting. Well I think that’s all I wanted to talk about today, just kind of giving you my experience. If you guys have experiences facing discrimination and struggles, leave a comment of what your experience is. How did you overcome that? What are some approaches that you have that were successful? Leave a comment! I would love to read them. So everybody out there, Deaf, anybody looking for a job, good luck! You can do it! You can, I believe in you! So, if you liked this video, please click the LIKE and if you’re not already subscribed to this channel, please do so and subscribe! I always appreciate you guys subscring. Check out our Patreon page. If you’d like to support us that would be great. We’d appreciate it so much. Thank you, we always love and cherish your support! Alright take care! ….. whether you like it or not, it’s true. Media is the most visible thing, the most visible technology I’d say whithin our society and throughout the world.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Hey! I requested this topic back in a recent video. Thank you.

    Ps. I love the sheep in the thumbnail. It gave me a chuckle.

  2. I started working age 19,. Tried for many years get job what I ended up learning to do in my town is fake hearing by cover ears and made excuse had bad cold. When got hired they find out deaf they treated me different till I quit. Finally found company
    who accepted me so I accepted me. After that found a job that pays well and accepts me as a good worker and even ask me what can do to improve comunication. Been there 10 years and happy. A lot people hate where I work due to it being a big corporation but I am just treated as a hearing person. Yes it's sad I couldn't be outright during interview but people are uneducated how well we work if given the chance

  3. Man just when I think I'm getting good at ASL I try to watch these videos without the audio and I'm so lost. /:
    Thanks for the all the educating videos!!

  4. I live in a town where no one signs at places of employment nor schools. I adapted to the hearing world n I hate it. It's their world. If u go anywhere here n u deaf. OMG u r outcasted. Discrimination is in their blood. Thank u for being a voice for us deaf. Please more videos to educate public that we have rights. Sorry about my user name it's a substitute for my real one.

  5. This video was great! I totally get this, being 18, deaf with a CI and looking for a job (not so much now, since college is so soon) is certainly hard. I always get afraid of discrimination and judgement and it sucks :/
    I also noticed in the video, Jenna signs mostly with her left hand as the dominant hand, but sometimes switches to her right for the dominant hand, but briefly. I'm just curious if Jenna is ambidextrous? Imo I find it cool, kind of like her own little "accent" in her signing 🙂

  6. Really great video on access and I enjoyed seeing your experience! I find it hard to manage in all hearing environments and sometimes it makes me feel less likely to even apply myself- I think this can be a small part of the Deaf unemployment issue, there is lots of anxiety about even putting yourself out there. I have met a few people though that we're all non signers who were incredibly supportive and interested in learning and offered a job, so there is definitely hope for finding a great diverse opportunity to anyone feeling the same anxiety. It definitely takes time but you can find open and willing people, and it takes one great experience to forget a handful of uncomfortable ones.

  7. I've never had a job. It's getting kind of pathetic now being 21 and in my junior year in college and never having a job. I rarely get interviews, no one ever calls me back. I used to work with a job coach for a year who was unhelpful and basically gave up on me. Then a few months before going to college she decided not to work with me anymore since I was going to be leaving.

  8. Thanks for the encouragement!! I'm in the process of job searching and I'm in the medical billing field. I'm HOH and it's been an emotional roller coaster!

  9. I work at a very large multi-site business (I'm hearing). Hardly anybody uses the phones anymore, we use Lync internal instant messenger and email, even external clients use email. Many Deaf people get hired with us because of that, the whole "can't use the phone" thing is just not there anymore. Technology removing barriers 🙂

  10. Hey I'm from the uk and watched this with interest. I've been quite lucky when it came to looking for jobs, as I managed to get lots of practise with interviews and began to know what kind of thing they were looking for. I also found it lots easier working in the deaf community. I'm currently a deaf instructor and I love it. What I'm wondering is who finances the interpreters in America? In the uk we have 'access to work' which is a government scheme that pays for equipment and interpreters etc including at the interview stage. We are having problems with cuts etc but on the whole I've been so lucky to have this in my workplace, I could attend training days meetings etc. Like America the uk has a higher unemployment rate for deaf people. I love watching your videos and picking up the asl signs!! X

  11. COME CHECK THIS CHANNEL OUT! This channel called is Nae Roni Sign Language Show. It's going about pranks, challenges, lifestyles, fashion, and many more! This channel will only have ASL version, voice over, and subtitles. Please subscribe, comment, and like my videos!!

  12. I know ASL, so I fully understand your Deaf wife; I was wondering why there aren't any captions for what she is saying, or why you aren't voicing what she is saying? I'm not sure of the circumstances, so I can't judge. I was just curious to why? It appears unequal. (I am aware closed captioning isn't a feature on YouTube, however I have noticed other YouTubers placing them there themselves – or voicing what the signer is saying to give equal access.)

  13. Hi! This really is a great video! I am definitely going to show this to my deaf boyfriend so he might get more confidence in what he CAN do. Even though he mainly uses speech and his CI for communication, he will surely face some of the problems you have been talking about. We are from the Netherlands (so my English might have some flaws) and I just wanted to say what a great role model you two are 🙂 Thank you!

  14. Your point about confidence is excellent, Jenna. Those of us hearing folks can lack confidence in situations with Deaf/HoH folks. We are nervous and may not know all the possible options for communication. If you take the lead, we can follow that. Of course, we also need to educate ourselves to develop confidence, too. We aren't off the hook here…learning some signs as well as learning some strategies/technologies for communicating is our responsibility.

  15. I was denied in applications the second I mention I am deaf at yanky candles. I was treated horribly at a job interview because of my hearing impairment and I was informed that I had no right to apply for a job because no one would ever hired a hearing impairment since there was no place for hearing impairment at pets smart. I face discrimination against my hearing impairment at my previous job where I was force to quit.

  16. My son can't get a job. He's 26. Interviewers hear him talk and think he's stupid. It's very sad.

  17. Great video Jenna! I don't understand why so many businesses discriminate against Deaf people. I'm SURE they could find a job that a Deaf person could do in a hearing environment just fine.

  18. People are stupid, deaf have a right to find job and interpreter!🙌🏽

    It’s not fair.. I always try to find job into indeed, I hope that I’ll get job!

  19. Hi! We’d love for you to check out our APP 📲 and share it with the Deaf / HH / Speech Impaired community you have! We know it could be an amazing tool in the work place to bridge the communication gaps!
    H e a r / B e H e a r d and APP is for the Deaf / HH / Speech Impaired communities. A tool we hope will empower so many to break through communication barriers by:
    – Translating spoken words to written text and
    – Reading aloud typed message for the user.

    Check out our page, we will launch the APP on Apple/Google play stores Mid-June! So everyone can Hear & Be Heard in their own unique way!

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