I have this dream. That one day I will be flipping through my cable TV guide and there it will be … a list of TV channels 24/7 programming in American Sign Language. Each one with news being delivered in sign language, a full cast of deaf actors or signing characters in animation. These shows will have captions for the hearing, such as was the case in UNIVERSAL SIGNS. I yearn for daily signed content available to anyone to watch on their TV set.
I know that there are already front runners in this endeavor. Some cable networks have slots for deaf content and there is much online TV in sign language. I LOVE DeafTV.com and video channels such as D-PAN (Deaf Performing Arts Network). But, what I am campaigning for are channels equivalent to Telemundo or CCTV where live content streams all day, everyday!.
Why? Well, in the United States American Sign Language is the fourth most commonly used language. (Behind English, Spanish and Chinese). All of these languages and respective cultures are represented with a mainstream TV presence. Where are the ASL channels? The Deaf Community Channels? In addition, many excellent deaf actors seek employment but find this road much more challenging than their hearing counterparts due to limited roles or maybe even understanding. (The same can be true of others with unique challenges.)
So, bravo to ABCFamily and others who put shows with content that demonstrates the deaf culture, sign language and employs deaf actors! Now let’s see if we can expand to 24/7 deaf networks on public / cable TV. I know I am not alone with my dream.
Your respectful thoughts are welcome.