Karamo Brown Wondered If A Common Phrase Was Offensive, So He Asked

The "Queer Eye" star sparked an impassioned discussion about language and ableism on Twitter.
Karamo Brown
Karamo Brown
ROBYN BECK via Getty Images

Karamo Brown of “Queer Eye” tweeted Thursday that he had a conversation with someone who used an idiom that he thought may be offensive to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

“Someone just said to me, ‘I feel like my message is falling on deaf ears...’ and I told them that I felt that ‘saying’ is inappropriate,” he wrote. “It seems disrespectful and rude to the deaf & HOH community. She said I was being over sensitive.”

Instead of just rolling with his gut, Brown decided to start a conversation about the subject, ending his tweet with, “Thoughts?”

Brown’s tweet opened the question up to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community, with people offering a range of opinions on how the language others use affects the way they are perceived.

People with disabilities often are not asked to explain or comment on their own lives. Caregivers, parents, friends, experts and medical professionals who are not disabled often speak on behalf of people with disabilities in news stories. That’s a major issue for those who are disabled, whose lived experiences should take precedence over how other people see them. When people with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to speak for themselves, it contributes to both ableism ― meaning discrimination against those who are disabled ― as well as misconceptions about the lives of people with disabilities.

By opening up the question on a public forum where he has such a large reach, Brown gave people with disabilities the opportunity to speak their minds and offer insight on their own lives.

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