Karamo Brown, known famously for his role as the culture coach on Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’, sparked an interesting conversation on Twitter last week, asking “is the phrase ‘falling on deaf ears’ offensive?” 

The conversation addressed ableism, or “the practices & dominant attitudes in society that devalue và limit the potentials of persons with disabilities,” as defined by StopAbleism.org. Ableism ​is something that affects the deaf & hard of hearing community, as well as people in minority groups và those with disabilities.

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After being addressed with the comtháng phrase “falling on deaf ears,” Karamo wondered if it was offensive sầu. He took to the social truyền thông media platkhung lớn get some thoughts.

Someone just said khổng lồ me, “I feel lượt thích my message is falling on deaf ears…” và I told them that I felt that “saying” is inappropriate. It seems disrespectful và rude to lớn the deaf và HOH community. She said I was being over sensitive. Thoughts?

— Karamo Brown (
Karamo) May 23, 2019

Is the phrase ‘falling on deaf ears’ offensive?

I spent a lot of time reading through the conversation on Twitter và was intrigued by the variety of responses. More than anything, I was proud and happy khổng lồ see the deaf communities provide their genuine thoughts.

I personally don’t take offense lớn the statement, but I loved & resonated with these responses best:

Can you hear me? Some pointed out the societal repercussions of conflating the unwillingness to lớn hear someone versus the inability to bởi vì so. Make sure you give the person you’re talking khổng lồ your full attention, whether they have sầu hearing loss or not!Meh. While some people with hearing loss said they were offended, others said they weren’t. Often, these discussions can have sầu a wide variety of responses. If unsure, it could be best to lớn avoid these sensitive sầu phrases alltogether.

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Say it differently. Some came up with alternatives ways to lớn say “falling on deaf ears,” such as “I feel lượt thích I’m talking and the mic is off.” Try to lớn find phrases that aren’t discriminatory.Historical origins.
Some pointed out that the origin of such language is rooted in systems that traditionally served the privileged. “We need to lớn examine our words/phrases và recognize their origins,” wrote one user. “I rarely hear the expression ‘that’s so gay’ anymore, & it diminished as people got called out for it. Keep up the good work Karamo, always opening minds!”

Ableist language is “part of an entire system of ableism, & doesn’t exist simply by itself,” says writer & activist Lydia X. Z. Brown. “Language reflects and influences society và culture. isn’t important for silly semantic reasons, but because it cannot be separated from the culture in which it is deployed.””

“Language reflects & influences society & culture.”

Overall, I think Karamo’s discussion about the phrase “falling on deaf ears” opened up a good exchange. I noticed people were learning from each other, which is more than what can be said about most Twitter threads.

Why it matters

People with disabilities often are not asked lớn explain or phản hồi on their own lives. Caregivers, parents, friends, experts & medical professionals often speak on behalf of people with disabilities. 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 sầu the opportunity to lớn speak for themselves, it contributes to lớn both ableism, as well as misconceptions about the lives of people with disabilities.