According to a report from CNN senior producer Thom Patterson, a CNN digital short film profiles the Pedersen family, who were all born deaf, except the oldest child Kaleb, age 20. As the only hearing person in a Deaf family, Kaleb Pedersen says, “I’d rather be deaf.”
The film, titled, “All-American Family,” features interviews with the Pedersen’s, who are among an estimated 1 million “functionally deaf” people in the US, according to federal and United Nations stats.
“Obviously, I didn’t choose to be the only hearing one,” Kaleb said in a phone interview with CNN. “There’s more of a sense of belonging in the Deaf culture. They just feel closer together than how hearing people act with each other…I don’t wish that they could hear, because there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re born that way and they can do anything that any hearing person could do. I don’t see any reason for them to change. If anything, I’d rather be deaf.”
The Pedersens live in Pleasanton, California, which is near San Francisco. CNN reports that long-established deaf schools in and around places such as San Francisco, Rochester, New York; Washington, DC, and Los Angeles have led to large pockets of deaf residents in those cities, and many cherish their Deaf identity and Deaf culture–which prefers the “D” in “Deaf” to be capitalized.
The short film shows how Kaleb’s ability to hear and also use American Sign Language defines him as the translator and “ears” of the family, but also carries the message that someone who is born deaf doesn’t need to be “fixed.” For more details on the Pedersen’s and the Deaf community, view the film on the CNN Digital Shorts website.
Source: Thom Patterson, CNN