(click to enlarge)
Greetings, folks! I think this comic strip above is applicable to our deaf community and the issue of deafhood. My friend Don Grushkin had posted it on his Facebook page and it has been generating a great deal of comments since yesterday. Yes, this is the same Don Grushkin that Mike McConnell dissed, mocked and misconstrued in some ways in one of his blogs.
A bit about Baldo: it was created by two Latino cartoonists, Hector D. Cantu and Carlos Castellanos, who are fellow Americans like you and me. Cantu was previously Production Director at Quick in Dallas, TX, and Managing Editor at award-winning Hispanic Business magazine in Santa Barbara, CA. He wrote articles for the Los Angeles Times Magazine and Hollywood Reporter. Castellanos, a free-lance illustrator since 1981, lives in south Florida with his wife and family. According to their website, the premise of the strip is Baldo "is a teenager who lives between the influences of his U.S. and Latin American cultures. And while the strip has a strong father figure, there is no mom."
I can relate to this comic strip in a few ways: I came from a multi-cultural background. My father, a Latino, was born in Europe to an U.S. diplomat and a Chilean socialite and daughter of a senator. My mother is a full American of Irish-English heritage. My stepfather, likewise a full American, is a third generation of Swedish and Italian immigrants. I grew up in a hearing family, being the only one who is deaf. Cantu remarks on his website,"Growing up Latino in the United States can be a great experience....it can be hard. It can be an exciting experience. It can be rewarding. It can be funny. We hope that through Baldo we can share some of the humorous part with people everywhere."
The same can be said for my experience growing up as Deaf in a multi-cultural family. It is quite very complex. I know three languages - English, ASL and Spanish. My life has been one big interesting experience for me that I hope to convey through my comic strips and art. I see myself as living in two worlds, one deaf and the other hearing. In regards to the issue brought up in this comic strip, I see myself as somewhat acculturated. I am not all "Deaf Power, ASL only, no-speak Deafhood with the capital 'D'." I can speak and lipread a little, but I prefer to sign in ASL, the language that I feel comfortable communicating in. I have deaf, hard of hearing and hearing friends that I hang out with. I am tolerant of various aspects of our Deaf Culture. I see ourselves as one big Family. Aren't we?
Folks, where do you see yourself as - acculturated or assimilated?
P.S. - I have just joined Facebook. If you'd like to visit my page and become my friend, you can click on this link here. Other news: I will be going to Las Vegas this week for DeafNation Expo, so if you're going there, see you there!