Jared: My name is Jared, and I'm 15,
and I have a family of six.
My dad's name is Leslie.
My mom's name is Bridgetta.
I have a younger brother. His name is Gideon.
I have a little sister named Sabrina.
My youngest brother is Elijah.
And this is my deaf family.
Being a hearing kid in a deaf family
feels normal to me
because I have nothing, really, to compare it to.
I'm going to have to say the best thing
from coming from a deaf family is,
when I was younger, I'd get in trouble,
and they'd threaten to call my parents,
and I could just say, "Oh, can't call them."
Jared: I love my parents.
I wouldn't want them to be different.
But my parents don't understand how tough it is.
Elijah: See that? Want to make this?
Jared: You want to make that? Elijah: Yeah.
Jared: You want to make a plane? Elijah: Yeah.
Jared: Sometimes I'll think
that it would be nice to have them hearing.
Having English as your second language,
it'll make it really hard in school.
Like, when I was little,
my dad would pronounce things wrong.
Can we use this for the plane?
Elijah: I can't do it.
Jared: Now that Eli has me, I can pronounce them right,
and he can not be laughed at.
[Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Soul to Squeeze" playing]
Sometimes I like to watch Michael Jackson dance.
Jared: The only thing I really can't talk about with my parents
is really music.
You can go over the lyrics with them,
but you can't tell them how music feels.
Bridgetta: "Don't stop until you get enough."
So when Sabrina was born,
there was a hearing test right away,
and the nurse was looking real concerned,
going in and out of the room.
And the nurse said,
"Your daughter's not responding."
And I said, "Oh, she's deaf. That's fine with us."
But when Elijah was born,
everyone in the hospital comes in saying,
Your son passed the hearing test."
And I'm like, "'Congratulations'?
"Uh, does that mean we failed up until now as parents
with our other kids?"
Leslie: With Sabrina.
Bridgetta: Or with Sabrina and Gideon?
Bridgetta: As a deaf person, I believe it's a gift.
You know, being deaf is so much of who I am,
I feel like my life is so much richer for it,
and I really feel content.
[upbeat percussive music]
Jared: Kind of wish my parents wouldn't ground me
over every single homework assignment I miss.
That'd be pretty nice.
Leslie: You mean when they found out I was deaf?
Well, they were kind of devastated.
They sent me to a mainstream school
where they had an oral program,
and they fitted me with these big, unwieldy hearing aids
that were really annoying.
But it wasn't until I got into middle school
before I saw the difference between oral and sign language.
Jared: I think the deaf community started
because of the oral programs.
It's just, like, a unity of suffering, pretty much.
Leslie: There is really not a lot of communication
with my side of the family, because they don't sign.
It's hard for them to communicate with the kids.
My mom always wants
my friends to come over all the time.
Bridgetta: See, Kris is Jared's best friend from school,
and they've known each other since sixth grade.
But Kris has never been in our house,
so I'm going to text his mom, because I know her.
boy: It's 5 to 3.
boy: You should do swimming.
boy: I'm too good for swimming, so...
You should do swimming.
boy: I'm too busy skating.
boy: Or figure skating.
boy: I'd rather figure skate than skateboard any day.
Jared: I think the worst thing is when people openly show pity.
When we go to restaurants,
they would ask them if they wanted something,
and they wouldn't understand it.
Sometimes it gets kind of annoying,
and that's where I get that, "Ugh!" feeling.
Bridgetta: The old way was, I'd approach a hearing person,
and I'd point to my ear, and I'd shake my head,
and I'd say, "I can't hear."
And their reaction would be, "Oh, I'm so sorry,"
or, "Never mind."
But for the last few years, I go in now,
and the first thing I do is, I say, "I sign."
And I get a lot more respect that way.
Jared: I think it's time for my mom
to let me make my own world, yeah.
That would be a lot nicer
than having her know everything about my life.
Elijah: Maybe today we're going to go
to the California School for the Deaf
for the Clerc Basketball Tournament.
Jared: I think my siblings go to a perfect school.
That school is meant for them.
Like, they have friends there
that they would never be able to make at a hearing school,
and they just have a much closer bond.
girl: Go! Go!
[cheers and applause]
Bridgetta: I'm not worried about the future
for Gideon and Sabrina because of their deafness.
But I don't worry about the future
of my hearing kids either, though.
Leslie: I'm worried about all of them.
I'm concerned about all of them,
that they be successful in life no matter what.
Whether they're hearing or deaf, that's not an issue.
girl: We wear what? Orange and black.
[upbeat percussive music]
man: White, 0, head.
[peaceful guitar music]
Jared: I think there's prejudice against deaf people.
A lot of people think they just can't learn.
Leslie: And often, when hearing people
make decisions for us, we suffer in some way.
Bridgetta: You know, deaf people deal with this 24 hours a day.
We go to different places, and we face this ignorance
every day of our lives.
Leslie: We prefer the idea of deafhood,
like blackhood or womanhood,
so that it comes from inside.
It's more of an internal identity
instead of a disability.
Sabrina: I love my family.