YouTube Denies Deaf Creator ASL Interpreters | Rikki Poynter


Hello, and welcome back to the channel. I hope you are doing well. Today, I want to talk about
how this YouTube event, or rather this one specific person
of this event, was really making it a struggle
to get interpreters and captions for two years in a row. And this all comes at a time where I’m selling the new,
limited-edition Fall/Winter 2019 ‘My Accessibility, My Choice’ shirts, which are on sale through November 30th. So, if you would like to get one of those,
now is the time. I also have the old design on my Teespring. So, if you want that one instead,
I’ll have that link as well. If you are interested in learning more
about deafness, accessibility, etc. Please consider subscribing to the channel, and hit that notification bell
so you don’t miss out on any upload. Also, consider being a pledge on Patreon
for more exclusive content and to just help me
make more of these videos and other projects that I do. It’s almost time to start writing letters to all the featured creators
of Playlist and VidCon for getting them to caption their videos. And I handwrite those suckers. So, two years in a row,
I was invited to this YouTube-esque event. It’s located in Toronto
and is a bit of a YouTube and film festival – sort of thing in one. In case you’re new here,
hello, I am deaf. Nice to meet you. And I require interpreters and captions
when I’m at conferences and events. Although, for year one,
I only really requested captions because I really,
my ASL skills really weren’t there at all. So, I just require captions, especially because it was
like a film festival thing, where we were just gonna be watching
other people premiere their YouTube videos and, like, if it was a panel, I would… It would have been just easier
to have captions. So, I requested those. And the thing about requesting captions
and interpreters is that, well, at least, for interpreters, you have to do those a month in advance,
at least, I believe. Captions, I’m not really sure, but I wanna say it really is,
it’s probably the same timeframe. I think I got my invite in the summer and then event was in the fall, so there were a few months to,
you know, get that ball rolling. I left emails, I left Facebook messages, because this man loved to do business
on Facebook Messenger, which I don’t understand why, really. And for so long,
things would not get answered, my emails were not answered. But my Facebook messages were read
but not responded to and it was just really, really frustrating because when you hire disabled people, especially deaf people, and they require something
like interpreters and captions, I feel like that has to become
one of your priorities. Because if you wait too long, there’s a higher chance
that you’re not gonna get that stuff. And if you’re inviting someone who,
obviously, requires those accommodations, you really want them at your event, it’s just mind-boggling to me that you don’t really want to
put in the effort to do all that. So, year one, I just requested captions. But, year two,
I requested captions and interpreters because red carpet
and meet and greets were involved. I didn’t do a meet and greet and that
on the first year because we didn’t have interpreters, and captions probably
would have been weird, especially if you’re walking around. So, for year two,
I requested captions and interpreters. Captions for the actual film screenings and then interpreters for the red carpet, which, I didn’t get any for the red carpet, for the meet and greet, especially, and green room, you know,
face to face conversations. With panels and things like that, captions are so much better for me, but for talking with people to their faces interpreters go way smoother. And both of these years, I was hoping that after year one,
we wouldn’t have a problem with year two. But the thing is,
I don’t know why I still had a problem. So, one month would go by,
two months would go by, and soon enough we had
about a month left before the event and I was still not getting
any sort of response, whatsoever. And on year one,
my ex-friend let me know of an extension that you could download, so that when somebody reads your email,
you’ll know, because it’ll have like a little checkmark. The fact that messages
just weren’t getting answered was so frustrating, because I was getting scared
that we weren’t going to have interpreters. I was thinking, “Are you actually
not putting in any sort of effort to try to make sure
that I am welcome at your event, and that I can, you know, participate?” Because it would just be so awkward trying to talk to people on this panel
and things like that and I’m like, “Yeah,
I have no idea what you’re saying.” So, when we had a month left, I was finally… I got a little aggressive,
I got almost a little threatening and I was saying something along the lines of, “I know you’re reading my emails,
I have an extension that lets me know. I… You need to tell me
if you are putting in any effort, whatsoever, on interpreters,
because I don’t have any. And if, or so far, I don’t have any.
I don’t know if I have any. And if I show up and find out
that there’s no accessibility and you didn’t put it in any effort…” ‘Cause it’s one thing if you get the interpreters
or the captioners and they cancel, which has happened, actually, year two, and also when I was at Playlist last year,
or this year. But, when you actually don’t put in the effort, you’re telling me that
you don’t actually care about me even though you wanted me to come, and you know that I’m not equal
to my abled counterparts, my hearing counterparts, even. I hate having to play the role
of angry deaf activist. But sometimes you gotta get a little bit angry
and I don’t know why it is. Why is it that you have to get a little bit angry
before somebody finally listens to you? But, that’s what had to happen. And lo and behold, he listened. And it’s been so long
since I’ve seen the messages. This was 2015 or 2016. But, if I can recall anything, it was just, you know, the general,
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” You know, like, “We’ve had all these
other priorities taking place and things like that, and I’ve been rushing and getting all these messages
and things like that.” And I was just like,
“You need a better organisation team.” Let’s be… let’s be real here. But like, and I understand
that there were other priorities as well. But there needs to be someone on this, because you wanted me to be here and you kind of knew this ahead of time. It wasn’t like I waited until like one month till, and was like, “Oh, by the way,
I need interpreters and captions. It’s totally last minute, but…” No, I let you know from the get-go. But, thankfully,
I did get my captions on year one and on year two I had captions
but I didn’t have interpreters and that actually was not
the fault of the event. One of the guys was working really,
really hard with accessibility. This was a different guy from the guy
who owned or used to own this event and he was working so hard and when I found out that
the interpreters were being cancelled, I was so sad, but he was working really, really hard
to try and find last minute volunteers and you know what, and… I appreciated that effort. That man, that second man involved, he worked so hard, and I really appreciate him. Other man, however… Eugh. And thing is,
this isn’t really the first time that I’ve kind of had a struggle with events. With disability-centric events
it’s a lot easier to get accommodations, ’cause it’s a disability conference,
convention, event, whatever, so they kind of have,
already had that idea. But when it’s more like,
if you’re the only disabled person there, if you’re the only deaf person there, they just doesn’t really think about it. Which, on one hand, is fine,
in the sense of like, “Oh wait, oh wow, this is new
and I didn’t even think about this.” And then, you know, you educate them and then what usually ends up happening, and this happened at VidCon, you start getting more ASL interpreters
and captions in more of the event itself. That’s really awesome. But I have come across some people that kind of tried to fight me on it and they’re like, “Are you really sure
that you need interpreters? Are you really sure
that you need captions? Do you really need one
or the other or both? Are you sure we can’t just give you
like this little thing instead? Or we can get you some notes instead,
da-da-da-da-da.” And I’m just like, “I’ll just not come, how about that?” Because nobody should be
disrespected like that when you’re invited to something. But they’re just like,
we want you here, but we don’t respect you enough
to make sure that you can actually feel equal and actually participate in this thing, because what’s the point of that? But, at the end of the day, the interpreters and/or captions
would be provided. I just wish it wasn’t such a struggle
to make that happen. But unfortunately, even in 2019,
it still can be, and that really sucks. And this doesn’t just happen
with deaf people. I have seen the horror stories
from other disabled people. My blind friends, my wheelchair using friends, even at YouTube events where we needed somebody
to bring a ramp in and there was no ramp, and instead they were just like, “Well, we can just pick you up
and carry you upstairs,” which is just, no,
that’s not the way to go about things. And this guy was a very well-known guy, so he’s like way up, you know,
on the pyramid here and we’re all just like, “No, son, no. No.” But yeah, to you watching this. If you’ve had any experiences with this,
let me know down below. This is a huge thing with even just attendees coming to conferences as regular attendees and not like, featured creators. That is a whole struggle in itself as well. But let me know if you’ve had
any of these issues down in the comments below. If you would like to help translate this video, I would very much appreciate it,
it helps out a lot, link down below. Please give this video a thumbs up. Give it a share,
it’s extremely important, and the more you share,
the more the knowledge that gets spread. Thank you for taking the time out of your day
to watch this video and I will see you later. Bye. (ROCK MUSIC)

32 thoughts on “YouTube Denies Deaf Creator ASL Interpreters | Rikki Poynter

  1. I use captions because I tend to understand things better when they are both said and written out for me. Even though my hearing is perfectly in tact I easily forget things that are just simply spoken, so instead of rewatching something 100 times just turning on captions makes it stick the first time.

  2. That’s so ridiculous. I’m hearing, but I’ve been taking ASL classes since I figured it could be really useful, but for them to not be accommodating, like cmon? They know what they’re getting into when they invite you, so either make you feel welcome, or just don’t invite you if they’re not going to bother, smh.

  3. I've seen a wheelchair user carried upstairs, elevator was out of order. There were no ramps that I recall in the particular building.

  4. Hey Rikki! So sorry this happened to you. I would love to know what kind of lipstick you’re wearing because it’s absolutely gorgeous. Thanks!

  5. It's a joke how they want you to go but do not want to provide the access for you to attend that event… and the complete lack of communication via email/Facebook messenger is just…. something else. I totally agree about the frustration of having to play the 'angry deaf activist' – recently more people have been saying that I am 'savage' and they can't see me as a role model because I have different perspectives………….. DURRRRRRRR. Rant over. This video is highlighting a real issue that I totally agree and support your points and statements you made throughout.

  6. Such a shame, that this happend. Whats so hard with providing help to guests you invite? I understand that not every little event can provide everything, but when they invite you and you request it beforehand? Shouldn't be this hard.

  7. Rude. Just plain inconsiderable, I think. "Oh, I'm sorry I had other priorities"? What? That's tantamount to your non-pology "Oh I'm sorry your feelings were hurt" rather than "I'm sorry that I didn't do the right thing", I think.

  8. It makes me wonder if the person who isn’t responding is doing that on purpose in the hope that YOU will get the interpreter you need. And he doesn’t have to. Like you said you let him know from the get go. Someone should have gotten back to you even if they said they “couldn’t” accommodate you for whatever piss poor reason they could come up with. 😡

  9. I wouldn’t say I’ve had as much of a blatantly rude/ignorant experience but I’m often in meetings or events where I strategically choose my seat (with a combo of lip reading and residual hearing I can get by without captions) only to be made to move because of “fun games” or assigned seating or some other reason that hasn’t considered we’re adults who probably chose that particular seat for a reason. I can’t even imagine being in the situation you were talking about though…also such unneeded stress etc for you leading up to the event!

  10. That really sucks, Rikki. My advice is you get either a lawyer or an ADA laywer and fight for your rights. They will get them to realize the important of Deaf and disabled individuals and the lawyers will get them to pay for an interpreters.

  11. Great vlog! I'm glad you've talked about this. It's incredibly frustrating. As an attendee or a volunteer for an Abled-centric expo or event, I've requested interpreters ahead of time. Just like what you say, they often questioned me whether I really needed an interpreter. As I tried to insist, they instead found a volunteered "interpreter." It was actually someone who only know ASL 1-2. I wasn't happy about it. Now, as for speaking, I've recently applied to speak for a panel for the upcoming summit. I hate to experience this feeling of fear but it's just my reality: "what if I get rejected because they don't want to pay for an interpreter? especially it needs to be at least TWO interpreters." What if they prefer a Deaf person who speaks instead of using sign language?" Since this upcoming summit is based in Italy, I thought: "what if they don't want to pay ASL interpreters abroad if they can't find interpreters who know ASL in Italy?"

    What if these opportunities….are taken away by them?

    It's nerve-wracking. I'm kinda nervous about this. I mean, I can say "hey, it's their fucking loss" but at the same time, it sucks. It does. So, I'll see how it goes! Great vlog!

  12. Found your channel when I was typing “do Deaf people enjoy music?” on the search bar (typed that, without quotes, after I saw Millicent Simmonds’ video about horror movie lines done in ASL) and then I saw your ASL only video regarding “how do Deaf people listen to music” and it was very interesting that I had to press closed captions to understand what you were saying in the video. I liked that and this video and I’m subscribed to your channel now.

    Also I’m on the spectrum (Aspergers), have inattentive ADHD, Generalized anxiety disorder (often as social anxiety) and physical dependence to benzos (currently weaning off)

  13. I can say one thing – welcome to the Deaf world. I've experienced organization tries get one by me with notes and transcriptions, etc, but no interpreters because too expensive for them to provide. Sometime not organization's fault like your year 2 at the event, but still. I had a conversation with my friends about this topic before – reason most organization didn't get interpreters for the event or backed out at last minute or whatever because they don't know where to get one and often shocked by price of getting interpreter service for the Deaf. From on now, once I signed up for the event – I immediately follow up with the event coordinator to get my pro-tactile interpreters – provide the local interpreter agencies information to the event coordinator. I continue to follow up until I got confirmation – yeah, it was extra work for me, but this method works lot better than doing nothing from my side. It's not guaranteed at all.

    Bullshit or whatnot – they all feels same and it sucks!

  14. Hi Rikki, did you say that this is a disability conference? If so that is so ironic and hypocritical they won't provide captioning and interpreters to this kind of event. You are so correct, it usually takes at least two weeks to request interpreters for general appointments, like doctors, parent teacher meetings, etc, things of that nature, but for a huge event like yours, it does take longer, at least a month or so. You requested months ahead and now putting up with this. It always makes my blood boil, not only that we always advocate for ourselves, it takes energy and toll on us emotionally and physically that it sometimes can have adverse affect on our work. You do nothing but educate the public about accessibility issues and trying to build a better quality of life for all. I love how you express and talk about it, what you do is very powerful and I wish there were so many more of you! I will send you a private email later when I get the chance. I will go to your website and send you a letter.. Keep up the amazing work, I always appreciate your directness and candor that makes positive changes in all of us.Thank You!

  15. I went to a political rally where the press kept insisting on standing BETWEEN the ASL interpreter and the ADA section they were interpreting for. I told staff members multiple times that it was impossible for even me to see, and I was in like the second row. And I watched the staff members TELL the press pool not to do it multiple times, and yet it continued happening the ENTIRE rally.

    The Bernie rally I went to, they were amazing. They checked everyone who needed the interpreter was seated somewhere they had good visibility to the interpreter, raised the interpreter, moved people around so people who didn't need that form of access weren't taking prime real estate from someone who needed it, etc.

    Night and day. Just thinking about that first event still gets me boiling. Even where they PUT the ADA people, it was truly impossible to see the person they had come to see. We were BEHIND standing abled people AND the press pool. !!

  16. Why YouTube denies a.s.l caption?
    Rikki suggests YouTube captioned …
    Future … Deaf people buy good cellphones…
    Why do the a.s.l sentence edited?
    Deaf people need to understand and need good points.

  17. I am horrified that there was this kind of difficulty, especially in Toronto of all places. I captioned the Deaf Alberta Expo last year, which as you note was disability focused, but even sometimes the organizers of those events don't know where to go. My professional association got an email from the local Association for the Deaf asking if we had anyone willing to volunteer to provide captions pro bono, so two of us jumped in to do it. But there's absolutely no reason that people who need accessibility should have to rely on charity to get it done, and grant programs in this area exist but can be hard to navigate. I will say that I love doing CART captioning more than any other type of work that I do, and I would love to one day do only that type of work, but for now that's just not feasible. Part of it is that it's expensive, and I get that, obviously. But there really is no other feasible solution yet until such time as AI can competently do captioning. I don't think we're far off (unfortunately for me, I guess), but there still needs to be a workable stopgap here.

  18. I am convinced that my bad temper comes from only being listened to after getting aggressive. I wish asking nicely really worked: I don't enjoy getting all riled up!

  19. Oh yes! I’m into avoiding things quite often because I hate fighting for what I need. I can fight to help others but I have a very hard time asking for myself! I think that goes with the whole PTSD & Pho abuse issues? Idk? But I went to a special dinner in an older restaurant in a nearby town. My hubby was my interpreter but I couldn’t get to the restroom! There was no HC accessibility for my wheelchair! I was told that I’d have to go outside in the cold & down a few doors to another business to use the restroom! (*I honestly was hoping for being nauseous instead, at that point! 😆 let them have fun with that one! *Ok, just kidding …but do you know how humiliating that was?? ).. so they told me “they didn’t gave to go by the ADA rules because it was a historical building”!! Ugghh😒but I do know how you feel! 🤟🏼

  20. my new physical therapist last week doesn't think i have 'stability issues' even though i told him i can have around 20 dislocations a day on a bad day, i get dizzy standing for 10 minutes, and that when i get small colds i can no longer walk or move much. he acted the whole time like i was exaggerating, and said he was glad i no longer have to use my cane (as my mom mentioned i no longer use it). i explained that i can't use it anymore because my wrist dislocates so much, and i WAS going to ask about getting a walker before he decided he didn't believe me.

    i see him again tomorrow, wish me luck.

  21. Re: talking to people with captions – you just described my entire school career and my brief part-time job that i had for a month after graduating high school. Such “fond” memories. Lol. Group work was the worst. No one wanted to be in my group because i was the weird deaf girl with a laptop on her desk showing my captions.

  22. Sorry for your experience and especially sorry that you believe there is any such thing as an ex-friend. They are either your friend or not. We all disagree and screw up, but friends are forever. Work it out! You really only have 1 or 2 true friends in a lifetime and at 60 I agree with that statement that is repeated all over the 🌎.

  23. hey, you are an absolutely awesome person! keep representing and standing what you believe in wholeheartedly and courageously. It's a trait to be truly admired for.

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