This week we’re talking to Lori Civello & Chelsey Cahilly, certified ASL interpreters and co-founders of The Sign Space.
Lori Civello (she/her) is a New York City Native and Current Georgia transplant, is a certified language interpreter, Integrated Model of Interpreting practitioner, and college instructor. Lori grew up with Deaf parents and started her interpreting career in high school interpreting community theater shows for the Girl Scouts. Lori has her BA in American Sign Language interpreting & communications. Lori also has a Masters Degree in Higher Education Leadership and is faculty at Fredericks Community College and Georgia State University.
Chelsey Cahilly (she/her) is a nationally certified ASL/English interpreter, mentor, college instructor, and practitioner of the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI). She began learning ASL from a Deaf friend as a teenager, but has been interpreting professionally for ten years. She is currently working to obtain her master’s degree in Communication and Leadership. Chelsey lives in northern NJ with her husband, and three kids who are growing up way too fast.
Together, Lori and Chelsey host TheSignSpace.net, an online community where interpreters and students can collaborate and grow through mentoring, workshops, and deliberate practice sessions.
If you've been following us on Instagram, you may have seen that Chelsey & Lori have been interpreting the podcast into ASL and posting it, along with their insightful after-cast discussions, on their website! In this episode, we had the opportunity to talk to them directly about their own experiences with diet culture; how experiences with diet culture may differ within Deaf culture; how diet culture & other systems of oppression show up in the ways that we communicate & the ways that we access communication; and how diet culture & other systems of oppression can be obstacles for interpreters in the ways that they can represent & show for their Deaf clients.
Here's where you can find The Sign Space:
And you can get all the information about The Body of Our Work, the workshop that Naomi is co-hosting with Lori & Chelsey about how diet culture impacts the work of ASL interpreters by clicking here!
You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!
Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happysha
Want to connect with us to deepen the conversation? Join us in our online community, The Satisfaction Space!
Want to show the world that you love the pod? Get t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, stickers, totebags & more at Teepublic!
You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!
Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi
Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach.Sadie Simpson:
I'm Sadie Simpson, a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and Intuitive Eating counselor. Today we're talking with Lori Civello and Chelsey Cahilly. Lori is a New York City native and current Georgia transplant. She is a certified language interpreter, Integrated Model of Interpreting practitioner, and college instructor. Lori grew up with Deaf parents and started her interpreting career in high school, interpreting community theater shows for the Girl Scouts. Lori has her BA in American Sign Language Interpreting and Communications. Lori also has a master's degree in Higher Education Leadership and is faculty at Fredericks Community College and Georgia State University. Let's talk to Lori and Chelsey.Naomi Katz:
And Chelsey is a nationally certified ASL/English Naomi here. So this episode might sound a little bit interpreter, mentor, college instructor, and practitioner of the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI). She began learning ASL from a Deaf friend as a teenager, but has been different to you than some of our past episodes, and it's interpreting professionally for 10 years. She is currently working to obtain her master's degree in Communication and Leadership. Chelsey lives in northern New Jersey with her because we are going to be incorporating an inclusive husband and three kids, who are growing up way too fast. Together, Lori and Chelsey host TheSignSpace.net, an online community where interpreters and students can collaborate and grow through mentoring, workshops, and deliberate practice sessions. communication strategy here, suggested to us by our guests today. We are four female voices, some with minor accents, and it can be hard to identify which of us is which right away. So we are going to be tagging ourselves before we speak with our names, identifying ourselves. Because this provides access clarity for blind listeners, hard of hearing listeners. It provides clarity for transcripts or interpreters. And it also provides clarity for individuals with auto processing disorders or audible dyslexia. So by doing this, folks who fall into any of these groups don't have to work so hard to follow along. And it's less confusing for everybody. So again, we'll be tagging ourselves, which means that every time we speak, we're going to identify ourselves first. The other way that we're going to be mindful of accessibility here is by starting off by including some visual descriptions of ourselves, again, because that can help provide clarity for our blind listeners. So I'm Naomi. I am a white woman in my early 40s. I am small fat, able bodied. I have brown hair and brown eyes. And I am sitting in my office room, at my desk, with my cat climbing around my feet.Sadie Simpson:
And I am Sadie Simpson. I am a late 30s white female. I have brown hair. It comes about to my shoulders, but it is generally always in a ponytail, which it is right now. I am in my office in my home in Asheville, North Carolina.Chelsey Cahilly:
I am Chelsea Cahilly. I am a white female in my early 30s. I have a little longer than shoulder length hair, and it's kind of hard to tell what color it is because it's been damaged by so much bleach over the years- maybe brownish blue. I'm wearing a short sleeve black shirt, and I'm in my office, and I have a gray backdrop behind me.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here again. Thank you so much, everybody,Lori Civello:
Hello, I'm Lori Civello. I am also in my early 40s, though you would never know it through my nose. And I am a for those descriptions, and welcome Lori and Chelsey. We are white female. I am also wearing a black shirt which is long so excited to have you here. I personally am especially excited sleeved. I have brown hair with blonde home dye job growing out. You also might not notice that because my hair is pulled back, and I have on headsets to cover it. I am in my home office, which is gray paint on the walls due to my work, and I have a chair that matches it, so it's really unrecognizable where I am, but that's where I am, in my home space in my black shirt. because Lori and I have been friends since high school, and she is also a past Nourish & Bloom cohort member, so it is really cool and really exciting to see how our work intersects so much now. And I'm just super psyched to have this conversation with both of you. Lori speaking, I just want to say thank you so much. It's a real honor for us to be here with you both.Chelsey Cahilly:
Chelsey here, same here.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie here. First, we want to publicly thank Lori and Chelsey from The Sign Space because they have been interpreting previous episodes of the Satisfaction Factor in ASL. And they've been recording after-cast sessions, where they discuss a lot of like the nitty gritty around interpreting, but also their own experiences with diet culture, and how these narratives show up for them. And their insights were so great. And just this whole thing- this collaboration, if you will- has just been really exciting for us. So we are pumped to have you on today.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. So we're gonna dive right in with our first question that we ask everybody. And we're wondering whether you can both kind of tell us about your experiences with diet culture?Chelsey Cahilly:
Chelsey here. Sure. So it's funny, that question, a little bit, because if you had asked me maybe a few months ago what my experiences of diet culture were, I probably wouldn't have a very solid answer for you. I would probably have said, oh, I don't really have experiences with diet culture. But since I have been listening to and interpreting the Satisfaction Factor podcast, I realized just how much diet culture has permeated my life, to the extent that it's insidious, and I didn't know it, but now I'm starting to see it everywhere I go. So that's- that was pretty eye opening for me. But I would say my first experience with diet culture- again, that I didn't even realize was happening- probably happened when I was 18. And I know that I am very blessed to say that it took me that long to be impacted by it. My whole life growing up, I was just- I have a very small frame. And so my whole life, everyone told me, you're so skinny, you're so skinny. And they would come up and grab my little bony elbows and be like, oh, you're so thin. Or my dad would say, oh, it hurts so much when you sit on me because you're so bony. And it was just normal for me my whole life to be told I was skinny. And I didn't really think that much of it. And one day, when I was 18- I can literally visualize the day, like I know what- I can picture right now what shirt I was wearing, and everything- I walked into the kitchen, and my dad said to me, oh, look at you, starting to get some love handles, better start- better start doing something about that. He did not mean it in a bad way. He's just someone who says whatever comes to his mind and has no filter. And from that moment, I had an eating disorder. That moment. And I started engaging in really unhealthy behaviors that were harmful to my body. And if you had asked me at the time, hey, are you okay? I would have been like, yeah, I'm totally fine, normal, just being unhealthy, you know. And it was not. And so that was a really- something that was really formative to me. And I'm really blessed that I've gotten out of that stage of my life. But that was really impactful. And then- it's funny- because the second really thing that sticks in my mind- it's interesting because it came up in my Facebook memories today. How weird is that? That I was at the beach a couple of years ago, and it was like one of my first times in my life wearing a bikini. I thought I was finally at the point where I was like, you know what, I've had three kids, this is my body, I'm gonna wear a bikini, darn it. So I thought I was really comfortable in my own skin. And my sister in law had taken a picture of me - and it was a really sweet picture, it was a silhouette of me and my husband on the beach, and we were both leaning forward and kissing each other, kind of like those like little Dutch boy and girl kissing each other. But I saw my own silhouette, and I was like, oh my gosh, I need to do something about that. I was very upset by how I looked. And I decided to start dieting, but I was like, you know what, I'm gonna- I'm not gonna go back to doing what I did in the past that was super harmful. I'm going to do this the healthy way, right? So I did a lot of research. And then I settled on keto. And it's kind of funny because Lori- this is the- Lori and I talk often, and this was right around the time when she was starting to get into Intuitive Eating. And she started telling me, like, look, like, this is what Intuitive Eating is about. And it's- doesn't- it's really opposed to what you're doing with you're- and I was like, whatever. And I did that for like a year. And I got to the point in my life where I was like, you know what, I just want to eat a piece of bread, I just want to be happy. And I kind of petered out after a while. And you know what? I'm okay. And I didn't realize, again, while I was in the thick of it, doing all of these behaviors, how restrictive it was on my life. You know, it requires so much mental brain work, and so much tap dancing. And, you know, you have to plan everything out when you're doing these sorts of things. It's just such mental labor. Not to mention, you know, you're also putting physical constraints on yourself at this point. And I'm really glad that I'm to the point in my life where I'm okay with just kind of doing my thing and not letting those things control me. And I feel so much happier now. So sorry, if that was a lot longer of an answer than you were anticipating. But that's kind of where I'm at now. Thank you.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here, and thank you so much for sharing all of that. First of all, I think it's so impactful to hear how, even if you spend like most of your life with thin privilege, and in a smaller body, just like one comment can just, like, send you down this whole path of diet culture, and disordered eating, and even eating disorders. And how harmful it can be- even when people don't mean to be- you know, they don't mean to cause harm. They don't- the intent isn't there. But that doesn't remove the impact. That's so powerful to just hear about. And then, you know, hearing you talk about how you like got to this point where you're like, I'm fine, and then having to find these other layers to peel back, and like how much of a process this is, I think that will resonate with a lot of people doing this work. And so I just really appreciate you sharing that. Thank you. Lori, can you speak a little bit to your experiences with diet culture?Lori Civello:
Lori here, I just first want to say that I wasn't in Chelsey's face about Intuitive Eating. I was gentle and kind with it. She would tell me about her keto plans, and I'd be like, really? Because, you know, if you go all day without eating, it's gonna come back up somewhere else. Or, you want to take your kids for ice cream, just go have some ice cream. Right? So I was externally processing the principles that I was learning in my Happy Shapes course with my friends and confidants. And so, I'm so, you know, also, mentally, pleased that what I was saying was resonating and infiltrated in some way. So I do want to preface this by saying that I grew up with Deaf parents. And thankful to that movie that just came out last year, CODA, a lot of people now know what that word means. It's- it's an acronym for children of Deaf adults. What CODA means- it represents an international community, of people of all ages, who meet yearly all over the world for a conference, and then they'll have like some regional get togethers. In addition to that, there's KODA- k-o-d-a- which is for children under the age of 18. It's an organization for them to, again, come together to share their experience about growing up in a Deaf home, and a Deaf family, and in linguistical- you know, linguistic minority groups. So I have, I guess, a different perspective. Because I did grow up as a CODA, I did grow up with Deaf parents, we had different beauty standards in many ways, because the biggest priority in life was having the ability to hear, and then everything felt second to that. And how Deaf community binds itself, too, is also through Deafness. It's Deaf first, and then everything else falls in after that. So there are different cultural standards when it comes to everything, including beauty standards or size standards. As a child, it was very hard for me to understand why. I knew that my grandfather, for example, was ridiculed and made fun of because he had a heavy Italian accent. And I could see my parents being ignored, and made fun of, and pointed out in society because they were using their hands to communicate. But I didn't have an accent, and I could hear. And so, when I wasn't accepted by the popular groups in school or in mainstream society, I couldn't understand why. As a child, you really can't process those things. And for me, I would put a lot of that energy into my appearance- like how the world was seeing me. I grew up in the 90s, where waifs were popular at the time. And it doesn't help that I have big hazel eyes. And so I would often be compared to people like Kate Moss, Winona Ryder, and Drew Barrymore for sure. And whenever somebody would compare me to Drew Barrymore, the first thing that came to mind is that Guess advertisement, where she has her pants pulled down, and I never had that body type. I did dance and I did gymnastics my whole life. And so I blamed my body size for not fitting in, because it's the only thing that my young impressionable brain could understand. I didn't look like these girls, and that's why nobody wanted to date me, right. And it was- you know, I wasn't in with the popular crowd, the cool crowd, because I was bigger than all of them, right. And so it was very easy to use that as the scapegoat, if you will, until I got much older, and was able to understand how people reject minority groups. And that is really why I was being rejected, which is awkward and weird, because I'm not Deaf, but I come from a Deaf family. And so there's things like generational trauma that I didn't quite understand until I was older. I used to have this script where I joked about growing up as a dancer who did ballet, growing up, you know, being compared to Winona Ryder, and having been surrounded by friends, themselves, who had eating disorders, and playing excessively with Barbie, that I was amazed at how unscathed I came through the system, right? But this was just like my cognitive dissonance with really what I was experienced. I was told, and so I believed, that an eating disorder was an all or nothing thing. It was very binary. And because I didn't do any sort of extreme practice, then I, of course, was like, well, I don't have any type of disordered thinking, or disordered habits, or anything like that. I should be fine, right? I'm totally fine. I made it through. And then I got older, and I had children, and I was dealing with some medical diagnosis. And again, I was attributing a lot of my insecurities, and my alienation, and just normal adulting changing- I was putting up these walls and attributing it to my weight gain. I was breaking off friendships, I was building boundaries for myself. Because now I'm an adult, right? I wasn't the same person as I was. And so I was blaming a lot of it on weight gain from having children and having the issues- the fertility issues that I faced because of that. So I thought that if I would just lose the weight, I would regain all the friendships, I would regain all the- everything that I had thought I had lost. And so what do you do, but you go to Weight Watchers, right? That's what mainstream society tells you what to do. And I really couldn't follow their calorie counting. And then I would be like, see, this is the problem. You have no self discipline, you can't be a responsible adult. You know, my behaviors were not that of expected adults, right? Because I couldn't keep an app next to me and log every single time I put something in my mouth, I was a failure. I remember having to create my own little food percentages, because I'm like, well, I just made macaroni and cheese for my son, and I want to taste it, and I want to make sure that it is like a good temperature, quality, yumminess- right- before I present it to my son, who inevitably will only eat half of it, and then I would have the the other half of it. But how do I log that? And like the stress that I would have for one bite of macaroni and cheese. And then I would just say, you know, forget it all. And I just couldn't do it. And then I felt like a failure because I couldn't do it. And so I would go to their meetings, and I- I enjoy like group conversations. That's really how I learned. And so I thought like, oh, I like this part, this is great. I hated being weighed in in the beginning because just didn't work for me. So I hated that part. But I loved the group discussion aspect. And it wasn't until afterwards, where I was meeting with Naomi as an Intuitive Eating coach, and I started to say, well, yeah, I learned that I was an emotional eater. I never thought of myself as an emotional eater before, and then Weight Watchers told me that boredom was an emotion. And I thought, well, shucks, I'm an emotional eater now. And what Naomi had told me, you know, really impacted me and changed my headspace going forward. And I just think it's funny because, sure I had my own issues. Trying to unwind this, I thought I had- I wasn't welcomed into mainstream society, so I thought I was successfully able to reject mainstream society's suggestion of who and what I was supposed to be. But here I was, you know, 40 years later, and now all of a sudden convinced from nowhere that I had emotional eating issues because I got bored sometimes, and sometimes when I got bored, I would make food. My experience with diet culture has been, you know, I think kind of interesting, because I- I'm in this kind of border of like being part of the majority, but also, you know, living behind a minority group, but not being part of that minority group. And so this is really where it comes out for me, because I don't think that I'm really being impressioned on by mainstream culture and mainstream society, right, and yet, here it is all along, coming out in bits and pieces, exactly as they planned.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. That is so interesting. And I'm just gonna say powerful, like, 70 times over the course of this podcast- but it is- it's so powerful to hear how, to some extent, there's like this sense of, like, well, I don't belong in any of these groups, and how, at some point, it's easy to blame your body for not belonging, because since you don't belong to this other group, it has to be the reason why you don't belong to this mainstream group. And then, at some point, diet culture being a way to belong, but also not feeling like you belong there. And- and then that learned sense of failure through how you don't like, quote unquote, fit, even within diet culture. Like, there's just so much nuance there. And I think it's just so important to get that perspective of how intersectional this is- that it's not just about body size, it's about kind of like dominant culture, and all the ways that people don't necessarily fit in sometimes. And like that diet culture has this, like, one specific ideal, and like mainstream culture has this one specific ideal, and there's a lot of ways that we can not be that ideal, and how that sometimes gets caught up in things about food and body size. And just- yeah, there's just so much there. That's so- I'm so grateful for you for sharing that with us.Lori Civello:
Lori speaking, thank you so much. I wanted to say that being part of a linguistic minority group definitely goes deeper for me in all aspects of my life. And I do want to acknowledge the privilege of growing up with Deaf parents in New York City. Because growing up, everybody would ask me, what's it like having Deaf parents? And I never had an answer for that. I don't know. What is it like not growing up with Deaf parents, right? But growing up in New York City was amazing because I never felt like a minority. Because especially where I grew up in Queens, everybody spoke a different language in their home. In my home, we had Italian, we had German, we had English. My sister wished for Pig Latin- I could never do it- I cannot get the letters- I can't see letters in my head. I couldn't do it. And then we had American Sign Language. And we had different modalities of American Sign Language- my mom being completely deaf, and my dad being more hard of hearing. And so I was always surrounded by different languages that I never felt odd, or special, or any of that. And then when I moved to New Jersey, it was in high school, it was a very monolingual community- very rarely anybody spoke any other language but English. There were other CODAs in the school system that I went to, but it was kind of like a double edged sword- they would link us all together. And I guess because I was white, I didn't have an accent, they rather tried to give me a learning disability than just accept the fact that I came from a home that didn't speak English. And it was a whole four year battle that I really had to pursue. And when we had meetings, like IEP meetings or behavioral meetings, I would wind up interpreting those meetings myself, so it was this- this- I was too young to really advocate for myself. And I didn't understand at the time- you know, of course- but, you know, looking back, I just think it's interesting that- that they would rather just, you know, label me as somebody with an unknown learning disability than accept bilingual households. You know? And also, I wanted to say, like being accepted into mainstream society, you kind of you absolutely get used to that rejection. And that, you know, now with Halloween coming, it's always this reminder of how truly rejected by society people who have- you know, are not in abled bodies, you know, are perceived by their communities. I know- and I don't know if you remember, Naomi- but on Halloween time, I would always be extremely upset because we would buy bowls and bowls of candy, and nobody would ever come to our house. They would come through our community, but they would skip over our house. And you think, like, Halloween- like this is when you want to hang out with zombies, and axe murderers, or chainsaw murderers, right? But you don't want to go anywhere near the people with visible disabilities, because that was too hard for people to handle. That was too scary. You know, and for me, these are my parents, you know? Like, and my parents, to me, like, just spoke a different language. It wasn't a disability. So it was really always hard to understand that. And even now, as an adult, you try to go back and rationalize and give people some grace. But at the end of the day, it's just hard to understand why you would be afraid of Deafness over, you know, zombies with axe murderers. Zombies with axe murderers is what I said- I'm sticking to it.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here, and yes, I totally do remember that. I absolutely remember that. I also- you know, it's so interesting- because I can remember in high school, like, I remember you talking to me about the language barrier, essentially, and how that showed up for you in terms of like, getting categorized as like learning disabled, or something like that. And like I heard you then, but I think I didn't have the understanding of systems and intersectionality, and like, all of that stuff that I do now. And so hearing you say that now, there's this moment of like, oh, that's what was happening there. And- because I also remember being in high school and being like, I don't understand why anybody would think that Lori had a learning disability. Because I mean, you and I spent time together all the time, and like you were one of the smartest people I knew, like, and all of that. And it was- I remember it being kind of confusing to me then. And so I'm really glad you brought that up. Because for a number of reasons. One, I think it's a really great opportunity to talk about the fact that ASL is a language in and of itself- which, I think a lot of people who are not part of the Deaf community or privy to the Deaf community don't actually understand that it- like when you speak ASL and English, you are a bilingual person. That- that is a different- like, we're not just interpreting English. I think that's a really important thing to, like, lay as a foundation here for the rest of this conversation. And also in terms of like, okay, everybody recognizes that like, okay, if somebody speaks Spanish at home, then maybe like an ESOL class is the way to go, not a, quote unquote, remedial class- like not like a- you know, it's not a learning disability. It's a language challenge. It's a language barrier. And seeing how ableism impacts people in that way, too. So thank you for bringing that stuff up. Because I think that's really, really important here.Lori Civello:
Lori here. I just want to wrap up with saying, I'm sure this is relatable for many people, and not just children of Deaf adults- where, you know, I was faced with this societal rejection, and then I would talk to my mom and say, you know, I'm upset, I'm hurting, I don't fit in, and my mom's response would be like, well, you can hear, everything should be fine. And then that would just alienate me more. Right? So now I don't fit in with my family. Right? Because my family are Deaf, and I'm not Deaf. And it's- these moments are when it's highlighted or emphasized that, yeah, I don't fit in in this- in this culture, either.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here again, and just- you know, I think we talk sometimes on here about how dieting and engaging in diet culture can be a path to feeling like you belong. You're giving voice to that in a really specific way that I feel like, because Sadie and I both have the privileges that we have, this is a perspective that I think it's really important to hear of how that works exactly.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie here. So let's talk a little bit about your work, and specifically how diet culture impacts the way interpreters show up and represent themselves. Because- specifically thinking of fear of visibility, and discomfort with taking up space, and not being able to ask for or meet needs and emotions, and things like that. Can either of you speak to that?Chelsey Cahilly:
That's a really great question, and I think I could probably talk about it all day, but I'm not going to. So there are so many dynamics that you face as an interpreter, and a lot of them have to do with appearance, and if people are going to take you seriously, and- based on how you look, or if you look like the part that you're supposed to play. So, for example, I am five feet tall. I'm really short. And people always assume that I'm way younger than I am, I guess just based on how I look. And so I have had so many times when people look at me and tell me- or just assume that I'm not there in a professional capacity. They're like, oh, the the cafeteria is down the hall. And I'm like, I'm not a student, I work here. How many times I've gotten- I've worked in a middle school, and I got yelled at by a hall monitor, because I was walking down the hall on my prep, eating a bag of Chex mix, and the hall monitor said, hey, no eating in the hall. And I turned around, and they saw that I had a lanyard. And they were like, oh, gosh. And by the way, I was four months pregnant at the time. They turned around and saw the bump, I must have given them the fright of their life. But I think that, yeah, people absolutely judge you based on how you look. And I know that Lori and I know interpreters of all shapes, and sizes, and colors, and they're all received differently. For me, the thing that I face, often, as I mentioned, as someone whose short, is being taken seriously. Maybe I don't take up enough space. And when there's a Deaf person that maybe is a male, who is in a position of authority, and I am providing communication access between them and some other person, because I maybe don't look like I have authority, that other person- the Deaf- it could go either way- the hearing person or the Deaf person may be- may not be taken as seriously because of who I am, not because of who they are. So that's actually a consideration that a lot of interpreters take when accepting assignments. You have to think, am I a good match for this person? You know, me, as a white female, who is straight, cis, you know, should I be taking an assignment where the things that- I'm providing communication access, and representing maybe a- someone who's the complete opposite of me- maybe a gay, Black male. You know, I'm just trying to think of every possible category, that's the opposite of what I am. I should not be taking that job. I am not the correct person to accurately represent this individual. So that's a consideration that definitely comes into play when interpreters- or should come into play when interpreters are accepting assignments.Lori Civello:
Lori here. I just want to add an experience I had a couple months ago. When I just moved to Georgia, one of the first assignments I took was in a college setting. And of course, these are some of the things we- we kind of prep ourself with on whether or not we take jobs, right? So post secondary, you don't- it's not like I'm going to an OBGYN appointment or something like that. I took this post secondary job, and it was just for an English class. And then after the class, the student who is a Black Deaf male wanted to speak with the teacher who was also a Black male. And they kept talking about the government races that were happening down here in Georgia. And the Deaf gentleman was fingerspelling the name of the person and I, had just moving down here, was saying, Olaf, Olaf. And then at some point, I stopped their conversation, I was like, I am so sorry, I am from New York City, I realized you are not talking about a Frozen character. And then I used that as a way- because in this conversation, as well, the student was really trying to have a heart to heart with a teacher and saying, you know, they've struggled with English as a barrier their entire life, and they just never connected with teachers, and to sit here and to see a Black male teach English was so important and so impactful for him, and he really felt like he was learning so much, and it was because they had that shared dynamic. And as they were talking about that, they were talking about the work that he was volunteering with the government- or doing with the government. And so I took that moment to be like, you know, I'm from New York, and I don't- I know you're not talking about Frozen, but I don't know what's going on down here just yet. Also, by the way, you know, when you request for interpreters, you can request for people that live in Georgia, or males, or Black interpreters. You have the right to be represented the way you want to be. And the Deaf person looked at me and the professor and says, oh, right, you know, but- that's true, but for interpreters, it really could be anybody, it could be anybody, you're fine, white woman, it's fine. And I was like, oh, this is your oppression talking. You know, and it's so hard in those moments to know, like, where's the line? I'm not part of this conversation, you know. And like, I went to my car, and I called Chelsey, and I cried because I- you know, when you see such, like, blatant oppression come out, and you really can't be involved in it, it's frustrating. And then you take ownership, because you're like, I should have never took that job in the first place. But I had, there's no way I could have known, you know, that- that that's what was needed. But in other ways that we talk about diet culture impacting the way interpreters show up and represent themselves, I did want to say that, you know, there's a couple of elements of culture coming in here. There's like the interpreting profession, which is filled with oppression. We have vicarious trauma that we take on and interact with, and sometimes that shows up as judgment and competitiveness, right, because we don't know how to deal with these things. Sometimes the horizontal oppression, right- sometimes for anybody who's working with marginalized communities, will experience horizontal oppression. And sometimes that gets taken out in weird ways that is hard to understand- when a Deaf consumer gets mad that you're taking a sip of water, or you sneeze, right, there's a power dynamic happening, and you become like the brunt of- of all of these weird sort of environmental traumas that are happening. And if you don't have the tools to recognize, or the support system- another interpreter that you can really be reflective with and talk things out with, it can be very confusing and perpetuate like a harmfulness in our field. But there's also why Chelsey and I- I really would like to add at this time, and plug, and share in your notes- are why Chelsea and I work with the IMI model, which is Betty Colonomos. Because it really allows for interpreters to develop tools and a framework on how to make space for yourself in these situations, on how to recognize your biases and your filters, and when these things are coming into play and influencing your interpretations, right. And that's not always- where like, as an interpreter, you don't have to be 100% in support of what is being said. Sometimes you can be of the opposing thoughts, especially with controversial topics, right? Roe versus Wade or something, it's popping up a lot now. And you might have a speaker that doesn't align with your views, and you have to interpret it, right. But sometimes it's beneficial, because at least you have a full scope, a full understanding. And so as long as you can recognize your bias and don't let it like influence your work, then you can use it to really unlock what a person's saying and accurately represent them. So there's weird things like that, that come up in our field- you know, things where Deaf people curse, and you'll have a Deaf person with their middle finger in somebody's face, waving it back and forth, and then you have an interpreter who is more modest, and they're like, oh, shucks, well, fudge. And that's- I mean, obviously, that's not what they're saying, right. And then some people- some Deaf people- you know, can't speak for all Deaf people, I'm speaking specifically for my mother- she will use her voice, and she will, in her voice, you know, curse people out, and use her profanity signs that everybody knows, right. And so if you have an interpreter who's like, oh, gee, golly, like, it just doesn't work. Like you have to- you have to be able to like, modulate those things inside yourself to accurately represent the community and what this person wants to say, right? I mean, if you think about a marginalized community, they're alienated from accessing communication. And now you have this interpreter who is there to provide access, and they're managing it, they're filtering it, they're changing it, because they are uncomfortable cursing, or they're uncomfortable saying certain things. And, as Chelsey was alluding to in the beginning of her message, you know, like being our body size, we've had conversations with other interpreters who don't take some work because they feel too tall. Or I have a friend that's the most amazing interpreter- beautiful, beautiful, beautiful language- won't do platform work, which is like stage work, because they think they're too short, and nobody will see them. We talked about myself in one of the after-casts- about interpreters commenting on my fingers being too pudgy. And forget about lifelong use of language, right? Like my pudgy fingers are somehow making me look too sluggish and not eloquent enough for you. We were talking about race- how that impacts work, too. There is a study coming out- it's not published yet, but because I work in academia, I was able to see some of the stuff being worked on. And it was research where they had several interpreters produce the same exact message the same exact way, and then they asked viewers to watch it and say which was clearer, which was like sharper, which was- which one did you like better? They asked all these questions, and they were finding that people's racism were coming out in their language preferences, and they were voting for the- the- the white interpreters over the other interpreters of different races. There was no difference- there was absolutely no difference in what they were producing. There's another article that I would love if you can share in the notes regarding the power of the white gaze, and it just talks about how white interpreters have this perceived conception of being more fluent, more presentable, more professional when it comes to interpreting. And this- this article talks about the WAP song in specific- it's really interesting- about how a Black Deaf female interpreted Cardi B song and it was not shared. Whereas just a white female who knew a couple of sign language words interpreted it, and it got hundreds and 1000s of views, and even Cardi B herself shared the white woman's interpretation. So it's a really interesting article about how we will bring in size, and we will bring in race, and tie that into language formalities. Right? Chelsey and I have talked about how- with other interpreters- how they won't do certain signs like father- which you have to raise your hand all the way up to the- to- and hit your thumb on the top of your head- but because your underarm is up in the air, they don't want it to jiggle. They don't want to see it, so they don't produce the sign the right way, because they don't want to show their arm jiggles. Chelsey and I talk all the time about women's breasts. I was talking to Betty Colonomos about this aspect, and she was explaining to me that a long time ago women would not do signs and touch themselves. Because- especially the breast area- because it was so like frowned upon for a woman to have breasts. So they had to completely change the way they were producing signs so that they wouldn't touch themselves. It's like how gender influences it, right? Not only like your relationship with your body, but like historically and patriarchaly, how this influences how you can use your own language.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here, yeah, that's huge. And I know that you have mentioned to me before things about how- the way men sign versus the way women sign. And I know that's a very binary way of looking at gender. And like, if we don't have the information about what it looks like for non binary folks to sign- that just the signing space that men take up versus the signing space that women take up is very different. And I remember, when you first told me that, being like, wow, that's kind of a big deal.Lori Civello:
Lori here. Right. I mean, I was so grateful for this moment that I had last semester. It was so impactful, and meaningful, and really led me down this path with you, but it's still stuck with me in such like an icky way. I had my students interpret Henry V from Shakespeare, and the word Kingsland comes up. And how that's produced in sign language is, first- you know, there's two parts to the sign- the first part is you- you come across your chest, almost like a sash, like you would win a sash- you come across your chest, and then the second part of the sign is you just kind of like swoop your hand out in front of you, like if you were on a Ouija board, right? And you're like, is anybody here, right? So it's kind of like that motion. And I had noticed prominently white women in my class, as they were coming up, the size where they would produce was getting smaller and more restrictive. Instead of being kings, like a full sash, it'd be like king, and then it'd be like land. And then I had one female who is Black in my class, and about six foot tall, and she got up there and she had the smallest sign space. I mean, she really should have poked me in the eye when she did the second part of that class. But she was so restricted and so confined. And I was like, wait a minute, and I went down the hall, and I got the white male professor in the room next door who was teaching ASL, and I said, can you please just show everybody the sign for Kingsland. And he doesn't know why or what the intention was. And it was loud, and it was clear, and it was big. And it went from the top top top of the shoulder down to his pelvic bone, and then his arm stretched out like flat in front of him, taking up as much space as a six foot man could take. And I thanked him, and he left, and we spent the rest of the class talking about, you know, how we show up for ourselves, how we show up for other people. Like, essentially you're mumbling. You're mumbling because you're afraid to exist in space. Right? And I- in that moment- I mean, it's diet culture, for sure. But it's also a patriarchal system where men are allowed to be boisterous, and can have opinions, and can talk, and women are told to shrink our voices, to shrink our bodies, right, our opinions for sure. And so as interpreters, we have to not only be heard, but we need to be seen, and we need to be seen from the back of the room, and so we have to be quite large, and it's a huge, huge struggle. And often, I mean, these people don't even realize that they're not enunciating their words, right? Because of this, like, I'm just gonna be small, and tiny, and cute, or whatever their reasons are, and they don't realize that they're mumbling, and they're not enunciating. And so it really was fascinating to witness, and just put me down this road with you, Naomi.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. And God, that story is so amazing. I love that you went down the hall and got the white male professor, and- without telling him what you were doing. I feel like that- the word itself is so interesting, too, because of what it implies, like of ownership- that specifically being something that you're seeing people diminish and diminish, even that's a layer to it that's so interesting. So we've talked a little bit about how this shows up in terms of the physicality, and like how that relates both for interpreters doing themselves, and also for interpreters representing their clients. I'm curious about maybe how the mindset impacts too. So one of the things that I noticed when watching the after-casts was that each of you kind of had moments where maybe the content was bringing stuff up for you, and it kind of took you out of the process of interpreting a little bit. And, you know, I noticed you having the discussion because you were aware of this, not like, oh, I noticed that this happened. I want to just be really clear about that. And so I'm curious if you can talk a little bit about how holding this diet culture mindset might have an impact on your relationship to the actual- well, you- so you use the phrase source text when you're talking about this, but like the actual language being used by the person that you're interpreting for.Chelsey Cahilly:
Chelsey here. That's a really insightful question. Thank you so much. So one instance that really comes to mind when you bring that up is, I can't remember which of the podcasts- which of the episodes we were interpreting, but there was an instance where one of you, either Naomi or Sadie, use the word fat. And that was such an interesting moment for me as an interpreter. Because often, the way ASL works, how you produce a sign tells the person looking at you how you feel about the word, and it's almost like intonation in English. You know, if we go fat, as opposed to fat, it has a different meaning, right? So I was interpreting, and I wanted to make sure that I was accurately representing how the speaker meant to use that word. But I had a moment where I knew that the intention in English was not to be offensive, and I wanted to make sure that came across in sign language. It made me stop for a second to check myself. And I said, whoa, wait a minute, I felt super uncomfortable signing the word fat, even though it wasn't intended to be offensive. I know in my hearing, diet culture influenced schema, that that word can be taboo. Which is ironic because, often in Deaf culture- and again, I'm not speaking for the Deaf community, just in my experience, having interacted with people who are in the Deaf community and Deaf culture is their culture- it's totally fine, and acceptable, and even expected to comment on someone's appearance. Because if you can see it, you can talk about it. That's kind of the rule. And so it's totally normal for someone to be like, wow, are you okay, you look awful. Or, you know, you look like you gained weight. And that's totally normal. Whereas, maybe in non-Deaf culture, that can be very offensive. So it's funny because, even within Deaf culture, the word fat is not offensive. It's just like saying something is purple, right? It's an adjective. So it was such an interesting moment for me where I had this internal conflict for a second, being like I want to accurately represent that this is not being used in an offensive or derogatory manner because the culture that I'm interpreting to doesn't necessarily see this as a derogatory term, but I, being in the middle of this- providing this communication, I had a moment where I was uncomfortable using that word. And I'm still parsing through that- I'm not gonna lie- still a work in progress. But that was- man that was a really interesting moment for me.Lori Civello:
Lori here. Also I want to- I mean, not only with the word fat, but signing large, and, you know, when a person identifies themselves as skinny fat, how to properly represent that in a visual language, but also not have your biases show, or, you know, not want to offend people. And before you answer that, I just want to clarify again, you know, we're not here as ambassadors for the Deaf community. But I will say that in the Deaf community, from what I know is growing up with Deaf parents, is communication is a commodity. And when people are pointing out that you've gained weight, or you have a pimple, it's not in a harmful or malice way. It's- you understand, these people are restricted from communication in every angle. And so when you have a friend, and you're like, oh, if I have something in my teeth, and that person tells me I have something in my teeth, they're a good friend, right? Because it's like trust building in the Deaf community. It's that, but like, amplified, right, and so nothing is held secret, and nothing is kept away. Because of this oppression, where, you know, if you're- if- you know, for example, if we're sitting around the dinner table, and my mom asks my grandma what she's talking about, and she replies, oh, nevermind, it's not important, or, oh, nevermind, we'll tell you later, or, oh, it's not about you, right? So constantly getting shut down from society, and your family, and having information withheld from you. And then to be with people and to say, oh, you've gained weight, right? I'm showing that I care for you. I'm telling you that I love you, and I noticed these things about you. But because it's a different culture, you know, and the- it kind of sometimes comes across rudely. I'm definitely learning on how to build boundaries with not having Deaf people telling me about my appearance, and also having to like, create boundaries on not saying too many things to hearing people. Right, like, so I'm working on that.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here, and I'm so glad you jumped in with that, because I actually very specifically was going to ask for elaboration on, if you can see it, it's fair game, basically- if you can see it, you can comment on it. But that makes so much sense as- of like, when communication is limited, communicating everything feels like a loving way to interact.Lori Civello:
Lori here. And, first and foremost, it's a visual language. There has been plenty of times where I've had to interpret meetings for human resources, because, you know, a guy showed up to work, and they were like, oh, I told, you know, so and so that I was going to be late, and they were like, who, and they're like the Black lady, and then they get in trouble for identifying somebody as Black. And sometimes you have to advocate a little bit- like no, you know, American Sign Language is a visible language, and it's an identifier, you know, and so they're just using it as a way to clarify, and to- like, if you feel uncomfortable, that's on you. We're just saying what it was.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. The ways in which white people feel uncomfortable with identifying Black people as Black is like a whole other conversation. Naomi here, and I think this is really interesting, and I thinkLori Civello:
Lori here. I think- I mean, that's a great overlaps a lot with- kind of coming full circle back around comparison, because one of the greatest books I've read, from Beverly Daniel Tatum, is Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria. She has an essay in it called Who Am I- and I won't give it away- but I will say that I've mimicked that exercise that she's done in all of my classes when we start learning about audism, and we start trying to unpack our- our white backpack. When I first started working with this essay, you know, with my students, and trying to get them to unpack their own privilege, I would- I would use it as a way to get them understand, like, why it was so impactful when a news article said a man gets killed versus Black man gets killed. And for me, it was very important because I always see the headline, Deaf man gets killed. And, you know, it's very to Chelsey's what do I say, do I say fat, do I say larger, kind hurtful to know that my father, a man who I respect and love- he's an electrical engineer, I always make sure to make people aware of that. Well, now he's retired. But, you know, he'll never get to be a man. No matter what he does in his life, he'll never get to be a man. He will always be Deaf. And, you know, for Deaf people, as I said before, it's always going to be Deaf first. You know, and for sure, there's still body shaming that happens. But people who become interpreters are kind of people that are not on the mainstream. We have a big wonderful group of LGBQT interpreters, and we're advocating more for Black interpreters, you know, because Deaf communities has always been known to be more accepting in many ways. So like for myself, like I never would feel rejected, or be perceived as unprofessional from a Deaf person because of my size, or because of my clothing choices, or my hair choices, or the fact that I have tattoos. But absolutely not for mainstream English speaking society. I 100% believe and know that they are judging me on those factors. of thing- because I think it, to some extent, comes back to identity, and how we identify ourselves, and how other people identify us. And fat is an identity for a lot of folks, and then there are also a lot of people who are uncomfortable with claiming that identity. And that's something that maybe is part of what you have to navigate and like make choices about when you're like- like, to some extent you have to know what the person you're interpreting for- how they are going to relate to that word and that identity. Lori here. We are meaning based social, linguistic, cultural, and language mediators. So when a Deaf person sees a hearing person and says, wow, you've gained weight, we can interpret that to mean, hey, you look different from the last time I saw you. Because we're culturally mediating.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. Yeah. And so that's really interesting, because that, I mean, substantively changes the conversation, for one thing. And also, you know, again, it kind of comes back to what mindset are you bringing into it. Like, you have to be able to recognize your own triggers and your own narratives in order to accurately interpret for the person in front of you.Chelsey Cahilly:
Chelsey here, if I could just say something that just came to my mind. I actually work in video relay, where I interpret phone calls. So the Deaf person and the hearing person can't see each other, so I am pretty much their only bridge. It's an interesting dynamic, because sometimes I feel like that kind of causes me to internalize more than I should. Because sometimes, the person who can hear doesn't know that they're speaking through an interpreter, because the Deaf person chose not to tell them. So I almost feel like I'm saying the things that are being said, even though I'm not, I'm just the conduit, right? So it's interesting for me when I have to say things, like, you know, the hearing person will say, oh, who is- who were you talking to the last time you were in here, and the Deaf person will say, oh, I don't know, it was the the fat lady at the front with the black hair. And that's what they say. And sometimes they mean it offensively, but sometimes they don't. So I have to kind of navigate their intention of just using that as a descriptor- whereas I would never say that in- to- in mainstream hearing culture- and kind of make it- I don't want to use the word palatable, because I'm not changing the message- but I'm following the intent of the person, and they meant it merely as a descriptor. So it's an interesting experience to have to navigate that, while wrestling with my own feelings about the language being used. Whereas if I- if the people were in person, and they could see each other- I don't know why- it absolves me of the ownership a little bit more, internally, for some reason, because obviously, these two people can see that I'm just the middleman. But when I'm on the phone, maybe it's not apparent that I am a middleman. I kind of internalize a little more.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie here. Can you tell us a little bit about how you work with folks? I know, Lori, you mentioned that you work in an academic setting, and, Chelsey- you do phone interpretation. Are there other ways that you work with people? And can you tell us a little bit more about The Sign Space?Lori Civello:
Lori here. Linguistics and body image is really something that we're just starting to study- myself, for sure- but how this relates to bimodal and bicultural communication. Perhaps maybe my third dissertation. Chelsey and I keep creating new ones every week. But, you know, people want to be seen, and people want to be heard, and, you know, having access to communication is having access to each other. And so how our bodies and cultures dictate our volumes, our gestures, the- our allotted percentage of participation time, right? The system of oppressors who tell Deaf people that they shouldn't laugh, and they should practice laughing without making sounds because their unbridled joy is just too distracting and too noisy, right? They're the same people who tell women they need to laugh quieter, right- a little bit more cutesy. It's the same system. The mainstream system controls how we communicate as a whole. And even if we get access to communication, it's not only about Deaf community, but all marginalized communities are often withheld from access to communication. You know, whether or not you have internet at home or- hundreds and hundreds of examples, right. But you can imagine, for me, hearing everyone complain about like phone trees, and how why is Spanish an option, right? Especially when like, we started to incorporate that as Americans, people were like, Spanish, come on. And I grew up in a home that, like, we couldn't use the telephone. One time I- in high school, I missed the bus coming home from the mall. So I went to the mall cops, who called my local police department, who sent to patrol car over to my house to tell my mom to come to the mall and pick me up because, you know, I missed the bus. That caused a whole spectacle. The neighbors were talking about it for weeks. The police department did buy a TTY, which was great. But besides that, when it comes to bimodal communication, I see it in my students so much. And for me, and for Chelsey, we truly believe in creating a space where people feel safe. And, you know, I know right now, you know, creating safe spaces is something that we're trying to reevaluate the language on because we can't really dictate if a person is feeling safe, and so we're trying to say brave spaces. But I'm really looking more towards safety because I really believe that if a student doesn't feel safe, for whatever the reason is- they- they don't have a home life, or they don't have food, or the transportation was an issue- whatever is compromising their feeling safe, is something we need to address. Because if you're just coming to school, or you're coming to a workshop, and you're trauma-lead, and your defenses are up, you're not going to learn, you're not going to be able to engage. And so we find it really important to talk about these things, to unpack these things. Which is why, you know, I will call in the white males to show how signs are done across genders or comfort levels. Besides interpreting students, how many people have to apologize, or, you know, make excuses for waving their hands when they speak? I mean, how many times I've been told, oh, I'm Italian, right? Excuse me, I'm so sorry, I'm Italian, I need to wave my hands when I speak, right? Because we are- we are preconceived to believe we can't take up the space in front of us. And we need it. I tell my students all the time, you're- you- when you talk, and you are interpreting into English, and you sound robotic, it's because you're sitting on your hands. Move your hands around, you'll find yourself sounding more natural. We interact with these social norms all the time as interpreters, and there's this balance of when to advocate, when not to advocate. We've been interpreting this podcast, and then we do the after-casts, where we really kind of shed light on some of the struggles that we, you know, we face- whether it's because of interpreting, or biases, or diet culture- that's kind of coming to the surface for us. Which, we love you guys for letting us have this opportunity to practice our interpreting, and also kind of unwind ourselves in so many great ways. Couldn't ask for a better partner in Chelsey. We just are reflective practitioners and always on the same page with that. But the reason why I say this is because we're hosting a workshop with Naomi on the 15th of September, because we want to open this conversation up to our peers, at six o'clock Eastern time. You can find information from that on our site, on our social media. You know, again, as I mentioned before, signing big, and enunciating loud, and clearly articulating what it is your consumer wants to say, and not being a barrier, and not restricting them from, you know, having true communication and human connection. For example, I was- I had noted, like, in English, we don't talk about our emotions, we reference them- like, I was feeling happy, and I got some ice cream- whatever sentence you want to say. But in American Sign Language, we don't reference emotions, we show the emotions- we smile, we get bigger, you know, and we were happy. And so you have to show that in your face. And it's awkward for mainstream English speakers who are always told to stifle their emotions, that they can't have emotions, they definitely can't show their emotions, they can't talk about their emotions. And when we do workshops with like Betty Colonomos is where we start unpacking affect, and emotions, and what it sounds like, and what it looks like. And what does it mean for me when somebody looks mad, right? And what does it look like for a Deaf person to look mad? Like, all of these things are our common conversations that are vitally important to have because they impact our work, and they impact our everyday, but they're- they're not being had. So yeah, we just wanted to sort of invite everybody to the experience that we're having, and maybe a different perspective of how they are presenting themselves, and, most importantly, presenting their consumers through their own filters and their own bias.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. So just to kind of drill down specifically, this is a workshop called The Body of Our Work. It is on September 15th from 6pm to 8:30pm Eastern. It is specifically geared towards ASL interpreters, and they will get CEUs for attending it. And you can get all of that information on the website, TheSignSpace.net.Chelsey Cahilly:
Chelsey here. I'm so glad you brought that up, Lori, that we're hosting this workshop. I'm so excited to be there, and I'm looking forward to all the learning that's going to happen there. And I just want to mention some other things on TheSignspace.net. As Lori talked about brave spaces, we really believe that interpreters are whole people, and that's how we view our colleagues, and that's how we view students who are- have the goal of becoming professional interpreters. And I think often we, in our profession, can become seen as not people, but perhaps as just facilitators, or we've imposed these things on ourselves where we believe that we can't take up space, as we've discussed. So Lori and I also offer mentoring services through our website, where we kind of invite people just to be comfortable in who they are, and that it's important to take into account who we are as human beings, because that is going to influence our work. And that, again, goes along with the Integrated Model of Interpreting, something that Lori and I strive to incorporate into our work, and as well as into our daily lives. So that's the framework that we use, because we just believe it's so important for us to acknowledge ourselves as human beings in order to be able to be effective interpreters.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie here. This has been such a greatLori Civello:
This is Lori. Chelsey, you mentioned here, and it came up again earlier, and I wanted to say that there is this huge misconception of invisibility with interpreters, that we are supposed to be invisible. We are- you know, we can't be thirsty, or hungry, or have thoughts, or opinions, and we just- we just can't, you know- it's just a myth. And I wanted to bring that up, because I think we alluded to it, but we didn't overtly say it, and that some of the things that we struggle with is like, oh, I'm invisible, but then it's just awkward, because you're not invisible, and the job interviewer could see you, and now you're just making it weird and awkward for everybody. But also, I wanted to say, like, when you interact in these social norms, there has been- and you'd said before- like, when you're interpreting for a doctor, you know, you can't tell a doctor he didn't explain something well enough, or she didn't explain something well enough, and so you tend to play dumb, and, you know, it's- it's- it's this, oh, I'm so sorry, I don't understand, what does blood pressure mean, I never heard that word before. Right? Because it's more acceptable for me, as a female, to be dumb than it is for a doctor not to be clear. And let me tell you, this is what we learn in our educational programs. They teach you the scripts to play dumb. I mean, and I get it. Part of me gets it. Because when you grow up with Deaf parents, you- you- you want to protect them. I mean, can I tell you again that my father is a retired electrical engineer. I want- I say that because I want to like shoot down societal preconceptions that Deaf people are incapable of having educations or being independent. Yes, they drive cars. Yes, they raise children. Right, they can do all these things. And so for myself, I find myself not wanting to confirm a bias upon a cultural group. And, you know, I- and so, for me, maybe it's easier to play dumb in those situations, because, like, how, in two seconds, can I explain to a doctor that like, you know, just because he doesn't understand what blood pressure means, it doesn't mean that he's not smart. He was an electrical engineer. But you know, if you don't overhear your parents talking about these kinds of things, or if you don't have exposure to mainstream society news, or radio, or, you know, conversations being had, right, there's no way to balance that in the moment. And so you're not really playing neutral, you're taking on the ownership, right, and you're playing dumb, and you're like, playing into the power dynamics and the intercultural interpersonal situations that are happening in the room. But I just think it's so funny that this is what we teach our next generation of interpreters. And it's largely because our field, as you see here, is mostly white women. conversation, and very enlightening, very interesting. And I know the folks who listen to this are going to find a lot of value out of this conversation. So your website is TheSignSpace.net. Where can folks find you on social media? Lori here. At this time, we only have an Instagram and you can find us @thesignspaceasl.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie here. Awesome. We will make sure to include all that in our show notes. So as we are wrapping this up, we always ask all of our guests what is satisfying for you right now?Lori Civello:
Lori here. What is satisfying to me is my whole family had been impacted by COVID the past two weeks, and I'm grateful that it was so mild. I know I've been severely impacted by people passing away from this disease, and I've been thinking about them every single day the past two weeks, and I just want to honor their experiences and their lives. Because, unfortunately, them succumbing to this has got us to a place where, two and a half years later, it's very- it's been very mild for my family, and we've all been experiencing this mildly. I find it extremely satisfying in ways that I am just- every time I take a sip of something and I can taste it, or every time I can eat something, I can smell. And it's just- it's satisfying and grateful of how I'm feeling right now. And while that doesn't perfectly answer in my English, it- I definitely, in my intentions, just want to share my gratitude for that and appreciation for that, and so I'm using this moment to shed some light on that, and to honor the people who have died in the past two and a half years, who have just been weighing heavy on me.Chelsey Cahilly:
Chelsey here. I'm happy that you're feeling better, and that your family is doing better. What's satisfying me this week is that my son's 10th birthday is coming up in a few days. And, first of all, I can't believe that I am about to have a 10 year old. But, second of all, I've just been thinking about him, and the last 10 years that I've had with him, and just how wonderful they've been. And he's just one of the lights of my life. And just- I'm so excited to celebrate him. And I bought him a bow and arrow, and I'm so excited to give that to him. It's waiting for me at Walmart right now. I'm gonna go pick it up later. And I'm so excited for him to open that up and just have fun with it. So that's what's satisfying me this week.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie here. Thank you both for being here with usNaomi Katz:
Such a fantastically nuanced and just amazing today. conversation. And we really, really appreciate you both taking the time to have this conversation with us, but also continuing to have this conversation in your spaces and, you know, making this podcast accessible for more people. It's really just awesome.Lori Civello:
Thank you for having us. It's been a really fun and educational experience that we've had, providing access to the podcast, and then also getting to talk about it. I'm wondering how you felt about tagging yourself before you spoke? How that experience was for you. By the way, that was Lori. Which happens all the time in live meetings, by the way. You're like, by the way, Lori speaking.Sadie Simpson:
Sadie speaking. That was very different. That's something that we haven't done before, and it really required a level of paying attention, being aware, which is, I feel like, a good practice for not only us but everyone to take notice of.Naomi Katz:
Naomi here. Yeah, I very much agree. I initially was very like- it- I felt like my conversation- my dialogue was a little stilted because I almost was anxious about doing the tagging. By the time we're here now at the end of the episode, it feels a lot more natural, like it doesn't feel like as much of a- like it's not taking up as much space in my brain to think about it. So I really appreciate that suggestion to bring that into this, and it was a really great learning experience, in addition to, obviously, making this more accessible. So thank you for that.Sadie Simpson:
Thanks again to Lori and Chelsey from The Sign Space for joining us for this episode. That was a really fun episode. And that's the first time we have had a four person episode. So yeah.Naomi Katz:
Yeah, it was a really awesome episode, and I am definitely- like I know I personally will go back and listen to this episode again.Sadie Simpson:
Yes. If you enjoyed this episode and want to tell us about it, come let us know on Instagram. We are @satisfactionfaactorpod. And another way you can support us, support this podcast, and give us feedback is to leave a rating and review on Apple and Spotify.Naomi Katz:
That's it for us this week. Catch you next week.