We’re sorry. Netflix is not for you.

The internet, social media, and other developments in technology have become excellent tools for social justice advocates to access and disseminate information, but they can just as often serve as sources of oppression.  This is especially true of video media, which is rarely captioned on the internet.  Deaf/HoH individuals were recently hit hard when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Netflix, and by implication many other online content providers, are not “places of accommodation,” and they are therefore not required to provide captioning.

A hard of hearing boy with a hearing aid watches TV with the help of the RNID loop system. From the Solutions Catalogue 2008.

As Lydia Callis points out in her article “Stop Maxing Excuses and Start Captioning Your Videos,” Deaf/HoH people are not the only ones for whom closed captioning is critical to the accessibility of video information:

“Closed captioning is helpful for those with autism and intellectual developmental disorders, making it easier to follow along with the video. Additionally, many closed captioning users are non-native speakers who utilize the text to help learn the spoken language.”

Click here to read the full article, where Callis discusses the history of captioning/media accessibility legislation in the United States before she makes a compelling argument for content providers to captioning all of their video content, even if it is not legally required of them.

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