Deaf South Asian Americans: Karthik’s Story

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 1.27.59 PMKarthik Sethuraman was born in Madras, and moved to Oklahoma City at the age of 20. He has also lived in Las Cruces, NM and most recently, Los Angeles, CA. Currently Karthik works as an IT Specialist in Washington, DC. He grew up communicating in Tamil and English with family and friends in India. He learned American Sign Language after moving to Oklahoma City, when a pastor used to drive him to church to meet other deaf folks in the community. He has incredible stories, for better or for worse, from his experiences in India and as a new immigrant in the US.

This is another video in a series of stories I’m collecting, documenting the experiences of the Deaf South Asian American community in Washington, DC. These stories are a part of the permanent collection with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). While these experiences do not represent the entire community, they certainly offer some insight. We chatted last November, at Gallaudet University’s Linguistics Department.

Karthik analyzes his own sense of identity and culture, in the context of the Gallaudet Deaf community, in this video. He examined his experiences prioritizing his Tamil identity, “immigrant” identity and Deaf identity, and where this falls on the intersection of various communities in this country.

Check out Karthik’s story:

And more on Karthik’s personality:

Name: Karthik Sethuraman

Where are you from? : Los Angeles, CA by way of Southwest US and Madras, India

Madras born and bred. Came to the states at 20 yrs old and have been here since. My foot is nailed to this ground ;)

What do you do?

Following our glorious desi tradition of trying to mint lots of money quickly, safely, and most of all lazily. (IT Specialist)

Why do you feel these interviews should be included in SAADA’s permanent collection?: I am desi too yo!

**Special thanks to: Wanette Reynolds, Frank Griffin, Stephanie Durand, and Amber Marchut for their help with this project!