Eric Henry Emma: A Deaf Man

1Growing up in-between the hearing and deaf world due to his parents’ deafness, Eric Emma developed a unique perspective of the world, which has had a profound effect on all his creative projects. He graduated from NYU in 2012 with a MFA in Dramatic Writing where he was awarded “Special Excellence” in TV writing. Eric has been a regular writer on the iOS app “Hooked 0_0.” He has also produced an animated web-series entitled “Klack and Roe,” and a live-action web series entitled “Henry and Emma.” He helped produce the feature length documentary “Between the Shades,” promoting cultural awareness in the LGBT community. He currently is an Associate Producer at And a scriptwriter writer on Pocket Gems Episode team.

Below is a Facebook post by Eric on an encounter with a deaf man.

June 21, 2016
11:43 PM

“As I stepped on to the subway car and take my seat, I prepared to disengage as every New Yorker does and to be swallowed by my own thoughts and worries, but just as I’m fading away in my seat, I’m handed a piece of paper. It is a card explaining that the man who handed it to me was deaf and he was collecting money.

It triggered a memory of my father, who is deaf, telling me about a man in Providence that did something similar. It was one of those conversations in which my dad wanted to articulate something, but just couldn’t…

After years of scrapping and not making excuses, this beggar’s existence seem to be a living insult to everything that he stood for… So instead, what was said were a lot of vague disparaging remarks about this deaf beggar in Providence. Then as the man came back, collecting his cards from the various folks in the car and hopefully some change as well, I signed to him that my parents were deaf.

A smile crossed his worn face and he quickly signed back asking where I was from. I told him RI. He told me he had been there and it was very beautiful. He then proceeded to tell me how the girl sitting across from me was very beautiful and sensing my embarrassment, he apologized before laughing and heading off the train. Leaving me no longer disengaged from the world, nor lost in my own thoughts…

I was left very much there thinking about the present moment. The experience left me with some interesting thoughts as the man was no longer just a “homeless person,” no longer someone I simply ignored because there were too many and to care for one is only opening oneself an unsolvable problem. No, this “homeless” person had taken on actual qualities and an actual connection was made. And then I thought back to my father’s own judgments again. And the only conclusion that I was left with was how sad and hard this world is and all principles and truths that we make up to make sense of it.”

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