Deaf Pride and Hearing attempts at disabling the Deaf
In a message dated 8/25/2006 12:43:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
... [My question is regarding] "core" members that I have come to know
dismissing/ resisting my efforts to learn more about the culture so that
I CAN fully respect the differences. I have read several books regarding
Deaf culture that have somewhat prepared me - I know that Deaf
population views deafness not as disability, etc and I subscribe to that
as well . we all have our own challenges in life - i.e. I am an anxious
person and have always had to deal with that on some level - Some people
have other physical issues - Some people had trauma - etc., etc. Perhaps
then I should not view Deafness as a "challenge" ?? Would that in and of
itself be offensive to the Deaf community do u think? But is being Deaf
embedded in a Hearing world not a challenge on some level?
We Deaf people respond to our status in a variety of ways. Some of us
see it as a challenge. Some are bitter. Some are fatalistic. Some see
everyone in the world as having a disability and this happens to be
ours. Some see it as a blessing or an advantage.
For most of us, being deaf in a hearing world is indeed a challenge.
If, however, you are using the word "challenge" as a euphemism (sugar
coated version) for "disability" then you will find that some Deaf
people will still take offense.
Why talk about it at all?
Let's consider a different but in some ways similar situation:
Suppose a younger man is dating an older woman. It is a sure bet she
doesn't want to talk about her age. There are a thousand other things to
talk about that have nothing to do with how old she is. If the younger
man is interested in continuing the relationship he would be well
advised to focus on topics and activities that are mutually enjoyable
while shunning any urge to discuss age-related issues.
It is the same for all individuals who interact with members of an
oppressed or minority group. You can look at what that group is lacking,
or you can simply look for mutually beneficial projects and
Of course we Deaf realize we are different from Hearing people. But we
don't like to talk about it or even acknowledge it. Why? Who would want
to be thought of as a walking "broken ear?"
So we renounce the label of disability and shun patronizing attempts to
categorize us as having a "challenge." Not because we don't have a
challenge, (we do), but rather because it is psychologically much more
comfortable to avoid thinking about it and focus on other things. We go
about our lives engaged in the process of "living" and are then
confronted by certain Hearing people feel the inexplicable, irrational
need to "help" us come to terms with and/or "realize" or "admit" that we
have a "problem."
Then those same Hearies feel frustrated when rather than saying "thank
you for pointing that out," we Deaf say "go away" and let us get back to
our signed conversations.
So we put on tee-shirts proclaiming Deaf Pride--hoping to get the
message across that we know who we are, and what we are, and that after
looking in the mirror we have decided that we are okay.
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