American Deaf Culture Essay

713 words - 3 pages

American deaf culture is a vibrant, living culture that is very sadly overlooked much of the time. It is very common for people to take the 'pathological approach' to deaf people, which is an approach that views deafness as a problem that must be cured and believes that deaf people should do what they can to fit in with the regular hearing society. However, most deaf people strongly disagree with this approach because they see themselves and their society as a culture. The deaf people in this culture do not view their deafness as a problem and many would refuse a cure if it was offered. Deaf people have their own literature, jokes, stories, language, greetings and really anything that any other culture has.
Greetings and gestures in American deaf culture revolve around visual and sensory input. A large wave would be the equivalent of saying hi and generally indicates a desire to talk. In situations where a one needs to get the attention of a deaf person, a gentle tap on the shoulder is considered polite, while moving ones hand in front of a deaf person's face in order to get their attention would be considered very rude. The language of the deaf, American Sign Language, employs many gestures in every day speaking. For example, rather than saying “that” or “this” one would simply gesture or point to whatever they are talking about.
The general lifestyle of the deaf is characterized by many specific traits that would often go overlooked by the hearing community. One example of this is clothing; deaf people tend to wear solid, dark colors, the reasoning being that ones hands are easier to see against dark colors. Due to the importance of seeing each others hand since it is their primary form of communication, dark solid clothes are the mainstay of their wardrobes. When it comes to things such as family relationships, work ethics, religion, and general attitudes, most of these are taken much more seriously by the deaf. Deaf people are aware that life may be more difficult for them when interacting with the rest of the world and they may be discriminated against. This often causes deaf...

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