Deaf Culture Essay

1559 words - 6 pages

Deaf Culture

I may not be considered part of the hearing culture due to my severe to profound hearing loss, but some people might be surprised to hear that I am not considered a part of the Deaf culture. A majority of the Deaf culture is very critical of those who assimilate with hearing people and accept hearing culture as their majority culture. I believe that every hearing impaired and deaf person is an individual and needs to do what is best for them instead of being worried about following the rules of the Deaf culture.

The members of Deaf culture have many different levels of hearing that range from profoundly deaf to slightly hard of hearing (Halpern). However, none of the members of the Deaf culture consider themselves hearing-impaired. Deaf culture has its own jokes, language and theatre. People who can suddenly hear find that they are the one with the handicap when they walk into the Deaf culture. The Deaf community takes pride in their identity and does not have any desire to become part of the hearing culture. This community also displays its pride by capitalizing their culture with a capital D (Halpern). "Thou shalt honor thy mother and father, diverse Deaf role models and hearing allies" (Weinstock), is one of the Ten Commandments of the culturally Deaf . This gives an idea of how Deaf culture considers hearing people as allies and not necessary as a part of their culture.

The Deaf community's all or nothing philosophy can be shown in the Deaf culture's many jokes and narratives. There are the Ten Commandments of the culturally Deaf which state some rules and beliefs that the Deaf culture hold. Pride is shown in this statement, "I am a proud Deaf Being who brought you out of pure oralism, out of oppression" (Weinstock). "Thou shalt not kill the spirit of the Deaf Community and Culture," (Weinstock) is another commandment that the Deaf culture follows with passion. The Deaf community is a community where they can feel like they actually belong and feel accepted.

Deaf culture tends to be critical of deaf people who embrace hearing culture. They consider these people traitors. One of the reasons why the Deaf community looks down at someone who rejects their Deaf identity is because they feel that the person is leaving behind a rich culture, not a disability (Halpern). Deaf culture has a sign for hearing that is done in front of the mouth. When they want to make an insult to deaf or hearing impaired people whom accept their own majority culture as the hearing culture they make the same motion for hearing in front of the forehead instead of the mouth. This is supposed to mean who ever they are talking about is "hearing in the head" (Halpern). This sign is meant to be an insult to those people who associate with hearing culture.

It is easy to see why Deaf culture is so critical of those who assimilate with hearing culture because the Deaf have had a history of struggle and discrimination. Hearing culture has been...

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