Eradicating The Deaf World Essay

1464 words - 6 pages

Eradicating the Deaf-World

Just like members of other minorities, such as Hispanics and African-Americans, Deaf people experience some of the same oppression and hardships. Although the attempts to "fix" members of and obliterate the DEAF-WORLD are not as highly publicized as problems with other minorities, they still exist. Throughout time, hearing people have been trying to destroy the DEAF-WORLD with the eugenics movement, the mainstreaming of Deaf children into public hearing schools, and cochlear implants.

Overall, the eugenics movement was meant to discourage Deaf people from socializing, intermarrying, and reproducing with each other. But these goals are very much unachievable. When Deaf children are growing up in a residential school, they have no choice but to socialize with other Deaf children. Since they all pretty much use the same language, socialization is not a problem for them. Because these children grow up with others who use their language, they tend to remain close to their friends and often intermarry. Many people, including A. G. Bell, were opposed to Deaf marrying other Deaf. Bell said that sign language "causes the intermarriage of deaf-mutes and the propagation of their physical defect" (Lane, 1996:382). Bell also claimed that society was condoning the spread of "a defective race of human beings" by allowing Deaf people to socialize with each other (Jankowski, 1997:53). Since others too saw deafness as a physical defect, they agreed with Bell and started adopting oral schools for the Deaf where signed language is prohibited. If oral schools ended up being the only schools for Deaf, then their signed languages would have diminished along with a part of their heritage and culture. A long time ago, many laws were passed that discouraged Deaf from marrying and reproducing (Lane, 1996:380). Even though the percentage of Deaf children born to Deaf families is far less than that of Deaf children born to hearing parents, the fact remains that people believed that Deaf marriages produced Deaf children. So the fact that laws were passed to sterilize Deaf people shows again the attempts to do away with Deaf people and the DEAF-WORLD. Even as recently as 1992, researchers at Boston University claimed to find the gene responsible for a common type of inherited deafness. The director essentially stated that these findings would lead to genetic engineering, which in essence, would eradicate many Deaf people. These researchers want to insert genetic material to prevent hereditary hearing impairment (Lane, 1996:385). Really, they want to stop deafness before it starts. The eugenics movement takes on many forms, but they are all aimed at destroying the DEAF-WORLD.

Mainstreaming Deaf children into hearing public schools, with or without interpreters, has the potential to abolish the DEAF-WORLD. A Deaf child's natural language is American Sign Language. Therefore, they should be exposed to and taught as much ASL in school as...

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