Every human being is born to develop their five senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Not all humans develop these five senses in their life. One of the senses that commonly does not develop or is at loss when growing up is hearing. Those people that are hard of hearing or have a loss of hearing are classified as deaf. There are many deaf people in the world, it can range from 5 million to 40 million people. The population of people who are deaf is so large, they even have their own Deaf culture or community. The Deaf culture is best defined as a social group of people who consider deafness to be a difference in human experience. Most people believe it’s a disability, but it’s not. It is assumed that if you are deaf you are automatically included into the Deaf community, or if you are hearing you are automatically excluded from this group. Both of these statements are extremely false. “It is not the extent of hearing loss that defines a member of the Deaf Community but the individual's own sense of identity and resultant actions” ( Mindess, 2006, p.83). There is so much to learn about the Deaf culture; from the diversity in the group, to the meaning of the word “deaf”, their behaviors within the community, and of course recognizing the accomplishments they have made in their community. Methodology
There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to research into the Deaf culture. The first reason is, I took American Sign Language (ASL) as a language during my four years of high school. This class was not just to learn the language, but it was also to learn about the culture too. Also I had a deaf teacher who taught this course, so I was learning how to communicate better with people who are deaf. The class really amazed me, and wanted me to explore more about it. Another reason why I chose this topic is because my mother is a speech therapist. She helps mostly deaf children to learn the English language. For my mother’s personal benefits she took the time to learn their language, ASL. My mother told me that most deaf people do not like speech therapists since they make them talk, but since my mom learned their language she told me they accepted her into their community. There is just so much to learn about with the the Deaf culture. The way I started to research the Deaf culture was going to Google Search and typing in “Deaf culture”. There were many websites to go to, but the best one was surprisingly Wikipedia, which I used as a secondary source. On wikipedia it had a reference page of authors and sources, so this really helped me go into more research. I took the references the page gave me and did a search on that where I got more information of deaf studies and their culture. I then got some scholarly books about the Deaf culture, like “Reading Between the Signs” by Anna Mindess and “Understanding Deaf Culture” by Paddy Ladd, just to name a few. My research then turns into researching more detailed things through the culture, like the behavior in the Deaf culture or the diversity in the deaf culture. Also I made an observation attending a Deaf culture event when I was home for Thanksgiving Break. This was a very different experience for me to see. I went to a Starbucks, because every other Friday they hold a Deaf event there. When I attended the event it was very overwhelming to me. You would think it would be silent with no
talking going on, but it was loud. People had their car radios blasting with music, not so they can hear it but so they can feel it. They would sit on their cars to feel the vibration and the beat. I thought that was really cool and was really an “aha” moment for me. I then conclude everything with my thoughts and opinions about the Deaf culture, and how I view it. Diversity in Deaf Culture The Deaf culture is diverse in many ways. According to researcher Anna Mindess, “there is not just one homogenous Deaf culture” (Mindess, 2006, p.79). In fact the Deaf culture reaches out...
References: Baker-Shenk, C. (1978). American Sign Language: A Look at Its History, Structure and Community. Turnhout: T. J. Publishers. Deaf Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2008, from http://www.start-american-signlanguage.com/deaf-culture.html. Deaf culture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaf_culture. Holcomb, T., Langholtz, D., Mindess, A., & Moyers, P. (2006). Reading Between the Signs: Intercultural Communication for Sign Language Interpreters 2nd Edition. London: Intercultural Press. Inside Deaf Culture: A resource for the deaf-friendly community. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2008, from http://insidedeafculture.com. Ladd, P. (2003). Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. Clevedon-Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters Limited. Welcome to DeafPeople.com. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2008, from http:// www.deafpeople.com/index.html.
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