The Deaf Culture

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1. Introduction
According to Singer (1998: 6) culture is made of “verbal and non-verbal language, attitudes, values, belief and disbelief systems and behaviors” which are “accepted and expected by an identity group”. While the Hearing always belonged to a culture that was accepted and deemed relevant by the majority, the Deaf did not have that. Within a predominately hearing culture the d/Deaf were viewed as disabled who were unable to perform well in society. This opinion is also reflected in the terms used by the h/Hearing to describe d/Deaf people, i.e. deaf mute or deaf and dumb. Especially the latter one, deaf and dumb, echoes the views h/Hearing people had/have on the intelligence of d/Deaf. As, Siple (2000: 146) points out, these “labels
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Additionally, the culture/s of Hearing people did not face many problems in their development as their verbal language was considered the only method for communication. The Deaf, however, faced many difficulties while establishing a culture and identity for themselves. Being deaf was/is still seen by many people as a “deficit that requires treatment or management strategies – a perception of deafness referred to as the pathological or infirmity model” (Foss 2014: 428). This perception “encourages assimilation into the hearing world, assisted by hearing aids or cochlear implants” (Foss 2014: 428). Therefore, this chapter will focus on the history of oppression of the Deaf in the United States of America, as well as on the issue of the…show more content…
Dahm (1998: 524) argues that being deaf causes a person to loose living quality, to be excluded from society and a social everyday life, as well as, in the case of deafened adults, possible depression. Naturally one might argue that Dahm’s article was published nearly 20 years ago and that today’s stance toward deafness has changed. However, the Fact Sheet published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2010 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) states that “this remarkable technology [the CI] enables deaf and severely hard-of-hearing individuals to enjoy an enhanced quality of life by providing the ability to listen and participate in conversations as they typically occur throughout our society”. Demonstrating once more that the stance has changed little. Nevertheless, the points brought forth by Dahm and the NIH stand in stark contrast to the arguments of the Deaf community, who campaign for the usage of the term Deaf Gain, as well as for the Hearing to see that being deaf is not the end of the world but the beginning of a new one. Therefore, the next chapter will concern itself with the concept of Deaf

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