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, m...
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...eliminated. The eugenic movement, mainstreaming, and cochlear implants have yet to prove that the culture of Deaf people can be taken away from them, which is ultimately a wonderful thing.
Jankowski, Katherine A. (1997). Deaf Empowerment: Emergence, Strugge, and Rhetoric. Gallaudet University Press, Washington DC.
Lane, Harlan (1992). “Cochlear Implants are Wrong for Young Deaf Children.” Viewpoints on Deafness. Ed. Mervin D. Garretson. National Association of the Deaf, Silver Spring, MD. 89-92.
Lane, Harlan; Hoffmeister, Rob and Bahan, Ben (1996). A Journey Into the DEAF-WORLD. Dawn Sign Press, San Diego, Ca.
Padden, Carol and Humphries, Tom (1988). Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Sacks, Oliver (1990). Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf. Harper Perennial, New York, NY.