Ethnic Minorities in America

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Ethnic Minorities in America In the United States the term "minority" often infers membership within an ethnic or cultural minority group. However, this term also encompasses other groups that lack equality, such as women, homosexuals and people with disabilities. By definition, the hearing majority classifies Deaf people as minorities because of their inability to hear. Yet linguists and social scientists argue that the basis of Deaf people's status as a minority group is not one of disability, but as a cultural and linguistic minority (Lane, Hoffmeister and Bahan: 1996: 335-6). In order to assert that Deaf people are a linguistic and cultural minority in America the characteristics of a minority group must first be defined. According to Schaeffer, members of a minority group share the following five characteristics: Members of a minority group experience unequal treatment and have less power over their lives than members of a dominant group. Members of a minority group share physical and cultural characteristics that distinguish them such as skin color or language. Each society has its own arbitrary standard for determining which characteristics are most important in defining dominant and minority groups. Membership in a dominant or majority group is often involuntary Minority group members have a strong sense of group solidarity. Members of a minority group generally marry others from the same group. (Schaffer, 1998: 6) Furthermore, ethnic minorities have other characteristics that set them apart from the majority such as language, national origin and cultural differences. (Schaffer, 1998: 7) Audism is defined as an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyon... ... middle of paper ... ...ick. The World According to Pat: Reflections of Residential School Days ASLRTC Video Proceedings, TJ Publishers, Silver Spring, MD. Humphrey, Jan and Alcorn, Bob (1995). So You Want To Be An Interpreter: An Introduction to Sign Language Interpreting (2nd Edition) H&H Publishers, Amarillo, TX. 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. Schaeffer, Richard T. (1998). Racial and Ethnic Groups (7th Edition) Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc., New York, NY. Shelly, Suan and Schneck, Jim (1998). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Sign Language Alpha Books, New York, NY. Wilcox, Sherman (ed) (1989). American Deaf Culture Linstok Press, Burtonsville, MD.

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