The Significance Of Deafness And Sign Culture In The Deaf Community

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In the 1960’s and 70’s, the Deaf community underwent a dramatic change involving the recognition and acceptance of deafness and its associated culture by the hearing world. Before this period, deafness was largely seen by the hearing world as a disability and nothing more. Those who were not raised or involved in the Deaf community believed that deafness was a disability that needed to be overcome rather than embraced. Along with this, “the sign language” was not recognized as a real language, but just gestures that corresponded with English words (Padden & Humphries, 2005). However, the movement to recognize “American Sign Language” as a real language prompted many hearing people and deaf people, alike, to reevaluate the meaning of Deaf culture. Nowadays, “Deaf culture” is a term widely used and accepted by both Deaf and hearing communities. It refers not just to those who cannot hear, but also to those who share a community, experiences, and history along with them (Padden & Humphries, 2005). Just like hearing culture, Deaf culture has evolved to meet the needs of its members. Some qualities of Deaf culture are results of the use of sign language within the community and the deafness of many of its members, but some qualities are common to everyone as human beings, and are shared between…show more content…
It is very common for deaf children to be forced to use English and to go to hearing schools in an attempt to “fix” them (Padden & Humphries, 2005). However, when they grow up and have the opportunity to join the Deaf community and use sign language, they feel as if they had been oppressed for their entire childhoods in an attempt to be “fixed”, rather than to be accepted the way they are and accommodated due to their need for a different language and community. This is something that many Deaf people can relate to, but most hearing people never

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