Is Deafness a Disability or a Way of Living? Essays

Is Deafness a Disability or a Way of Living? Essays

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Two centuries ago, the Deaf community arose in American society as a linguistic minority. Members of this community share a particular human condition, hearing impairment. However, the use of American Sign Language, as their main means of communicating, and attendance to a residential school for people with deafness also determine their entry to this micro-culture. Despite the fact that Deaf activists argue that their community is essentially an ethnic group, Deaf culture is certainly different from any other cultures in the United States. Deaf-Americans cannot trace their ancestry back to a specific country, nor do Deaf neighborhoods exist predominantly throughout the nation. Additionally, more than ninety percent of deaf persons are born from hearing parents (Singleton and Tittle 222). Consequently, they often feel isolated from their families, as they do not even share the same language. Non-hearing children born into hearing families are more likely to attend a regular public school with typical peers, causing them to have little contact with other members from the Deaf community. Therefore, this community embraces a diverse group of individuals, who are surprisingly different from the rest of the members of their own families. This situation causes a cross-cultural conflict, which others believe needs fixing. Nevertheless, society should not perceive the Deaf community as a disability group but as a discrete linguistic minority, rich in history, values, and traditions.
Deaf people often occupy an uneasy position in society. Since most children with hearing impairments have hearing parents, their family members frequently oppress them by taking over the decision-making processes regarding their well-being (Andrews 27). For ex...


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...4-153. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Senghas, Richard and Leila Monaghan. “Signs of Their Times: Deaf Communities and the Culture of Language.” Annual Review of Anthropology. 31.1 (2002): 69-90. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Singleton, Jenny and Matthew Tittle. “Deaf Parents and Their Hearing Children.” Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 5.3 (2000): 221-234. PsycINFO. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Skelton, Tracey and Gill Valentine. “‘It Feels like Being Is Normal’: An Exploration into the Complexities of Defining D/deafness and Young D/deaf People’s Identities.” Canadian Geographer. 47.4 (2003): 451-465. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Tucker, Bonnie. “Deaf Culture, Cochlear Implants, and Elective Disability.” Hastings Center Report. 28.4 (1998): 1-12. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.

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