Archive for August, 2009

deaf Life: Blazing New Trails

August 19, 2009
  • A DOD-HOH adult knows a combination of Simcom, ASL, and spoken English to use whichever communication works best in a given situation in her life.
  • DOD deaf parents with deaf kids who have cochlear implants.
  • A DOD native ASL user has wondered if his deaf parents ever considered that he learn spoken English as a child for his hearing loss is not severe or profound.
  • Several DOD native ASL users express that they are uncomfortable with the “standard keeper” status, that such status elevation places an unnecessary burden of having to live up to certain expectations on them and their DOD families.
  • A seventh generation DOD calls on the lack of transparency on the political aims of a grassroots deaf organization headed by native and fluent ASL users.
  • A born profoundly deaf, non-DOD native ASL user deplores the cronyism and elitism practiced among some DOD circles and continues to communicate with deaf people whose ASL was not as fluent during the 2006 Fernandes protest at Gallaudet.
  • Several deaf people born to hearing parents and who grew up in oral programs and learned ASL at a later age report bullying by their Deaf peers either in the deaf schools they were transferred to or at Gallaudet or NTID/RID as college students.
  • Several deaf people born to hearing parents and learned to use ASL fluently report that some DOD native ASL users continue to disparage them, despite the fact they’ve embraced Deaf culture.
  • A late-deafened adult who wears hearing aids and has been learning ASL for some time reports that resources for learning ASL aren’t coming from the deaf community itself, and that college courses that teach ASL are primarily for “interpreters” but not for people like her who wish to learn it conversational style with other ASL users.
  • A deaf adult who uses cued English reports on his love of flying the blue skies and working for an airline.
  • An HOH adult is comfortable about saying his first language is spoken English and reports about medical advances to cure deafness.  He’s roundly vilified by Deaf culture and ASL users for his views.
  • A born profoundly deaf oral adult whose first language is also spoken English comments and blogs  on the deaf blogosphere betwixt ASL/Deaf culture supporters and oral cochlear implantees.
  • A deaf C.I. adult who had a mainstream education and is attending a mainstream college without interpreters resists online “demands” to learn ASL and wants to learn another language besides the French she’s fluent in.  She starts a new aggregator in her spare time for C.I.-related and other deaf blogs.
  • An American hearing parent reports on the trials and rewards of raising a deaf C.I. son and a hearing daughter in Italy.  She starts a resource website for Italian parents with deaf children.

Almost all of us readers will recognize several online b/vloggers here.  I just named a few instances to illustrate some examples and left out the names of the innocent.  There are many others as well, and it’s not my intention to leave out some individuals but my blog won’t be able to contain ’em all.  There are d/Deaf minorities we rarely hear about online, and unfortunately I have to add a caveat that this sample of d/Deaf people, along with one hearing blogger, is primarily White and mostly heterosexual, with two or three exceptions.

What do these d/Deaf people have in common?

They’re Deaf culture taboo-breakers or outright “out” as far as Deaf culture goes.  They “spoke” up and discussed their lives, warts ‘n all.

They’re also re-defining deaf life.


“Deaf Studies also need to engage rigorously with all disciplines that allow us to study how deaf people live in the world.  Thus, along with elaboration of new understandings of audism and other forms of privilege, and along with new lines of inquiry about the variety of ways to be deaf, issues with interdisciplinary study in Deaf Studies form an area for future exploration and research.”

Fernandes and Myers, “Inclusive Deaf Studies: Barriers and Pathways”, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, July 28, 2009.

“Those deaf people are ambivalent toward their languages, ASL and English, and their cultures, Deaf and American mainstream. They feel they must choose one over another. They believe that if they embrace ASL and Deaf culture, they must give up English and American mainstream culture or vice versa. Deaf people in America face a competition between two languages and two cultures. Once we understand why this happens in the Deaf community, we begin to break away from old definitions of ourselves. If we succeed, we experience a paradigm shift.”

Barbara Kannapell, “Power Structure in the Deaf Community”, from Deaf Studies III: Bridging Cultures in the 21st Century, Conference Proceedings, 1993.


Curious Eyes’ comment in ACE’s blog

August 15, 2009
clipped from

I hope this isn’t getting too long, but I want to share one story. Twenty years ago almost to the day, I attended a deaf culture workshop at Gallaudet. A famous Deaf presenter showed a pyramid of the hierarchy of Deaf culture, with ASL-using Deaf of Deaf at the top, then deaf of hearing who use ASL, then oral deaf, and then hearing. The Deaf of Deaf at the top, of course, are the most valued by the Deaf community because they are presumed to transmit Deaf cultural values from one generation to the next.

Another pyramid showed the hierarchy of hearing people, with hearing at the top, then oral deaf who speak and hear pretty well, then signing deaf who speak somewhat but don’t hear, and last, deaf who don’t sign or speak.
  blog it