ASL – Unit 1
7 October 2018
Deaf Versus Hearing
In today’ society, we see that being Deaf is a disability, we think that being Deaf disconnects people from the rest of the world. We often think that being Deaf inhibits their lives and that it is difficult to do perform certain tasks. Hearing people tend to discriminate or pity Deaf people for being Deaf. We make assumptions and honor the people that read lips or use their voice because we associate speaking with connection. In reality, American Sign Language has more of a connection with people because sign language uses direct eye contact. If you were to watch two Deaf people signing, you would notice that they are not looking at people’s hands, but they are looking at their face. Deaf people use facial expressions to convey how they feel. Facial expressions are equivalent to a hearing persons tone in their voice.
Why is the “D” in Deaf capitalized? Deaf with a capital “D”, values the Deaf Community and embraces the cultural norms. It is important to recognize the Deaf Community as a unique group of people. We should acknowledge them the same as any other culture. For most people the words, “deaf” and “hard of hearing” are not negative words in the Deaf community. Instead, the term “hearing impaired” can be taken as very impolite and rude. This term, “hearing impaired”, focuses on the negative and implies that something is not as it should be and ought to be fixed.
Unlike hearing people, Deaf people are very blunt. Hearing people tend to tone down their negative comments, but Deaf people will be very direct. For example, a Deaf person might comment on a person’s change in weight or the way a person looks. While a hearing person probably would not comment on these things a Deaf person would. In fact, Deaf people find it inconsiderate when someone does not comment or question on these things.
Overall, the Deaf culture is a very unique community and includes deep communication with people. Deaf people have an advantage over hearing people because they get to experience the world in a whole new way. They also are some of the only people who could probably tell how a person is truly feeling since, American Sign Language involves mostly eye contact.