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Informal Comparison/Contrast of Deaf culture to deaf culture

Posted Oct 13 2009 12:00am
by kim

OK– Again I’m referring back to DP’s blog on the Red Pill, and I hate to keep piggy-backing off her, but several good discussions are coming out of this.  Looking down toward the second to the last comment, Gamas posted a series of common Deaf cultural traits, which I will relate to ‘deaf’ cultural traits.

I will list them.

  • Attention getting behavior . . . when deaf people try to get attention of other people in a room when lights fails . . . the resort to floor or table pounding.
  • One more thing, hugging . . .even among people one never meets. Not all deaf people do that, but it is pretty common. . .

Gamas, sorry for cutting out so much of what you wrote, but it was a long paragraph.  In earlier comments you mentioned

  • gathering in a kitchen as Deaf behavior

I mentioned that deaf people also tend to gather in well-lit areas where they can see each other face to face.  A kitchen table is perfect for that.

  • Deaf people tend to  explain things, . . . and . . .they ask personal questions that is none of their business….

You also mention

  • Deaf social clubs.

It’s interesting because the late-deafened share most of these same Deaf behaviors.

  • The flickering lights,
  • Stomping of feet, and pounding of tables
  • Hugs.   We hug everyone.
  • Gathering in well-lit spaces.  One additional requirement for a deaf gathering is ‘quiet’ space away from dish clatter, cooking pots and loud hearing people or music.

Late-deafened people do not tend to keep everyone informed or ask personal questions.  But it’s funny you mentioned this because at one convention when I was at a party, I disappeared for awhile.  I went upstairs to my room to go to the bathroom.  I didn’t want to announce this to everyone, so instead told them I was going upstairs with no explanation.  Later, I found out some people thought it was very RUDE.  They felt they deserved an explanation of why I left like that and gave me hell over it.  These were late-deafened, oral people.  I was taken aback.  I now announce when I’m leaving a room of deaf people and explain why.  In detail.

So I’m going to add–

  • Informing people of the personal details when you leave a room or party, even for a few minutes– which is a gray area depending on who you’re dealing with, but to be safe I guess you should let others know or they could give you hell.
  • d-deaf clubs.  I’m a member of three– HLAA, SWC, and ALDA.  Like you with DVTV we discuss stuff on-line endlessly, and it’s not all related to hearing loss.  We have annual conventions, seasonal picnics, events and “flings”  We’re very social.

I will add a few more oral deaf/HH/late-deaf behaviors. . .

  • Trying out other peoples’ equipment.  It’s common to pass around new gadgets and equipment for others to try.  I have sat in a group and even passed around hearing aids to compare sound quality.
  • Inclusion is a biggie.  If you are at a table of HH/deaf/oral deaf, everthing is repeated, signed and written for all so everyone feels included in the conversations.  No one is ignored or told, “never mind”  This means that signing between two people is rude if a third or fourth non-signer is present.  Among the late-deafened you must stop and include them.  It’s IMPORTANT.  Likewise a lone Deaf signer amongst non-signers will be kept informed of the conversation at hand through writing and clumsy signing as much as possible.
  • Access.   Our clubs were built on the concept of accepting personal hearing choices and accommodating all to the best of our abilities. Rooms are FM looped, CART is ever present and interpreters provided by request for all official events.  The use of simcom is common.  Attempts to sign is encouraged.  Attempts to speak (if you speak with a Deaf accent) or clumsy attempts at signing are never, ever ridiculed.  We also make sure to provide access to those with other disabilities.
  • Support.  It’s the foundation of all HH/deaf/oral-deaf clubs and goes along with inclusion and access.  Hierarchy is based on who has given the most time and effort toward advocacy and support.  Chapter leaders, State Association leaders, d/Deaf educators, and those who fight for our rights are our heroes.

When Deaf people disregard these last three rules of deaf cultural behavior, they seem just as elitist and oppressive as hearing people who criticize when we can’t hear and ignore requests for access.  These are big no-nos.  :-)

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