Deaf Americans: Community and Culture

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An average of 90% of all babies born deaf or with some type of hearing loss are born to hearing parents. Deafness can be caused by a variety of things both genetic and environmental. Upon learning their child is deaf, most hearing families try to find ways to fix what they feel is a defect. However, deaf families rejoice in their child's deafness because now they have another person to strengthen the deaf community and carry on the American Deaf culture.
There are approximately 35 million people in the United States who are considered deaf or hard of hearing (Culture and Empowerment in the Deaf Community). The majority of these deaf people struggle in the hearing world until they can find a connection to their deafness. They constantly
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In hearing, it shows support for the deaf without the desire to “help” the deaf, but rather to empower them to do things for and by themselves.
The majority of deaf people do not see themselves as disabled, as hearing people are likely to. Rather, deaf people embrace their deafness as an integral part of who they are. The increasing use of hearing aids and cochlear implants are a concern to the deaf because it continually focuses on seeing deafness as a negative.
It should be noted not all deaf agree with the values of the Deaf culture. These deaf are often referred to as “Heafies”. Heafies is a derogatory name given to a deaf person who sees deaf people as inferior to hearing people and aligns himself with hearing values rather than the deaf values. These deaf individuals are not part of the community or culture and often choose to communicate through various techniques using English word order or oral communication.
The use of ASL is extremely important to the deaf community and to Deaf culture. Although fluency is always desired, the willingness to learn and communicate in ASL goes a long way in being accepted. A skilled signer who does not have the right attitude will be seen in a less appealing light than a struggling signer with a true heart for the deaf.
Another interesting difference in the Deaf culture is the collectivist ideology. Deaf people, as a whole, are
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