Is Deafness a Disability or a Way of Living?

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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 …show more content…

Some deaf people also believe that their condition is both natural and cultural and in no sense medical. Therefore, implants only constitute acts of genocide, endangering the continuation of the Deaf community (Edwards). Deaf people view those who agree to the surgery and get the implants as artificial deaf persons, as opposed to those who choose to be original deaf persons (893). Even though hearing persons try to cure those who are hard of hearing, most deaf individuals consider that they do not need their help, as they do not have any disability, and simply have a different language and culture than the rest of their community. The Deaf community contains the basic characteristics of any particular ethnic group, despite the attempts from hearing people to destroy their culture through medical interventions. This community contains members who share a feeling of community. They value recognition by others and self-recognition (Lane). They feel strongly identified in their group, as they create a family environment, which provides support for each of its members. Moreover, the Deaf community has a set of norms for behavior. In decision-making processes, they try to agree on the course of action to take through consensus and not just by individual initiatives. Allegiance to their culture is also another distinct value that characterizes the members of this community. People with hearing impairments have the “highest rate of endogamous marriages of any

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