Deaf and deaf Discussion

Ben and Dennis have an interesting discussion going about Deaf and deaf, and not deaf enough. I know that I’m not a part of the Deaf culture, and that’s OK. I just try to get along with everyone deaf, hard-of-hearing or Deaf. I respect everyone’s communication and culture preferences. When I like a person as a friend, it’s because of her personality — who she is, not what she was born with or how she communicates.
It bothers me when people judge based on someone’s choices or birthright. I’ve met people who do both ASL and speak with their voices. They’re part of the Deaf culture, and they’ve shared stories where their Deaf friends got mad because they spoke or wore hearing aids. It’s not fair to the person because she made the choice of doing both.
I imagine this post might get me in trouble, but I’ve met many people over the years through pen pals, the Internet and in person — I enjoyed getting to know them. If someone has a problem with me because I speak and don’t know ASL, then that is what it is. I would hope people would get to know me and not punish me for my choices.


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  1. If you get in trouble you can come sit in the corner with me, I am very familiar with it.

    • Janis on June 12, 2007 at 12:47 pm
    • Reply

    Sometimes it isn’t realyl a choice, either — lots of mainstreamed oral kids grew up into non-Deaf adults who hadn’t ever met another deaf person much less knew about Deaf culture. They didn’t really choose to be part of the hearing world.
    I do confess though that I don’t really understand why anyone who had a good reason to learn ASL wouldn’t. But I know that I’m a hobby language-learner, and not everyone has that for their hobby.

    • Meryl on June 12, 2007 at 12:59 pm
    • Reply

    I don’t want to learn ASL because I am afraid I’ll become dependent on it causing my speech quality to go down as well as my lipreading quality. I’ve seen it happen.
    I got exposed to the Deaf culture in my first job out of college. Our organization had a large Deaf group and I attended some of the metings and events. Met some great people, too. Still no desire to immerse myself deeply into the culture and learn ASL.
    OK, I’ll go sit in the corner.

  2. I guess I have to sit in the corner, too.

    • Janis on June 12, 2007 at 2:27 pm
    • Reply

    I think that the loss of speech clarity would have more ot do with whether or not you choose to continue working in your corrent job and associating with speaking friends and family. For example, BEG is currently learning ASL, and her job and family (and most friends) are speaking. I don’t think she (or I) foresee her speech tailing off any time soon.
    Or mine, for that matter. It’s just a second language, after all. My English didn’t suffer as a result of my dedicating so much of my life to Welsh.
    If my speech begins to degrade as a result of my learning ASL, I’ll warn you. 🙂

  3. I see what you mean. I use a hearing aid, and I speak when I interact with the hearing world. At the same time, my workplace is full of deaf and hearing colleagues. I use ASL at work. My mother used to say that my speech goes down whenever I come back from a week long deaf camp. I didn’t use my speech all week long, but after a day or two, it came back. I was wondering if it would happen to me at this current workplace. I checked this with my mom and my husband. They said it didn’t go down. Why? I speak with my husband using voice or ASL on and off, depending upon our moods and situations. I go to a hearing church and other functions, where I interact with the hearing world, using speech.
    I certainly don’t want you to sit in your corner, but I’ll say this: learning ASL is a great mind booster. Learning a new language doesn’t hurt at all. It will not hurt your speech or listening skills. I know you’ve seen this happen before, and I’ve seen it, too. I understand your concern. You’ve worked so hard to keep your speech and listening skills. With me, the difference is practicing both languages at different times of the day. I hope you’ll give learning ASL some serious consideration. Open your horizons and your mind. 🙂

  4. I remember going to Model Secondary School for the Deaf for two months and not coming home during that time, not even for a visit. For thanksgiving, I came home to my grandparents’ (who are hearing) and it hit me that i couldn’t understand them anymore and I couldn’t talk.
    It was like I forgot how to speak.
    I can understand that fear, indeed. it’s not cute. But I believe speaking is like a motor skill, it comes back. it always will.
    like riding a bicycle.
    der sankt

  5. I didn’t use my speech all week long, but after a day or two, it came back

  6. Im in an inbetween place at the moment, and its not nice to tell the truth!
    I have speech, I have a little (very little) hearing I lipread avidly I wear Bilateral hearing aids and im learning ISL (Irish Sign Language) and like that I havent a clue where i stand, It feels wierd, I call myself deaf (small d) or severely deaf depending on the situation, the medical proff call me severely deaf, and yet, people look at me when I speak and talk back so clearly.
    Sometimes it upsets me that I havent found a place.
    I have been brought up and have mostely hearing friends, I work in a hearing environment, and I have only 1 totally Deaf friend, to whom I sign with.
    I sign with my fiance when we feel like, but I mostely converse, and yet I sometimes long to be within the deaf culture completely or within the hearing culture completely rather than dabbling between the 2!
    In college mostely its very frustrating, in my class there is my completely Deaf friend, and then there is me, and effectively Im treated as hearing, but the really bad days where I hear squat, people still treat me as Hearing, and Im not, well not completely anyway, people dont understand that there is no happy medium with my hearing, some days its as if im not deaf at all, my Lipreading is superb and my speach is clear and im effectively hearing, then the bad days my lipreading is shakey, I have no confidence in my speach and I dont want to talk with people because of the ammount of effort it takes, no 2 days are the same for my hearing and it messes me up!!
    So alls I can say is chin up, I think were in the same boat, and I dont know if there will ever a ‘label’ that will describe us, and as long as we can show love to our friends and family and get on in the world, I dont think it matters what language or beliefs you use 🙂 🙂

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