The Silencing of the Deaf

Z Medium. Wygląda na to, że teksty stamtąd będą się u mnie pojawiały regularnie, bo ciekawe są.

Parenting is full of big decisions. But in the first year or so of Ellie’s life, when other parents are focused on helping their kids to walk and talk, Christine and Derek had to think about an issue that many parents never even contemplate: They had to decide which culture their daughter should be a part of. Ellie could join their world, the hearing world, if she received cochlear implants. Yet implants don’t work perfectly. Everyday conversation can remain a challenge, for instance, especially when there’s a lot of background noise. What’s more, implants might cut Ellie off from a community that, some would argue, is her birthright: the Deaf world, where lack of hearing is an identity to be celebrated, not a disability to be cured. As Derek puts it: “How do you explain that she was fine the way she was born when the first thing we did was change her?”

In fact, the Reids’ decision is bigger than that, bigger perhaps than they feel comfortable acknowledging. Very few hearing people are aware of the vibrancy and depth of Deaf culture. It’s a world with its own etiquette and norms. It has languages—the many different forms of sign—as rich and nuanced as any spoken tongue. Like any culture, it has its own interpretation of history. There are Deaf theater companies and Deaf film festivals and Deaf comedy shows. And these are not facsimiles of hearing-world versions, with speech replaced by sign. The shared experience of deafness, and the physical nature of sign, make Deaf arts distinct in a way that most hearing people cannot appreciate.

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