[True or False]
"You become a member of the Deaf Community simply by losing your hearing?"
In regards to a culture test she recently took,
a student (Karen) wrote:
"My sister and her friend, who are
both hoh [hard of hearing], answered TRUE when I asked them how they'd answer
I answered, "FALSE." My reason for answering false was because it seems to me that
someone has to make an effort to be involved in the community...although
they're still "in" the community, aren't they? What is the reason?"
Let me suggest a comparison: Suppose I buy myself a fast car and sit in it.
Am I now a member of the "racing community?"
Your answer "false" was correct (in my opinion). Let's analyze it a
bit and see what we can come up with.
We need to look at
According to my American Heritage Dictionary:
"The process by which the culture of a particular society is instilled in a
A person who has recently lost his (or her) hearing has not yet gone
through the acculturation process. You become a member of the Deaf Community
when the culture of the Deaf Community has been instilled within you. The
day after a person "loses his hearing," he still has the culture of a
hearing person. He tends to be angry or depressed about the "loss." He
doesn't know ASL yet. He doesn't yet subscribe to Deaf newsletters or have
bookmarks for "vlogs." His TV
doesn't have close captioning (if it is an older model) or it is not
turned on. He is still a member of a Hearing social club or church
congregation. He doesn't have the relay number memorized or at least on
speed dial. He doesn't own (dedicated) video phone (or in the "old days" a
"TTY.") Most if not all of his friends are Hearing. Given a choice he would
take his hearing back instantly. Even though his ears are deaf--he is still
hearing in his mind.
Such a person is not (yet) a member of the Deaf
is a member of the Hearing World who happens to not be able to hear. Given enough time and
opportunity he might very well become Deaf in mind and in heart as well as
in his ears. He can change. He can learn ASL. He can form new friendships
with Deaf people. He can tie into the community. He might even marry a Deaf
lady and give birth to deaf children. Thirty years later, if offered a magic
pill that "cures" deafness--there is a strong chance he would turn it down.