Challenges Of Deaf Americans

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A child of a deaf adult (CODA) is something that nobody really hears about unless they are learning American Sign Language or learning about Deaf Culture. A CODA is an individual that is raised by one or more deaf parents. Most CODAs are bilingual in a signed language and spoken language. These individuals are also bicultural because they identify with both the deaf and hearing communities. However, this can be a struggle because they have to negotiate between two completely different cultures for their entire lives. One culture is the Deaf culture in the home and the other is the mainstream American hearing culture (p.40). Hearing children with Deaf parents learn to internalize the Deaf way of life from their parents, despite their ability …show more content…
They have good and bad experiences but they learn to live with all of them. Some CODAs feel caught between both cultures they are living in and they do not always know which side to identify with. I had the opportunity to interview a CODA that I know, his name is Justin. He believes that he is a part of a special, yet separate than hearing and deaf. The majority of CODAs do not receive the same experience as the rest of the hearing population, but they also do not share a similar experience of being deaf. Deaf people suffer the oppression of the hearing community, who, unfortunately do not understand the beauty of the culture and the ignorance that deaf people go through daily. Justin explained, “I’ve been in several predicaments with my parents being blatantly disrespected because of their deafness.” He knows that he cannot fully empathize their situation but he does understand what oppression actually feels like. The hearing population just assume that if you are communicating with your hands, then you must be Deaf. They do not realize that sometimes children can hear them and they have to live with the negative comments people say about their Deaf …show more content…
Justin happened to learn American Sign Language and Signed English as his first language and spoken English as his second. His mother is predominately a Signed English signer, while his father is full-blown ASL. Justin describes how he picked up on both, receptively, but became an expressive Signed English signer because it was easier with his language acquisition of spoken English. Once he became an ASL student here are Western Kentucky University, he was able to get rid of some bad habits he had from using Signed English and now he signs most everything in ASL.
I learned a lot from interviewing Justin. I’ve known him for a little over a year now and I know that his parents are Deaf but we never really talked about it. I did not realize how difficult it was for CODAs because there are so many challenges they face. I think the biggest challenge is being exposed to prejudice. Being able to hear all of the negative comments from people has to take a toll on a child growing up and I imagine it is hard to keep from stepping up and saying something. But it is probably best to just let it slide because it will be a constant

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