Essay about The Culture And Pride Found Surrounding The Deaf Community

1614 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 7 Pages
The culture and pride found surrounding the Deaf community is a concept that remains foreign to English speakers. There are generalizations and misconceptions about those who identify as deaf of hard of hearing. Being truly proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) is not purely based on signing skills. Those who are considered fluent signers are those who understand the underlying concepts and conversational innuendos, such as idioms.
American Sign Language is a visual-gestural language currently being used by approximately 250,000-500,000 Americans of all ages (Baker-Shenk 47). The language was developed from French Sign Language through the collaboration of Laurent Clerc and Thomas Gallaudet in 1817 (Shaw 158). Before this time, there was no standard signed language. Together, Clerc and Gallaudet opened a school that is now known as the American School for the Deaf. This was a huge milestone in Deaf history and deaf students flocked from all over to attend.
The term “deaf” describes an individual’s audiological ability to hear. However, by capitalizing the initial letter, the concept’s meaning transforms. The upper case D is significant because it serves as a firm statement that the deaf share a culture rather than merely a medical pathology. Not all persons who are deaf consider themselves to be Deaf. It is a personal decision. At the heart of the idea that deafness is cultural, in fact, is the deaf community’s proprietary pride in ASL (Dolnick 37).
“That ASL is a…

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