Through Deaf Eyes Summary

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Through Deaf Eyes was an extremely enlightening documentary about deaf life in America. The film begins with the question, what do you think it would be like being a deaf person? They explain that, whenever you ask a hearing person this question they respond with a lot of “can’ts”. I can’t, I can’t I can’t. Deaf people, however, do not think like that, they think of all the things they can do. They presented these statements: All deaf people use Sign Language; Sign Language is universal; Deaf people live in a silent world; having a deaf child is tragic; all deaf people would like to be cured. All these statements are false and the documentary clearly breaks this all down with the history of Deaf life in America.
It was once thought deafness
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Bell (the inventor of the telephone) began teaching deaf people in Boston. Both Bells wife and mother were deaf so he was very familiar with the deaf world. He believed that we deny deaf people speech by not teaching him to speak. He offers an antagonist perspective he put forth the idea that a life without signing is a better life. He didn’t want Deaf people to use their natural language, signing. He thought signing prevented deaf people from speaking. He supported the idea of the Oral Method where children would go through speech training to learn to talk and lip read. This divided educators of Deaf students and still does today. In the documentary individuals discuss how Lip reading is a hard task. Us hearing people aren’t able to do it efficiently so how can we judge deaf people on their ability to lip read? The oral method was becoming popular and soon it was forbidden to sign. If you used sign in class you would be punished. They would make you put on white mittens with strings attached so you couldn’t use your hands. This period of time was known as the dark ages of deaf education in America.
Alexander Bell subscribed to two popular American movement that bolstered oralism. The first was Nativism, which is the idea Immigration threating American way of life. Ethnic groups set up on schools, and newspaper similar to deaf people. People began thinking of deaf people as an ethnic group and should be assimilated. The second was Eugenicist, which is the idea that planned breeding could improve the human race. He didn’t want an expansion of the Deaf community. He didn’t want them to marry or be anywhere near each

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