Monthly Archives: January 2008

What Does DeafRead want to be when it grows up?

What Does DeafRead (DR) want to be when it grows up?

(I apologize that this is in English only – I did videotape myself signing ASL but it came out way to dark each time I tried (even brought in three lamps to the room- boo!)

For the past few month there have been some b/vlog entries and comments criticizing and examining how DR does business.

I think we can all agree that:
1. DR is important and precious to us
2. DR has grown huge at an amazing rate

With rapid growth often come growing pains so on the eve of their upcoming conference – it might be wise to take pause and ask “what does DeafRead want to be when it grows up?”

According to the guidelines for DR – it states, B/Vlogs should be:
1) Deaf Related Posts

The entry must pertain to the deaf community and culture. The blogger being deaf or the vlog being in ASL is not enough to qualify.

The guidelines also refer to a blog entry in Jared’s Rambling Thoughts:

We were interested in being able to easily track many reputable Deaf-related blogs that have high quality and thought-provoking content. In short, we could be able to watch in near real-time the stream of Deaf Consciousness on the Web!

Many people have been expressing their discontent with DR for not either revising their guidelines to properly reflect how it is functioning as an aggregator (virtually anything goes) or to stay true to its own original guidelines and intent by not listing b/vlogs that are not related to the Deaf community or Deaf culture.

I am hopeful that DR will take time to examine and reflect instead of react and respond.

Some folks have been equating a Deaf-centered aggregator to censorship.

I am not sure how asking DR to exercise good judgment and wisdom when publishing a listing of b/vlog sites in accordance with their guidelines is a bad thing.

I would like to propose that if DR would like to keep business as usual that they:
1. revise their guidelines to better reflect their present “anything goes” policy
2. consider creating special interest groups aggregators – i.e. a Deafhood and Natural Sign Language DR, a Technologies DR, etc

I’d also like all of us to understand that the first amendment applies to our government.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This means if folks want to publish blogs and vlogs that assert their point of view they can but it does not mean that these folks can force another publisher or service to carry their articles / publications etc. DR has the right to decline to “carry” a blog/vlog that does not fit their guidelines/mission.

DR can exercise discretion. The Washington Post had to issue an apology because Arun Gandhi, one of their guest bloggers on the subject of faith – made anti-semitic comments. While Mr. Gandhi certainly has the right to his own views, it does not give him the right to have those views be published by the Washington Post. The WP has an obligation as a reputable source not to carry offensive statements – with its very public service comes a very public duty.

Furthermore, the first amendment does not give a person or publisher the right to engage in libel or slander or bigotry.

I have seen DR list blogs / vlogs that could be considered a form of libel and bigotry. Thankfully I have only seen this happen a handful of times.

Recently, a vlogger put forth a call that those of us who would like to see more Deaf-centered and Natural Sign Language centered v/blogging, we must lead the way. He pointed out that much of the recent onslaught of CI related blogs listed on DR have largely been inciting a great deal of commotion, dissension, hostile emotions, and distracting people from focusing on exploring, examining, and understanding Deaf rights, the Deaf Community, the Deaf Culture and Natural Sign Languages. I did not see him calling for the removal of such blogs, but rather a call for folks to produce b/vlogs that focus on topics that will inspire and hopefully enlighten (in no way does this mean that the original bloggers posting about CIs intentions were not of the same – to inspire and enlighten – but is about the debating, booting, booing, pooing, hooting, etc that is going on)

It is a call for us to keep our eyes on the prize and instead of cursing the darkness – to light a candle.

So while we all may feel free to encourage DR to take some time to decide who it wants to be when it grows up and might be tempted to point fingers at others, we all also need to figure out who WE want to be when we grow up as v/bloggers.

just as when pagers first came out and folks were navigating and developing a sense of proper etiquette (not looking away in the middle live conversations to check that precious and urgent, text message every second they come in) – we are also learning how to engage in a “virtual” “online” community formation – and how do we express ourselves firmly with love – how do we remember its better to be “kind than to be right” while at the same time trying to share about a Culture, Language, and a People that some blatantly have tried to discard, devalue, diminish, deny, and disable.

Its tricky. We can do it – we will get there – just hope we can do so more peacefully and lovingly.

Are our blogs/vlogs intentionally sensationalized in order to grab that precious click?
Are our comments within blogs/vlogs designed to create arguments and debate instead of understanding and growth?

We, as others have said in numerous ways and times, are ultimately the ones responsible and accountable for our own words and actions. If we do not like how DR is growing up – its up to us to generate high quality blogs / vlogs and comments to make sure that the quality and the standard of our discourse exemplifies excellence and serves a bit as a beacon to light DR’s way.

Much peace

Patti Durr


What do my ears have to do with down there?

short vlog (2 1/2 min) about how medical professionals can become obsessed with our ears and not more urgent, life threatening issues.
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summary: in this short vlog I recall an exchange with the admitting doctor at our local hospital emergency room. A few days after I gave birth, i was spiking fevers and my ob/gyn told me to get to the emergency room ASAP if anything over 101 degrees. The admitting doctor noticing – my husband signing to me and my response in spoken English (with speech impediment) and signing – that something was different than the usual patient. He then began to quiz me on the etiology of my “hearing problem.” I dutifully answered hoping that by being polite, I might get admitted sooner etc.
questions like:
Q: what type of hearing loss is it?
A: bi-laterial sensorineural
Q: cause?
A: congenital, since birth, cause uknown
Q: how severe is it?
A: 60 – 80 dB loss (moderate to severe) mostly in the higher frequencies
Q: does it seem to be hereditary?
A: huh? um? Doctor – i just gave birth. The baby came out from down there – NOT from my ear. Do you mind shifting your focus from my ears to there so i can get admitted and taken care of?
Response – oh, yes, sure will complete the paper work and call your doctor.

My husband was quite impressed – he was like “finish, finish – blunt you” i was like “come on already – this could be serious and i know 100% for sure its not caused by my “hearing problem”

turns out i had a blood clot which can be deadly

now i have met plenty of doctors and nurses who r cool and having a Deaf patient or Deaf parents of a hearing child patient is no biggy to them. some even ask for referrals of where to get more info on Deaf Culture and sign language but many of them also exhibit this attitudinal audism – that my “abnormality” would take precident over getting accurate information to admit me and treat me for the fevers was annoying, could be a bit dehumanizing, and somewhat dangerous


patti durr

(used a new camera – isight – instead of the built in laptop camera – still way to dark once i compress and load to you tube – boo boo. i gotta find a better place to shoot (good lighting and background) so i apologize for the low quality of the video. im trying to refrain from vlogging until i can do it RIGHT but had a bit of time to compose and upload this so here it is.


short and sweet blog from me – PAH!

1. if u care about the reproductive rights of Deaf people and/or the prospect of stopping deaf babies from being created – go to
this link will give u links to learn more about the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill before parliament and a press release / position paper to sign

be AWAKE and ACT – no death of the spirit from U.S. Deaf Community please. United we stand, divided we get tossed in the diseased DNA trash can

2. lots of discussions in the blog/vlogsphere re: community and culture
tonight PBS will air a three part documentary series on the Jewish American Experience – i imagine it will show that within this group of people there is a great deal of diversity and division yet commonalities as well – it will run this Wed from 9 – 11 pm (EST) and for the next 2 following wed. will try to vlog what i learn from it later

wow – patti can KISS (keep it short and sweet) finally

3. if u clicked hoping to see some clips of the new Culturally Deaf porn site – sorry!



Finding My Home – Where Do I Fit?

Description of Deaf Community and Deaf Culture and my personal journey to Deafhood

break ends TMW so wanna get this up before my focus shifts back to school

Below are diagrams to visually represent how i see my own Deafhood journey


That is me – the X from the age of O to 19 – i never met another culturally Deaf person. My parents never tried to deny my being deaf. In fact when when the speech teacher said my mom was being negligent by not getting me hearing aids when i was young, my mother stood firm and strong (she is Italian ; ) and said “the ENT doctor told us to raise her without hearing aids so she would learn to lipread naturally and not be dependent an an external device that may break or fail her at times.” (yes, i know this is probably the only ENT doctor in the history of peoplekind to ever say such a thing).
So I lived in the hearing world without any knowledge of a Deaf culture or ASL. I had speech therapy K-12 but no other support services (pre-ADA days). I started to learn ASL from a book in the library during HS – why? just intuitively thought that is part of me even though i would not have a fellow d/Deaf person to sign with for a few years to come.

I could have ended up spending the rest of my days in this spot – not having any awareness, interest or contact with the Deaf Community, Deaf Culture, and ASL. There are many such deaf “X” out there.


Now i am the X in the middle diagram – the Deaf community, which itself is within the hearing community. Hence, it still has a blue background but now has yellow dots for the spice of being amongst people who share a common characteristic

COMMUNITY – a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

the common characteristic of the Deaf community is being deaf (to varying degrees of course) and generally includes hearing people who have ties to deaf people (family members, friends, allies, professionals in deaf-related fields that also interact with deaf people outside of their work time, etc)

When i began to associate in the Deaf Community – i made many “my bad” mistakes. One of which was – when folks asked me if i was Deaf or hearing i would always say hard of hearing as i learned this was the term to describe my physical condition and i wanted to be truthful. The response i got was not very warm. I soon realized that the question “are you Deaf or are you Hearing?” was really – which center are you closer to? which do you identify with? are you one of us? deaf-same? by responding “hard of hearing” i was placing myself in the middle and because of the word “hearing” in the title and the tendency of some hard of hearing people to exert their privilege of hearing and speaking abilities over other Deaf-mutes – i was actually being rude.

so i learned when asked “are you Deaf or hearing?” to say Deaf as i have NEVER felt hearing. My difference has always defined me. Then of course there will be more questions? from where? mainstreamed? can u use the phone? etc

so lately when asked “are you Deaf or hearing?” i sign Deaf and then add HH after it. (Padden and Humphries have a great description of the different meanings for the terms very hard of hearing and a little hard of hearing in their book voices from a culture: deaf in america – that does a fantastic job of explaining how coming from different centers really affects our perceptions and values)

in the blog world i have been very upfront with stating im hard of hearing – not to deny the importance of the Deaf Community or Deaf Culture in my life but just because via the internet – u cant really tell who you are dealing with – u cant exercise Description Interpretation and Evaluation as easily so i hope it is clear to folks that when i say hard of hearing (and i hope to shift to saying partially Deaf as i did when i was a kid soon) that i am clarifying what i am physically not who i am


So there I am the X on the edge of Deaf Culture. I am not in the center of Deaf culture as i am missing a lot of the central characteristics of Deaf culture – my ASL is intelligible but not very intelligent ; ) – my weakest area is probably the norms of behavior – sure i know some of the basic stuff but the nuances of what it means to be Deaf culturally – i can recognize and just leap for joy in my heart when i see them but they do not come to me to use naturally and have not been internalized into my Deaf DNA – perhaps some day but i do think there is much truth to Ella’s vlog on Deaf-mutes being a gravitational force within Deaf culture (see point 4). this in no way is diminishing my Deafhood. In no way is anyone excluding me to say i am not Deaf enough. this is in no way my rejecting Deaf culture

Barth asserted that probably the most important part of a culture is its boundaries. the boundaries of a community are more fluid and loose. the boundaries of a culture due to the 5 characteristics are a bit more stringent.

When my husband, who is hearing and Jewish, and I went to get married – we could not find a rabbi in Rochester who would marry us. Even a reformed rabbi who accept non-Jewish partners via outreach. We had to get a rabbi from Buffalo, NY to marry us with my priest. This is one way that Jewish people as a culture and religion establish boundaries.

Deaf culture people have shown me the boundaries – i have only experienced rudeness when i myself had accidently tripped over or stepped over a boundary unwittingly and i have met with far more kindness and care then i have rudeness or harshness.

So the Deaf culture diagram is Yellow to show the spices from the Deaf Community are expanded and offered more in-depth within Deaf culture but the background is still blue because the Deaf culture exists within the Deaf Community which exists within the hearing society. Because ASL is a prerequisite for Deaf culture membership and since all Deaf culture members live in hearing society – they are required to be bilingual and bicultural (to varying degrees of course)

yellow is often used in art to symbolize HOPE

re: Deaf world / Hearing world – folks this is a figure of speech / don’t take it literally – everyone knows there is only one world.

while it is possible for hearing people or a person with a hearing loss (no matter how mild to profound) to live completely in hearing society without any contact with the Deaf Community or Deaf Culture – it is NOT possible for Deaf people to live without any contact with hearing society – this is the nature of being a minority culture. Subsititute English speaking for hearing and ASLer for Deaf and the same is true

i hope we can explore the concept of bi/multi-culturalism more and also diglossia in further blog/vlog discussions


patti durr

NOTE: many folks have developed interesting diagrams to represent the different sociological interactions of d/Deaf people within the larger society. Please note the ones above are not an academically recognized one – just my musings.

____?______ Culture

vlogblog about a new term for Deaf culture

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Discussion of why the word ‘d/Deaf’ can be problematic and examination of other options when describing our culture.

folks have been proposing new terms for Deaf culture or re-introducing old ones.

first i wanna thank them for doing this – it takes courage to propose ideas while it takes very little effort to cast stones

i want to discuss two things:
1. the term d-e-a-f
2. having any new term follow an organic and natural conceptualization

1. the term d/Deaf is somewhat problematic

a. deaf or Deaf will forever mean to the medical community a DEFICIT, a DEFICIENCY, and an ABNORMALITY. it is a medical condition

now granted some doctors may acknowledge a cultural component also but in general for the majority of society ALL OVER THE GLOBE – deaf means can NOT hear – ‘NOT’ being the central word not ‘can’ – this is deficit model

even the ASL sign ‘ear-mouth’ meaning ‘deaf-mute’ is an can NOT indicator and not a CAN approach (deficit model). Veditz used the term “people of the eye” which i think is an additive model

i am not trying to deny that d/Deaf people can not hear. im only trying to examine that coming from a medical / ‘can’t ‘center carries a stigma and in some folk’s minds a duty to correct, fix, improve, save..

we know historically other groups were saddled with words that developed a stigma and connotation that became shackles – the N word (which originally was used to mean a black slave) – if u read slave narratives, African-Americans use this term regularly – always with the concept that this was an “owned person”

thankfully today it is rejected by most people in society. some whites still use it and some African-Americans have tried to reclaim it in a weird twisted way by using it on each other for status and power assertion or “just to be funny” but most African-Americans reject the term – hence the NAACP had a funeral ceremony for the N word. may it rest in peace

so they tried on other terms such as Black and African-American – it seems both r generally accepted today and neither has really come out the winner / preferred term. I have not taken any specific courses in Black or African-American studies and i generally see universities use either term. if anyone has any knowledge in this area it would be appreciated

The terms negro and coloreds were commonly used in our society but were rooted in a stigma of being dirty, insufficient, inferior etc. There have been many writings in the past and not so distant past trying to assert the intellectual inferiority of African-Americans

the word d/Deaf will always be used by d/Deaf people – i would never advocate for abandoning it but when talking of a culture, it might be wise to consider other option as well since the dominant culture continues use and abuse d-e-a-f as we have seen done with negro, coloreds, and the ‘n’ word

words (spoken, written or signed) have power

b. the term d-e-a-f invites confusion due to the medical view and the cultural view both claiming ownership of this word. Dr. Woodward (hearing professor at Gallaudet) tried to indicate these different views by suggesting small d to reference a physical condition only and big D to mean a cultural view only. it has become generally accepted in academic publications to use D Deaf when referring to Deaf people as a people.

Within DeafRead we see vocal folks objecting to this distinction. some are calling for the use of small d only while others are calling for the use of D only

it is the sneetches with stars upon thars and those without indeed

i think woodward’s idea was well-intended – the problem it has created is that it requires judgment on my part – if i want to write about John Doe and mention he is d-e-a-f i have to figure out do i call him deaf only or Deaf only or what????

yuck – no thanks – im cool with folks deciding their own labels and identity but i have hard time being put in the position where im supposed to figure out who is what when i go to write out the word deaf hence ive taken to using d/Deaf – which is equally awkward and artificial

also the small d and big D controversy seems divorced from the academic understanding and usage of the term – instead it has come to mean big D means – someone who is STRONGLY CULTURALLY DEAF and this to many seems to mean MUST be from a Deaf family, Deaf school and use ASL. While literature often identifies these conditions to be optimal for being carriers of the culture, it is not at stated requisite. in fact many people from deaf parents may not be raised with ASL and may not attend a Deaf school. so in this way we have sadly seen the d/D thing become a way to exclude and conquer or diminish one’s sense of belonging

so those r 2 problems with the word d-e-a-f (dominant cultures understanding of the word and stigma attached and the battle over d/D)

2. Deaf culture or ASL culture

different names have been suggested instead to avoid the above problem with the word d-e-a-f
ASLAN / Amerisilan


again i commend the folks who r introducing this dialogue

i dont think in anyway they r rejecting their Deafhood by suggesting a moving away from the word d-e-a-f re: culture. they r just examining new ways of thinking and empowerment through Deaf folks deciding on a term to represent themselves from an additive model instead of the dominant society dictating it

one thing that puzzles me though is that the terms suggested seem really artificial and awkward also

i always appreciate when a Deaf group thinks in ASL first – meaning they see what feels good on the hands and looks good to the eye first and foremost

Deaf View / Image Art (De’VIA) – the term for Deaf themed art originated in this way – via ASL first then recorded to English

the English should be secondary not primary

so i was wondering – we have:
I speak French. I am French. I love French culture.
I speak German. I am German. I love German culture.
I speak Japanese. I am Japanese. I love Japanese culture.
I speak Russian. I am Russian…

would ASL culture work? plain and simple without all the artificially added stuff ending stuff? i know others have suggested it before so its not a new idea

i was thinking about how a Deaf person would tell me they r a strong ASL user when discussing language rights – often they would sign “ASL me” that seems very organic and natural

some folks have suggested the term sign language community before – a community is very broad – right now we say deaf community and i think it is fitting because it does include non-signing deaf people

for culture – ASL culture or Sign Language culture seems to work in many ways. Now this term would NOT exclude late deafened folks, folks with CI, folks who were raised orally and learned sign late, folks who were raised more with sim-com etc. they would and could still be part of ASL culture if:
1. they used ASL,
2. they valued ASL and believed it to be equal to spoken languages,
3. they exhibit behavioral norms re: ASL people,
4. they practiced traditions / heritage associated with ASL (ABC / # stories and folklore etc) celebrated honored key Deaf figures who advocated for sign language rights and recognition, etc,
5. and cherished ASL possessions (ASL lit – poetry, storytelling, folklore, performance, Deaf themed art (De’VIA), Deaf cinema, etc)

if they prefer not to value ASL culture – that is FINE and their right – they just shouldnt try to obstruct others from enjoying it. There will always be the larger deaf community. nor should anyone in ASL culture try to coerce others to comply with their culture if they prefer not to be part of it

Deaf or ASL culture (which ever u want to call it) exists within the deaf community and the deaf community exists within the larger hearing society

the one concern i have with the term ASL culture is that i really liked the collective potential of an international sense of what it means to be a person of the eye – Deafhood etc so in using the term ASL – it is confining to countries / places that use ASL. I would not want to see ASL culture to become a dominantor or oppressor or colonizer of other native sign languages (as it already has begun to do in some places)

We could say Sign Language culture but i think the concern there is that it might mean any type of sign system and not real sign languages

what do u think?

sorry for the long post

NOTE: i videotaped myself discussing these concepts for a full vlog but my macbook pro built in camera is still a problem – looks fine while recording but when editing the lighting adjusts on its own constantly – must be a setting. Also i went on too long for the medium of vlogs and also HATE to see myself on film – really im much more creative behind the lens than in front of it ; ). so i apologize for discussing this important topic in text English only – its ironic and a bit contradictory to be blogging in ENGLISH about ASL and Deaf culture due to this tech problems

sorry this entry is not a good example of bi/bi philosophy

patti durr

ella just posted a vlog on Deaf culture and membership / aspects that she had filmed before this blog went up – definitely worth a viewing

ASL version (by Ella Mae Lentz) of an excerpt of MLK Jr's Speech before march on Selma

Death of the Spirit vs. Standing Up link here cuz embedded video is not appearing sometimes
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Short clip of Ella Mae Lentz signing an excerpt of MLK, Jrs speech before the march on Selma, Alabama with real footage of MLK, Jr giving this speech with captions.
Folks who want the audio might want to watch directly in youtube – there r some audio glitches in the tape when embedded here it seems

Martin Luther King, Jr., one of my heroes, gave an impassioned speech in 1965 before the march on Selma, Alabama. He anticipated that the peaceful demonstrators would be met with violence by the authorities. He also seemed to be anticipating his own death, which would come three years later, at the hands of violence. Still he stayed true to the cause – to stand up for that which is right, which is just, which is true.

I shared this excerpt of MLK, Jrs speech at the ASLTA conference when talking about the importance of “doing good,” taking a stand, and the power of the medium of film. When I brought up a slide with the text quote (at that time i had no video of MLK, Jr making this speech) – Ella Mae Lentz was in the audience and said – that is very powerful – it needs to be signed out in ASL. I wholeheartedly agreed but know i could never honor the quality and nobility of those words – I asked if she would be willing to do so and she replied “ill try my best.” Her best was better than could be imagined. for anyone who was at the ASLTA conference and witnessed Ella sign this excerpt – on the spot with no time to practice or deliberate – it almost looked as if she were moved by the spirit. The spirit of activism, justice, and love.

Unfortunately there was not videotape of that moment so i asked her if she would be willing to sign it again the next day and I videotaped it. Was so grateful she was willing to do so given her busy schedule.

Still makes me very emotional to watch the tape. Lost it twice but it kept resurfacing so im glad ive finally got it done and up there.

thanks to each and all of you who peacefully “stand up for that which is right …. stand up for justice… stand for that which is true.”

Let us conquer the “Death of the Spirit” and AWAKE


patti durr

What the Heck is Deaf Culture

Culture is defined as a way of life for a group of people

Literature on Deaf culture chiefly describe 5 characteristics of Deaf culture:
Language – for U.S. that is ASL
Norms of Behavior
Values / Beliefs
Traditions / Heritage
Possessions / Artifact

(community is usually defined as a group of people who share a common goal, language and space/place)

several good books that describe Deaf culture –
– Padden and Humphries – Voices From a Culture: Deaf in America and Inside Deaf Culture
– Ladd – Understanding Deaf culture: in search of Deafhood
– Lane, Hoffmeister, and Bahan – Journey into the Deaf-World
– Lane – mask of benevolence

there are several other good texts written by scholars on this subject

none of them say u must be from a Deaf family/school or have a certain dB loss

all of them say there are a specific set of characteristics that exemplify Deaf culture

to be a member of Deaf culture, one must:
a. be deaf (varying degrees welcome)
b. follow the 5 characteristics of a culture
a. language – use ASL (varying degrees of fluency exist due to parenting and educational system but not having learned it as an infant does not exclude one from Deaf culture)

b. values / beliefs – there are many but key is the belief / value that to be a person of the eye is OK, NORMAL, Good. this does not mean to choose not to be part of Deaf culture is bad or wrong. it is just an assertion that Deaf is not abnormal, an affliction, a desired trait to iradicate from the world, etc

c. norms of behavior / customs – there are many – to name a few
– strong use of eye contact
– higher comfort level with body contact
– strong use of facial expressions
– certain non-verbals unique to Deaf people – nose wrinkle to mean “oh i see or agree”, lips up and down to mean “very interesting” etc
– long good byes
– being direct

d. traditions / heritage – to me this is the weakest link for Deaf culture due to the fact that Deaf people are often
“one generation thick” its hard to transmit cultural traditions if many people are not raised in the culture. most traditions are affiliated and specific to certain Deaf schools (example – rat funerals at Gallaudet or certain Deaf jokes and folkores etc)
In Paris, France the Deaf-mute banquets probably signified the strongest tradition
heritage – is mostly general knowledge of the origin and history of ASL in the US – Clerc, Native American Sign Language, ASD, etc
many cultures develop their own traditions to help promote their heritage – Jewish people’s non-temple based holidays – Passover and Hanukah are largely about remembering the past and looking forward
African-Americans have Kwanzaa, Juneteenth
Deaf culture is developing some traditions – blue ribbon ceremonies, International Day of Sign Languages, commemoration of Clerc’s birthday etc

e. possessions / artifacts – most cultures have food, clothing and music unique to their culture. Deaf people of course have unique devices and tools (captions, pagers, light flashers) unique to them but they also have artistic expressions such as ASL literature: ABC / # stories, Deaf folklore, Deaf View / Image Art (visual art representing the Deaf experience), Deaf literature (written poems, short stories, etc), Deaf theatre and films etc

with Deaf folks there is a uniqueness as most dont come from Deaf parents and thus do not acquire their culture from birth on (enculturation) – note – from deaf parents does not always automatically mean the 5 characteristics r passed onto the childrn as some deaf parents prefer not to be part of Deaf culture or some are not aware of these characteristic having never been exposed to them before

most deaf folks become acculturated – learn these characteristics later in life – from school, from peers, etc – once learned and internalized they may choose a Deaf identity over a purely medical view of being deaf

point of entry via enculturation not mean GOOD and AUTOMATIC necessarily just as point of entry via acculturation does not mean BAD and IMPOSSIBLE to be fully culturally Deaf

the same is true for other cultural groups

a person who may be black may or may not subscribe to Black culture, a person who may be of Jewish descent may or may not subscribe to Judaism and Jewish culture

beyond a cultural group is a broader community which is made up of members who subscribe to the culture and members who do not but are part of the community by virtue of their being Black or Jewish or deaf in this case. hearing or non-Black, non Jewish members also make up this community via marriage, relations, ally, child of, etc

the chief difference really is not about when or how one joins Deaf culture but rather – IF

if a person chooses to only identify with the hearing community – that is her/his choice
if a person chooses to only identify with the deaf community (which exist within the hearing-world) and not Deaf culture – that is her/his choice
if a person chooses to identify with Deaf culture (which exists within deaf community and the hearing-world at large) – that is her/his choice

the last is about biculturalism / bilingualism and not about exclusivity

i understand that all groups above have been misrepresented and misunderstood in some blogs/vlogs comment postings

i hope we can explore text and films created by scholars in the field of Deaf Studies to advance a more academically sound understanding of Deaf culture


patti durr