Clash between Deaf and Hearing Communities

A discussion on the clash of cultures between the hearing and deaf communities.

The paper looks at the history of deaf people in a hearing world that involves mistreatment, misunderstanding, and misrepresentation of the deaf. The paper also shows how in film, deaf people have been depicted as dumb, or at the very least, simple minded. The paper goes on to discuss how the deaf resent the hearing community for attempting to force their culture on them, as vehemently as some Native Americans do with the intrusion of whites in their affairs. The paper also notes that the deaf community are balking at the effort to “fit” their children into a hearing world by the implantation of hearing devices, and, deaf culture does not accept the newly onset deaf with open arms but often times with hostility and resentment.
“The hearing world is still reeling from this assertion of Deaf culture and the Deaf community’s defensiveness to not have its children violated with hearing implants. As with any minority in the United States, being deaf in a hearing world has its history of mistreatment, misunderstanding, and misrepresentation. How the deaf were treated has ranged throughout history to sticking them in insane asylums, to having nonhearing children attend deaf and dumb schools. As late as 1749, the French Academy of Sciences appointed a commission to determine whether deaf people were capable of reasoning (Dolnick, 1993 37). Schools for the deaf were established not because the deaf were found worthy but because so many hearing people were stricken with deafness as a result of fevers and other diseases (Mirzoeff, 1992). Seventeeth century writer, Samuel Johnson called deafness one of the most desperate of human calamities (Dolnick, 1993 37).