What is Deaf Culture or it is just a myth?

Opal

Active Member
http://www.alldeaf.com/showpost.php?p=293200&postcount=14


http://www.alldeaf.com/showpost.php?p=293220&postcount=16

Thank you for this book! I am going to buy it for my hearing husband as we discussed about deaf culture yesterday, he said he don't believe it because there is no deaf food, deaf church, deaf god etc, as it is mistake for deaf people to believe it is, as it should be label as deaf communities not culture as I was brought up. it is big different.
According to my dictionary, culture means

"The training and development of the mind.
The refinement of taste and manners acquired by such training.
The social and religious structures and intellectual and artistic manifestations etc, that characterize a society.
The rearing of bees, fish, oysters, silkworms, etc.
The cultivation of tissues or microorganisms in prepared media, or a product of this."

I am interested to hear your views about Deaf Culture, or it is just a myth?
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
I absolutely cannot recommend this book too highly, in order to answer your question:

"Reading Between the Signs: Intercultural Communication for Sign Language Interpreters" by Anna Mindess (and others)

Forget about the "sign language interpreters" part and don't worry about the fancy title, this book is VERY readable, fascinating, and will teach you what culture, American hearing culture, and American Deaf culture are. The writer is hearing but many Deaf people, as well as foreign spoken language interpreters, were consultants so it is not simply one hearing person's view on Deaf culture.

When you finish this book you will have absolutely no doubt that there is such a thing as Deaf culture, as well as understand why people often don't believe this to be true. You will realize that when people say "Wow, European/Middle Eastern/black/Jewish/Deaf people are so rude/snobby/weird/mysterious" (insert your own cultures and adjectives) that what is happening is a culture clash.

It's available on Amazon and probably every Deaf-related store out there.

By the way, definition #3 is probably closest to what you're talking about, but it leaves out one of the most important distinguishing features of Deaf culture: linguistic. That is, ASL. (Other features include information sharing, a tendency towards collectivism, direct communication...but seriously, check out the book.)
 

Aber

New Member
There definitely is a deaf culture, eventhough deaf people are not a completely seperate society having their own religion, food, or country or whatever... Deaf people are the only people of this world that have a seperate language within a language. They are a group of people, maybe not very entwined in some places, but in others it is a connected group. I would think that culture is simply something that a group of people share in common, for deaf people this is sign, the stories of deaf people, the frustrations that they share living in a hearing world, etc... What do u guys think? I am not really a member of the deaf culture. I am a hard of hearing person that was schooled mainstream...
 

Banjo

Expelled
Premium Member
Aber said:
There definitely is a deaf culture, eventhough deaf people are not a completely seperate society having their own religion, food, or country or whatever... Deaf people are the only people of this world that have a seperate language within a language. They are a group of people, maybe not very entwined in some places, but in others it is a connected group. I would think that culture is simply something that a group of people share in common, for deaf people this is sign, the stories of deaf people, the frustrations that they share living in a hearing world, etc... What do u guys think? I am not really a member of the deaf culture. I am a hard of hearing person that was schooled mainstream...
What you just described is more of a community, not a culture. In my opinion anyway, that is.
 

Aber

New Member
Yeah, but a community must reside in a certain area, deaf people are widespread... Someone that knows deaf culture should back me up here...
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
Banjo said:
What you just described is more of a community, not a culture. In my opinion anyway, that is.
Edward B. Tylor defined culture in 1871 as including "...knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." Mindess, in the book I cited earlier, states that "each culture has its own set of *values* that color its perceptions and behavior."

I went into detail in my earlier message: "...one of the most important distinguishing features of Deaf culture: linguistic. That is, ASL. (Other features include information sharing, a tendency towards collectivism, direct communication..."

Whether there is a Deaf culture is not a matter of opinion.

There is also a deaf community. You can be a member of the community without belonging to the culture. If a culturally Deaf person signs to me "wow you got fat since the last time I saw you!" and I think "Oh my god, how RUDE!" that is because I don't understand the cultural difference, EVEN IF I am a member of the deaf community. If I think "Isn't that nice, they are noticing me and care about what's going on with me," that is me making a CULTURAL (not a community) adjustment to understand that person's communication. Because, incidentally, it is impossible to separate culture and language, which takes us back to how ASL is a major way to define Deaf culture.
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
There is also a deaf community. You can be a member of the community without belonging to the culture.
Yes! The deaf community is made up of people who aren't traditonally considered Deaf, like late deafies and AG Bell/oral onlys!
 

Nesmuth

New Member
Deaf culture ............ gee I really dont know of anything nice to say about it except it means a lot of kinves on the backs of people acting as bridges between the deaf and hearing societies.

Richard
 

The*Empress

New Member
I think Deaf Culture is a myth, because there is always
someone destroying that culture.

Gossip is really the number one reason why deaf people won't stick around.
And some deaf people aren't proud to be deaf.
Disagree with one another's race, sexual orientation, religion, or other belief.
Sometimes deaf people feel hearing people are interfereing.

That is my opinion.
 
C

coloravalanche

Guest
I think that Deaf Culture defines of socialize with one another. Our Culture is when deaf person goes over to another deaf person's home without calling first. If deaf person tries to knock the door or ring the door bell while other deaf person doesnt see the light door bell. Then deaf person tends to go inside and flip the lights on for attention.

Our Culture has doorbell light, phone light, vibration under bed for alarm, turn light on at night driving for chat, etc. Nothing to do with food.

Our Culture stays up late and not worry about time. We enjoys chatting forever and not worry about how late it is. We are very open minded about welcoming anyone to our home or reveal about ourselves.

As for hearing culture: They dont welcome anyone without phone first. They dont have many equipments like we have like: phone light, etc. They set their time limit for chat with their friends. Hearing tends to have right on time for anything. We, deafies, tend to postponing our times.

Hearing are not honest with their families/friends if they have short or long hair cut. They are polite to say nice words. We are not polite...we tell truth period! We are more of straightforward, not hearing people!

I could go on and on but Im sure you all know what Im trying to say. :)
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
Deaf culture ............ gee I really dont know of anything nice to say about it except it means a lot of kinves on the backs of people acting as bridges between the deaf and hearing societies.
Oh come off it Nesmuth! Yes, Deaf culture isn't perfect, and it's not without its' flaws....but you could say that about virtually ALL minority cultures.
I think Deaf culture has its' strong points....I gotta say it's a lot more fun to learn Sign, and learn about a culture, rather then going "Boo be bah" in speech class, and giving science class presentations on the Ear And How It Works.
 

Liebling:-)))

Sussi *7.7.86 - 18.6.09*
Premium Member
Well, Deaf Culture has nothing do with foods, etc but socialize.

I can see the difference between Deaf and Hearing World. I had the feeling that Deafies culture are more warm than Hearing culture because I know the difference between Hearing and Deaf because I living in hearing world is work, my sons´s school, hearing parents, etc. etc. etc.

Something like that:
We (deafies) kiss on each cheek 3 times when we greet each other. Hearing? No, but say "Hi or Hello or shake the hand when we greet each other.

I remember when we celebrated my hubby´s 50th birthday in the resturant. The owner and waitresses was like :eek2: when they saw us greet our deafies friends is kiss each cheek and happily chat and laugh..... Hearing? All what I saw is chat polite. The waitress said that deafies like this fanastic her very because she saw it for a first time in her life how warm deafies are and hold together.

If we want to visit my friends then make arrange thru fax or mobile phone. We (deafies) serve our friends coffee and cake, then evening snack, have them stay as long as they like until midnight or after midnight but Hearing? Hearing do is serve them coffee and piece of cake, then give them feeling that they should "go".

Hearing doesnt find Deaf jokes funny but we do. We (Deafies) doesnt find Hearing jokes but they do.

I notice that we (Deafies) are very straightforward people and more than hearing. We love to meet new people from other countries and socialize with them. We (deafies) said "Hi, are you deaf? we are deaf" when we saw deaf foreigners or strangers on the street then chat with them on the street then go to cafe.....

Our Culture has doorbell light, phone light, vibration under bed for alarm, turn light on at night driving for chat, etc. Nothing to do with food.
Exactly!


Now you see this is deaf culture and different as hearing culture.
 

Liebling:-)))

Sussi *7.7.86 - 18.6.09*
Premium Member
Nesmuth said:
Deaf culture ............ gee I really dont know of anything nice to say about it except it means a lot of kinves on the backs of people acting as bridges between the deaf and hearing societies.

Richard
Ha Ha Ha.... Hearing is also, too because I work with hearing people. Of course they gossip and stab other back. I withness it myself. Hearing and Deafies are the same when there´s gossip/backstabbing etc.
 

VamPyroX

bloody phreak from hell
Yes, it is considered a culture. However, I think that this culture should be changed or fixed because of the attitutude these people give.
 

Nesmuth

New Member
I see it's already on its way to becoming a myth. Many deaf kids especially the "CI generation" nowdays are being raised in enviroments completely devoid of deaf culture elements.

Richard
 

Banjo

Expelled
Premium Member
Interpretrator said:
I don't live in Japan. Does that mean Japanese culture is a myth?
More than 90 percent of the deaf children come from hearing families. More and more are getting their children implanted with cochlear implants these days and being put into public schools rather than a deaf-oriented educational program or a school for the deaf. Most deaf people also end up having hearing children, not deaf children.

A small percentage of deaf children come from deaf families. In fact, I know several deaf families who had became more hearing over the generations rather than becoming more deaf. The odds of having a deaf families producing more deaf children will become more slim, they may end up marrying their cousins to keep their "bloodline" pure.

The fact that the majority of the deaf children coming from hearing families and the advancements made in technologies over the years also explains why the enrollment rates at schools for the deaf are declining all over the country. Because today's world is a better place for the deaf in comparison to a few decades ago, deaf children are able to get more help than ever.

Using Japan as an example is pretty irrelevant when it come to this sort of discussion. Especially when there's no such country where the majority of the population are deaf. I meant, there's no country named Deafica or anything. It's supposedly in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and some other countries.

So many changes already had been made, and it already had made a big impact on the deaf world. There's no way you can prevent it from fading away. If it fades away, it fades away. It's all a part of the history of mankind, it's pretty normal for cultures to fade away. Heck, we even discover many, many ancient cultures that had faded away in the past by exploring places like Egypt, Italy, Greece and many other countries in the world.
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
Banjo, you're taking me too literally. My point is, just because I may not be involved in a culture doesn't mean it doesn't exist elsewhere. And just because I see it less and less in front of me doesn't mean it isn't strong elsewhere.

I know many people with CI and/or coming from a mainstreamed, English-based background and for some for them, Deaf culture is by no means absent. Just because they don't go to an old-fashioned Deaf club every week doesn't mean that, despite their upbringing in hearing culture, they don't exhibit some of the hallmarks of Deaf culture mentioned in this thread -- both positive AND negative!

Generalized sweeping statements about the state of Deaf culture today (whether your stance is "Deaf culture is on the decline" or "Deaf culture will never die") are simply not going to be accurate either way. Partly because the term itself can mean many different things. Are fewer people going to Deaf clubs? Surely. Are fewer people using "straight talk" and being more flexible about time constraints, as opposed to hearing people, as coloravalanche and Liebling mention? Decide for yourself, but not that I've noticed.
 

Banjo

Expelled
Premium Member
Interpretrator said:
Banjo, you're taking me too literally. My point is, just because I may not be involved in a culture doesn't mean it doesn't exist elsewhere. And just because I see it less and less in front of me doesn't mean it isn't strong elsewhere.
No, I didn't take you too literally. I knew what you meant, but it was a weak point. I already had pointed this out. We are talking about a so-called "culture" that celebrates a medical condition that the majority of the world consider to be a serious handicap. Like it or not, but it's true. I do believe that people who have the intentions of breeding deaf children need to seek professional help and I'm not talking about fertility problems.

My point is, just because I may not be involved in a culture doesn't mean it doesn't exist elsewhere.
Just because I saw a man dressed up like Santa Claus doesn't mean Santa Claus doesn't exist.

Wait a minute... Santa Claus doesn't exist. Saint Nicholas was a real person, but he died hundreds of years ago. Let's be real, that's how I see your point to be quite weak.

Generalized sweeping statements about the state of Deaf culture today (whether your stance is "Deaf culture is on the decline" or "Deaf culture will never die") are simply not going to be accurate either way.
Partly because the term itself can mean many different things.
At least I don't beat around the bush, and I'll be as blunt with you as I can be if I have to be. I have no time to discuss if the glass is half-empty or half-full.
 
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