‘Do Deaf people view as Disability?’ written by Harlan Lane, “A disability is a limitation of function because of an impairment. Deaf people are limited in some functions because of an impairment of hearing. Therefore, Deaf people have a disability.” The majority of Deaf people I know do not view themselves as disability. Deaf people have their daily calendar. It was one of the greatest ideology Deaf people deals with the stigma.
“During the Middle Ages, madness and other conditions were thought to be caused by demons. They were also thought to be part of the natural order, especially during and in the fallout of the Plague, which wrought impairments throughout the general population.”
“The European Enlightenment’s emphases on knowledge derived from reason and on the value of natural science to human progress helped spawn the birth of institutions and associated knowledge systems that observed and categorized human beings; among these, the ones significant to the development of today’s concepts of disability were asylums, clinics, and prisons.”- Braddock, David, and Susan Parrish, An Institutional History of Disability, in Handbook of Disability Studies, ed. Gary Albrecht, Katherine Seelman, and Michael Bury (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2001)
Why are Deaf people still viewed as demons and prisoners of the hearing colonization? Where is their greatest human right as Deaf people and their pursuit of happiness? It is a process in the healthy Deaf mind. The good news is, Deaf people will continue to discover the root causes of happy thinking heavily practiced and projected through Deafhood framework. The bad news is, the society continues to label Deaf people as disability will not able to see those “root causes.”
When Deaf people receive scholarships or awards directly from Disability organizations, they are quickly judged without conscious thought from the society. Some say it is invisible. Some say it is good thing. Some say it is a bad thing. Some say it is denial. Some is unconscious. But, within certain demographics it has overwhelmed the old politics, and there are plenty of Deaf people in this or that minority culture for whom the old-fashioned hearing politics is more relevant.
For most people of any group, including minority communities, the specifically sociological issues are a small proportion of the actually important yet it is invisible affecting Deaf people everywhere. The Disability framework about Deaf people should be pretty much extinct by now. In that sense, Deaf-centered view is quite welcoming to anyone Deaf. Is it always true? Language, communication, and deficit thinking exists in the term of denial. The reason Disability framework continues to perceive Deaf people so often wrong in that the literature has successfully evolved the status quo to guide oppressors to speculate whatever it is.
Good example: There are some people who actually think the world is flat today. What about the stars revolve around the earth to determine fate and future?
To be Deaf-centered thinking, (not a word to think “disability”) is something that begins with us. It begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of ours. Between right and wrong, between night and day, and between matter and spirit.
Deaf communities around the world for so long that they have defined themselves in opposition too how the disability framework has viewed Deaf people. Deaf people have defined themselves, and had been defined—and that is the most important thing. It is important not to accept scholarships or awards from disability organizations.
It takes one scholar to recognize another one. I’d like to share my short personal story about scholarships. I was offered several scholarships from disability organizations and groups in the past, and I had to turn them down because I did not feel right about how the society views Deaf people as disability.
Deaf people are being drawn away from the chain of ignorance that the state of being Deaf imposes. Why do Deaf people have to suffer social bias? The educational structure of the Deaf has faced many hardships in the form of disability framework—often invisible. Simply associating Deaf people, as disability is not fair or accurate, as disability is not attributed to a cultural identity.
When I received full scholarship from ASL/Deaf Studies graduate program at Gallaudet University, I felt right. At least I hope I was right. The disability framework is the basic ingredient of American intellectual history. From the eye gaze, the Deaf people build a community that relies ASL for information, knowledge, and communication. Along with the American stories and journeys, we the Deaf people ought to give our community identity and meaning away from disability framework. Receiving scholarships or awards from Deaf-centered organizations would make all the difference.
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
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