Silent World

Silent World - Jason Christian Final Project Professor...

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Jason Christian Final Project Professor Klayder 12/10/06 Silent Protest: Voice of the Deaf Born into the hearing world, a deaf 1 child did not have the same opportunities as a non-deaf person. A child born deaf never heard the ocean, never heard music, and would always be a social outcast to the hearing world. Frank Bowe, a deaf professor and writer, wrote, “Deafness…is, for me, much like living in a glass box. If any of you has watched a movie on a transcontinental flight without using the earphones, you will have a sense of what I mean (Bowe 2). Crossing this communication barrier came slowly for the Deaf Community. Years of contemptible treatment caused by ignorance of Deaf 2 culture led to an uprising. Congress passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which, in Section 504, paved the way towards the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) following a revolt at Gallaudet University. These three events, centered about the revolt at Gallaudet University, provided the Deaf Community and all disabled people equality both never before experienced. First, to understand how people perceive deafness, one must recognize that two different perspectives exist regarding deafness: the pathological model and the cultural model. The pathological model suggests that the behaviors and abilities of hearing people represented the norm and that deaf people digressed from this norm. According to the pathological model, deaf people were “idiots” who needed to be fixed. The model focused on the disability of the person and not on culture. This view “would seek to deny the very existence of the Deaf Community…This is the perspective that has been traditionally held by a majority of non-deaf professionals who interact with the Deaf 1 The term “deaf” refers to hearing impaired individuals. 2 The term “Deaf” refers to the Deaf culture or community.
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Community” (American Deaf Culture). The cultural model perceives the Deaf Community as a way of life, a culture, that shares a form of communication providing the community with its own identity as well as a common language (American Deaf Culture). Before 1970’s, many people still perceived the Deaf as a diseased group needing treatment. Before the Gallaudet revolt, people treated the Deaf Community as a group of outcasts. Deaf children were not tolerated by their own families. The child was “regarded with pity by the rest of the family… [and] carefully kept out of sight when visitors [were] in” (Asylum for Idiots), and eventually shipped to an institution. Usually, the families of deaf children believed that “an idiot in the family is a hopeless case, on
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Silent World - Jason Christian Final Project Professor...

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