points and variations in between as befitting the astounding variety of human

Points and variations in between as befitting the

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points and variations in between as befitting the astounding variety of human experi- ences. As Lennard Davis notes, this move toward recognition of the diversity of d/Deaf experiences parallels that of most forms of identity politics. The first wave of any struggle involves the establishment of the identity against societal defini- tions that were formed largely by oppression. In the first phase, the identity — be it blackness, or gayness, or Deafness — is hypostasized, normalized, turned positive against the negative descriptions used by the oppressive regime. In a second wave, the principals are comfortable about self-examining, finding diversity within the group, and struggling to redefi ne the iden- tity in more nuanced and complex ways. Often this phase will produce conflict within a group rather than unity. 63 Indeed, the 1990s have seen efforts at moving beyond the notion of an autonomous cul- tural identity to one that is more aware of the various ways of being Deaf along a com- plex assembly of borders as d/Deaf people will be found in every race, ethnicity, tribe, nationality, economic class, gender, sexual orientation, and geographic region. 64 As the Deaf community is not immune to ideologies of oppression, it should come as no surprise that the first models of Deaf Culture have been critiqued as being from <i>Open Your Eyes : Deaf Studies Talking</i>, edited by H-Dirksen L. Bauman, University of Minnesota Press, 2007. ProQuest Ebook Central, . Created from washington on 2019-09-21 14:41:03. Copyright © 2007. University of Minnesota Press. All rights reserved.
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12 H - D I R K S E N L . B A U M A N a default white Deaf Culture. On a cultural level, however, groups within the Deaf com- munity have long felt the need for organizations of their own. Despite the formation of the NAD in 1880, African Americans were not admitted until 1965; despite the founding of Gallaudet University (formerly known as the National Deaf-Mute College) in 1864, Af- rican Americans were not admitted until 1951. 65 As a result of the dominant white Deaf discourse and political activism, the Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf was founded in 1977, the National Black Deaf Advocates in 1982, Deaf Women United in 1986, and the Inter- tribal Deaf Council in 1994. 66 Amid the tensions of reifying a culturally Deaf identity and the recognition of diver- sity within the Deaf world, the question of essentialist features arises. Invariably two factors combine to form the common ground of a Deaf identity: audiological deafness and use of sign language. These two factors of identification meet in an intriquing ques- tion: Can a hearing person such as a Coda be more Deaf than a nonsigning deaf person? If so, then language use would trump audiological deafness. However, if this is the case, then how can one explain the argument for the desire of Deaf people to have deaf ba- bies, since hearing children can become just as fluent in ASL as deaf children? 67 Initially, audiological deafness was disavowed as a factor in the Deaf world, and the word deaf- ness today still carries negative connotations in the Deaf world.
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