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Being Deaf Person Is Weirder Than You Thought

Society has traditionally treated Deaf people like garbage, 1 of the top 5 reasons life as a Deaf person is weirder than you thought.


CRACKED -- There are over 500,000 Deaf people in the United States, but the only time we hear about Deaf Culture is when someone is making up sign language at presidential funerals, rioting, or teaching kids on Sesame Street.

As a result, the average person has no idea what being Deaf involves, and therefore life can get downright weird for anyone who can't hear like the rest of you. Well, I'm a sign language interpreter and an American Sign Language (ASL) graduate, and I'll try to give you a glimpse of how strange things can get...

#1. Society Has Traditionally Treated Deaf People Like Garbage.


For much of our history, society just didn't know what to do with Deaf people. In the B.C. era, the law of the Talmud denied Deaf people the right to own land, while St. Augustine in the early A.D.s made deafness a straight-up sin. It wasn't until the 1960s that interpreting for Deaf people was even a profession.

Before then, Deaf people relied on the help of family, teachers of Deaf people (like Helen Keller's Deaf-Blind teacher Anne Sullivan), and the occasional clergyman that learned some signs. If you didn't live in an area with a thriving Deaf community, you might as well be cut off from the world entirely.

Educators didn't have a problem with Deaf people until the 1880 Conference of Milan. A bunch of hearing people and one token Deaf guy got together in Italy to figure out just how Deaf people ought to be educated. You can sum up their conclusion as "Fuck sign language, just try real hard to speak." Even today, many Deaf people remember having their hands tied and wrists slapped to stop them from trying to sign.


This, as you can imagine, made life a lot more difficult for Deaf people and their families. From many (god-awful) parents' standpoint, it was easier to ship them off to a different country or just put them in an institution. To make matters worse, around the same time, Alexander Graham Bell was running amok.

The same guy who invented the telephone was actually an inventor/douchebag on par with Thomas Edison. And, like the douchiest bags of his day, Bell was really into the eugenics movement (Hitler found his work inspirational).

He spent his life pushing legislation that would force Deaf people to undergo surgery to make sure they couldn't have children together and make a "Deaf Race." Fearing this day, Bell pushed for the abolition of sign language because it brought Deaf people together. (Oddly enough, Bell's own mother and wife were Deaf. So yeah, probably some awkward holidays for that family.)


This should help explain why Deaf people are wary of anyone who claims to be able to "fix" them. Big-D Deaf people often oppose cochlear implants, and it isn't because they're anti-technology.

It's because they have a distinct culture that people have tried to wipe out. It's not easy feeling like you're doing a pretty damned good job of getting by in life, only to hear a whole group of people look at you and scream, "We have to stop any more unspeakable horrors like this from existing!"... Read More: 5 Reasons Life as a Deaf Person Is Weirder Than You Thought.

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