Facts about the Deaf and Deaf Culture Part 1

A collection of facts and information about the Deaf and Deaf culture.

Facts about the Deaf

Reader: JOHN HUEY (Sunnyvale, Calif.)

John Huey is a 28-year-old data terminals assembler. Deaf since birth, John attended the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, Calif., from 1961 to 1972 and then attended Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C., the leading deaf college in the world. In 1978 he wrote a series of articles about the deaf in the Daily Midway Driller and sent us a copy. The following are excerpts from those articles.

Generally, people I have met have accepted my deafness, but some people have strange ideas about the deaf. Years ago it was thought that the deaf were mentally retarded. Even now we are asked silly questions like "Do you drive?" Deaf people make the best drivers. We're not distracted by noise.

If you can't speak, you can still read. There's nothing wrong with your mind just because you can't hear. Terms like "deaf and dumb" and "deaf mute" are outmoded.

Most people aid the blind. Likewise, the disabled. But when a deaf man asks for help, the story is often different. There is widespread vocational, psychological, and educational stereotyping of deaf people. They simply ignore the psychology of individual differences. The deaf struggle to relate to society. The deaf person is aware of his limits and has increased his other sensory awareness accordingly.

Some other facts about the deaf world:

* The deaf can't serve on juries. In a recent case in Los Angeles where a deaf woman was being considered as a juror, the court ruled that a prospective juror must have the normal senses.

* Edison, a deaf man, gave the world electricity, and almost nothing in jobs from the electrical power companies was given to the deaf in return.

* Civic clubs should ask the deaf to be guest speakers. They can always speak through interpreters.

* The National Association of the Deaf near Washington, D.C., was founded in 1880 to protect the rights of the deaf.

* The odds against the deaf borrowing money to start a business are great.

* There is a life insurance agency, the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, headquartered in Oak Park, Ill.

* U.S. presidents did nothing for the deaf except in the field of education. What good is education if the deaf adult can't find a job?

* At times deaf job-seekers have sought the aid of the state rehabilitation office, but it's often a fruitless effort.

* The deaf are accepted into employment more readily in Ohio than elsewhere.

* Abilities, Inc., in Long Island, N.Y., hires only the handicapped. I believe it is a tool plant.

* West Virginia has a deaf miner.

* There have been deaf newspaper columnists and editors, deaf lathe operators, airplane mechanics, truckers, and pilots.

* Some deaf persons have been shot by police officers by mistake because they could not hear a policeman's command.

* The deaf live mostly in big cities.

* The most frustrating thing about deafness is the inability to talk on the phone.

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