No man is an island

Most non-deaf professionals do not believe that there is a deaf world that is distinct from the hearing world. We deaf people, however, are proud of our deaf communities and deaf world. I believe that African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities feel the same. However, non-deaf professionals do not understand. They falsely believe that there is only one world — the hearing world — and that deaf people completely depend on it.

Yet we govern our own international, national, state and local organizations. They include the World Federation of the Deaf, National Association of the Deaf, Deaf Olympics, States Associations of the Deaf and local Deaf Clubs, including Sport agendas and Miss Deaf America. We have deaf-owned and operated businesses, deaf artists, theater, actors, movies, authors and musicians. We have our own media, including newspapers, magazines, TV, reporters, vlogs, e-zines and much more. Hallelujah!

Unfortunately, non-deaf professionals have established organizations of their own to represent deaf individuals and deaf communities. Often the goals of these organizations are to convince deaf people to forsake their deaf identity and to “help” deaf people “become hearing people.” Their focus is often limited to technology and services for improving hearing and speech. They often ignore the importance of American Sign Language and of visual learning in deaf education. Their limited approaches to language development leave many deaf children with minimal language skills, limited education and few vocational skills.

Most of us deaf people are happy with what we are, and we consider ourselves normal. We agree that we can do anything and everything but to hear. We cherish and love our hearing families, friends and the non-deaf professionals. All that we want is for you to trust that we are capable of being responsible for our own futures and that you allow us, the deaf, to lead our own lives and follow what we believe.

Of the Deaf People, By the Deaf People, For the Deaf People

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