Deaf and Dumb...what does that conjur in your mind? Do you think that people who are deaf are dumb? Are you deaf and get offended when people say that to you? Has anyone ever approached you and asked if you live in an institution? Do you think it is ridiculous that some deaf people want to drive, go to college and get jobs?
I truly thought that in the year 2013, this phrase would be gone. Sadly, it is not. People still use it. Sometimes, they say, "Oh, I meant that they could not talk." A) Not speaking is not equaling with stupidity, as you are showing by talking and clearly being stupid :) and B) Who are you to judge someone's intelligence? Many people are baffled by the abilities that my students have-whether it is the ones who are Hard of Hearing, deaf, Deaf, use a cochlear implant , use hearing aids or use a BAHA hearing aid. I know that part of my job is to educate the hearing community far more than educating the kids I teach. They get it. I have to inservice teachers over and over and over about why kids CAN do something and then why they CAN'T do something-neither because they are lazy or dumb!
That being said, I know there are splits in the community itself to a sub community of Deaf people who sign and deaf people who have Cochlear Implants and are against sign and then there are folks in the middle. I am so not here to talk about that issue! Point is,that all of the people with hearing loss are fighting for people with hearing to understand that they are wonderful people and CAN do anything they want!
So, I am ANGRY beyond belief when I see d/Deaf people in 2013 passing out the Sign Language Manual Alphabet cards in an airport saying," I am deaf, I can't work. Please buy this to help me." I guarantee you that many of them walk out to their fancy cars, laughing as they pocket your money! Yes, there are some d/Deaf people who are undereducated and can't get a good paying job. Then DO SOMETHING about it.. Another time for that argument, too...
What I am most annoyed at is the outpouring of emails/FB messages I get from people who claim they are d/Deaf and have bad grammar to extenuate this point-then ask for someone like me who is kind and caring to reach out and give them help and money. I just had a friend share one she got. It was a doozy of a letter and it pulled on her heartstrings. I told her to WALK or RUN away! These people are scam artists and make d/Deaf people look awful!
To summarize: Deaf people CAN! Deaf people are SMART! Deaf people are NICE! If you think otherwise,YOU might be the one who fits the "DUMB" part of that phrase. :) I need to buy one of these shirts ;)
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.