"We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams." - Jimmy Carter
Deaf people are not an exception to the human race. They are among the many that embody what it means to be human. Within the human species, we are diverse. Within our culture and communities, we are equally diverse. You could say that being deaf is cross-race, disability, class, and so on. We have Africans, Europeans, Asians, Peruvians, Bedouins, and so on. We are not limited to one disability but many encompassing many traits that define us as humans.
"We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." -Anne Frank
We are MEANT to be diverse. Darwin mentions 'the survival of the fittest' often is twisted by the desires of a few to achieve perfection in whichever possible manner. I have studied various resources by Darwin, Wallace, and sources that talk about biological diversity. Diversity is what enables us to survive (A good book: MindField, John F. Egbert) Endemic species (isolated with one or few subspecies, i.e. Galápagos tortoise) are at a higher risk for extinction due to its low genetic diversity factor. Another thought: Tower of Babel when God struck the people to speak different languages (Genesis 11). Another fascinating piece of information about Orchids (flowering plant) - go here for the article.
"Variety is the spice of life." -Proverb
Anyway, back to point, defining diversity within the deaf community is to apply its reality in the real world. Are there deaf GLBTs? Are there black deaf? Are there deaf amputees? Are there deaf Asians? Yes and yes and yes. You could keep asking the variety of questions and the answer would be a resounding 'YES'.
"Infinite diversity in infinite combinations...symbolizing the elements that create truth and beauty."-Commander Spock, Star Trek
Now, this diversity is threatened with the fact that we have yet to coalescence into one community with common qualities such as culture, bilingual (or multilingual), and deaf/hard of hearing. Our existence is threatened by the fact that we are not 'normal' according to the few who desire perfection. If we remove 'deaf', we still struggle nonetheless with other factors within ourselves. Many of us live through double standards; whether we are black, woman, GLBT, Asian, and so forth.
It is intriguing to see conversations being applied to NAD (National Association of the Deaf) re: South Dakota Gov. Dugaard. Here are several sources:
http://handeyes.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/help-the-nad-awake-from-their-do-nothingness/ (tons of other links on this site)
In a way, it is disappointing. It is hard for the old ways of thinking to die when we still hold on to social traditions. While everyone around us: LGBT, Black Americans and Native Indians are fighting, we still hold our heads down, afraid to beat back our benefactors and gain back the power that was ours once and will be again. To deny one part of one's self is to deny the whole. We have yet to set ourselves apart and acknowledge that diversity is a second skin for us in reality, thus being able to apply that into reality through organizational structure.
How aware are you of yourself, the very diverse person? How do we begin to embrace the soul of diversity within our communities and cultures if we have yet to embrace ourselves... as a whole?
"One day our descendants will think it’s incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings."-Franklin Thomas
To Be Whole
Currently I am an ASL teacher at a local college and at an high school. I received my Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. At home, I am an activist within the community, Northwest Indiana. My son is in first grade and my daughter goes to E.C.L.I.P.S.E. ASL Preschool. Change begins with you and change is effective with a team.