As some of you know, I am committed to man who lives in silence. My “person” is what is called “late deafened.” He became deaf at the vulnerable age of 23 after a severe illness the cause of which was never determined. As he shared some of experiences with me, one stands out. Soon after descent into silence, he went to the infamous Gallaudet University in Washington, DC to learn the art of sign language. As you can imagine, this violent change in how he had to interact with his environment was traumatic enough, but one day while at Gallaudet, he approached a group of young people in the cafeteria with his tray in hand and asked if he could join them. They said no. He wasn’t “deaf enough.” He was not a member of often militant “Deaf culture,” an intense group of Deaf (with a capital D) people, most often deaf from birth and born to deaf parents, who eshew anyone who does not submerge themselves COMPLETELY into a world where American Sign Language( as opposed to English Sign Language) is the core of their communication and culture.
Now, ASL is indeed a beautiful thing to watch, along with the animation in action and facila expressions that accompany the actual signing. But the intensity of the culture’s animosity and rejection of anyone of deaf (with a small d) who does not embrace their “way of being” is off-putting at the least. Then enter the issue of the Cochlear implant, which has incited a veritable riot amongst the Deaf people. I have embedded herein a