Will the year 2007
    be a great year?


Monday, September 19, 2005

Deaf Commonwealth:

Hello readers,

One course I am taking this quarter is "Deaf History" and we need to do an essay that is due during the mid-term week. This essay is related to chapter ten of Christopher Krentz's book titled "
A Mighty Change".

Chapter ten discusses debates about creating a Deaf Commonwealth and points out that this was not a new idea. Several important figures in Deaf History, including Laurent Clerc have suggested or talked about retaining property where Deaf people could settle and create communities.

In the late 1850's John Jacobus Flournoy started the most ambitious debate for a Deaf Commonwealth. The majority of responders were against the idea of creating a Deaf Commonwealth, including many Deaf people. Krentz says a possible reason for the majority of Deaf responders being against this Deaf Commonwealth is because they were educated and had jobs and did not experince the hardship Flournoy and other Deaf people experinced in the South.

The assignment is to write an essay explaining my side and why. I think I am going to support the idea of creating a Deaf Commonwealth. I just need to finish reading the chapter to find supporting points, but I thought I will post this on my blog and see what others think of creating a Deaf Commonwealth. I do not care if you support the idea or not, but please share the reasons why you support or do not support the idea of creating a Deaf Commonwealth.

I am going to work on two different versions why I support and how a Deaf Commonwealth can be accomplished so Deaf people have two choices on how to proceed and accomplish this dream.



natech said...

How do I begin, well, let's say first that I do not give a squabbly shit who support or doesn't support the idea of Deaf Commonwealth. It is not the question of how many are interested in having a Deaf commonwealth but the question of how to keep maintaining such a community. Unfortunately, the nature and economy do not favor on our side. Why? Because it doesn't guarantee us that our offsprings will be Deaf, like us. Look at other cultures, obviously racial, black people know that their offsprings will be black like they are, same with whites, asians, etc and with the growing numbers, they are able to uphold a community, knowing that their offsprings will do the same what they did for them. We do not have that kind of growth to keep us existing in the community.

So, it's from the viewpoint of nature and economy that prevent us from doing a such thing. And I have to admit that I hope my future offsprings will be hearing, not deaf, because the percent of Deaf people in the U.S. is becoming lesser and lesser. Do the math, 1 in every 20 babies is deaf. At that rate, 100 deaf babies and 2,000 hearing babies. So, the number becomes more insignificant.

We can support the idea of Deaf commonwealth but we can't support the community.

oneninefive said...

Natech, I understand your perspective and I do agree that when the numbers are put that way, supporting the community may become difficult to maintain.

However, you are talking about only the people who are living within the community, if we are capable of creating a community where people will have a desire to be part of this community, new members (who were born or created in different locations, not within the community) may head to this community.

Also if this community was capable of supporting itself with the necessary infrastructure, meaning we would have our own doctors who supported our perspective, giving us a chance to perform the opposite of what a cochlear implant surgery does. This would also boost the number of new Deaf citizens.


oneninefive said...

After attending Deaf Jeopardy hosted by reslife, I realize that the goddamn oral schools need to teach Deaf history.

Deaf culture is quickly going down the drain due to too many Deaf people going to hearing institutes instead of Deaf institutes!

Classic example: Some people, including Deaf people believed that Alexander Gram Bell founded the American School for the Deaf (ASD) and invented American Sign Language (ASL). I am pretty sure a true Deaf person who is reading this is thinking "WTF".

In case you, yes you who is reading this does not know the correct answer, Thomas Gallaudet was the founder of ASD and Laurent Clerc came from Paris, France and started teaching Deaf students with signs which evolved into ASL!

I knnow this is not related to this post, but felt I should share my feelings about this, hopefully soon oral and hearing institutes start teaching Deaf history because there is no oral or hearing history to teach! :)


lore said...

hahaha jeff is one of them! :) nah just kidding. I totally feel you. In one of my msse classes - we had a hot debate on this very same issue "Deaf commonwealth" and the process of building a deaf town in south dakota. Natech basicvally said it all - however there is another factor, the location. south dakota is not the best state to build a deaf town - who would go there, who will visit, how can they make the city grow and prosper if it's in a remote area.

do i support the idea? sure, it'd be nice to live in the ocmmunity where everyone is deaf - but at the same time I want privacy - I dont want to be stuck in the ocllege mode forever.... plus the location gotta convince me - i dont want to live in south dakota - yuck. who wants to be stuck in one town forever? its like disneyland - its fun for a while but if you stay there for a long time - it gets boring.

like natech said, our deaf hertiage will probably fizzle in the near future - so i think one of the biggest reason why people really want the deaf town to happen is so to preserve the history and embrace the culture.

oneninefive said...

Just did a quick look up on numbers. Prince Edward Island has approximately 150,000 people living there (approx. 130,000 in 2001).

In the United States only, there is an estimated 550,000 to 1 million culturally Deaf people.

When we look at these numbers, it sure looks good to imagine 50% of America's Deaf population and hopefully as many Canadian Deaf people moving to PEI and over populating PEI, thus forcing the Hearing people to move out and abandon PEI.

Resulting in leaving the island to us, the Deaf people to call it a "Nation under Silence!" :)

oneninefive said...

I was reading about Laurent, SD. I do support and back the people who are ambitious and put a lot of energy into accomplishing the goal of creating Laurent.

Two common opposition views of the creation of a Deaf town or state were:

1) 90% of Deaf people's children are hearing.

2) No one wants to live in the middle of nowhere.

I am going to address these two and hope to be able to be clear about what I try to say.

Issue One (90% kids...): Yes, that is absolutely correct, the goal is to develop a Deaf community and that goal does not include the deportation of hearing people to non-Deaf communities.

The hearing offsprings can choose to remain and live in a town where the citizens are expected to sign. They can move away if they want to.

If they move away, that is ok because there are plenty of Deaf people who are born or become Deaf and have a desire to be part of a Deaf community who are willing to move to Deaf Communities to satisify their desires.

Issue Two (Middle of no where): If the people who put a lot of energy are successful at creating a successful town and they are capable of creating jobs, the benefits for Deaf people living in the "middle of nowhere" will far outweight disadvantages of moving there.

In addition, you want privacy, to be honest hearing people do not have privacy too so thinking that staying isolated in the hearing community will bypass the publicity you get may not make much difference.

I also fail to see how Laurent is a college town. The people who have submitted down payments for homes or apartments in Laurent seem like they are decent people who have families or have employment goals in Laurent.

I think what really hurts the Deaf community is the unwillingness to work together to accomplish something. There are things that will not satisify everyone, but if we all work together for a common goal, we will accomplish the common goal, but not satisify the expectation everyone.

United we stand, divided we shall fall!