Welcome back to Cultural Corner! The last time we met, we learned how the Deaf community do not see themselves as disabled, just different. This week, we will build on this notion by asking the question: If Deaf people are a cultural minority and not a disabled group, do they offer anything to those who aren’t Deaf?
Yes, and we have a term for it: Deaf gain. Often inventions or social practices, these contributions allow all people to improve their daily living. Two prime examples of Deaf gain include the football huddle and closed captioning.
Rather than reading a list of contributions, let’s watch a video instead! (((((((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5UwLDDMc0A ))))))
Did you know that a recent contribution was made to support the Deaf community in light of COVID-19? We know how important mouth morphemes are in ASL. How do you see them if your mouth is covered with a mask? Well, a student from Versailles wondered the same thing, and designed a mask where you can see-through to the person’s mouth. Check out the article here. !!!!!!(((https://www.lex18.com/news/coronavirus/college-student-makes-masks-for-the-deaf-hard-of-hearing?fbclid=IwAR3qvCZajlJw9FDdQgT9E1gPF1nwgpTMws8Z1sLCflYNR8Qd8O9IH2bohI4))) These masks don’t just help the Deaf/hard-of-hearing population, but may help those who rely on lipreading, are autistic, or simply miss seeing someone else smile.
Lastly, as you venture out into the community of signers, you will likely see what is commonly referred to as the “I love you” sign. (((https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/topics/i_love_you.htm))) This sign is often shared between signers when ending a conversation, or when someone leaves. The ILY sign (as it is often identified since it combines the ASL manual letters “I,” “L” and “Y”) does not suggest romantic intentions. Instead, it is a cultural expression which communicates friendliness and mutual appreciation for sign language. After all, if both people didn’t know sign, would they still know each other in the same way?
Do not be alarmed if a person signs the ILY sign to you at the end of a conversation. If you feel so inclined, you are welcome to sign it back to them.
Now you are ready for your discussion board assignment. Continue reading below.
After completing “Cultural Corner: The Deaf Contribution,” please write a discussion post in which you:
Share what fascinated you about this Cultural Corner.
-Define Deaf gain in your own words and how it relates to Deaf space.
-Pretend you had the skill and means to re-design an invention already in existence. What invention would you re-design to make it more Deaf-friendly? -What modifications would you make and why? [An example of this would be designing see-through masks during the pandemic.]