Okay, listen y’all– and I’ll try my best to be as clear as possible– but I have to get something off my chest. (Sorry it’s kinda longish)
You will not and I emphasize will NOT go to hell for making “deaf jokes.” (There’s no special section down there for those who made deaf jokes. Trust me. I checked) If made tastefully they can actually be quite hilarious. Sure, it seems insensitive to make jokes about something someone cannot change but y’all out here making racial jokes daily and aside from Rachel DoWhatever, one cannot simply change their race. Now can they?
If you meet a deaf person like me who has completely come to terms with their deafness they might tell you that they actually enjoy a good deaf joke every now and then. Why? Because for a culture that is seemingly ignored it makes me feel like we’re being noticed and not only that but I like seeing and understanding different people’s perspectives on deaf people and deaf culture because if something is misunderstood it gives me a chance to slide up in there and teach and enlighten! And something most deaf folks can agree on is: we really wish hearing folks would start using all of their brains as much as they use their ears (see? I made a bad hearing joke, and nobody is crying, right?)
Okay great, moving on.
No, not all deaf people are dumb just like not all hearing people are smart! Just like not all black folks are hoodrats, just like not all white folks are rich! Just like not all Asians are smart, just like not all Americans are dumb (dumb enough to vote for whats his name — but in our defense the majority of us actually didn’t vote for him, those higher up folks did)
No, me and the next deaf person cannot hear the same things. Some deaf folks can hear more than others. Some can speak on the regular phone, some can’t or prefer to instead use a Videophone (Google will tell you all about those. Just type in “Sorenson Video Phones”… There’s a rival company called Purple Communications but I’m #TeamSorenson!)
Pop quiz! Let’s see if you can guess my phone preference! When hearing people say for me to call them or they’ll call me I’ll either say “okay, but don’t expect me to respond beyond ‘hello'” or I’ll just give them a blank stare then smile politely and say “I’ll text ya!” Or “if you call I won’t answer, I’m just letting you know now so you won’t be offended later” if you guessed, that I prefer not to use a regular phone, you are cor-rect!
Okay, back on topic!
No, not all deaf people know sign language. I, myself learned sign language in 6th grade which is considered late in the Deaf World and yes, I’ve gotten that “what the f***” look from other deaf people when once upon a time I had to tell them I didn’t know sign language. I also get the same “what the f***” look from hearing folks who communicated with me strictly verbally for months with no problem and suddenly saw me use sign language one day or saw my hearing aids and that conversation usually starts like “wait…. You’re deaf?” To which I’ll say “yes” and then they’ll say something like “… but you speak so well…” which leads me to my next point and it’s a big one so get ready….Oh! But before we move on–no, I don’t hide my deafness, but if conversation flows without a problem, I won’t interrupt you and tell you I’m deaf. If you happen to cover your mouth or turn around while you’re speaking,THAT’S when I’ll tell you–if you didn’t already notice how my eyes zero in on your lips– because I rely on reading lips. So yeah, my next point….dun dun dunnnnn…
YES, some deaf people can speak just like you! (If you are a hearing person.) Remember what I said about me enjoying seeing and understanding other people’s perspectives on deaf folks? Yeah, THIS tells me that hearing folks expect us to all sound distorted (or I’ve heard some people liken it to sounding like a Whale or seal) so I’m able to tell you that that misconception is exactly that, a misconception. Oh the joy!
How well you speak all depends on when you lost your hearing and/or how much you can hear. (You can pick up the book “I can hear you whisper” by Lydia Denworth for a more in-depth explanation of how the ears and speech work. I, however, am typing this from my phone and my thumb burns so….)
With all of that having been said, I hope you have at least a little more of a better understanding about us Beautiful Deaf People. I will detail more things once I get on a computer but for now I think this is good enough!
So, come on, talk to me! I want to hear (read) some of y’alls best or wackest deaf jokes, come on peeps! Or if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer them!