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Deaf Culture Speech Outline

Adapted from example from Central Michigan University


Deaf Culture

Speech goal:

I want to inform my audience about Deaf Culture and dispel

common misunderstandings about Deaf people.


Being deaf is all too commonly seen as a disability instead of a culture

with its own distinct language, accepted behaviors, social
organizations, and traits.


Attention Getter:
Deaf and Dumb is a phrase that is not only painfully
common, but one that holds true for most peoples view on the deaf. Being deaf
is all too commonly seen as a disability instead of a culture with its own distinct
language, accepted behaviors, social organizations, and traits.

Credibility Statement:
I have been researching Deaf culture over the past
month and have been relying on credible sources.


Being deaf is all too commonly seen as a disability
instead of a culture with its own distinct language,
accepted behaviors, social organizations, and traits.


Body of Speech

Similar to other cultural groups, deaf people share a unique form of

communication, sign language, which plays a major role in Deaf culture

Deaf children born to Deaf parents pick up sign language as easily

as a hearing child from hearing parents begins to talk.


At around the same time that a hearing baby begins to speak

and experiment with noises and sounds, a deaf infant of
parents who sign will begin signing nonsense signs and figuring
out more in depth finger and hand motions (Dolnick, 1993).

Language also contributes to the difference between deaf and


Using the lowercase deaf, refers to the condition of not hearing.



The uppercase Deaf refers to a particular group of deaf people

who share a language, ASL, and a culture (Padden &
Humphries, 1988).


Some people who may have lost their hearing due to illness,
trauma or age and do not share the same language, knowledge,
beliefs and practices that make up Deaf culture are considered

Aside from a language binding together the Deaf culture, pride also plays
a huge role in the Deaf community.





In a survey, social scientists asked people who are blind or in a

wheelchair if they wish to see or walk and almost all instantly
said yes.
However when the deaf answer their equivalent of this
question, they replied with no (Dolnick, 1993).

This strong pride in their culture, language, and traditions is

what leads most Deaf people to reject new technologies
in fixing their deafness such as cochlear implants,
speech therapy and other cures.

An example of this is seen through a seven year old girl, Caitlin

Parton, who got a cochlear implant and was shown on 60
Minutes as a cure of deafness success story.


Activists from the Deaf Community were furious that a

surgery that often doesn't work and takes away from an
individuals chance of being a part of the Deaf culture was
being promoted in such a positive light.

While many people see deaf as a disability, the Deaf community sees itself
as a rich and diverse culture with its own social, religious, scholarly,
literary, and thespian organizations.
An example of one of these cultural organizations is ASL Films, a company
that was founded in 2005 and makes films that only use ASL.

Their movies can be bought online and viewed at varying locations

across the country.
One of their most recent films released was Versa Effect which

portrays the lives of two Deaf individuals in their jobs as teachers

at a Deaf school through the use of only sign language.


There are also many art organizations, however categorizing deaf

artists is a little different.

There is a difference between deaf artists and DeVIA (Deaf

View/Image Art).



Deaf artists are individuals who make art through any form
and are held to the same standards as any other artist.
DeVIA is created when the artist intentionally creates art that
shows their deaf experience.
Rules for behavior also define the deaf culture as any other culture would have.

Gallaudet University explains that if you are having a

conversation eye contact and visual attention is expected at
all times.




In addition, a person who is signing should hold full attention of

the conversation until they indicate they are finished with a visual
indicator such as a pause or facial expression(Gallaudet
University, 2014).

There are also acceptable ways of getting a persons attention.


The most common of which is hand waving however you

can also tap the other persons shoulder or arm, flick the
lights in the room on and off, tap on a table, stomp your
foot on the floor, and in crowded situations, a third person
may be used to get the crowds attention.


Greetings often include hugs instead of handshakes and when

using an interpreter, make sure to look at the deaf individual
because the conversation should be between you and them.


Unlike in hearing cultures, it is not considered rude to stare,

however some things you should avoid are exaggerating
mouthing or mocking sign language.

While most people will never personally know a deaf person

unless they give birth to a deaf child, understanding Deaf culture revolves around
respect of another culture, even one that is foreign to you. Just as in any culture they
hold their traditions and ways of life very personally, and respecting this is the best way
to show that you respect their culture.