CASTRO, Kevin Cedrick R.

Bachelor of Secondary Education (CA-English and SPED)


The Deaf Experience
Culture, in its basic sense, is the existence of a shared beliefs and traditions among a group of people called community. Amidst the individualities posed by each member of the community, it is culture that connects them to become a greater entity of unified minds and voices. The emergence of so many cultures around the globe marks the beginning of a new phase in human development: a period in which diversity is being accepted as part of the intricacies offered by human evolution and development. With this brief introduction, let me talk about a culture that has been around for nearly decades now as effect of the determined assertion of people with hearing impairment of their rights to be given significance to a world dominated by the hearing individuals – the Deaf culture. This paper will have two components: first, a brief definition of what culture is and what qualifies for a culture to become one. The second component will comprise a discussion on what Deaf culture is and how it is eligible to be called a specific culture. Sharing similar set of values, norms, history, and tradition, coupled with common language constitute a culture. Talking of the concept of culture is delving on the intricacies and complexities brought about by a community’s historical background, ongoing traditions, shared beliefs and values, and other things that has been part of how a member of that particular society lives his/her daily life. Culture cuts across time and space. Someone from the West might share the same culture as that from a man in the East. However, in this case, the specific practices of this culture may vary, depending on the locale in which that culture must be adapted. Both the United States of America and the Philippines have a Deaf culture in general. Both countries share the same experiences of having a Deaf culture, but they surely differ with their practices and the use of language (ASL for USA, FSL for the Philippines), thus creating an American Deaf culture and a Filipino Deaf culture, respectively. Culture works on the premise provided by the prior experiences of the people who shared these beliefs, at the same time, on the parameters provided by the local traditions in which the culture must based the common practices among its members. Deaf culture is an existing culture. It is not a made-up thing made by deaf just because they wanted to isolate themselves to the hearing individuals. It is beyond that kind of reasoning. Deaf culture is a product of the prior experiences, shared beliefs and values, ongoing traditions and norms prized by the Deaf community. Most people with hearing impairments decided to classify themselves as Deaf, not just deaf. By doing this, they are acknowledging the fact that they have their own identity that is beyond the parameters of them having sensorial difficulties.

Since they lack the use of auditory and verbal language. No one forces him to be part of it. What are the components of Deaf culture? Aside from having the same individual and collective experiences. In the case of the Filipino Deaf culture. but being unified by one culture in promoting their advocacy is much more significant for them. they take note of distinct physical features to identify a person they are talking with. This is rooted to the interconnectedness valued by the Deaf individuals. but Deaf people will definitely think in pictures. . manners.” collectivism. FSL. reflects the culture and beliefs of the Deaf. A gap between the hearing individuals and the Deaf community can be diminished. For a Deaf individual. only if both parties learn to respect and accept the differences of each culture. I love the latter than the former.Being one with the Deaf culture has nothing to do with the severity of deafness or hearing loss. as a big component of Deaf culture. Deaf individuals believe that they are interconnected with each other because of this culture. they share the same language. the latter symbolizes the rock or an elevated place in which the Church. the Deaf community values. It is his/her own wilful choice to be classified as member of the Deaf community. rooted from the notion of finding one’s identity. Aside from that. An example of this is bidding goodbye. but what it shows is that they think visually. The Deaf culture. just like any other culture. They do not think like hearing individuals. traditions. and other standard conducts. This just reflects how Catholic Deaf perceived the Church. Hearing individuals think through language. The former noted my pimples as a distinct physical feature while the latter noticed the mole on my left eyebrow as my unique features. the former. It is a choice made by an individual with hearing impairment. might sufficiently describe how hearing individuals might comprehend the culture of the Deaf. When it comes to behaviors. I personally experienced this when Jasmine and her husband assigned a different sign name for me. or be abolished. though it is a cliché. Deaf individuals have their own identities and we must learn to accept that. Using the tip of the iceberg. and values. s/he must approach all people in the group to bid a personal goodbye. a church is signed by putting the right hand over the left fist. Another notable feature of the Deaf culture is the importance of physical feature in remembering people and visual semiotics in learning. there are some differences between the Deaf and the hearing individual. an important institution that is superior to them. This is due to the differences between the two parties’ sensorial functioning. Of course. a significant element to gradually create a much open and accepting Philippines. For example. Hearing individuals can only understand so little from the Deaf culture. just by saying “bye!” to a group of friends indicate that that person needs to leave. They are still individuals. Since hearing individuals have a good verbal command. as what is shown in the documentary “Deaf President Now!. the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) is being used by the Deaf community. stood.

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