For a growing list of terminology used at ASL University, please visit the
DrVicars: Is it okay to use the word "Deaf?"
DrVicars: What you think?
[Most answered yes]
Linda: Some might say it's not politically correct.
Shooter: Hearing impaired?
DrVicars: Politicians used to think the word "Deaf" was not PC.
Politicians preferred the term
"hearing impaired," but the Deaf community loves the word
"Deaf." You could say it is "CC"
Eugia: In this situation it's a lot easier to type.
[Meaning--in an internet based course the word "deaf" is easier to type than
the term "hearing-impaired."]
Question: What do you call Deaf people?
Answer: Deaf. Period. End of sentence.
Not: Deaf and dumb.
Not: Hearing impaired.
Not: Deaf mute.
(Update: The term "Deaf Mute" is actively being "reclaimed" by
segments of the Deaf Community, similar to how the word "queer" has
been "reclaimed" by the "gay community." Until you are "very"
familiar with the community though you would be well advised to
stick with simply using the term "Deaf.")
DrVicars: The important thing is Deaf see themselves as a
cultural group. In Deaf-related
writings and articles some authors use a lower case "d" in the word deaf to mean
deaf. The uppercase "D" refers to those who are culturally Deaf.
You might see
this once in a
while: d/Deaf. It is used to mean physically and culturally Deaf. You can be Deaf without
For example: hearing children of Deaf parents are oftentimes considered to be
Deaf. The deaf children of hearing parents are just physically deaf until they start
with the Deaf community and learn its norms, mores, and values. Then they become
Deaf as well.
Vince: When you are signing to someone, do you use the sign "DEAF" instead of
DrVicars: I use the sign DEAF.
But feel free to
mistakes in this classroom. How else are you going to learn? You don't need to
worry about the terminology much with me. I'm
Kloos: Mistakes, good!
KC: Dr. Vicars are you deaf?
DrVicars: I am hard of hearing. I have about a sixty decibel loss in my right ear and a
decibel loss in my left.
Sandy: I want to make sure I understand this Big "D" little "d"
thing. Are you saying that deaf
cannot hear and Deaf can?
DrVicars: Great question. The answer: "deaf" refers to those who cannot hear
well enough to
understand speech for everyday communication purposes. "Deaf" (with a big
"D") refers to
embracing the cultural norms, mores, and values of the Deaf Community. You can be accepted
into and a practitioner of a culture without being physically being born into that
both hearing and deaf people can be culturally Deaf. Watch out for the word
"Deaf" at the
beginning of a sentence when it is capitalized because of
English grammar rules.
Sandy: Got it.
DrVicars: Of course there are levels of acceptance in any particular culture, so a
might never reach the innermost circle of acceptance in the Deaf Community, just as a
person might never reach the innermost circle of acceptance in certain so called
"Hearie" is a slang
Deaf term for "Hearing people." "Hearing people" means people
can hear. "Hearing" is a cultural status as well as a physical ability.
If a Deaf person says, "My boss is Hearing." It means that
the boss is able to hear and is a member of the hearing community. The phrase,
"Im Hearing" doesnt mean that you are listening to something, but
rather it means that you are not Deaf.
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