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ASL University: "Dating Deaf People"


8/13/2011
Dr. Bill,
I am addicted to a tv show in which some of the characters are Deaf. One of the episodes sparked a question. Is it common for members of the Deaf community to not approve of dating relationships between hearing and the Deaf?
Thanks,
- Jeanette
 

Dear Jeanette,
Regarding the actions of those around them, it is common for individuals in any society to encourage actions in others that are empowering to oneself and to discourage actions that are disempowering. In other words, "What's in it for me?"

If my son dates a Hearing girl she will likely have Hearing parents, Hearing brothers and sisters, Hearing friends, Hearing former teachers, well, you get the idea.  I'd much rather my children date Deaf people because if they fall in love and get married it would mean I would likely be empowered with a whole new set of people with whom I can communicate visually in my preferred language. If my children date Hearies that means I may end up disempowered -- stuck with the challenge of trying to have conversations with Hearing people.  Then, even worse, when my grand children are born, they are less likely to learn ASL if their mother is Hearing. There is less of a chance that they will be born Deaf and go to a Deaf school and thus they will have Hearing (or non-signing) friends (and teachers) with whom I will have a hard time communicating. They will also probably grow up to date a Hearing person thus locking me out of any hope for attending a family reunion where I could enjoy myself instead of sitting in a corner chatting with my Deaf wife.

Note, I love sitting in a corner with my wife, she is a hot babe and quite witty. But I'd sort of like to chat with my (eventual) grandchildren too.  Oh, sure, I can whip out my hearing aid and "somewhat make do" but Belinda (the hot, no longer natural redhead sitting in the corner) may or may not be able to converse with the little munchkins and that would be a real loss if she couldn't.

It wouldn't be a problem if my children would just date Deaf people eh?

Take care,
-- Dr. Bill

 



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