What do you know about the deaf

People with hearing loss: deaf or Deaf?

How to correctly write the word "DEAF"? What does it mean if we write "Deaf" using a capital letter? What are the consequences?

People with hearing loss: deaf or Deaf?

Hi, Big “G” – controversy about the D/deaf (PL: G/głusi) I’ll tell you about it today. Capital “G”. It may sound ambiguous, but the size of the letter “G” in the word “głuchy” (“deaf”) is the cause of quite a lot of conflicts and disputes. But why is it a conflict?

Deaf people in Poland

To make it easier to understand this phenomenon – look at the diagram. The purple part of the circle is people with a hearing impairment, the pink part is people with a hearing impairment and a certificate of disability, the yellow part is deaf and the blue part is Deaf with a capital letter.

How to correctly write the word "DEAF"? What does it mean if we write "Deaf" using a capital letter? What are the consequences?

In the past, the yellow and blue group would be marked with one color. Simply deaf. However, the Deaf with a capital “G” are people who want to emphasize their difference, distinguish themselves and make it clear that they are proud of their deafness. They present themselves as a separate group with their own language and culture. The term “Deaf” indicates primarily a cultural affiliation and not a hearing impairment.

Does this mean that the people with the purple, pink and yellow parts are not a culturally distinct community with a capital “G”?

They aren’t. But it is not entirely a choice. In order to belong to a given group, certain criteria must be met. In this case, these are: identification, participation in various activities of this community and, above all, complete deafness and the use of Polish Sign Language.

What, then, affects the sense of belonging?

One factor is the cause of hearing loss, which is whether someone was born without this sense or lost it at some point in life. How did hearing parents of a deaf child (which constitutes 95% of cases) manage their education? Did the child learn Polish Sign Language, does he have a cochlear implant or a hearing aid, what is his level of communication skills with hearing people? Hearing parents, deaf or hard of hearing children make every effort to adjust the child to the world of hearing. Often avoiding socialization with other deaf, the child has no chance to develop a sense of belonging in the group of the Deaf with a capital “G”. In turn, the Deaf discriminate against people who do not use sign language, mix it with phonics, have an implant or a hearing aid.

There are no bad intentions here – Deaf with a capital “G”, or at least the vast majority of them – feel much more comfortable in their own company than in the company of hearing people.

But how did the need for separateness arise?

Unfortunately, this is the result of bad decisions of hearing people. Until the mid-1990s, only the oral method was used in Polish schools for the deaf. In short, this method was designed to teach children with hearing impairments how to practice, control and improve their speech. This methodology for deaf children has been ineffective. Because sign language was forbidden at school, the children did it secretly or in private time. But remember that 95% are deaf children, of hearing parents, i.e. those who do not know sign language. Hence the feeling of exclusion of a deaf child was enormous. They could find understanding and interactions among people similar to them – that is, completely deaf. The developed Polish Sign Language is not a language that can be translated into the Polish phonetic language. As a result, the deaf and hearing people cannot communicate by means of writing, for example.

Is it important to distinguish a small “g” from a capital “G”?

The deaf identifying with the big “G” think it is extremely important. It’s good that they are building a community in which they can rely on each other.

However, we hearing people should finally see the deaf through the eyes of the Deaf. Since the Deaf with a capital “G” do not consider it a disability, now it’s our turn to change. We who hear allow the deaf and hard of hearing to feel excluded, we have created a need for isolation in them. And it should be the other way around. We should respectfully create the conditions for them to feel part of the whole of society.

Why is the phenomenon of capital “G” dangerous?

Because it deepens social exclusion. It often leads to alienation, reluctance to learn and even increasing illiteracy. The deaf as the only group marked with a disability created a subgroup admitting only the “chosen”, thus creating exclusion in people with the same problem.

“Deaf” (Głusi) and “deaf” (głusi) on the Internet

Meanwhile, what does it look like on the Internet?

Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia. The word “deaf” described as deaf is written with a small letter. While we click to add a description to the word “deaf” – the distinction between the deaf person is written in small and capital letters. But that’s just the peak of the iceberg. Culture sites, news, blogs, articles, even the government site – exacerbate the phenomenon by using capital “G” in the texts. We give permission to divide the deaf into big and small “G”, into better and worse,  into more and less needy. While the problems that we – hearing people need to solve – concern the entire deaf population with small “g”.

That is why the Świat Głuchych Foundation treats every deaf and hard of hearing in the same way. And we will persuade everyone to do so.

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