We are Deaf and we created The Humans, a French magazine which has been translated into English for a Deaf issue. But in The Humans, we don’t focus on Deaf issues only: we also dealt with other marginalized people, like women, or culture, like Reunionese culture.
Here is why: while profoundly believing in Deafhood and Deaf culture, we think as a minority group, we have to understand other minority groups’ issues, other domination systems, and most of all, integrate Deaf people’s issues to all other human issues.
The invisible community’s sense of belonging
We think that part of the problem is the public perception of a Deaf person. He, or she, is only an individual lost in the crowd. For instance, when a Deaf individual succeeds in his professional life, mainstream media will mention his deafness level, his hard path “despite his disability”, the “help” of his interpreter…
But where do we see the Deaf community cheered when it clearly supported us? The importance of sign language spotlighted? Never. Why? That would imply a perception of the Deaf people as belonging to a community, and not as disabled individuals.
We are in 2017, but even if we are used to defining ourselves as part of a community, they tend to ignore it.
What we call the Deaf way is obviously more and more compromised by current policies worldwide. Medical interventions, mainstream schools for Deaf kids, Deaf schools and associations closing down, all these trends are increasing. So, could defining and thinking of us only as a community be inadequate?
Comparing with other dominated groups
Paddy Ladd’s work is crucial for us to challenge the traditional points of views on Deaf people. He succeeds in changing the rules of the game with his scientific framework allowing to think Deaf people’s experiences through Deafhood.
He recuses the whole disability framework and analyses oralism as a colonial practice, mainstream school as cultural assimilation, and more importantly, Deaf communities as “indigenous minorities”.
We should use these tools: Deaf people are more than an isolated cultural and linguistic community. We constitute a cultural, linguistic, and social minority, and like many other minorities, we are part of an unequal balance of power within a dominant society.
So, when we claim cultural and linguistic sense of belonging, we should question at the same time this dominant/dominated relationship. Not in order to complain, but to look for keys to understand and improve Deaf people’s lives.
Indeed, why do people from cultural minorities hesitate to transmit their mother tongue to their kids (like Deaf people do)? Why are mental illness and suicide higher within minorities (like they are within the Deaf community)? How are the other minorities dealing with these situations?
That is why we didn’t want The Humans magazine to focus on Deaf people only. One out of the four issues of our magazine is about Deaf culture, history, and struggles worldwide. With interviews, portraits, analyses, pictures, and even if all this has been told over and over again, we will keep sharing the Deaf point of view as much as possible.
About The Humans magazine:
We are a French publication, and as a new company, we only could afford to translate one issue into English. We chose the one about the Deaf minority.
Here is the summary of the Deaf related content. Among 130 pages and other subjects, you will discover:
-a portrait of Liisa Kaupinnen, former president of the WFD: childhood and life path;
-a few pages with statistics and review of Deaf history;
-a portrait of a French Deaf women, from a family of several generations of Deaf folks: point of view on Deaf history and evolutions;
-an experience and analysis of a speech therapist who works in sign language with Deaf kids;
-an interview with Seung-il Byun, South-Korean Deaf activist: how he managed to succeed against his government;
-a portrait of Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, life path of the first Deaf parliament member in South-Africa;
-an analysis of oralism and history of Deaf struggle, based on an article of Paddy Ladd;
-a portfolio with pictures of several international Deaf events .
Discover the stories: https://www.thehumansmag.com/en/category/2-en/
Flip through the pages: https://www.thehumansmag.com/en/2-en/flip-through-the-2-pages/
Order this issue: https://www.thehumansmag.com/en/subscription/
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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