This is the first edition of ‘Deaf Savvy’, a place where Deaf Culture can be discussed, questions asked and answers provided. Deaf Awareness month on McDaniel Campus starts March 22nd and continues through April 16th. To celebrate Deaf Culture I would like to share some insights, interesting quotes/facts/trivia, and answer any questions this campus might have about Deaf Culture and ASL. There may be occasions where I won’t know the answer and will enlist the knowledge of some Deaf friends or experts.
“Deaf communities had theatrical societies, literary circles, masquerade balls, organized debates, sports teams, and travel groups. The deaf culture had that had taken root in the schools for deaf children cropped up all across the country in deaf clubs for adults. People came together to sign, to help each other, and, quite simply, to have a good time,” said Lasander Saunders in Through Deaf Eyes
Deaf Culture is more than a common bond of not being able to hear; it’s filled with Deaf humor, music, art, poetry, literature, linguistic styles, a rich history and a common heritage. The Deaf Studies program at McDaniel prides itself on its bi-lingual approach, stressing the importance of knowing and mastering both English and American Sign Language (ASL). We have a community of Deaf and Hard of Hearing undergraduates and graduates as well as Professors. There are classes taught completely in ASL that impress upon the values of Deaf Culture and history. It is because of one of those classes that I am writing this article. For the next few weeks I welcome and encourage you to email me with questions, comments, myths, or anything that you want to be discussed and I will try to comment or get someone else to comment on the subject. I hope we can all learn and have a respectful discussion about Deaf Culture.
-Marissa Graff may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org