We thank you for making it this far in our conversation together in spite of the aggressive title we chose for this dialogue to purposefully get your eye here and your mind involved in our argument about the current state of Deaf Culture and American Sign Language in the United States. The truth is not always clean and perfect. Sometimes facts hurt and reality is toxic.
When we bring up the terrible topic of the “Deaf-Mute” meme in current society, we are shouted down, told to be quiet, looked at askew, and we are impolitely asked to not bring up the cyclic patterns of history that are actually bringing back the hushed up terror of what has always been a monster-under-the-bed notion for many Deaf people who may not acknowledge, but can never quite forget, that sometimes progress requires regression.
For those not familiar with living in, or working in the Deaf Community, the word “mute” is not commonly used today. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing population worked hard to erase “mute” as a stereotype. For our purpose, we are using the term “mute” as a historic affectation that was defeated, but is not surprisingly rising again in popular, mainstream, use, and we want to know why that has happened, and then explore the rationale and conclusions with you.
“Deaf-Mute” is only the beginning of our analytic dialogue together. Please join us in this 15,000 word exploration of the Deaf Culture movement in mainstream America over the last century and you can decide with us, or against us, that for all the progress the Deaf have made, many wins have been lost, many rights have been reversed, and too many medical “successes” to permanently fix Deafness have actually destroyed a strong, cultural community with its own passions, Arts, language, and cultural totems.
Here are the topics for this conversation that will guide you through the mendacious history of the Deaf-Mute in modern Deaf Culture.
Deaf-Mute as a Cultural Touchstone
Great Rubella Outbreak
Golden Deaf Institution Years
The Fight Against the Mute
ASL Rises and Deaf President Now Peaks the Generation
Equality Shines Above the ADA as a Culture Suffers Below
Technology and Medicine Represses
Cochlear Implants and Manifest Decline
Return of the Mute and the Fall of American Sign Language
Defeating the Deaf-Mute: Where Do We Go From Here?