Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jean Theodora Slobodzian
A cultural community arises when a group of people, communicating through a common language, develops a set of beliefs, social behaviors, and norms. Deaf people who use American Sign Language as their primary language form such a cultural community. Hailing from all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, and geographical regions across the United States, culturally deaf people hold the view that deafness is a social phenomenon rather than a disability. They take pride in their shared social/political organizations, literature, visual works of art, history, and group norms. Deaf children born to deaf parents begin language and cultural learning at birth, but these children are far and few between. More than 90 percent of all deaf children are born to two nondeaf parents, many of whom have probably never met a deaf person in their lives. In cases where the diagnosis of deafness is not made for months or even ...