The Deaf society has set values and behaviors that are unique to their communities. Because of these values and rules, the Deaf have their own established culture. Below are just a few of the values and behavior rules found in Deaf communities.
Language is a huge part of the deaf community’s identity. All Deaf people who sign in the U.S. use the same language, American Sign Language. It wasn’t until 1965 that ASL began to actually be considered a language in the hearing world. There is still conflict in some schools today that don’t consider ASL as a separate language. ASL is the natural language of the Deaf.
In the Deaf community not speaking is highly valued and extremely encouraged. For all of Deaf history speech was often times forced on them, which is why speaking is seen as confinement and depriving to adults of their native language. It is seen as rude to talk or exaggerate mouth movements in front of a Deaf person.
Social events and socializing are a very big part of the deaf community. Since there are typically less deaf people all in one area, when there is an event it will go for a long time to ensure everyone gets to visit. When leaving a Deaf person will typically go around and let everyone know their leaving as well as make plans to visit again. The deaf community is very tightly connected and active.
The Deaf community has many of their own forms of literature. From storytelling, different types of poetry, art, media, theater, games and more. All of these types of literature support and demonstrate how Deaf people live their lives, that they are proud to be deaf.
In Deaf culture staring is considered normal and necessary. To break eye contact with someone you are having a conversation with is considered extremely rude.
- Facial Expressions
Using facial expressions is completely normal and is a part of ASL. While overuse of facial expressions is looked as strange in the hearing world, it’s a part of signing. It’s a part of the grammar.
In the Deaf community, you usually introduce yourself with your full name and something about you. Typically, one would tell where they grew up and what school they attended. The Deaf community is very small in comparison to the hearing world, so when meeting someone new they like to make connections.