Through Deaf Eyes
Through Deaf Eyes, PBS Documentary
First of all, everyone is capable of communicating. We as a society need to figure out what is the best way to communicate with each other. This film talks about many different conflicts of prejudice, bigotry, and mistreatment of those in the Deaf community are common. The film gives the experience and history of family life, education, society relations, and work from a deaf people’s viewpoint. The first time I watched this video, I thought that deaf people had a really hard life. They strived to not be outsider and received in the “hearing world” and just be an equal to those that could hear. They wanted to be able to use their own communication mode, and overall be themselves. With all the great interviews and stories, it gave the film a more personal touch. The film was very emotionally to watch. I had a couple different feels come up while watching the film. I was mad when I saw what the deaf people had to go through, and sad watching what the children had to endure at school. People in the deaf community had to strive for everything over several years, and even today. I do believe there is still discrimination and oppression still today, especially in areas where there not many people who are deaf.
In the constantly fast paced changing world, the Deaf community has experience different revolutions of places, languages, and identity. These experiences do have a deep impact on the historic origins. The majority of people think deaf means cannot hear, but to the people who are deaf and the people in this film it means so a great deal more. This film does not really talk about the history from the perspective of sentimentality. This motion picture takes a clear-cut look at the cultural linguistic group that uses ASL and how they look at themselves as a Deaf and those who identify themselves as deaf, but does not identify with the Deaf community. There are many intersections between the Deaf and deaf people and inequality and maltreatment experiences are common.
I was surprised at some of things, like a deaf rock band, for instance. As well as, other surprises, that how people thought that being deaf needed a “cure”. Some of the attempts of “curing” came from religious healings, electrical impulses, quick diving airplane rides, or meeting a hero that is a baseball player. These confusing ideas/events in the lives of people who are deaf just compounded their relationship with the hearing world.
This documentary shows the formation of education for the deaf, from the first school to for the deaf in 1817 to the 20th century mainstreaming movement. Also, talks about Gallaudet University being formed in 1864, in Washington, DC. This is the only college that deaf people could earn a college degree in a signing community. Through Deaf Eyes” shows the discussion on how to educate the deaf children. Alexander Graham Bell thought he knew what was best for the deaf people education. He fought all deaf children should be taught pure oral method without using signs. He argued that deaf teachers should not teach deaf children, because they would initiate sign language and would be able to teach during speech. This philosophy was well accepted. Also, Bell thought deaf people should not marry deaf people. He warned if they allowed this there would be a formation of a “‘deaf race'”. The ‘deaf race’ would form deaf churches, clubs, schools, and social events.
Technology has help the Deaf community thrive, with the inventions of teletype machines to closed captions on TV and in movies to text cell phones, being able to communicate with each other and to enjoy the world around them along the side of the “hearing world.” The debate of using or not to use cochlear implants, and the struggles parents are having trying to make the best decision for their child/children.
In conclusion, deafness and acceptance of deaf people have evolved over the years. The film brings history of how the deaf community to the front position and that deafness is much more than just learning another mode of communication. The Deaf community is a culture of its own and wanting the same things and accomplishing their goals. Educating deaf children has significantly changed with the acceptance of sign language, even though there are some oral schools that are still equipping deaf children. Deaf people have achieved and overcame so many obstacles within their society and the “hearing world.” Being a student, I get to see and study how prevailing this culture is.