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May 11, 2004

The Deaf Can’t Hear, But They Have Feelings Too

From: My High School Journalism - May 11, 2004

Miami Springs Senior High School
Miami Springs, FL

By Saray Nuno

Deaf people, or hard-of-hearing people have been stereotyped for many years and still are made fun of today. Deaf people are treated unfairly just because they can't hear or speak, but this is no reason why they should be humiliated. Deaf people are human, and have feelings, but that is not enough to stop the harsh treatment they receive for no apparent reason. When many people think of deaf people, they automatically think they are handicapped, and unable to do anything because of their deafness. This is not true, deaf people can do anything hearing people can do.

In every country of the world there are deaf people, and each country has their own sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the ways deaf people communicate here in the US, and it's a very unique language to learn. Each word has its own sign, each letter in the alphabet has its own sign, and ASL has rules just like any other language. ASL is taught in many schools in the US including here at MSSH.

A couple of months ago, one of the ASL classes here in MSSH held class outside. As the students signed to their classmates and to their teacher, other students stared, laughed and pointed at the ASL students as if they were doing something humorous. The ASL students felt very uncomfortable, and they realized it doesn't feel good to be looked at as a "weird" person.

Deaf people are looked at and ridiculed at times because of the way they communicate. It is definitely not easy for deaf people to walk around and be seen as being different. Many people just don't understand that deaf people do have many disadvantages but they are still regular people like everyone else.

Imagine how difficult it is when deaf people go to a restaurant, and they try to order food. Of course, one might think deaf people have someone to translate, but what if they don't? What if the waiter doesn't know Sign Language? The deaf person would just have to write down their order. Picture how life would be without being able to hear anything, no music, no birds singing, and the laughter of children, thunder, or anything at all. Not being able to go to the movies because they are not close captioned, and many other disadvantages deaf people have to face because of their deafness. It wouldn't be easy at all right? But deaf people still manage to live and enjoy life.

Next time if you see a deaf person, try to put yourself in their shoes and try to be open-minded. Respect them, and don't make them feel uncomfortable, because no one likes to be made fun of.

© 2004 My High School Journalism