Tuesday, July 04, 2006


What's your take on Deafhood??

I shared with a friend in CA that I found the term awkward. The core word, "hood", to me, refers to a certain time in a lifetime, a phase. Motherhood is the time in a woman's life when she is raising her children, but when her children leave home, the motherhood chapter of her life ends, and her life transits. Empty Nest Syndrome? Grandmotherhood? Career? Back to school? Among few instances. My friend listened to my take of the word and shared with people in her town in CA....and brought back some feedback. One person said it can apply in the same way as in a "brotherhood," as in a fraternity. I replied to my friend I accepted the concept when given in that context.

However, now I had time to ponder upon this...even with a fraternity, the time phase applies. A fraternity brotherhood is active during college years, however, often as is the reality, the brotherhood diminishes or becomes insignificant when the members graduate or leave college. The "hood" is gone. They reunite every few years and do some kind of ceremony or whatever, but go their separate ways afterwards. So...Deafhood remains an awkward, inappropiate word. I wonder how the heck Paddy came up with the idea to use "hood"??

It is not really a process as he describes if he insists on using the "hood" word. It would mean more like a "fraternity", a group of people sharing same views, ideas, values, goals and such. In that context, I would be comfortable about using the "hood". Otherwise, somebody will need to come up with another word if the key concept remains " a life process towards identity as a deaf person and reaching out to others towards unity."

Not that I am against the "Deafhood" concept. I absolutely agree with the part where the medical perspective of deafness needs to be removed, and to instill deafess as a life process, acceptance, and self-identity. It is only the word chosen to describe the process that is awkward to me.

Maybe I am just picky.

What do you say?


Anonymous said...

Just me checking to see if the comment enabler is on.

BBV said...

I read some deaf blogs and looks like many deafies agree "hood" word is awkward and they don't feel comfortable with the word, too. You are not the only one.

Myself, I am not sure because English is not my strong area and I think many deafies feel unsure too because most of us are weak with English words. The Deaf Elite decide for us. I hope they know what they are doing when they decided to use word "Deafhood." I hate to look like fools to the hearing people!

blogfan said...

Interesting discusson on Deafhood. On Ridor, this topic involve too much politics and not enough about feelings about it.

I wonder if the concept was recycled? There were many deaf rights movements in the past, and I wonder if this concept was already used? Did Paddy borrow the concept from a past movement and recycle it for new generation? I wonder because many people roll up their eyes and say "here we go again."

I am not an expert in Deaf History so I don't know if it is really a new concept or not.

Anonymous said...
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BEG said...

I don't know. I don't care for the word, myself. But in my context & upbringing, it has more the "-'hood" connotation -- downtrodden, discriminated, angry, even violent. (Which may be sort of appropriate, sans violence of course, in some ways...)

On the other hand, I was mainstreamed, so I'm not necessarily any more aware than a hearing person might be about this.

For example, "deafie" is an interesting word to me. (Came across it the first time several weeks ago.) I had thought it referred to anyone who is deaf, but I've also seen some suggestion it applies only to those born deaf, or deafened so young as to not really remember hearing. (I'm a "deafie" either way.)

There's probably many terms to examine, really. There's a lot of labels flung around, and I find many applied to me that I have never used for myself...

What, for example, is "Deaf Elite"??

BEG said...

That post was badly constructed. The terms I was thinking of that have been applied to me include HOH, etc. The question about Deaf Elite was separate from that, I'm asking about it after seeing it the first time in the comments above.

Anonymous said...

Cy- I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about what you think of the word "deafhood" and that you think it doesnt apply because when you think about brotherhood or motherhood, it only applies to parts of the human life cycle. What about "womenhood"? Isnt that for an entire lifecycle? Also, when you talk about "brotherhood", let's add "sisterhood", you may think that is just a phase as as during college, but not neccessarily... I see groups of friendships made while growning up, in college, or at jobs will remain close friends for the rest of their lives. If the word "deafhood" is still feeling awkard for you, could you propose other words that would make sense to you? And, I agree with you, it's time for Deafness to go.

Anonymous said...

I am father. Both my children are now adult but I am still their father. It is a progress that does not stop; it will never end.

Cy said...


That post was badly constructed.

Which one are you referrng to?

As for "deaf elite," they are usually in reference to these who grow up and graduate from schools for the deaf and/or those from deaf families, and/or identify themselves very strongly as deaf person, also termed as "culturally Deaf."

It has been said it is the "deaf elite" who are causing the problems, rocking the boats, etc. That other groups in the Deaf community don't experience audism or have any complaintsm, thus, coining us as "deaf elite." A "rogue" group of deaf people who think they are such a elite group that they have to "speak" for the deaf community because they "don't know any better."

This is just the general concept.

Cy said...

Carl Schroder,

I am a mother, too. Right now my children are minors, and I am responsible for them, for their well being, for their education, for raising them, to transport them, to make decisions for them, etc. That is the time of my motherhood...When they turn 18, legally adults, all that are taken away. I will no longer be responsible for them. I will still be their mother in biological sense, indeed, but my role as a mother to minors, thus motherhood, will transit into as a mother of adult children which is entirely a different relationship and life phase. Motherhood usually refer to the life phase when a mother is actively raising their minor chidren. Mothers of adult children do not raise their children - they take on different role, thus into a different "hood."

If "hood" means a process of transition, then I can buy that.