June 6, 2018
Audism is the ideal of being superior to those who do not have the ability to hear or speak. In other views, it means pure oppression towards Deaf people. For many years, this term is very much still alive and rooted into our everyday life as a Deaf person. Audism can be something small and unnoticeable. Take this scenario for instance, when talking with a Deaf person and a hearing person realizes that they are deaf, they tend to respond by saying “Oh, never mind.” Not taking the time to communicate is a subtle sign of audism. Audism has resulted in negative outcomes for the Deaf community.
Tom Humphries is an American Academic Author as well a professor on Deaf Culture and Communication. He came up with the term; Audism. In his words, Audism means “the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears” (Humphries, 1977). This is to represent the negative stigma that is based by pathological thinking. The word “Audism” is a term for a Deaf person to truly explain how a negative experience that is oppressed is much more than just an experience.
There are many different views and approaches that are used to this day to address Deaf education. There have been countless disagreements and controversies of how to teach the Deaf. Mainstream, Deaf institutes, total communication, oralism and many more; those are some of the examples. One specific method that has changed the Deaf world for worse. The definition of Oralism means the system of teaching Deaf people to communicate by the use of speech and lip-reading rather than sign language. Alexander Graham Bell (AGB) perceived the Deaf as a medical fix to fit better into the hearing world. He is known “as the father of oralism in American Deaf education.”(Benito, 2014 January 29) Before oralism was introduced and known as a recognized method for the Deaf; Deaf utopia did actually once exist. Not only it did once exist, the language was thriving and vibrant. When oralism was plagiarizing all over the system of Deaf education, the language became lost and that’s the issue with sign language. The language, itself is ephemeral. It’s a language that you can’t write down and rewind in time 3,000 years ago as compared to a spoken and written language. American Sign Language is a live vivacious three-dimensional language.
In the 1880, there was a large multi-country infamous conference that was held in Milan, Italy. The conference was known as the Second International Congress on the Education of the Deaf and it was a gathering of all the Deaf educators expect of those Deaf educators. The Deaf teachers were excluded from their own platform of the education of the Deaf. Meanwhile, that was going on all of the educators that were there; were favorable patrons of the use of Oralism. In Fact, they were successful to make this a wide-spread recognized use of teaching approach towards the Deaf Education. They passed a law that banned the use of American Sign Language, requiring the use of Oral in all the Deaf institutes and programs. Essentially replacing ASL with speech. This led to Oral method specialists taking over the positions of Deaf teachers in all Deaf institutes and programs nationwide. “As a result of the conference in Milan, Deaf teachers lost their jobs, as there was an overall decline in Deaf professionals, like writers, artists, and lawyers.”(Berke, 2018 May 22) Deaf students were prohibited to use any form of gesture or signing, if they did so and were caught it resulted into severe disciplinary punishments such as slapping down their hands with a ruler, or tied down hands. They even took those actions farther than necessary. Those who signed in secret while off campus would still get into trouble when they arrived back onto the campus. Forcing the student to learn something that is a feigned voice not their own voice vividly.
Taking everything into account of all what has happened in the past. Audism still to this day happens. Here are a few examples of audism that often happens. Obviously one of them is not taking the time to communicate