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1. Outsiders looking in
Thu, Aug 19, 1999 - 11:49 PM/EST

I'm hearing, and my husband is deaf. We find that people of our generation and younger, people in their early 30s and younger, seem to have more tolerance, understanding, acceptance, call it what you will, of differences in relationships, and acceptance of those who are different. Other opinions?

2. Acceptance -- also Deafness
Fri, Aug 20, 1999 - 12:35 PM/EST

I agree that the younger generation seems much more tolerant of differences in race, religion, etc. in relationships.

My 22-year-old son is deaf. He was educated at a school for the deaf, but mainstreamed into a local private school for many subjects. He is now a graduate student at Gallaudet University. He has a very strong identity as a deaf person and while he gets along well with hearing people in general (and has intelligible speech and some residual hearing), he greatly prefers the company of deaf people. Despite the efforts of many hearing people to include him, much of the time he feels like an outsider looking in in the hearing world. He says he can't imagine himself marrying a hearing person.

I always looked on raising Danny as I would if I had adopted a child of a different ethnic origin than my own. We always tried to expose him to deaf culture and provide opportunities where he could interact with deaf adults, etc. If I had adopted a child from Korea, let's say, I would feel an obligation to expose that child to the culture of his native land in addition to my own influences.

I know that many people reading this probably aren't aware of how many deaf people view themselves--certainly NOT as handicapped--but more as part of a different cultural group with its own language, traditions, etc.

Would be interested in any comments.

3. diferences and isolation
Fri, Aug 20, 1999 - 3:31 PM/EST

I am so relieved that you are bringing up the subject of deaf culture.

Over the years I've lived in seven countries and enjoyed the challenges to survival. I have also recognised that in my own country there are distinct cultural groups with challenges to survival built into belonging.

The deaf culture is a very important and somewhat invisible part of our society. It was my daughter's fascination with the structure of language which opened my eyes to this wonder! She took a masters at Gallaudet. She is not deaf. I had no idea how strong and widespread the deaf culture.

There is the culture of African Americans which we have been discussing in most of the postings.

There is gay culture which we have not mentioned at all. And in gay culture there is that of men and that of women.

And then there is another phenomena. Women who only do business with other women. Gay persons who only do business with other gay persons. Black persons who only do business with non whites. Religious groups, imigrant groups, etc.

All of these identity groups create isolation for their members. But I think it also simplifys living and makes a person feel safer.

4. Are the young (under 40) more tollerant?
Fri, Aug 20, 1999 - 5:10 PM/EST

Okey, I missed this point the first time thru.

The young, as you say early thirties may seem more tollerant to you because you are one of them. I have found our American young to be oblivious to anyone much over 40. It has been my experience that white hair or age symptoms create a sort of blindfold reaction. Most of the social parties are set up so no children and no older folks are invited. And if they are invited they are pointedly informed they are expected to leave early. Family reunions are the exception to this.

It is my experience that our young people are intollerant of generational differences. Maybe they were listened to a bit too much and developed the opinion that wisdom is inborn with youth and dissipates with usage until the old are foolish.

Talk about diminishing returns!

5. To Lynn re generational tolerance
Fri, Aug 20, 1999 - 6:03 PM/EST

You gave me a real chuckle. I agree that the young are intolerant, at least as intolerant as they seem to think "older" people are. I know for a fact that at 21 I knew everything that was important and was severely critical of people of my parents'generation and beyond. The problem frequently arises because we (younger people and older people) are in different places and stages of learning in life. What is a big, thrilling NEW thing for my 25 year old friend is a "been there, done that" kind of experience for me. I, too, had an epiphany of a similar nature at his age, but don't expect me to get all excited about learning something I learned thirty years ago! I'm glad for you, but.... Know what I mean?

6. generational differences/disapproval??
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 1:39 AM/EST

For me personally, I don't feel that I separate myself from older generations, becuase those I socialize with most are my family and family friends, who are of all different ages. I can't speak for others, though, and you may have a good point about younger and older generations being separated.

On another note, a thought, or question. This crosses several boundaries. As I said before, I am hearing and my husband is deaf. I work with numerous deaf people and he works with all hearing people. The deaf people that I work with, and some I have met outside of work, know that I am married to a man who is deaf, and they often give us the cold shoulder. I often wonder if they think that I have "stolen" someone from their group or that he "defected" to the hearing side, becuase he didn't marry a deaf woman. I imagine, though don't know, this happens in bi-racial relationships, and in families where there are strong and deep rooted religious differences. Other thoughts?

7. Wow, its tough when its you
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 2:13 AM/EST

Its really tough when its you and you don't know to expect it. My daughter was going "seriously" with a deaf man while at Gallaudet and she told me about the closed nature of deaf culture. ( If you want a real storm bring up the subject of ear implants.)

It is astonishing to encounter such a cold shoulder. I was working on a mural with several members of a black Pentacostal church and brought the mural to my church one Sunday. Most of the congregation were thrilled and contributed money to help with materials even tho that was NOT why I brought the mural. However two of the members of the congregation whispered in my ear where no one would notice...that I was not to bring "my friends" to church. These two did it quite independantly and I am certain the rest of the congregation would not have agreed. It did frighten me. It also made me feel yukky that I never mentioned it to anyone else in the congregation.

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