Through Joey’s Eyes 1: Who Divides Us?

After watching “Through Deaf Eyes”, I made a vlog sharing my thoughts and I realized that I was talking about two different topics.  So I decided to split my vlog into two parts so we can discuss on the topics clearer. This is first part, “Who Divides Us?” and see second part,”We are Fine! right under this post.


  • Sarah 17 years ago

    I would like to respond to the #1’s question above. Why do we sometimes feel the need to be divided; we, D/deaf people, ourselves doing that, that is…I can offer one perspective and i am sure that there are more but here’s one…It is insecurity that we carry inside ourselves for the unbeknownst within deaf (not Deaf) people. That unbeknowst deaf people carry is the pseudo power they have instilled inside themselves that came from certain hearing people. Those hearing people who frown upon the Deaf culture and Deaf people thus the deaf people grow up marginalized within the hearing world as well as ending up marginalized outside the Deaf world later on. I can still remember clearly how often i as a multi-generational Deaf person was intimidated by deaf classmates at the Deaf school. Intimidating approaches i got from deaf classmates related to my ASL, an absolute no speaking ability, having come from a Deaf family, so on. Those deaf classmates had no idea what damages they were causing to the Deaf culture and they were very innocent at the same time. They were completely molded by hearing people who specifically rejected Deaf culture and its values. They grew up being stuck in such encasing in many cases or to some extent. When i am around one, i feel threatened because i get no protection from them for my own culture is being at stake due to their hearing-instilled mentality. It’s not their fault if they have not reached the point where they understand how they got it inside them and strive to make a change inside themselves. Hence, i feel a need to set the boundary where i cannot feel truly or mutually bonded with them, obviously. If they come to a realization of how they got such mentality and attitude, and they strive to change and become our friends, be evolved Deaf people, etc., i can imagine how much less dividing among us it will get.

    Ironically (just remembered one another perspective), on the other hand, deaf people suffer the bigot attitude from Deaf people projected toward at them when they didn’t do anything. Sigh…You know, we have to admit it’s one of funny things that make our lives so interesting and, admittingly, beautiful in its own sense.

  • KD 17 years ago

    Something came to mind, relating to AGBell wanting ot divide deaf people, and Rosalyn Gannon talking aobut hours of working on how to make sound. I rememer those boring days, in huge classroom, waiting our turn.

    I do not know about you guys. But I remembered my deaf mother telling me that when she enrolled in the deaf school in 1925. The superintendent, a fluent signer, told her parents [my grandparents] not to learn sign language, “If you do, your daughter will lose her speech.”. HELLO! When mom went to deaf school, she had no language and no communication skills. My mom’s sister [15 months older] was the one who could understand my mom. Grandma could only communicate with my mother thru writing. I mean, once the school taught my mother how to read and write.

    As for me, 1955 was when I was enrolled in the deaf school. Many teachers/workers [except for the deaf teachers/workers] could not sign. We were lucky a few could sign and made an effort to learn sign. In 1982, one of my former housemother looked me up, we spent few hours visiting. No sign, she did not know any. She told me that when she was hired to work at the school [I believe it was 1960 or 61], the principal…fluent signer…told her not to learn sign . The girls need to use their voice in the dorm. What a laugh! I recall that same housemother, when she tries to solve problem, would ask one of the trusted girl with good voice quality to INTERPRET.

  • Peachlady 17 years ago


  • DE 17 years ago

    Responding to #1 anonymous… um- like Dr. Genie Gertz said, “We Deaf people… educate ourselves!”. That’s the point– we are capable of educating ourselves, self-determination, etc. I don’t think it’s about “we don’t need hearing people!”- it’s more about “are we counting on ourselves enough?”

  • Keri 17 years ago

    A.G. Bell was attempting to eradicate the deaf population by trying to ban deaf from marrying each other. He believe that it would prevent deaf people from having deaf children. What he didn’t realize was that 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. He also was a strong advocate of eugenics (eradicating less-than-normal people). Ironically, Hitler learned about eugenics from him and went on to make history: the Holocaust. The USA was just as responsible for the Holocaust as Hitler was.

    As a a Deaf community, we need to unite in order to educate the hearing people about ourselves, our language and our culture. By dividing ourselves from the hearing world, we won’t be able to accomplish that. I have noticed that the Deaf community is divided in some ways: oralists, deaf of deaf, mainstreamed, deaf school upbrining, etc. An elite deaf actor even accused me of not being deaf enough simply because I did not grow up at a deaf school. I explained that I went to MSSD but because I was attending a “hearing” university, I still wasn’t deaf enough. Then I mentioned my deaf brother and he was like, “Oh, that’s different, yes, you are Deaf.”

    That whole experience APPALLED me. I am very proud to call myself Deaf with a capitol ‘D’ and no one can tell me otherwise. This is just one small example of how our own Deaf community is divided. For many, many years, the hearing people have divided us and taught us to reject one another. It’s now learned behavior. It will be hard work to UNLEARN this behavior but I believe it can happen. Deaf unite! =)

  • Jessica 17 years ago


    Good question to ask ourselves that. Thanks for presenting that with us. I liked what Joey said about having them as allies. We all need each other.

  • For DE 17 years ago

    Right on! Remmy Madsen’s famous poem “You have to be deaf to understand the deaf.”

  • Mike Baker 17 years ago

    BRAVO! It’s time to unite all the deaf communities as a whole. I’m glad you’re making alot of new friends. We all make new friend as we open up to acceptance. You bring up an excellent example of how we all can be a friendly and loving ciommunity. Smile.

  • LaRonda 17 years ago

    Joey, Nice vlog.

    I wanted to add that my understanding was that AGB wanted to prevent Deaf people from marrying each other in an attempt to stop and “erase” the passing on of the hereditary Deaf gene that some Deaf people carry. He married his own Deaf wife for that reason, to eradicate genetic/hereditary deafness.

    So sad.

    Wasn’t Hitler the same way? Wanting to eradicate certain genetic breeds of people? Trying to create a pure race?


    ~ LaRonda

  • DE 17 years ago


    Right on– Hitler was like AGB. Like Keri (#6) said, AGB was heavily involved in the U.S. Eugenics movement. In other words, AGB gave Hitler plenty of ideas– but Hitler outdid AGB by actually making AGB’s ideas reality.

    Study more on the Eugenics movement, and we’ll find that the U.S. actively promoted that, and that AGB himself was Honorary President of the National Eugenics something!

    Funny how history heroically paints AGB… time for the truth to come out.

    Now- back to the question of “who divides us”, I look forward to the day where EVERY Deaf American, no matter our background or ASL skills, bands together and topples the evil AGB empire– they are the real dividers and murderers of our minds, bodies, and souls.


  • Sarah 17 years ago

    Replying to #12:

    Oh, no, i think you misunderstood my comment. What i meant to say is that the one of reasons why the splits within the deaf world keeps happening is because of the perspective i brought up as one of the possible aspects. By no means at all do i want that to happen! In fact, if you ask my friends, they would immediately say i am well-known for bringing different groups within a community together. I was only saying what had happened to me way back in my childhood years and, as you can see from my post #2, i clearly explained that if those deaf people with instilled hearing mentality come to a realization what they have been doing to Deaf people and strive to make a change, the splitting among us would lessen for that specific aspect.

    Of course, it has to happen vice versa. I was speaking objectively and sorry if you misunderstood my nature of the post. Hope this clears up the misunderstanding.


  • Mia 17 years ago

    Number One=AGB must going out of business due oppression to Deaf society ejected sign langauge, no wonder Deaf Cultures ain’t getting enough attention to win hearts and minds. Oralists, Hearing easily to win hearts and minds magnet with growing fast business in every world.

  • Tami 17 years ago

    We, Deaf community, friends, families, etc beat AGB’s dream or wish.

    We are all strong deaf community to support each other as family!

    I am glad that TV show showed to all views who would understand our deafness. And we wanted to thank to PBS!

  • Darlene Ewan 17 years ago

    I don’t want to impose myself as AGB supporter; however, AGB proved right that Deaf people do produce Deaf children. It is proven that Deaf and Deaf is hereditary but more research is needed in the genetics area.

    AGB is still wrong for making it clear that we (Deaf) should not marry each others. It is a form of eugenics without any sugery performed. Unfortunately, eugenics still exist in this country.

  • DE 17 years ago

    Darlene (#16),

    Actually, hearing people produce Deaf children. Over 90% of Deaf people come from hearing parents. AGB should have banned marriage between hearing people. 🙂

    Yes, over 90% of Deaf genes are “hereditary”, but it doesn’t mean that all carriers ARE Deaf. Hope I’m being clear myself?

    Yes, there are Deaf genes, but not all carriers are Deaf.

  • Tara (MO) 17 years ago

    Facts…no question!

    Great Vlog and I enjoyed you sharing your inputs. 🙂

  • Linda (Parker) Carrus 17 years ago

    I am so impressed with Joey’s Vlog. This very recent video where Kevin Nolan performed. I know him so well. I want to congrat for his great performance as well for other actors. I can see how benefit for Vlog to us and I indeed learn a big time….for instance airport issue and so forth. I am so glad you all created so much for deaf communties. Keep us ongoing and build for the best in the future. Congrats Joey for your efforts to provide us. Linda (Raku)

  • Jessica 17 years ago

    Laronda and DE and Keri,

    A friend mentioned to me that she read about the information mentioning Hitler and AGB at the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC so can check there for more specific information. Sounds kind of ironic.

  • Chriz 17 years ago

    Darlene and DE- Just an interesting tidbit I picked up… according to my interpretation of a report written by two researchers, R.E. Mitchell and M.A. Karchmer in 2002, “Chasing the Mythical Ten Percent: Parental Hearing Status of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in the United States”, they felt that the actual number fell somewhere between 92% to 96%. If this is true, AGB had absolutely nothing to worry about, eh?

  • Craig P 17 years ago

    Yes, I agree with you. We are in very deep root of being divided amongst us for many years. I often call real Babel’s Deaf community.
    Look at Cohlear implant that is good example of best Babel. What i talk about old testmanet under Bible Babel Tower that caused people divided due to different languages!

  • Darlene Ewan 17 years ago


    You are right. There are more Deaf children that have hearing parents. They produce more Deaf children than Deaf of Deaf according to the numbers.

    AGB argued that Deaf marry Deaf will produce Deaf children. For example, Connexin 26 produce deaf children. Deaf C26 marry Deaf C26 make C26 Deaf children. AGB’s arguement on genetics is partially correct.

    I wonder if Deaf Genetics professionals uses AGB’s work in their lab? I wonder? I also found Dr. Fay’s family tree useful and helpful in finding more Deaf members in my family.

  • RLM 17 years ago

    I always enjoy your vlog presentations which the computer couldn’t run your vlog on Window Media Player for days.

    We could see that you are the real consceus builder among us, the Post-UFG Protest Deaf Community.

    With due respect, I strongly feel that the PBS documentary, “Thur Deaf Eyes” could do much better than this one with more clarity on historical contexts of societial beliefs (Greek-Romano and Socarates to Dutch psychologist) and development of deaf education from the Cobbs School Plantation, the first school of the deaf in Fredericksburg area (VA) from the unsuccessful attempts of creating the oral school by the Braidwood Family of England in Baltimore, MD BEFORE the American School of the Deaf.

    This documentary ought to include the prosperous era for deaf people in mid-1800s like more salaried citizens ever better paid than hearing counterparts and highest literacy rate as compared to the latter-datter 1900s with the introduction of Combined Methods and oral schools.

    That would be really nice if the PBS documentary mentioned AGB’s efforts with the state legislatures for creating the exclusionary schools of the deaf (oral instruction) like the Lexington School of the Deaf. AGB’s agruments would be seen as moot and illogical about his claim for deaf people being assimilated with the rest of society if they learn to speak and act like hearing people. In the end, graduates of Lexington School of the Deaf ended up founding their own social club for oral deaf people excluding from the society at large.

    The television viewers, especially hearing viewers will see the logical means of signing educational environment as most practical and cost-effective as compared to the costly approach of oral education of the deaf.

    PBS Documentary did not list all the recommended materials for reading and viewing (DVD, vlogs) lists.

    Real good to see you back on the Deaf Blogsphere.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  • CODA observer 17 years ago

    Joey was talking about Sheila Jacobs and when he mentioned the event that was controlled by hearing people. Why can\’t SF people let Sheila Jacobs lead the Gallaudet healing group? She is a CODA which means she is hearing and deaf, too. I am a CODA and from Frederick. I am proud of it. There is nothing wrong with hearing people teaching deaf people new things. There are a lot of things deaf people do not know. They can benefit from working with CODAs and hearing people.

  • DE 17 years ago

    For “CODA observer” (#25),

    “There are a lot of things deaf people do not know.”

    Geez.. what a blatantly AUDIST statement. We know PLENTY, thank you very much. We do not need your audist attitude pulling us down and dividing us.

    Again and again, Deaf people educate ourselves, and we have a lot to offer the world, you included. Keep your audism in check and you’ll learn a thing or two.

    Keep in mind, without Deaf people, hearing people including CODAs do not have jobs. (Interpreting, social services, teacher training programs, audiology, etc… the list goes on and on.)

  • Colin 17 years ago

    to #25:

    One of the many wrong things about this event is that many deaf residents & organizers in Bay Area weren’t informed of this event that prints, “..for Deaf Leaders (of Bay Area)”.

    She said on the flyer that many organizations sponsored this event. This is not the truth. Another mispresenting. So naturally we do not want to work with what appears to be a dishonest person.

    We no longer want to let hearing people represents what they think we want or need. If we need it, great we’ll ask for it & we can work together but we no longer want to “let” a hearing person “run the show” or takes all the profits off our misery or situation that resulted within the deaf people. Worse she’s mispresenting us our ideas/visions quite badly.

    One DEAF person who is an expert in mental health field, offered to continue this event (before it was cancelled), but bearing her name or act as co-coordinator or director or whatever…for political reason – for Deaf people to gain confidence in this event concept. We wanted to seek compromise for everybody involved. But Sheila Jacobs refuses – why? Because “it’s my idea!”, she said. She must have this event that bears her and and her company, “DoublePride”.

    This group constis of 6 or 7 hearing actors and only 3 deaf actors. Something wrong with this picture, no?

    The list goes on and on…

    We already had our healing process last December through Deaf Unity Gala in Pleasanton. it was a great event. There were so many hearing people and CODAs there as well. We all worked well together. That’s what you meant, #25? Isn’t it?

    THAT is why we are not comfortable with the cancelled event’s concept.

    We are only protecting ourselves, our Deaf people.

  • Cry Me A River 17 years ago

    I wonder if AGB lived to see today, would he react differently?

  • Cry Me A River 17 years ago

    #24 RLM-

    The social club u are referring to is Union League of the Deaf, known as “UL”. They were established by 4 individuals by the name of Adolf Pfeiffer, Charles A. Bothner, Samuel Frankenheim and Joseph Yankauer. I believe these guys were ASL users. You stated it was formed for oral deaf people excluding from the society at large. That is not correct. More info can be found at Gallaudet University Archives (MSS 69).

  • RLM 17 years ago

    Cry Me River #29,

    Many thanks for clearing up the misconception of the Union League of the Deaf (“UL”) for deaf readers in general.

    I meant to make the argument about AGB’s claims being a total failure of engineering deaf oralists into the full assimilation with the hearing society at large. The deaf graduates of the Lexington School of the Deaf ended socialized with their own people including broader social networks of other deaf people.

    I was totally exhausted that late Friday night. I accepted all responsibilty for not being clear on the definition of the United League of the Deaf.

    Thanks again for making the clarification on this subject. I truly appreciate it very much.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  • deafk 17 years ago

    to # 26.

    Amen! You surely give me a new perspective on the society!! That how we need to speak out about the issue with audism. How interesting!!

    Thanks again!


  • John Uri 17 years ago

    Thank you Joey, for your words as I agreed with you as we do have some problems in Australia with the other languages. As I have noticed that Signed English and Mainstreams educations has caused the Deaf Community to be weaken and also our Auslan language is losing due to the other language.
    Still fighting for our language rights as to be run by the Deaf and not the hearing.


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