Understanding Deafhood: Our Language

This video is the second part of the Understanding Deafhood presentation series at the NAD conference last June.  Understanding Deafhood: Our Language, a 12-minute video will discuss four things:  1) What the “Deaf” term means to different populations 2) Deafhood Dimensions, 3) Deafhood Journey and Process, and 4) Choices Deaf individuals make. Again, it was very challenging to trim the video down from 90 minutes to 12 minutes but I am confident the eye-opening segment will spur further discussion. Thank you for your interest in learning more about Deafhood!


  • Jared Evans 18 years ago

    I just wanted to let you know that a shipment of the Deafhood book just arrived at DawnSign Press. I’ll be getting my own copy tomorrow!

  • noreen 18 years ago

    joey & ella mae, GREAT job as always!

  • Penny 18 years ago

    I like the second part best so far. Well presented, Ella Mae Lentz! I literally felt like I was in a Live workshop with you for 90 minutes, but no, I was at home. Your presentation was informative and concise. You are definitely born to the stage and there are not many like you out there today. We gotta pay real good attention to you. We need to share your views with others. Thanks- Penny 🙂

  • Paul Kiel 18 years ago

    Very good video! I like how Ella Mae Lentz explained the Deafhood concept. I look forward to the next video!

    Joey – good job!

    Ella Mae – very good lecturer!

    Ella Mae can come to St. Louis and be audism buster! =^)


  • Tayler 18 years ago


  • Rene Visco 18 years ago

    What’s the difference between “deafhood” and “Deaf”?

  • Matt Ellis 18 years ago

    Great job!!!!
    Felt like I was there!
    Thanks for spreading the “gospel!”

  • deafmommy 18 years ago

    I was not at the NAD convention so maybe you already did it but I could make a suggestion that we could take a look at other disabiility community e.g. midgets, blind or cerebal palsy because they tend to label themselves as one word instead of dividing into many different organizations depending on their degree of disability. Is that possible? This way, we would understand deafhood more better because it is scaring many deafies that they may have to give up their VR/SSI/disability checks when it is not true, it is simply just how we “see ourselves” in the community.

  • Rima 18 years ago

    I didnt get chance to attend to NAD. It was wonderful that you, Joey came with ASL blog with as much as you can put. Making the video 12 mintues from 90 mintues is never easy! And it has covered very well.

    I wish it can covered more. Workshop and lecture happening in Northern California will be even better. I hope that will happen soon. So the people who missed or want to hear it again can get the chance to sit and listen, put us in thinking! DEAFHOOD was a wonderful word showing what we have been feeling since we born or become deaf.

    Many thanks for doing that hard work and exposure that with best ability of ASL blog!

    Also many thanks to Ella Mae Lentz and collagues who has been working on the lecture and make it a great way to spread LOUD and CLEAR!

  • Rene Visco 18 years ago

    Want to follow up on my previous comment.

    I want to applaud their efforts (DE, GG, Ella and Joey) and their energy to inspire us to be closer and work together to achieve a common goal: to make this world a better place.

    Loved how this blog is designed and implemented!

    I’m very much concerned about what “Deafhood” means to other parties such as social welfare, medicial professionals.

    The word, “Deaf” is already defined differently by those different groups.

    Can the word, “Deafhood” make itself universal to others unlike “Deaf”?

    I have no problems with the concept/expereince/journey of the “Deafhood”, but I do have a problem with the naked word, “Deafhood”.

    I don’t see any blacks using the word, “Blackhood”. Or gays using this term, “Gayhood”?

    I’m afraid that the general public will think and automatically group “Deafhood” in the same category as “ghetto”, “the hood”, or some kind of miliant groups.

    I believe it’s not smart to use the word, “Deafhood” because the hearing people and the medicial community will take advantage of parents of Deaf children’s fears and *FRAME* the debate to their advantage. It’s so easy and effortless to place “Deafhood” in the same category of “ghetto”, “hood”, “brotherhood”, “sisterhood” similiar to “gangs” which are negative.

    We always fought the three words since the dawn of Deaf people and our culture.


    Three powerful words were and are always used by the so-called oppressors to demolish/reduce/frame our lively debate about our rights to our culture and language.

    How can the word itself, “Deafhood”, not the concept but the word itself stripped off of its meaning, help us in the long run? We already struggled to change the general public’s bad habit of using the misleaded word, “hearing impaired” to the proper “Deaf”.

    I only have one problem with Deafhood, You cannot find a simple summary of what it means, even in a sentence or a few paragraphs. If we cannot define “Deafhood” in a simple and clear sentence, we are in trouble.

  • Tara Bennett 18 years ago

    It is like as if I were at the workshop, wow! Good job and I totally understand the point of the Deafhood. It does make sense and it would be so great if Ella Mae came to the MO statewide interpreter conference and educate everyone. 🙂

  • Darline Clark Gunsauls 18 years ago

    AWESOME! 🙂 Keep up with the great work! You have all of my support!! And, I enjoy this journey of our Deafhood.

  • Joey Baer 18 years ago

    To response to Rene’s question (# 8) What is the difference between Deaf and Deafhood?

    Here’s my interpretation.

    Deaf: Visual learner; a person who uses sign language; a state of being and our identity;

    Deafhood is a way of thinking and attitude towards being Deaf that celebrates it, that seeks the positive reason why we are on earth, what our contribution to world and to each other, to cherish all that the other Deaf people before us have created as Deaf beings for us to use and appreciate. Sees injustice against Deaf people and forces us to rethink our system and behaviors, etc. Lastly, it is a journey towards Deaf identity, a process understanding of who we are.

  • Morris 18 years ago

    Comments? I should not make any but since what I saw this videos and Joey’s ASL Vlog that got me impressed enough to say wow and was very appericated that and since there are on half way on videos about deafhood I am looking forward for next and future videos to watch.. it do helps me thinking better but I see some comments have some negitive repouses but would like to tell these ppl thank you for sharing thier opinions that help to have better views of ” Pros and Cons ” also to remember these videos are here for the reasons all I saw are positive because that took great efforts to made these video to be presented to “feed your thinking tank” to make better person out of yourself, thank you very much for allowed me to watching your (Joey) ASL vlog become one of my favorite! way to go! Congrata!

  • Rene Visco 18 years ago

    Joey, thanks for explaining both words. I realized I need to be more specific in what I was trying to say. See my second comment.

    Why don’t we all pitch in and create a “Deafhood” page in Wikipedia? To explain what it is and what it is not.

    I already created a page:


  • Joey Baer 18 years ago


    I will respond to your second comment – it took me more time to think to answer your questions.  That\’s something we should do – ask challenging questions – thanks Rene!  

    About Deafhood page in Wikipedia – that\’s great idea – thanks!!

  • Greg Pindris 18 years ago

    Rene – I sorta agree with you about what the word
    Deafhood might seem like to the general public. I
    don\’t think it gives it a ghetto image, but it\’s
    possible it could be twisted into something negative.
    For what it\’s worth, I don\’t think the public would
    think of us as militants, despite what the audists
    might like you to think.

    They do think that deafness is terrible though, so
    that\’s obviously not a good thing. This is really
    nothing new, and of course it\’s always up to us change
    their perception for it. That takes a lot of time.

    It would be the same with Deafhood, I think. It\’s
    really up to the deaf people to remain positive about
    it, and have right attitude about their deafhood.
    Eventually the word should end up with the right
    meaning, and it will give the general public a hint
    that there\’s really a culture (which I think they have
    hard time believing that it exists).

    I think it\’s a great word. When I first saw it, it
    instantly gave me an image of our deafness as a way of
    life. I read the book (it\’s very boring btw) and while
    I disagree with some of Paddy\’s views (mainly his use
    of the word colonialism to describe the issues related
    to audism), I still like the idea of Deafhood. It\’s a
    great concept, and adds this dimension of being
    introspective and honest about your deaf life and how
    it shapes you and others, and how it evolves your

  • Jean Boutcher 18 years ago

    My viewpoint of Crab Theory has it that it is audists who put deaf crabs into buckets and oppress them. One of deaf crabs leaps over after he is recognised as an audist’s
    protégé; hence, known as “deaf audist.”
    The same is true about black people. For
    example, a white master puts black people
    in a crab basket. Should the master find
    one of the blacks as his protégé, he will
    help the (black) crab get out of the
    bucket. For example, State Secretary
    Condoleezza Rice was helped to get out
    of the crab bucket by the Bush family’s
    friend, George Schultz, former state
    secretary who later became a member of
    Stanford University where Miss Rice later
    joined. Again, the same is true with
    Justice Clarence Thomas whom President George Bush 41 heled get out of the crab
    bucket. General Colin Powell, for
    another, got help from the aforementioned
    president. Back to square one, if a
    teacher in a residential school for the
    deaf recognises a deaf student as a
    potential oralist, he will help train him as
    his protégé. The student would end up becoming a deaf audist. That deaf
    audist helps the audist debunk the
    American Sign Language as a
    communication mode of the deaf.
    Any sociologist would tell you
    that Crab Theory is real and very much
    alive in some countries in the four corners
    of the globe. In other words, if you
    claim that Crab Theory is completely
    mythological or non-existent, then you
    must say that audism is equally mythological
    and non-existent. I could be entirely wrong.

    Jean Boutcher, Deaf and Dumb

  • SweetMind 15 years ago

    🙂 YAH YAH!!!, That s what I was thinking from the start after I realized I learned from Social work courses in the past that I didn’t like it at all. It was tough tasks for me to deal with and disagree with their systems in this society.
    This is what and how it s exactly what I want. Finally somebody got it for our Deaf communities in this society. Many thanks for your greatest support for all of us and our basic needs. I just dont know what to say more now that makes me so thrilled to see things happens to make a good difference for every Deaf individuals. Many Many Thanks! hugz, my friends of the Deaf community 🙂 Blessing you all.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published.