Sign language is language that uses visual hand patterns to convey a meaning without using any vocal. It truly is a wonderful way of communication, although it was not always accepted in society. Wherever communities of deaf people exist, sign language develops. There was no stopping the advancement and the flourishing of the deaf culture. The movie “Through Deaf Eyes” was an inspiring documentary on deaf people and their struggle and triumph in society throughout history. I enjoyed watching the movie, “Through Deaf Eyes”.
It was inspiring to really watch the way that deaf people were communicating.
The way that they signed was like an art form in itself. Their facial expressions were so dramatic and full of detail. One thing that surprised me was how hard it was to lip read. Some of the people interviewed in the movie would sign without lips moving, some would sign with lips moving, and some would sign and speak. We discussed in class the difficult level of lip reading, but I did not think much of it until I tried to read the lips of the signers without them using speech.
I can see that skill taking much practice. I always wondered to myself when people are deaf, does that mean that they cannot speak or use their voice.
One highly educated woman in the movie signed that she prefers not to speak because sometimes people would assume that she was hearing but really, she was deaf. She spoke and had a wonderful, clear speaking voice.
I wasn’t expecting that. I do understand now why even if some deaf people can use their voices, they because it seems like it would lead to a one-way conversation. Although the hearing person would understand what the deaf person was conveying, the deaf person would not be able to understand the hearing person without lip reading or using sign language.
A part in the movie that stuck out to me was when a deaf man was talking about an incident that he had while driving a car. A man was aggressively driving and beeping at the deaf man driving his car. When this man passed the deaf man, he said, “What are you deaf? ” The deaf man who spoke and signed telling the story said he drove up to him and said, “Yes, I am deaf! ” People who are hard of hearing are people and should be respected as such. Deaf people living in a hearing world have certainly made their mark in the hearing community. Deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do.
They are not handicapped. They can sing in bands through sign, play sports and recite poetry just the same as hearing people can do. In the past, society was not always accepting of a deaf person. Their perspective was to fix it and make them hearing. But being deaf wasn’t a loss; it was just a different culture. Learning about the hard times that deaf people had to overcome startles me. It is unreal to believe that society thought it was a good idea to separate the deaf and have them mate outside of the deaf because society was afraid that they would reproduce more deaf people.
The deaf people had their own community and their own culture. Having their own community has given a good foundation for the next generation to learn and grow just as past generations have done so. The deaf community near gave up, through all the troubles and discrimination that they lived through. This truly was inspiring. Deaf children would normally go to a residential school Monday through Friday and come home on the weekends. By keeping the children together, they were able to learn about the deaf culture through the deaf community.
The part of the movie where they played a sound clip of what a slightly deaf person hears was strange to listen to. I played it back a few times because I couldn’t catch or make out what was being said. Then I thought, this is what deaf people go through everyday of their lives. If it was frustrating to me, I can only imagine how frustrating it can possibly be for a person who is hearing impaired. I never thought I took things as simple as making a phone call for granted, but after listening to an interview with a man, I had a different view.
He reminisced on when he was in high school and he wanted to fit in with his friends that were dating on the weekends. He said he was too embarrassed to go up to the girl in person and much preferred telephoning the girl. But because his voice was unclear to understand he would have to ask his mother to call and ask for date. Young adults in my generation are all about the next best thing with technology. The next best things that are being made are impersonal ways of communication. I think sometimes we take advantage of what we were given.
I am grateful that I am capable to make a phone call. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. The movie “Through Deaf Eyes” was certainly eye opening. The movie took the viewer on an exploration of the history of Deaf life in America. The first person accounts and personal stories were at times surprising but inspirational. The deaf community has come a long way from where they started off. There is still discrimination living in a hearing world. After watching this movie, I have a newfound respect for the deaf community. They never gave up and continued to grow.