On Deaf Ableism: Disabled People Aren’t Broken

By Silas Beasley
I am another person who is also Deaf/deaf and disabled . Although I respect that some Deaf people don’t want the disability label for themselves, I think sometimes the rejection of that label is rooted in ableism. People, disability is not a bad word. And as Silas Beasley says in this article, “disability” does not mean “lesser than”. It is not a synonym for “helpless”, it simply means you’re living in a society that isn’t designed for you. If you don’t want to identify as a person with disabilities, fine. It’s your identity, and that makes it your choice. But please try to respect those of us who do feel comfortable defining ourselves as people with disabilities while also being deaf/Deaf, whether because we have additional disabilities or because we are comfortable with defining our deafness as being BOTH a cultural identity AND a disability.

sigh less + live more

Disability — it’s a word that makes every other deaf person I know cringe, anger boiling in them as they protest the label being applied. They are separate from those people, they can do anything but hear, they are not limited by deafness. They see the word disability as a scarlet letter, as it if were a slur negating anything positive.

The summer after I left high school, I finally got over my self consciousness and asked my grandmother if I could have her old cane. Her knee surgery had made it too difficult to use it any longer, so she used a walker. The old, claw-foot mobility aid was bestowed upon me, and I quickly wrapped it in rainbow duct tape I had bought from a nearby dollar store.

Slipping knee braces on seemed to push in all the throbbing in my legs that meant walking was a challenge…

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