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Tech Hurts Deaf Culture

Engadget reports on Text messaging, email said to hurt deaf culture, an article originally from Orlando Sentinel. I’m not a member of the “Deaf” culture, but I do rely on email, instant messaging (IM), and closed-captions. I am jealous of my daughter because she has become a IM freak and chatting was not cool when I was a kid. At the time, BBSes (bulletin board systems) were the rage (but involved mostly geeks) and online chats didn’t become big until the latter years while I was in high school.
I admit, though, that I stay home more than in the past. Partially because I have three children and driving them places takes away any desire to go places for myself. Also, I have two jobs. A day job and my freelance.
The other part is that I’m uncomfortable with gatherings. As a child, I was very outgoing. The older I get, the more introverted I become as I keep meeting people whose lips are difficult to read. That’s why I joined IVWCC, it’s an organization that holds its networking events online.
When I lived in Washington, DC, a city with a large deaf population, I met many other deaf folks. In fact, the Department of Transportation had its own deaf group. I went to some of the meetings, but I didn’t fit in. Regardless, I respect the choices of those who prefer to belong to the Deaf culture. Despite what the article says, I can’t imagine it fading away due to technology.
In Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), we’re lucky to have Grant Laird, Jr. who manages Deafnetwork and Deaf Chat Coffee (not just for DFW). Grant sends out regular updates on anything related to the deaf.
Perhaps, rather than saying the culture is fading away, say that it’s evolving. The article mentions a deaf group in Orlando that’s having trouble bringing in fresh blood. Maybe such people belong to a newer or different organization. Who knows?