Why Are Deaf People So… Demanding? Bossy? Direct? Angry?



Interesting…… I was curious about the questions many people have about deaf people. Looking for questions that might lead to a new blog topic. Questions and Answers. So I go into google and I type ” Why are Deaf People………..”  and as Google does, it started finishing my sentence for me. These are some of the adjectives that popped up. Angry…..Bossy…..Direct……Demanding…..

Some went on to compare ‘deaf’ to ‘blind’ and commented that blind people don’t seem so angry.

Wow!  These are the most common questions?  For those who simply see a hearing loss, there may be a temptation to say “lighten up! We all have some kind of cross to bear.”  But this is truly a case of needing to walk a mile or two in another’s moccasins. So many layers to sift through. So many considerations that affect every one of life’s categories.

In my research, I came across a forum where one writer attempted to explain using (in my opinion) a creative analogy. It was thoughtfully put together and I’d like to share it here. This is a story of the Foobats. Here we go……..

I’m a member of a minority group, the Foobats. There is a unique Foobat language that is completely different from the languages spoken by the dominant groups in the area where I and many other Foobats live. There have been numerous famous Foobats who contributed to the sciences, arts, music and other parts of the dominant group’s culture. Foobats may often pass for members of the dominant group and look “normal,” until someone notices we have a Foobat accent and starts treating us differently. Foobats are also often mistaken for developmentally disabled individuals due to our unique accent and the differences between Foobat culture and the dominant culture. Foobats are excluded from many events, generally because the organizer doesn’t think about the fact that Foobats might attend and make arrangements for some special needs that we Foobats have due to our differences from others. When we Foobats point our needs out to someone, like a waiter or cab driver, and ask for accommodation, we’re told that we’re being rude.

So most Foobats eventually retreat into Foobat culture, interact mainly with other Foobats, and enjoy the richness and depth of a culture that cannot be easily understood by non-Foobats due to linguistic and perceptive differences. It would be easy to be miserable about being a Foobat, since the dominant culture doesn’t often think to accommodate Foobats, but once they get a little bit more involved in the Foobat community, most Foobats realize that they don’t really miss non-Foobat culture. In fact, they’re impressed by how amazing Foobat culture can be, and a little resentful that many non-Foobats seem oblivious to it.

Over time, Foobat communities spring up around the area, populated by Foobats angry about the dismissal of Foobat culture by non-Foobats. Foobats marry one another and have children, but have to continually fight to teach their children the Foobat language and Foobat history. The dominant culture that rejected the Foobat parents tries to assimilate their Foobat children by force, while continuing to ignore Foobat culture and history and language.

In fact, many non-Foobats talk excitedly about the day when Foobats will no longer exist–when no little child will have to grow up as a Foobat. They’d like to non-violently exterminate Foobats by making sure that no new children grow up as Foobats. If the Foobat language vanishes and Foobat culture is forgotten entirely, well, that’s the price we pay for making sure that these poor children don’t have to be Foobats like their miserable parents.

Except the parents aren’t miserable–they’re leading happy Foobat lives, they have Foobat friends, they speak Foobat to one another, they have vibrant, thriving communities. And it makes them more than a little bit angry to see people who’ve never been Foobats, probably never even had a close friend who was a Foobat, assume that Foobat people are miserable and that Foobat children should be plucked out of Foobat culture and taught to exist in the dominant culture. That Foobat parents don’t have a right to pass on their values and traditions and language to their children, because Foobat culture is just SO much less valuable than dominant culture, according, of course, to the dominant culture.

Don’t you think there might be quite a few Foobats out there who come off as “angry” to people who aren’t close to them?

Deafness is a disability (stay with me here) because society is constructed for the hearing, not because hearing is better than deafness on some intrinsic, moral level. Being deaf and living in a culture constructed for the hearing is a disability. 

Let’s not confuse ‘disability’ with ‘difference’.  For the sake of Deaf people and Foobats everywhere.


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About Evelyn

Evelyn Hunter is a SODA with years of experiential study in Deaf Culture. She attended Gallaudet University to immerse herself in this unique deaf world while working for the University and studying sign language to hone her skills. Evelyn has served in training, relationship sales, and marketing -- always seeking to expand awareness of Deaf Culture and the unique challenges the deaf face on a daily basis. The Sign Language Company has recently established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a website with a blog, as Evelyn coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the agency. Her goal is to attract new clients seeking exceptional service, while maintaining optimal relationships with clients who have selected The Sign Language Company for over 20 years.

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One Response to “Why Are Deaf People So… Demanding? Bossy? Direct? Angry?”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I stumbled across this article when doing some research about my niece, who is profoundly deaf. My niece is now over 30 years old and has been deaf since birth. I have tried to learn sign language and have attempted to be there for her in times of trouble. Recently, I finally had enough of my niece cussing me out and, otherwise, just being angry. I told her that I was her uncle and not an e-mail/text punching bag. I further told her that, if she cussed me out again, I would block her texts and e-mails. Sadly, she crossed that threshold immediately and I blocked her.

    Should I feel bad? When, if ever, should I unblock her? She can contact my sons at any time and they know how to immediately contact me (in case of an emergency). I feel like a bad person but, at the same time, she has to recognize that such comments and nastiness are just plain wrong.

    Thanks for your help.


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