Did you know there’s a troubling, but rich, history using the term “Deaf-Mute” in America? Janna and I have written a new book “conversation” about that pejorative label released by David Boles Books Writing & Publishing titled — Return of the Deaf-Mute: The Lost Legacy of the Greatest American Deaf Generation — and in our book, we examine the “Deaf-Mute” stereotype in history, its effect on common culture, and the role of human tolerance in society today. How did the “Deaf-Mute” label become such a colloquial monstrosity that it has repressed generations of Deaf people in America — just because it was a convenient, default, categorization that had nothing to do with context or fact of condition?
The ideas we discuss in — Return of the Deaf-Mute: The Lost Legacy of the Greatest American Deaf Generation — can be historically sticky and intertwined with many cruel moments in the oblong history of this nation.
Here’s a blurp from our conversation:
“Deaf-Mute?” HOW DARE YOU!
We thank you for making it this far in our conversation together in spite of the aggressive title we chose for this dialogue to purposefully get your eye here and your mind involved in our argument about the current state of Deaf Culture and American Sign Language in the United States. The truth is not always clean and perfect. Sometimes facts hurt and reality is toxic.
When we bring up the terrible topic of the “Deaf-Mute” meme in current society, we are shouted down, told to be quiet, looked at askew, and we are impolitely asked to not bring up the cyclic patterns of history that are actually bringing back the hushed up terror of what has always been a monster-under-the-bed notion for many Deaf people who may not acknowledge, but can never quite forget, that sometimes progress requires regression.
For those not familiar with living in, or working in the Deaf Community, the word “mute” is not commonly used today. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing population worked hard to erase “mute” as a stereotype. For our purpose, we are using the term “mute” as a historic affectation that was defeated, but is not surprisingly rising again in popular, mainstream, use, and we want to know why that has happened, and then explore the rationale and conclusions with you.
“Deaf-Mute” is only the beginning of our analytic dialogue together. Please join us in this 15,000 word exploration of the Deaf Culture movement in mainstream America over the last century and you can decide with us, or against us, that for all the progress the Deaf have made, many wins have been lost, many rights have been reversed, and too many medical “successes” to permanently fix Deafness have actually destroyed a strong, cultural community with its own passions, Arts, language, and cultural totems.
Here are the topics for this conversation that will guide you through the mendacious history of the Deaf-Mute in modern Deaf Culture.
Deaf-Mute as a Cultural Touchstone
Great Rubella Outbreak
Golden Deaf Institution Years
The Fight Against the Mute
ASL Rises and Deaf President Now Peaks the Generation
Equality Shines Above the ADA as a Culture Suffers Below
Technology and Medicine Represses
Cochlear Implants and Manifest Decline
Return of the Mute and the Fall of American Sign Language
Defeating the Deaf-Mute: Where Do We Go From Here?
We hope you will join our conversation by purchasing the book to help us continue our scholarly investment in publishing non-mainstream, niche, books on culture and language that we know will have a good and long life 50 years beyond us.
When we get asked — incredulously, by some — why we bring so many books to market, the answer is simple: “Write once; live forever.”
We thank for your support!