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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2005 Summer;10(3):291-310. Epub 2005 May 4.

Ethnicity, ethics, and the deaf-world.

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Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


This article is concerned with ethical aspects of the relations between language minorities using signed languages (called the Deaf-World) and the larger societies that engulf them. The article aims to show that such minorities have the properties of ethnic groups, and that an unsuitable construction of the Deaf-World as a disability group has led to programs of the majority that discourage Deaf children from acquiring the language and culture of the Deaf-World and that aim to reduce the number of Deaf births-programs that are unethical from an ethnic group perspective. Four reasons not to construe the Deaf-World as a disability group are advanced: Deaf people themselves do not believe they have a disability; the disability construction brings with it needless medical and surgical risks for the Deaf child; it also endangers the future of the Deaf-World; finally, the disability construction brings bad solutions to real problems because it is predicated on a misunderstanding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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