Hearing Students and Discrimination


Last August… gosh that seems so long ago… a person sent me a message on Facebook asking me a few questions about Gallaudet University. I thought the questions were pretty interesting and wanted to share them with you, with permission from the person, of course.

Here’s their question:
Well, i’m hearing and i want to be a speech therapist and its been my dream to go to Gallaudet for a while. I was wondering if i lived on campus and had classes with Deaf students would discriminated against?

This kinda puts me in a tough spot, I don’t want to make it seem that Gally is a horrible, horrible college (it’s obviously not), at the same time, I don’t want to make it seem like Gally is incredibly perfect. Every university has its flaws of course, with that said….

Real discrimination, is of course, not allowed at Gally. But if we’re talking about the kind of thing where you’re judged by who you are, then that does, unfortunately, happen.

A hearing student attending Gallaudet can set off different reactions. Some people may be really accepting of hearing students and value their interest in the deaf community. Lots of deaf students have hearing friends, and lots of hearing students become really involved with the university.

On the other hand, there are, unfortunately, some students have that “Deaf Pride” attitude, which can be a good thing, but is sometimes abused. Basically, they view Gallaudet as a deaf person’s paradise, where we are free from ridicule and discrimination from the outside world. So when a hearing person attends the only liberal arts college for the deaf in the world, especially when there are plenty of colleges for hearing students, deaf students can get a little territorial. This basically means they may not accept you, but I believe this to be a very small portion of Gallaudet University.

It all really depends on the attitude you bring to Gally. If you are open to new experiences and basically everything that could happen at Gally, you’ll be just fine. Discrimination by other students is hard to put up with (but of course, if it gets serious, you should report it), but almost every student here, hearing and deaf has been through it. For example, a lot of students judged me by my signing skills and the fact that I attended a mainstream high school and didn’t know much people here… even though I have deaf parents.

I’ve always found this quote to help me in situations like that… “It’s none of your business what other people think of you.”

If you’ve got questions… I’ve got answers!



2 Responses to “Hearing Students and Discrimination”

  1. Maria Breitbach Says:

    Hey Heather, wooo hooo I love that last blog, and your quote is perfect! may I add, “Never judge a book by it’s cover!”

    I just cannot understand how some Deaf individuals prefer to limit their lives further, not that being Deaf is limited to any means, but to be available for the opportunity of personal enrichment, you never know who will inspire you.

  2. meredith Says:

    Great post, Heather! I am pretty sensitive to the “anti-hearing” discrimination at Gallaudet because most of my life I was a hearing person…I had my accident shortly AFTER I applied to Gallaudet as a HUG student. I’m considered a “regular” student because of my hearing loss, but I still understand what hearing students at Gallaudet experience. This was a really great response to the girl who contacted you.

    Gallaudet doesn’t have a BA in Speech Therapy though, so that girl will find herself mostly interacting with the hearing grad students anyway…

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