Georgian Caught Between Two Cultures
Gary Frazier and I have known each other about ten years. From Milledgeville, Georgia, he reads this column nearly every week and emails comments a couple times a year.
In 1971, at age ten, spinal meningitis and subsequent brain surgeries took his hearing and nearly his life. He became permanently Deaf and today also has trouble walking and short-term memory loss. Recently, he endured a painful spiral fracture of his left ankle, and doctors had to install a plate and screws to stabilize.
Frazier believes the word Deaf should always have a capital "D" to recognize the uniqueness of the Deaf culture and language. To him, spelling Deaf with a capital D is natural as spelling Georgian with a capital G.
Frazier said he often isn't completely accepted by the Deaf culture because of having married a "hearing" woman, being able to speak English, and becoming Deaf at 10. He also has never felt completely accepted by the hearing culture. In an email, however, he talked about the advantages he has enjoyed in being part of both cultures.
He said, "Because I'm bi-lingual (knowing both American Sign Language and English), have the ability to speak, am likeable, and am a hard worker like the majority of Deaf, I received (over the years) better salary increases at work than my hearing co-workers. Noise pollution doesn't affect me. When people say deafness is a handicap, I respond by saying the real 'handicap' is in being able to hear. Hearing people are rendered useless (sometimes) by noise."
Frazier worked a long time in the printing industry operating extremely noisy printing presses.
Due to his knowledge of the English language, some of his Deaf friends occasionally ask him to explain the meaning of printed English words or for help ordering from a fast food restaurant menu. In turn, he has been popular with hearing people-especially with those desiring to work in the Deaf culture-because of his knowledge of it. For example, he said, "Are you aware the word 'mood' is never a positive word with the Deaf?"
He continued, "I have the best of both worlds in being able to communicate with members of either group, but this isn't always a blessing. Although I have more than 120-decibel hearing loss in both ears, Deaf people (sometimes) refer to me as 'hearing,' even though many of them can hear much better than I can."
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesScion FR-S an affordable sports carThere's nothing too fancy about the 2016 Scion FR-S. It's essentially the type of back-to-basics sports car that people have loved for decades.
Should Breen Elementary Principal in Rocklin Resign?Rocklin, CA - The Rocklin Unified School District's tarnished reputation takes another major hit. This time in the form of a $2.5 million insurance settlement
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (9.4.15)Roseville, CA - Weekly crime report digest update summary for Roseville, September 4, 2015.
John Adams Academy Hosts Ceremony at Roseville CampusROSEVILLE, CA - Local elected officials, community leaders, personnel and scholars from John Adams Academy (JAA) charter school gathered this morning in celebration of the official
Buying a Home: 5 Steps to SuccessReal Estate Watch:Almost all potential home buyers are concerned about, what for most is, the largest purchase of a lifetime and going into debt for 30-years.
Top Five Tax Traps Small Business Owners Need to AvoidAs Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), I regularly hear from small business owners who are caught off guard by tax liabilities
Rocklin Weekly Crime Brief Summary (9.3.15)Weekly Rocklin crime report brief summary covering the period of August 24-30, 2015.
Workshops in Auburn to Focus on Alzheimer's and DementiaSeniors First, a Placer County non-profit organization focused on providing programs and services for our area's elderly, will once again sponsor two upcoming workshops
Roseville Accepting Nominations for Sylvia Besana Community Volunteer AwardRoseville, CA - The Sylvia Besana Community Volunteer Award is a tribute to Sylvia Besana and her legacy of service
Rocklin Student Helps Lead Cal PolyRocklin Student Helps Lead Cal Poly Transportation Chapter to Top Spot in Nation
Roseville Man Arrested on Sexual Battery ChargeDetectives arrested Quin Wilde Mack, age 38 of Roseville, on suspicion of sexual battery
Managing Alzheimer's Behaviors Lecture Coming Up"Alzheimer's behaviors: How do I manage them?" will be the subject of the next UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center Community Discovery Lecture Series
NEWS: In Case You Missed It