From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:
The FDA’s approval in 1990 of cochlear implants that enable some of the deaf to hear set off a political struggle. On one side were the hearing parents of deaf children, who tend to assume that five senses are better than four. On the other were deaf civil rights activists who saw technological fixes for an identity they didn’t view as needing repair as stigmatizing and even genocidal toward “Deaf culture.”
Curiously, this clear predecessor of the Great Awokening, the promotion of deafness as equal to hearing, has never quite taken off the way crazier manias such as transgenderism have. Sympathy for the deaf would seem natural, but other identity groups attract more allies these days.
The main example of Deaf Power you see these days is officeholders employing gesticulating sign language interpreters. But that seems more like lame momentum from the turn of the century than something of much moment to today’s youth.
The high points of deaf activism were the 1988 and 2006 student strikes at federally funded Gallaudet University for the deaf in Washington, D.C., over plans to appoint as president persons not fully fluent in American Sign Language.
In contrast to residential schools for Canadian Indians, which are now the worst thing ever, boarding schools for the deaf are prized by activists as the font of deaf culture because it’s where deaf children can talk to each other in sign language. Yet, deaf militance over the cochlear menace appears to have faded somewhat in recent years even at residential schools.
Read the whole thing there.