This paper explores the origins, history and importance of Deaf culture and Deaf identity in relationship to proponents of oralism (the teaching of spoken language and hearing skills to deaf people) and audism (prejudice against the deaf). The notion of the distinction between ‘deaf’ and ‘Deaf’ is defined: “deaf” being the medical condition of not hearing and “Deaf” referring to a member of Deaf Culture or Deaf Culture itself. This text analyzes personal accounts and medical journals in relation to Deaf Culture, its history, and explores the notion that many deaf people choose not to be ‘fixed’ by modern medicine. ASL can be defined as American Sign Language, the primary language among the American Deaf. TC is defined as Total Communication, a method of teaching and communication that includes speech, lip reading, and signing.
Keywords: American Sign Language, deaf, oralism