Deaf Culture

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Doctor I. King Jordan is deaf and that’s the way he likes it.

That wasn’t always the case. He wasn’t born deaf; he didn’t lose his hearing until a motorcycle accident when he was 21 years old. For years after he struggled with the silence.

He wanted to hear again. He resisted learning to sign. As time went on, though, he discovered a world of soundless culture, a world of deaf poets, actors, and dancers. Sign language itself became a kind of poetry and dance.

Now he feels hearing and sound are over rated. “Deaf people can do anything hearing people can do except hear,” he says. He doesn’t want to go back to a hearing world. And he’s not the only one.

Hundreds of thousands of other deaf people agree. Doctor Jordan is now the first deaf president of the world’s only deaf univesity, if he were a different kind of president he might just say: Read my lips: deaf is cool.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, and Stephen Sachs, who runs Deaf Writers’ Workshops at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles.