Although we often think of multiculturalism in terms of different races and ethnicities, multiculturalism encompasses as many issues as may define culture itself. For example, are you familiar with Deaf culture? The capital D is important, as it conveys recognition that Deaf culture is, indeed, a culture with its own language (sign language, which is a complete, grammatically complex language) and customs.
According to , which was founded as a school for deaf children and adolescents and expanded to become a degree-granting college in 1864 and a university in 1986, Deaf culture has the following values and traditions:
Valuing deaf children as members of Deaf culture
Promoting an environment that supports vision as a primary sense for communication
Supporting bilingual communication in sign language and spoken language, for example, in American Sign Language and English
Inclusion of unique communication rules such as those related to eye contact as well as the more common traditions of turn-taking
Inclusion of unique strategies for getting a persons attention
Perpetuation of Deaf culture
Discuss the following:
How familiar are you with Deaf culture? Do you have friends or family members who are deaf? What sorts of experiences have you had with deaf individuals?
How could an agency become culturally competent with respect to Deaf culture?
How can you, as a human service professional, become culturally competent with respect to Deaf culture?