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Group Membership and Exclusion

  • By: Thomas K. Holcomb
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Deaf people in the United States formally came together for the first time when schools for the deaf were founded in the 1800s. While the primary goal of these schools was to provide deaf people with educational opportunities, an accidental outcome of these congregations of deaf individuals was the creation of a vibrant Deaf community and a rich Deaf culture. With education, community, and culture, Deaf people were able to lead comfortable lives. For this reason, becoming a member of the Deaf community is considered to be a critical milestone for many Deaf individuals as it affords them an opportunity to discover a lifestyle that is well suited for people like themselves as opposed to enduring a life of possible limitations and challenges.

Although Deaf people ...

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