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Media, Stereotype of Deaf People in

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

Stereotypes are simplistic, category-based perceptions of groups whose members are seen as significantly different from the perceiver. Psychologists say that stereotyping is the default perception for most people unless they are specifically motivated to reject stereotypes. For many hearing people, who may never meet a deaf person or interact meaningfully with the deaf if they do meet them, perceptions of the deaf are based on views perpetuated in mass media, particularly movies, television, and advertising. These media rarely present deaf people as ordinary, fully functioning human beings. Instead, media images of the deaf present them as helpless, dependent objects of pity; as disabled individuals who need to be “fixed” so as to be more “normal” (i.e., more like the hearing population); or, to go to ...

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