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Why You Should Never Use the Term "Deaf and Dumb"

Insights from Jim Beach

Why You Should Never Use the Term “Deaf and Dumb”

Video Transcript: Why You Should Never Use the Term “Deaf and Dumb”

JIM BEACH: Hello! Hello to all my deaf friends and friends abroad. Who am I? Jim Beach – remember me? This is how you sign my name. I want to share a story with you. I’m a CODA. So my experiences are different from other kids, right?

I remember a long time ago, when I was about 10 years old, I was a little mean to my parents as I was growing up. My dad was outside working on the car and I was bored. I was thinking, “I want to go to the store.” “Hey I’ll ask my dad for money.” So I walked out and asked, “Dad, I need some money. I want to go to the 7-Eleven – right down the street.” My dad said, “No!” and kept working on the car. I said, “Come on, I want to go to the store!” Again he said, “No! I said, “Come on, I WANT TO GO!” He said, “NO!” I said, “Fine! Forget it!” I got very angry and I walked away saying, “You’re dumb!”

Then a man grabbed me. I looked up and thought, “Oh yeah, that’s my Dad’s friend and he can hear!” He caught me! He asked, “Did you call him dumb?” I said, “Yeah!” Then he asked, “Why?” I replied, “I heard hearing people say, ‘deaf and dumb’. He then said, “No, no…” “That’s supposed to mean they can’t talk, but don’t use that word, ‘dumb’ anymore!” “Come on, I want to show you something.” I said, “OK.”

So we walked over and saw that my dad was still underneath working on the car. He looked up, but ignored us and kept on working. The man asked, “Do you see what he’s doing?” “He’s fixing the car, right?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Well, he removed the engine and see how there are a lot of car parts on the ground?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “He remembers exactly where all those parts go.” “Guess who taught your dad?” I said, “I don’t know.” Then he said, “Your dad taught himself how to work on a car.” I said, “Ah.” Then he asked, “Guess what? I, myself, am an engineer “and I still don’t know how to work on a car. “Your dad is teaching me!” Then I said, “Ah,I get it!”

So, from then I realized not to call Deaf people ‘deaf & dumb’ anymore, because, I’ve known since then, as I have gotten older, I have met many deaf people that are very smart. Deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do! It doesn’t matter! There’s only one thing they can’t do and that’s hear! That’s all! So, I’ve learned to respect that deaf people know how to do many things! Thanks for watching! Love to all!

Accessibility CODA Deaf Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss

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