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Audism is the notion that one is superior based on one's ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears, or that life without hearing is futile and miserable, or an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear. Audism can manifest in many people, but it is most predominant in hearing people. It is this mentality that led Tom L. Humphries to coin the term in his doctoral dissertation in 1975. People who practice audism are called audists. Audism is a form of ableism, discrimination on the basis of (dis)ability.
Types of Audism
Audism is partially responsible for the high unemployment rate of the deaf.
Linguistic audism can occur by banning use of commonly used sign languages such as American Sign Language and British Sign Language. Several schools have engaged in such prohibition in America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and some continue to do so.
Additionally, Deaf people can practice forms of discrimination against members of their own community, based on what they believe is acceptable behavior, use of language, or social association. Dr. Genie Gertz explored examples of such audism in American society in her published dissertation.
Audism can also occur between groups of deaf people, with some who choose not to use a sign language and not to identify with Deaf culture considering themselves to be superior to those who do, or vice versa. This is a type of 'dysconscious' audism, a phenomenon which is discussed in an essay by Genie Gertz in Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking.
All these variations of audism, and many which have gone unmentioned, have their echoes in gender, racial, religious, cultural, social, and sexual discrimination, and, when found among the deaf community itself, bear resemblance to similar structures of self-loathing.
As an ideology, audism has existed for many centuries no matter which definition is being used, although the more recent recognition of the Deaf community as a discrete language-using culture has afforded many more such examples. Over time, however, audism has been seen as reflecting the attitudes cultures maintain about Deaf people, and examples are thus seen as existing primarily within a medical paradigm, cultural paradigm, and education/linguistic paradigm, and much of the discourse about audism focuses on these three areas. In recent decades, with the proliferation of easily accessible communication technology, the discourse has expanded to focus on any area which involves deaf or Deaf people. Harlan Lane to some extent examines the development of Deaf-based educational principles in his history of Franco-American Deaf relations and educational philosophy. Phonocentrism, the belief that speech and sounds are inherently superior to written language, has been described as being the root of audism.
||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (July 2013)|
- Harrington, Tom; Jacobi, Laura (April 2009). "What Is Audism: Introduction". Gallaudet University.
- Capital D Magazine, Vol. 1, Iss. 1
- Bryan Robinson, Sign Language Ban Imposed on N.J. Girl ABC News 18 April 2010 accessed 15 March 2012
- Dysconscious Audism: A Theoretical Proposal in Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking
- When The Mind Hears. Lane, 1980