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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 Indian Sign Language, 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.
According to Northeastern University psychology professor Harlan Lane, audism has existed for many centuries, although the recognition of the deaf community as a discrete language-using culture in the 20th century has afforded many more such examples. Audism has been seen as reflecting the attitudes cultures maintain about deaf people, and examples are seen as existing primarily within a medical paradigm, cultural paradigm, and education/linguistic paradigm. Lane has examined the development of deaf-based educational principles in his history of Franco-American deaf relations and educational philosophy.
- Harrington, Tom; Jacobi, Laura (April 2009). "What Is Audism: Introduction". Gallaudet University. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Capital D Magazine, Vol. 1, Iss. 1
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- 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
- Lane, Harlan (1980). When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf, Random House LLC
- Bauman, H-Dirksen (1 January 2008). "Listening to Phonocentrism with Deaf Eyes: Derrida's Mute Philosophy of Sign Language". Essays in Philosophy 9 (1). Retrieved 27 December 2014.