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3 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 265 (1993-1994)
Deafness--Disability or Subculture: The Emerging Conflict

handle is hein.journals/cjlpp3 and id is 269 raw text is: 1994]

Bonnie P. Tuckerl
Since the 1988 Gallaudet University1 Deaf President Now
movement, which resulted in the appointment of the Univer-
sity's first Deaf' president, the issue of Deaf Culture has
received substantial media attention.3 The featured cover
article in the September, 1993 issue of The Atlantic,4 entitled
Deafness as Culture, serves as an example. The author
explores the beliefs of Deaf culture advocates who argue that
deaf people are not handicapped and deafness is not a disability.
These advocates assert that deaf people constitute a subculture
like any other, a linguistic minority who speak American Sign
Language, and thus are no more in need of a cure for their
t Professor of Law, Arizona State University College of Law. B.S., Syra-
cuse University, 1961; J.D., University of Colorado, 1980. Portions of this
essay - the subject of a presentation by the author at the 1993 Society for
Disability Studies conference - were published in the Volta Review and are
reprinted herein with the permission of the Alexander Graham Bell Associa-
tion for the Deaf. Bonnie P. Tucker, Deafness: 1993-2013 - The Dilemma,
VOLTA REV., Spring 1993, at 105.
1 Gallaudet University, located in Washington, D.C., is the world's only
liberal arts university for deaf people.
2 People who live in a Deaf cultural environment have chosen to live
primarily in a segregated Deaf' world. They capitalize the word Deaf' to
illustrate the difference between members of that Deaf cultural environment
and other deaf people who have chosen to live as part of the mainstream
' See, e.g., Gallaudet's Presidential Quest, CHRISTIAN SCI. MONITOR, Mar.
14, 1988, at 15; Nicholas C. McBride, Civil Rights Win for the Deaf- Gallaudet
Students Hail Symbolism of Deaf President, CHRISTIAN SCI. MONITOR, Mar. 15,
1988, at 3; The Deaf are Heard, N.Y. TIMES, Mar. 18, 1988, at A34; Molly
Sinclair, Protesters Demand a Deaf President, WASH. POST, Mar. 8, 1988, at
Al; Carlos Sanchez & Molly Sinclair, Students Hail Zinser Resignation:
Protest Continues as Gallaudet Seeks to Restore Order, WASH. POST, Mar. 12,
1988, at Al; Molly Sinclair & Carlos Sanchez, Gallaudet U. Selects First Deaf
President: Board Chief Resigns; Student Demands Met, WASH. POST, Mar. 14,
1988, at Al; Molly Sinclair, Gallaudet Greets Its New President, WASH. POST,
Mar. 15, 1988, at Al.
 Edward Dolnick, Deafness as Culture, ATLANTIC, Sept. 1993.



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