Deaf and Genetic Engineering: Are Deaf People and Sign Language Worth Preserving?


Hi my name is Brooke Weaver and I’m
finishing up my class in Deaf culture and this is my final presentation we
were given a question of “Are deaf people and sign languages worth preserving?”
Deaf people have been in existence as long as humanity has been bipedal. Sign
language was started in Spain in the 1500s and today there are a hundred and
thirty-six living sign languages. Over the centuries deaf culture has grown to
be a unique community of individuals that bring variables to the world that
no other culture has in the past or will in the future. There are
technologies being used today to genetically engineer deafness out of the
human genome in this video I will be covering three reasons why deaf people
and all sign languages are worth preserving. My three reasons are humanity,
connection, and linguistic relativity. At the start of the semester my professor
asked us all what does it mean to be human? In my humble opinion, using the
limited knowledge of my education thus far, I believe to be human is to seek
truth. Truth is something we are not meant to obtain in this life but the
pursuit is innate in all humans. There is a drive in us all to understand the
world we are sharing and that world includes variations for the purpose of
perspective. Diverse perspectives on truth will only help us get that much
closer to it. The deaf community helps bring the world that much closer to
understanding truth. This brings me to my second reason to preserve deaf people and
sign languages and that is connection. Deaf culture brings a rich and
interconnected community into the world. Deaf people are so close to one another
because it is still a minority group in society they lean on each other for
support and understanding. Deaf people have, or should have, pride in the
community that has been built around the deaf effect in the spirit of solidarity.
My final point to make in this is the incredible theory of Sapir-Whorf or
linguistic relativism. This theory examines the limitation or determinism of
thought depending on the language you are raised speaking. ASL is a unique link
which that has opened up so many limitations of spoken language. ASL
activates spatial areas in the brain along with linguistic areas
simultaneously creating different neural pathways for communication. ASL is a more
expressive and creative language that allows for narratives to be expressed in
a more visual format that allows storytelling to be interactive rather
than passively received. This would be a detriment to language to ever lose such
a unique way of communicating. Humanity, connection, and linguistic
relativism are just three reasons that deaf people and sign language are worth
preserving. Thank you for watching!

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