The Deaf community is thought to be comprised of people who cannot hear due to their lack of audile capability. Deaf
communities like hearing communities have
their own culture and their own language, therefore, they tend to be isolated from the hearing
culture in every aspect of their life. Through the help of laws
like: The Americans with Disabilities Act, and movements, Deaf President Now, they
were able to gain a more equal stand in the hearing world. Regardless of the
help they’ve received they still face audism everywhere they go, but to this
linguistic minority this is another obstacle that together they can overcome.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became a law in 1990.  The aim of the law is to make certain that individuals with disabilities have identical rights and
opportunities as everybody else. The civil rights act prohibits discrimination
against people with disabilities in areas of public life, like jobs, schools,
transportation, and public or privately-owned businesses. The ADA has five different titles within
itself, they are as followed: Employment, State and Local Government, Public Accommodations, Telecommunications, and Miscellaneous
Provisions. Each and every title benefits the Deaf Community in a different
way. Title one allows people with disabilities to have the same opportunity to
get employed as people who do not have disabilities. Title two makes sure that
organizations are required to provide equal access to all services offered by
the organization. Title three sets the minimum
standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of facilities,
also requires public accommodations to remove barriers in existing buildings,
and finally requires that they take steps necessary to communicate effectively
with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities. Title four requires
telephone and Internet companies to provide a nationwide system
telecommunications relay services that allows individuals with hearing and
speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone. Title five requires the U.S. Access Board to issue accessibility standards, state
specifically that illegal use of drugs is not a covered disability, provides
that state and local laws that mandate equal or greater protection to
individuals with disabilities are not superseded or limited by the ADA. All
these titles from the ADA impact the life of the Deaf community because it
helps them not be discriminated against and left to feel out of place.

Although Deaf
individuals are historically seen as incapable, deaf individuals within the community take pride in
being Deaf. Empowerment within the Deaf community is
incredibly necessary.
As a linguistic minority, they rely on handful of individuals to be the leaders and to guide their community. Empowerment involves
sharing power, acting on issues one views as important, and gaining control
over one’s life. It therefore challenges our ideas about the way things are,
should be, and could be. An example of empowerment in the Deaf community is the
Deaf President Now movement. In March of 1988, the Board of Trustees met to
select the 7th president of Gallaudet University. After a wide
search, the board considered three candidates: two of the candidates were deaf
and one was hearing. The Board selected the hearing candidate, and suddenly the
students and faculty took action closing the campus and locking the gates.
After days of protesting, the Board satisfied all of the demands and a Deaf
president was appointed for Gallaudet University. Through this win, all of the
deaf community felt a sense of empowerment. They knew that by working together
rather than alone, they could accomplish great things for the Deaf community.

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Prejudice and discrimination comes in many various forms. Discrimination
against the Deaf community is not only limited to hearing
individuals, some Deaf individuals make use of it as well. This type of
discrimination towards Deaf individuals is known as audism. 


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