Is there really such a thing as “Deaf Culture” in Alberta? Absolutely!
Around the world, sociologists define a culture as being distinct when it has its own language, behavioural norms, values, arts, educational institutions, political, and social structure. By this well-accepted definition, it’s safe to say that Deaf people have their own unique culture. That’s why you sometimes see “deaf” identified with a capital-D. It’s the broader Deaf Culture that’s being identified.
Deaf Culture is not all encompassing though; it’s a very distinct group of people that differentiates themselves from those who are hard of hearing or deaf as a result of age, illness, or trauma. While this latter group of people may share similar physical conditions, they do not share the same history, knowledge, beliefs, and practices as those who are part of Deaf Culture do.
Despite the richness of Deaf Culture, hearing society tends to view deafness and hearing loss as a medical condition that needs to be fixed. This of course, is not the case. Culturally Deaf Albertans have a clear identity, sense of self, and belonging. All of which should be celebrated!