Growing Up In A Strict, Silent World Made Me A Human Being

The deaf community is by far the most intriguing society that I've ever been a part of. I grew up in this society, and because of that, it made me a human being, rather than a discriminatory person, but not in the way you would think.

Ever since I was born, I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion. Living with controlling parents gives you the opportunity to observe and not speak. I was taught under the principle that “Children are to be seen and not heard.” So therefore, I never spoke up. My biological parents were deaf. Oh yeah, super cool. I know sign language and I was emerged into a society that was extremely different.

Here’s what you don’t know

Deaf people like to stick together and they aren’t very nice to people who aren’t like them. When I was 10, my biological parents moved me into an even stricter deaf society where I wasn’t even allowed to be who I, biologically, was. A hearing person. I grew up in a deaf school where many kids, deaf and hearing, put together. However, the hearing kids, were belittled because we could hear. This is something that we can’t control, and that begun to fill me with self-hatred. I grew up with constant self-loathing because I was told that I wasn’t equal to them. I got in trouble if I used my voice instead of my hands, and I couldn’t participate in certain things because I could hear. I was considered a CODA, which means Child of Deaf Adult. This was the only reason I was even allowed in the school. I couldn’t even learn correctly because I could hear. To them, I had an advantage, but to me, I didn’t. I didn’t understand science or math because I could hear. My English was good, but that was it. I was called smart so much in negative context, that I began to believe that being smart wasn’t a good thing. I dumbed myself down until it became a habit. However, in the long run, despite all this, I became very open-minded, and I realized how human we all are. I wasn’t allowed to have opinions, so therefore, I wasn’t allowed to be racist, feminist or anything like that because I was a person who could hear. I could observe from afar and I still adapt to those principles because it was a habit. It was miserable.

But here’s why I now believe that it was a good thing.

Good reasons being that I could realize the humanity of each individual person. I grew up in such a negative society that I grew an appreciation for the rest of the world. Each ethnicity, race, and gender have their own flaws and I can’t say that I don’t have flaws either. I learned to not judge as much and I do my best to be nice to everyone.

Don't get me wrong. I love deaf people and will potentially have the ability to have deaf children of my own. One of my closest friends is deaf and I have so much respect for her, but she wasn't the one who treated me terribly.

And ever since I was taken away from that society, I’ve begun to see the world differently. I understand that many will see my opinion as invalid because I am white. I have faced discrimination in a way that isn’t as impacting as racial discrimination, and for that I am lucky, but I never let my experience drag behind me. I was judged for something I couldn’t control, and I became a better person for that. I was bullied by grown adults when I was just 10 years old. It wasn’t fair and I know now, as a 20-year-old, that none of us should do that. We should realize that we are leading the future for children. My siblings are 8, 7, and 4 years old. And they, hopefully, will know not to be judgmental and discriminatory because I have done my best as well as my adopted parents to show them that we are all human and don’t deserve to be ridiculed for something we don’t deserve nor control.

I will always believe that my past has changed me for the better but I don’t expect a lot to understand where I’m coming for. It’s hard to spread my opinion and positivity because of my race and the great opportunities vie been given. I’m very thankful.

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