ON HAND: Returning to your roots

This originally appeared in The Tactile Mind Weekly in Trudy’s ON HAND column.

On a recent episode of 60 MINUTES, Mike Wallace reported that African Americans were moving back to the south to reclaim their heritage, intentionally choosing to live in black neighborhoods and areas. As I watched the segment, I quickly saw the similarities among deaf people who intentionally choose to live a “deaf life”–marrying deaf people, living in areas where many deaf people live, and using ASL without guilt or shame.

I just moved to a “deaf-school town”–a deaf school is located here–nearly 20 years after swearing I would never live in one again. Back then, I felt as if living in a deaf-school town was unrealistic and unhealthy. But you know what? I love living here.

I appreciate living in such a deaf-friendly town. I love having so many resources at my fingertips. I love being in a Deaf environment. Mind you, I socialize with hearing people, too (it’d be impossible not to).

But most of all, I love not having to explain my language and life choices. Perhaps it is best explained by a comment on the show: “I was so excited about being at a place where I could just kind of be myself and let my hair down,” remembers [preacher Cynthia] Hale. “I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. And I think that’s what causes people of any race, any culture, to self-segregate.”

I nodded in understanding when Wallace said, “But for blacks, it’s coming back to their roots. Many who’ve moved South say they feel they’ve come home.” I certainly feel like I’ve returned to my roots.

See the full 60 MINUTES story at
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/12/60minutes/main558375.shtml

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