Audism is the oppression of deaf people and occurs when people believe they are superior, since they can hear. Eugenics includes the attempts to create a pure human race; those outside are inferior and not worth living.
- Deaf people were prevented from entering the United States.
- Sterilization has been forced on deaf people.
- Euthanasia occurred, such as in concentration camps, during WWII in Germany.
In a film about Audism, one man told how his mother never learned ASL and was not able to state her last words on her deathbed; he was so expressive in his signing, and it was obvious that he still felt sad about this experience years later. All children struggle to communicate with their parents as they grow up, but it is hard to imagine not being able to communicate with my parents at all.
Deaf artists often create pieces to express their frustrations, but these artworks also create awareness and communicate with both hearing and deaf individuals the experience of being deaf. Viewing deaf art and poetry can help hearing people sympathize with what it means to be deaf.
We can all make a difference by stopping Audism. Learning ASL and studying deaf culture makes people less ignorant. There is a rich, vibrant deaf community. Rather than assuming all deaf people are the same or less intelligent and excluding them, we can stop oppression by learning about the individual and including all people—hearing and deaf.