152MC – Big D and Small d d/Deaf

Something that was mentioned in my Mums story and the comments from the YouTube video that I blogged previously about, was ‘The Big D’ I was very confused as to what this meant and how this was something involving deafness. It wasn’t difficult for me to find the definition of this,

The ‘small d’ are those who are deaf but do not associate themselves with other deaf people. They find their own identity within the hearing community, regardless of their hearing loss.

The “Big D” are those who identify themselves as deaf culturally, and have a strong deaf identity. This stemmed from being taught at a deaf school, when the small d tend to have been taught in a mainstream schooling with hearing students, and who have never attended a school for the deaf. When writing about deafness, many writers will use a capital D when referring to aspects of deaf culture, and a lower case d when speaking solely about the hearing loss, and some just simply use d/Deaf.

From looking at the definitions of the ‘big d’ and ‘small d’. I can see that my parents are separated in that way. My Mum works in a supermarket, so she is surrounded with many different people from different cultures. I would describe my Mum as a mixture of them both, as she still has many deaf friends but she also has hearing friends. Whereas I believe my Dad to be a small d. My parents are now divorced so they do not have the same friendship groups. My Dad believes that he belongs in the hearing community as he understands their way of life better. This is something I can continue with and ask my parents about to get more information.

Someone who is not born deaf is probably a small d as they have grown up with hearing people around them and sign language is not their first language. I believe that wether someone is a small d or big d it really doesn’t matter. It all depends on how someone lives their lives and how they make a connection with other deaf people. Are big D people more proud to be deaf and the small d people are ashamed to be deaf? This is another thing I want to bring into conversation with my deaf parents.