The Mask of Benevolence

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The Mask of Benevolence was honestly shocking to me and made me rethink a lot. I thought it was interesting and intriguing that it discussed the views of most hearing people and talked about why they aren’t necessarily right. Many of the facts, opinions, and details of how things had been dealt with in the past completely surprised me. One of the most surprising things for me was how each culture viewed one another; which was almost all negative. Of course, not all people in each category have those thoughts. The book was an amazing read for me because I was able to see and understand some things as the deaf culture does because the author, Harlan Lane, was so specific and explained things through the thoughts she heard from people within the deaf community. In the beginning of the book, Lane discusses how the deaf culture views cochlear implants and the oral communication of deaf people. And though I was unsure why there was there was such a strong dislike of these things, it soon made sense to me. Deaf children that are forced to get an implant or to rely on oral communication get lost in an in between world of deaf and hearing. Lane stated, “the implanted child will not move easily in the hearing world, it is unlikely that he will learn American Sign Language (ASL) fluently and make his own fundamental values of that community. So there is a real danger that he will grow up without any substantive communication, spoken or signed.” (p4). This was extremely eye opening because although I had never thought negatively in any way about the deaf community I did have the impression that medical advancements and such implants would be viewed incredibly highly to the deaf. As most hearing people are, I suppose I was simply uneducated on the facts of cochlear implants. Lane claims that “the result of the discrepancies between the implant and the natural mechanism of hearing is a sound that many formerly hearing adults have trouble interpreting and sometimes even...
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