• When a group of people come together to form a community, it is usually because they have shared experiences, common interests and shared rules for behavior.  All these elements together are part of what makes up that group's culture.  People who are deaf and share a language -- American Sign Language -- often associate with others who use that language, and the group has formed its own unique culture.  It is characterized by pride in an ability to overcome adversity and may emphasize political activism, social and emotional support.

    There are hundreds of clubs and organizations of people who are deaf.  Their goals may be as simple as getting together to socialize or as complex as changing the world to be more accepting of people who are deaf. 

    Deaf culture is highlighted by a fierce sense of pride in a hard-won ability to overcome adversity, both as individuals and as a group. This sense of pride became apparent to the wider world in 1988 at Gallaudet University, when students refused to accept a hearing president as leader of their Deaf university.

    Like any culture, Deaf culture is too complex to be adequately explained in a short article. Some aspects which are valued in Deaf culture, however, are fluency in ASL and the ability to tell stories well. It is likely that a member of the American Deaf community will marry another member of that community, and many people who are Deaf wish to pass on their heritage and culture, including their values to future generations. There is a very strong sense of group loyalty.