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The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  179 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A look at the gulf that separates the deaf minority from the hearing world, this book sheds light on the mistreatment of the deaf community by a hearing establishment that resists understanding and awareness. Critically acclaimed as a breakthrough when it was first published in 1992, this new edition includes information on the science and ethics of childhood cochlear impl ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by DawnSignPress (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 09, 2012 Ageena rated it really liked it
Monolinguistic oppression, eugenics, the horrible state of deaf education in this country, coupled with what I already knew and the completely lopsided information we received from the medical people when we found out John was severely hard of hearing and this book made me angry, determined and then damn determined that John will know and grow and learn and enjoy both Deaf culture, his beautiful language of ASL and learn English too. If you ever wondered why the Deaf are one of the least churche ...more
Mar 05, 2013 Marisa rated it it was ok
I have very mixed feelings about this book. It was jam packed with information, and I think Lane does a phenomenal job of covering all of the issues facing the Deaf community today. That being said, I do not think this is a successful book for those who have no prior knowledge of Deaf history and issues. Lane is very harsh on the hearing world, to the point that I think he risks alienating his hearing audience and making them defensive and thus non-receptive to the ideas he's presenting. As a st ...more
Amanda G. Stevens
Aug 19, 2012 Amanda G. Stevens rated it liked it
I read this book as part of an ASL class in college. First published in 1992 (and therefore I'm sure dated in its approach to the issues it tackles), it is meticulously researched, well organized, logical, and passionate in its defense of ASL as an oppressed language minority.

One could certainly argue that Dr. Lane short-changes his opponents by not really addressing their arguments on the benefits of mainstreaming Deaf children, but the purpose of this book is not to present both sides of the i
Aug 06, 2010 Kelly rated it it was ok
After reading this, I felt two things:
1) this wasn't really telling me anything new as a Deaf person
2) wow! really anti-hearing people perspective.

I think this would be an okay book to read if you're new to the Deaf world and aren't sure why things should be different. However, as someone already affiliated with it, I'm not feeling too hot about this book.
Nov 11, 2014 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Life-changing, eye opener. Compelling. Read it twice, appreciated it even more the second time around. One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. My only regret is that I didn't read it sooner.
For further exploration I recommend Dr. Lane's other books, notably, When the Mind Hears.

Apr 03, 2008 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Alyssa by: my professor, Falvia Fleischer
THis is an amazing book that really helps to give you a great perspective on what it must be like to be deaf, and how "normal" people would treat you. It is a great look into Cochelear Implants and how they are detrimental to some, and helpful to others. I think that everyone should read this book.
Feb 18, 2012 AJW rated it really liked it
Shelves: deaf
[I read the older 1992 edition.]
It's very helpful read for people who don't realise that the Deaf have a very "different centre" for their values, experiences and expectations from hearing people. So many sincere hearing people with good intentions actually make it worse because they're using a "different centre" - imposing their own cultural values and perspectives onto Deaf people.
Jan 15, 2015 Alison rated it it was amazing
Just as good as last time. An evocative look at the underpinnings of what it means to be culturally (or "big D") Deaf, discrimination and oppression from the larger hearing majority under the guise of benevolence, and a validation of Deaf culture. Can't wait to discuss this with my advanced level sign students.
Loz Cook
May 05, 2008 Loz Cook rated it liked it
Clear and concise. Very interesting. Brings to your attention what sounds like madness but has actually gone on and is going on in the deaf culture and community.
Taught a 1 and a half hour presentation in sign on chapter 2.
Aug 13, 2012 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Despite its academic style that may be difficult for some people but I am educated to understand this and it is well written and researched. Very powerful with an impact for both Deafs and hearings alike. Don't be afraid to read it again and again to truly understand this eye-opening book!
Mar 15, 2009 James rated it it was amazing
A good book that helps to disgrace and/or 'lay it straight' about people who think they are 'helping' the deaf when in fact they are hurting the people they are supposed to serve.
Jun 24, 2010 Annette rated it it was ok
The book was slightly biased with things not explained fully, but it does give great light to the plight of the Deaf.
Christina Lewis
Jan 14, 2015 Christina Lewis rated it did not like it
Dry and boring writing, very one sided, and a little hypocritical. There are way better Deaf culture books out there. I wouldn't want to read another Harlan Lane book again if I didn't have to.
Apr 28, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it
Another fantastic one by Lane, lays it out for you, no prisoners, no whitewashing. Makes you think and realize. Not as easy a read as When the Mind Hears, less story, but still great.
Dec 04, 2008 Bamilburn rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life and helped me gain a Deaf (capital D) identity. I'm no longer a bitter, jaundiced dude, thanks to this gem :)
Sarah Jones
Feb 26, 2008 Sarah Jones rated it it was amazing
On of the best books for insight into the Deaf Community. I bought this book for a college course, but I kept it rather than selling it back to the bookstore. It is a fantastic read.
Rachel rated it liked it
Jan 19, 2014
Esther rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2012
Robert rated it it was amazing
Feb 17, 2017
Lindsey Vrahiotes
Lindsey Vrahiotes rated it liked it
Dec 26, 2014
Seed rated it liked it
Oct 25, 2012
Cassandra Santos
Cassandra Santos rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2014
Sandra Stuart
Sandra Stuart rated it it was ok
Dec 27, 2014
Jessica rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2010
Deborah rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2007
Melanie Glazer
Melanie Glazer rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2016
Heidi Stone
Heidi Stone rated it it was ok
Jul 08, 2014
Chloe rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2013
Jesse . H. Azzopardi
Jesse . H. Azzopardi rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2015
Iris Nube
Iris Nube rated it it was ok
Oct 03, 2012
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Harlan Lane is a Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. His research focuses on speech production and perception in hearing and deaf people and on the culture, history and manual language of the deaf world.

--from the author's website
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