The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Helen Keller Conspiracy — Innocent Or Harmful?

The Helen Keller Conspiracy -- Innocent Or Harmful?

Helen Adams Keller has been a staple in the deaf community for decades, she’s gone down in history for her amazing story and honorable advocacy for disabled rights. As children we heard about the woman who learned to communicate using her hands, regardless of being both blind and deaf. However, due to a common trend online, people are starting to question if she even existed–making remarks and jokes against her legacy. This seems arbitrary at first glance; who would care about a lame social media conspiracy? As a student of Heritage High School, and a member of the deaf community, I am here to explain exactly why this innocent trend is so harmful.

The deaf community has struggled to gain acknowledgement from society for years–a rise in ASL education in schools has been superficial in granting more awareness. I remember as a child my sister and I had to move from our home school due to the lack in hearing IEP’s. Teachers disregarded using hearing devices during class to help their impaired students, and isolation became the norm as kids fell under the impression deaf = mute. In my new school, we had a deaf education class after school, where I first learned about Helen Keller. She was the first famous deaf person I’d ever heard of, and even now I probably couldn’t name more than 5 deaf actors and musicians.

Helen Keller showed that disabled people are not limited to their disabilities, and can push the boundaries of what our genetics handed us. One of the reasons this trend began was due to people saying “She couldn’t be real, how could a deaf and blind woman have done so much?”. People joked saying that Helen Keller was made up by the government, or just in order to spread propaganda. This spreads the false idea that disabled people are not able to excel in their fields and hobbies just like an able bodied individual is.

Helen Keller attended Radcliffe college of Harvard University, and became the first deafblind person in the US to earn a bachelor’s degree of art. She joined the Socialist Party of America and fought for Women’s Rights in the US. She wrote the autobiography The Story Of my Life in 1903 and was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971.

Helen Keller proved herself a great woman, not tied down by the challenges her life gave her. Before contributing to harmful and ignorant trends such as the one claiming there was no such thing as Helen Keller–think about what she brings to the deafblind community. Next time you are in your ASL class, or speak to a blind or deaf person, think about all the amazing things they’ve contributed to this world.

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About the Contributor
Oliver Stoltz
Oliver Stoltz, Staff Writer
Oliver is a Junior at Heritage, this is his first year in Journalism. He transferred from THS and is very excited to start at a new school. When he is not writing he listens to music, watches movies, and works as a barista. Oliver is very excited to write articles for the Paw Print as he connects with the HHS 25' class!