“It’s a Muggle trap…. Blessed people, they’ll do anything to pretend
magic doesn’t exist, even when it’s right under their noses.”

Most of us have been fascinated by the Harry Potter saga, and in the years since, many curiosities have arisen about its magical world. One of these concerns the world of Deafness! Are you familiar with it?
Hogwarts is a magical school where most wizards and witches complete their studies. Specifically, it is a seven-year coeducational boarding school that welcomes boys and girls between the ages of eleven and seventeen.

From the structure of the school comes the first analogy with special schools. Years ago (and in some European countries still today), deaf people did not receive education in mainstream schools, but within schools with only deaf students. In these schools, deaf students lived there and went home to their families only during vacations, as at Hogwarts. These kinds of schools on the one hand became a place of segregation from the hearing world, but on the other hand they were spaces and dimensions where the Deaf community could share its culture, carry on traditions and even communicate freely with Sign Language. One can therefore compare the growth and study of the magicians to that of the Deaf community.

In addition, there is a group within the community called the “Elite” who are Deaf people and whose family and generation are (almost) all Deaf. The Deaf community is small, a minority, and many feel that it is essential to maintain contexts, including physical contexts, where they can preserve Sign Language, otherwise their culture will be lost. In addition, there is a difference for this group whether they attended public schools with hearing people or special schools with Deaf people. In the former case, the Deaf person is perceived as not fully embedded in the traditions of his or her culture and not representative of the Deaf community.

Similarly, some Hogwarts students have a different perception of peers who grew up in a magical family and environment than those who only discovered they were wizards or witches at age 11 (the age of enrollment in magical school). Students spend almost all of their 7 years within the school and thus live in the magical world, separate from the Muggle world. As will now become clear, the Muggle reality actually represents the hearing world. Both worlds, the Deaf-Hearing world and the Wizarding-Muggle world, coexist in the same physical spaces, but in totally different dimensions.

After this explanation, it is possible to understand the similarities present between the magical world and the Deaf community:

  • Magic = being deaf
  • Pureblood wizards and witches = Deaf signers born into Deaf families
  • Half-blood wizards and witches = deaf born into a hearing family mixed with deaf
  • Wizards and witches of non-magical bloodlines = deaf-oralist born into hearing families
  • Squib = CODA: Children of Deaf adults
  • Muggles = the hearing

With this curiosity, it is interesting to note that the world of books, even the most extravagant one with magic and spells, finally represents one of the many shades present in our daily lives.