Is Switched at Birth setting a good or bad example for the deaf community?

Jul 29, 2014 at 12:49 p.m. ET
Image: ABC Family

On the most recent episode of Switched at Birth, "It Isn't What You Think," Daphne really let her inner rebel out. How is that affecting people's impressions of the deaf community?

One thing that the series has always tried to do was show that deaf people are just like anyone else. It has introduced hearing people to the beauty of ASL (American Sign Language) and shown the kinds of challenges that deaf people face just to live a regular life.

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Warning: Major spoilers ahead!

Recently on the show, Daphne and the rest of her family have been dealing with some incredibly heavy issues. With the tragic death of Angelo, Daphne understandably went to a place of anger when she realized that stress may have caused his aneurism and Regina could have been the culprit.

In a previous episode, Daphne's anger took on rebellious qualities as she did something I never thought we would see on this show: She tried cocaine. Being rude to her mother was one thing, but trying such a dangerous drug was downright scary.

Good or bad, Daphne's a great example for the deaf community

In the last episode, Daphne's behavior took another potentially disastrous turn. She befriended Nacho and joined him in an attack against the opening ceremony of the East Riverside project. They started out by ripping up signs and doing a little tagging, but once they switched to crowbars and breaking glass, things were out of control.

One the one hand, Daphne's rebellion can be viewed as a continuation of the show's goal to depict deaf kids as just like everyone else. Just because Daphne is deaf, she shouldn't be held to some sort of higher standard. She's been through a trauma and, unfortunately, some kids react to trauma in exactly the way she has been on the show.

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Bad Daphne is just that: Bad

On the other hand, this isn't exactly the first time that Daphne has been in trouble. As she gleefully pointed out to Nacho in the recent episode, she's still on probation for her last bit of rebellion. While, again, one could point out that blackmailing a dirty politician was justified, there are other ways she could have handled that situation as well.

If Switched at Birth's goal is to bring awareness to the deaf community, one has to wonder if Daphne's self-destructive behavior is the kind of awareness they want.

What do you think, Switched at Birth fans? Is Daphne setting a good or bad example for the deaf community?