Choosing to Overcome the Greatest Shame in Deaf Community: Suicide

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There were couple of older blog posts I wrote about challenges of suicide in Deaf community. It’s really powerful. I’ve experienced a Deaf friend by the name of Greg from the school bus we rode together committed suicide when I was in 8th grade, and one of my hearing professors who committed suicide which hit me hard. She was only 39 years old. My first Sociology class was Sociology of Health and Medicine under Professor Heather Hartley.

I never forget the day when I showed up into classroom with injured right arm from kick-ass bicycle accident where I crashed my right shoulder so hard on the road and I was wearing an arm sling that time. I couldn’t write. Too much pain. That day was final exam. Yet, I still showed up with bicycle again.

She had a better idea and asked me to meet her in her office, and took the final exam by typing down the answers on her computer to take final exam and save it and send it to her. That was a brilliant idea. She was a good professor. Also, I remember the day when the news broke where I showed up for a Sociology course, Criminology and my professor was looking really down, it was not the professor I know. It became quiet in the classroom. It hit the hardest. They were good friends. The same professor in that quiet classroom later discussed about “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” book by Émile Durkheim.

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When I had a fatal heart attack last November 2016, I continue to question my death experience and how I defied death. Living in real world at this current hour has been much harder than I ever face with, and it finds a lot of strength and growing pain to deal with, and one of the most challenging part, was the haters who went after me after I woke up from death. It is much worse than death. Living with labels. Especially most damaging labels. It leads a major culprit.

On the face of it, gaining access to find help, support, and strength how to overcome adversity, it was also cynical, is the most difficult thing. The last 32 years of my life has been rough enough that is way too much to deal with everyday, and when I got a gift certificate for my birthday from my mother last December 2018, I stopped by Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy a book to read: Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D.

Joseph Burgo writes: “Self-esteem can’t thrive in the soil of nonstop praise and encouragement. Instead it depends upon setting and meeting goals, living up to the expectations we hold for ourselves, and sharing our joy in achievement with the people who matter most to us. Listening to and learning from encounters with shame will go further than affirmations and positive self-talk in helping to build authentic self-esteem.”

One of my many and beloved Sociology classes, I learned a great deal about Erving Goffman, a high-thinking sociologist who coined “stigma” where he described, “Society establishes the mean of categorizing persons and the complement of attributes felt to be ordinary and natural for members of each of these categories.”

How do you cope with the society when it establishes the mean-spirited of battling with tendencies to go toward suicides?

I am not writing this for myself only, but it applies to Deaf returnees living in Deaf community lacks for accessibility and big help, over the past couple of decades have shaken Deaf America and made them the most invisible minority group and their own identity and forgotten stories. When it comes to Deaf returnees who comes back into the society to change their life around, and blowing the whistle to test the strength, and the story is very much related to my experience.

When Calvin Young, a Deaf vlogger made a vlog: “Life is like a Jenga” is a great example of how to overcome adversity. Dealing with Jenga through shadows, and try to think positive as much as possible, and try to be in my shoes if you can handle Jenga. Beyond the shadows of Jenga, there are real consequences for living with the label. I learned of the news that there are four times more likely to commit suicide for young children as much as ten years old, with hard life lessons.

There are plenty of people who got away with miserable actions, but did not own up to their actions. Again, I am far from perfect and I make human mistakes, too. Will you be willing to learn the culture of Deaf returnees?

As the author of Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem wrote from the book: “You’re a fucking loser. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Nobody likes you. You might as well die. You’re stupid. Why bother doing anything? You know you’ll fail. It goes on and on like that for hours, repeating the same things. Relentless, like I’m always being watched and judged. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Over and over.”

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I know the feeling. I won’t let it control me to set up for self-hatred so profound it sometimes left me dealing with the label. Will you accept me to be part of Deaf community? I’ve told many times that I should not doing anything and set me up for failure, and judged without knowing my life stories.

Bullying: Deaf vs. Deaf is the hardest thing to deal with. I am no better either. In this time of crisis, it is Deaf leaders and Deaf community itself who hold out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf people including Deaf returnees. It begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of ours. Am I allowed to earn empowerment that is something that begins within ourselves that finds a big mirror to reflect who we are between healing and growing pain?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message

Additional blog posts to read about suicide:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/06/09/treatment-of-suicidal-deaf-people/

 

 

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“We Hate Deaf and Dumb People!”: Funny or Offensive?

 

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Someone photo shopped an image and put it on Dunkin Donuts door in state of Illinois to make it look like real: “We hate Deaf and Dumb people! They are not welcome in our store. Go order your food from McDonald’s! We don’t want your SSI Check. Thanks, Management”—do you think it is funny at all? Where can you find humor in this statement?

When someone finds time to type “hate Deaf and Dumb people!” with passion, the word “hate” comes from the Old English, hatian “regard with extreme ill-will, have a passionate aversion to, to treat as an enemy.”

In practice, it refers to treat Deaf people as enemy, making an action that needs to be taught in the society. That practice could be either smart or stupid.

An image created from “Photoshop” style like that, it means hate mail. As the word, “hate mail” was coined in 1951, and that was 68 years ago and the practice still carry the legacy. It has been too long. Why wait so long to stop hate mail? You can see that clearly from the society view of Deaf people in which the “hate” is used in the legal sphere seemed more dignified. It does not matter whoever created the image—even from Deaf person.

The definition of ‘hate’ in crimes, literature, mail, and speech, targeting Deaf community is a secret in the making, and the word itself is a dangerous framing, attaching a criminal behavior that has become normalized in the society. Why do you think there is no laws protecting Deaf people in the name of hate crimes? So, over the years, lack of laws has become a part of our “deficit thinking” of what a hate crime, hate mail, hate speech, and hate literature and it is crucial part when it comes to the understanding of hate crimes.

When hearing people call police on Deaf people, what is about fearful of Deaf people, watched, suffering and told stories by millions at the time and for many years including current status like today, had ignored the evidence of one of painful human conditions, to understand the word of “hate” hurting Deaf people that makes the bigotry invisible?

The reasons that hate crime are not being enough discussed in Deaf community is because the truth that was not seen enough and ignoring social problems, in order not to show the truth in the light. The lack of learning about hate crimes in Deaf community is a big problem, I repeat, really big problem has been ignored in all angles of human compassion because when someone like Deaf people experiencing hate mail, hate speech, hate literature and hate crime becomes invisible.

Today in 2019, the terminology of “hate” about Deaf life on the Earth we live and breathe has failed.

The image was found to be offensive and insulting even though it was attempting to be funny, but it was poorly choice of words. Head shaking. No Deaf people shall be enduring torture like “hate”–we are much stronger than “hate”. Agreed? Even if it was supposed to be joke, it just does not work that way.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

 

ASL: Emotional Intelligence?

Will we agree that American Sign Language (ASL) ever succeed as an emotional intelligence?

Cued Speech Returns to National Spotlight: For All the Wrong Reasons

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Dr. Richard Cornett, who coined Cued Speech in 1966, quotes: “I had supposed that deaf persons were bookworms, served by reading as their one clear window on the world. A few months of study convinced me that the underlying cause of their reading problem was the lack of any reasonable way to learn spoken language, without which they could not use speech for communication, become good lip readers, or learn to read (as opposed to being taught the recognition of each written world). So, I really started with the conclusion that what was needed was a convenient way to represent the spoken language accurately, through vision, in real time. That was the problem I set out to solve, the perceived need that set my direction.”

Today, in 2019, hearing people who had been doing the tricks of “hearing-washing” Deaf people to recognize and claim that Cued Speech is the gateway to the clear window on the world of excelling in written English and a better reader. Cued Speech is just a tool. Besides, Cued Speech is a hearing privilege.

Way before the first selfie, American Sign Language (ASL) had shown the myth of Cued Speech about how it would improve superior written English skills; it has already shown a myth already. Besides, ASL was discovered and wandered in the search of language truth first before Cued Speech and it is too late.

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Cued Speech had rejected ASL, showing its own reflection of language oppression what it is known as language hegemony in Deaf world, just like the power of English attempting to control the world as highly recommend to read a book called “Globish: How English Became the World’s Language” by Robert McCrum, co-author of “The Story of English”—Pstt. It is really good book to read. Really!

Let’s turn our thoughts to the language hegemony. It strikes me the most that the Cued Speech is ideological more than phenomenal. Its “OR” choice: to weaken or destroy ASL and Deaf Culture based on its proposed creation of a “new order of Deaf people” into Oralism.

Improving written English is better when Cued Speech is in the picture, and the problem is that it has been brainwashed. However, Cued Speech is just bullshit, and it is no wonder that Cued Speech is so fossilized it has gone too long and proved enough that Cued Speech was never a success. ASL, one of top five most popular languages in America, nothing can beat that!

The leadership of Cued Speech is still flawed, yet, dumbing Deaf people down. Familiarity breeds contempt. Come on, it applauds me the most that Deaf people would claim that Cued Speech would improve English skills when they never experienced Cued Speech themselves and yet, give the power to Cued Speech Association.

Let’s look at this way. ASL, Deaf Culture, Deaf Life—is the reason they are breathing the most because of the strongest bond ever. There are “plenty” of ASL curriculum showing it’s the strongest accreditation”—derived from an old Latinate word for “trustworthy” and in today’s terms, it means ASL should be trusted as high quality.

I mean, come on, ASL was discovered in 1965, beating Cued Speech by a year, and it has shown far more sophisticated and serious institution than most of us could ever imagine, but seeing its validity and appreciating its importance for Deaf culture upon having a clear definition of what ASL is all about.

In closing, what I am trying to convey the message above is that Cued Speech is not enchantment and its primary intent is not to take idle excursions into imaginary lands inhabited by characters from classics. It is disenchantment enough to take a hard look at essential realities through the language and culture Deaf people knows the best. Hearing privileges does not belong in this society.

The whole point is that ASL had already shown or proved that emotional, intellectual, and linguistically realities are what so much of the truth in Deaf life seems designed to challenge us, Deaf people from.

Sure, what I had learned so much how much ASL is important to Deaf life, it’s damn beautiful, cannot describe so powerfully, that ASL is a radical, in that it addresses the roots of our own experience, and that is powerful, in that its intention is to overturn and banish illusion—illiteracy in ASL and Deaf Culture. Personal, social, and cultural rationalizations concerning ourselves as Deaf people—we need to stand up against Cued Speech.

ASL will never steal away from intellectual freedom out of oppressive language such as Cued Speech, and we need to continue standing up against Cued Speech and its Oralism practices.

LEAD-K is what had been struck in hearing world, and had been a sad state of our own Deaf society is in to cause a Deaf person to want to be defined in someone else’s language. Isn’t that what ASL is all about? Being translated, being lost in the translation? On the other hand, it is going to be a great way to explain the reason in the fresh air of truth. It really makes many Deaf people want to learn how to discuss ASL.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

 

Why Open Captioning is a Fundamental Right

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Attention: Councilmember Charles Allen

Council of the District of Columbia

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Suite 110

Washington, DC 20004

December 30, 2018

Bill B22-0957: Open Movie Captioning Requirement Act of 2018:

Sir, and the Council members for the Council of the District of Columbia:

As a member of DC Deaf community, the understanding of social, political, and sociological fields, what is justice, and the human rights, and the public eye is becoming a common means for what a life in District of Columbia to make sure Deaf citizens receive fair accessibility for communication, information, and knowledge.

Open captioning is a fundamental right even in the constitutional document itself; The First Amendment: the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances;

The Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The rights for open captioning cannot be violation of Deaf people. Neglecting Deaf people’s public spaces for years and years have been enabled and promoted are counterproductive, Un-American, anti-factual, and diversionary. The First Amendment—freedom of speech, peaceably to assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances, protects Deaf people. Why?

“Government of the District of Columbia. The Government of the District of Columbia operates under Article One of the United States Constitution and the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolves certain powers of the United States Congress to the Major and thirteen-member Council.”

However, Deaf community shows the true hope and human society within cultural changes in District of Columbia, and the greatest mission of open captioning for Deaf community requires our resistance to the frustration of being denied for a full theatrical experience at any cost.

Open captioning would rekindle ourselves as the Deaf community to claim literacy rights in higher learning. Open captioning becomes highly sophisticated in our language and culture in the same manner as our hearing counterparts in their own language, English.

Happy New Year!

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_the_District_of_Columbia