The Deaf Mind by Nancy Rourke
Attention, attention, attention! It is time for us, Deaf people to urge people to wind down the war on Oralism and renew efforts to close down the Volta Bureau (Alexander Graham Bell Headquarters) for Oralism abuse. We demand: Democracy. AGB Association today is still responsible for their actions, the same people who works there had not been hold accountable with no crime on Deaf people’s land that is very much part of their American lives.
Oralism has been a harsh judgement for the last 130+ years, why is there not a law representing Deaf people in a major discrimination case against AGB Association and its friends? They had been bullying Deaf people knowing that we do not have the resources to fight back and tell our stories. There were no runaway train for fraud–they never proved that in our stories. Oralism is an institution roundly disliked by all who participate in it. Deaf children hate it for healthy reason because it makes their children unhappy.
Here is something Deaf people to stop that Alexander Graham Bell Association had been “grading Oralism” is part of teachers’ never-ending homework. Is Oralism part of body and mind? I will admit that it is difficult to write about body and mind. I was fascinated by Nancy Rourke’s painting called The Deaf Mind.
I had never really understood what DEAF means in my own body and mind until I met couple of Deaf scholars at age of 35, I am not talking about Deafhood. I am talking about DEAF people before my own eyes. I begun to embrace the state of being Deaf by seeing myself in Deaf people. That is a sociological term called generalized other, a term coined by George Herbert Mead whom I had studied in college, the word itself means the general notion that a person has of the common expectations that other have about actions and thoughts within a particular society. I would not write this now if I did not meet Deaf people. I learned so much through them. Their stories becomes my stories. Why suffer humiliation as the rejection of state of being Deaf?
Seeing human beings people in a human aspect, according to a French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, means seeing them as free to make decisions bearing on their lives. Seeing a human being as a thing, as a “body” is seeing hum as unfree. When a person denies his ability to be free (what Sartre calls “having bad faith”), we see him as behaving according to a tag attached to him from the outside.
I needed to focus on my own Deaf body in good faith. A Greek philosopher named Epicurus that he made a strong statement that a self is not a soul, but a body that requires to see in the mirror. Hence the word, generalized other. See in other mirrors. You cannot escape from mirrors. It is important to use them and at the same time, the invisible spirit within your body will become self-talkative where it leads to a human brain which becomes the mind.
If the Deaf Mind does not exist, then it would not the human story that it is. There is a great void at the center of each Deaf people’s lives. A human detachment that eats us up. We need to connect with other Deaf people rather than detaching from them because the void is us is still alive and festering somewhere madness could be very real outcome. There is also this sort of void in the center of Deaf life. Why do we detach? The detachment either good or bad which is survival. The Deaf Mind has to objectify their stories outside of themselves to be able to make stories. I coast on waves of silence and can relay the most gripping messages using only my hands.
It is possible to use the Deaf Mind to describe inner turmoil in a descendent of the rites of passage taken by Deaf people in Deaf community, rites in which Deaf children had to use venture alone into the wilderness in order for their metamorphosis. The storm in Deaf mind is the first of many metaphors that the Deaf person itself needs to unravel around the people in order to relate coming of age and information in a tangible way. The difference in that the elements that Deaf Mind itself suffers through wage against their soul, attempting to destroy themselves with the completeness of their nature: State of Being Deaf. It is always there, hidden away somewhere in your mind.
Once the storm in Deaf mind is over, you will not remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You will not be even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. but one thing is certain that when you come out of storm, you will not be the same person who walked in. That is what the storm is all about.
True to its description, the storm leaves the Deaf Mind changed and that person finds a purpose truer than any that person held before. Likening the Deaf Mind itself to the storm, tossing and turning the Deaf person repeatedly in their self and psyche, the same sentiment holds inescapably true. It is important to preserve the Deaf Mind in every aspect. I am all for generalized other in learning and seeing myself into Deaf people. After all, it is about the journey of Deafhood.
Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier
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