“Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say”-Mitch Albom
I have some more to write about my childhood experiences, especially in mainstreaming settings, after I read about Fautso’s death, which I admit, is still haunting me to this date. I realized that I had experienced a plenty of subsequent educational hardships all those years and the likelihood of graduating from high school was difficult after receiving many threats, harassment, bullying, and faced adverse consequences including stigmatization and differential treatment. During my senior year in high school, a month before graduation, I wanted to drop out of high school like everybody in my family did until my father got a phone call from somebody at the school that I was about to drop out, but my father got off work early and drove 30 miles to show up at my high school and caught me in a hallway and begged that I will not give up my education. He said to me, “Son, do not follow my footsteps and you are better than that”. At first, I was disgusted with my father’s appeal because he did not understand what I was going through then I realized that my father was doing the right thing for me. “Be a leader’, he said.
I skipped classes so many times during second semester and partied much and that is where I was couple of credits short from graduating high school. That was where it did not stop me from achieving my goals to graduate from high school. I ended up being in the “fifth” (senior) and skyrocketed my grades by getting five A’s and one B’s during first semester then second semester, almost got perfect grades only because I did not do well in pottery class and ended up getting B for the class. My grandmother said if anyone got perfect grades would receive $50. I really wanted $50 then my grandmother saw what I was going through, she decided to give me $50 for my efforts! In my previous blog, “My Personal Struggles in Mainstreaming America” in which I mentioned the CODA interpreter who interpreted for me in fifth grade until she moved away. We reunited again in my “fifth” year senior. That made a huge difference. Yes, even I got suspended that time for five days after getting in fight with a bully student named Kevin. My brother was there and he was in awe how much I suffered social satire everyday in hallways. He would hear other students’ mocking at me while I walked by. They just did not know that I was his big brother. I had to set an example for my brother at some point. I could not let bullies and bigots fail me and made sure that my brother could not ignore my education’s fundamental premise.
Mainstreamed Deaf students have as much right to seek higher education as non-Deaf students do. There is no secret that mainstreaming system is very much one-sided and the system has alluded Deaf students’ dignity from becoming normal and full Deaf-minded students. Mainstreamed Deaf students should not get characterized by their neglect, I am sure that the stress is so great that affects families as well, too that they experience similar social stigma what they were going through with greater personal isolation.
Is Audism part of conservatism? Definitely yes, Audists know it because they oppose to the idea of radical changes. They play dumb, but they know it! There is so much ignorance in the mainstreaming settings that leaves Deaf people very much invisible what they had been profiled around. Why not Deaf students grow up with a strong mind and ASL? Mainstreaming settings are meant to keep Deaf students from looking at hearing students in their eyes. The problem is that it is not a Deaf cultural thing, but it is a hearing supremacy thing. The Audists are out in force today. Deaf people’s existence causes a cognitive dissonance in their eyes. Many Deaf schools are closed in North America and other parts of countries. The systematic denial of receiving resources for Deaf students in mainstreaming settings still exists.
Aristotle was the one who said Deaf people are incapable of their intelligence. Thanks to Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher and a priest in 12th century, found Aristotle’s work after buried deep somewhere since third B.C. because Aristotle had committed suicide, the Church did not recognize his work. Imagine if Aquinas did not find Aristotle’s work, would the world be different and treat Deaf people with respect and dignity? We need to stand up in the public and continue to reinforce the fact that mainstreaming settings is not the answer. Let’s make an example of the problem.
Denying Intellectual Audism is in a new vogue. How can Deaf people not deal with enormous sense of shame and stigma by being Deaf? They should not felt demoralized at all. Mainstreaming has become a collateral consequence to Deaf people’s lives. Audism makes sure that Deaf people are liable for their consequences for their actions no matter what happened to them in the classroom. Various factors have contributed to many more problems. Remember Paddy Ladd’s research in his book, 80% of Deaf children do not have formal education on the earth. Audists would say that Ladd’s published research findings are false and disagreeable. They need to think that “listening and speaking” is individualistic, like playing some musical instruments.
In the United States, we need to utilize the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to change discriminatory state laws that affect Deaf students in mainstreaming system. In U.K., 96% of Deaf children are mainstreamed and in Canada, high percentage as well, too. We will not become Aristotle’s children. I know that there is high percentage of Deaf children who committed suicide and yet it is invisible in the media world. We need to collect newspaper clippings even if they say “hearing impaired” instead of “Deaf” and other documented information to prove that suicide among Deaf young people exist. Educators of the Deaf today are completely trained under the powerful influence from 1880 Milan Resolution Conference to make sure mainstreamed Deaf children are overlooked and dismissed as nonexistent in the society.
Ladd’s quote, “…parade a single Deaf ‘success’ in order to exemplify the miracle made flesh, and to thus claim all Deaf children were capable of these achievements. That the examples in question were usually drawn from deafened or partially Deaf children was something that was hidden from view” and his other quote, “Isolated from contact with other Deaf people, the experience resulted in ‘academic success’ but was traumatic both socially and emotionally” both quotes were written in 1979.
Copyright © Jason Tozier
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