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In The Name of Deaf Hate Crime: Time to Stop Silence!

10959729_895785043794508_3835896162778842013_nEllen Mansfield’s Art Work. “Deaf Hate Crime” was added to the jigsaw puzzle. Feb 2015.

The unfolding of history of the Deaf points to nothing more clearly than the vast ignorance of our language and culture; While I am fully aware that my message, be it factual or thinking, must be evaluated in terms of history as the uninterrupted welling of Deaf community in a multitude of currents and counter currents formed by our ever-changing society. My belief that our community must be renovated through the principles of happiness, that is deeply rooted in the American doctrine—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is our hope” as George Veditz, signed in the film, The Preservation of the Sign Language in 1913. It is very important that we must remember that it is each person’s right to know what being Deaf means. We also need to know that where it comes from as well as the activities and attitudes, which it describes. If we do not know, with confidence, our part in the whole and our place in history, we can become frustrated by what we have to do. If we know what being Deaf means, our self-esteem and self-determination would be much more sure. Today the world remains ignorant of Deaf people and their language and culture. Fact or myth?

I announce that my most important work shall restore Deaf Hate Crime (DHC) back to life. This time, it is in my own right. As an author of DHC, late Carl Schroeder has given me to go ahead and continue this important work before his unexpected death. The history of DHC establishment with Carl was in early 2010; we both realize that it would be very controversial and realized that it was not in right direction.

First of all, Carl wrote me e-mail in 2010 recognizing me as an author of DHC.

“Deaf Hate Crime is novel to me. I am basically a linguistics student, not a sociologist. Everything I learned about hate speech/crime IS from Jason Tozier. He IS my resource. He’s brought to my attention a vast knowledge of hate crime: academics, books and contacts. Jason does not come in any cheap! Deaf Hate Crime is now entertaining respect and attention across the nation and around the world. However, “Deaf Hate Crime” IS Jason Tozier, not me. I very much prefer to discuss languages….”

“…..I am forever in debt to Jason for bringing me to a national and international platform on Deaf Hate Crime, which is not my enterprise. Socrates had Plato; Plato had Aristotle…I have Jason, and I am not going to fail this.”

Back in summer 2010, Carl and I gave a presentation for City of Portland Office of Human Relations and Coalition Against Hate Crimes (CAHC), which has helped the coalition to better understand, how hate crimes affect Deaf people. That presentation led to a meeting with Oregon Attorney General to advocate for the inclusion of “disability” in Oregon’s bias crime statues. In 2011, the Attorney General presented such a bill to the Oregon legislature. That bill was passed and the new expanded hate crime law went into effect on January 1, 2012. That was a direct result of MY commitment to this issue. Oregon Association of the Deaf (OAD) NEVER had any part of it at ALL.

The question you would ask, where is my credentials in this? I signed up for Hate Crimes and Bias, a Sociology credit, in which students have to conduct original research projects and digest some rather dense material along diagram theories. My paper, Negative Perceptions of Deaf Individuals in Relation to Knowledge of American Sign Language was a scholarly paper and gave myself a taste of my commitment to the rights of Deaf people.

The intent of Deaf Hate Crime we need to recognize that has a long history, but it is not officially labeled as such. It is to subordinate and intimidate not only Deaf Hate Crime but also the entire community in which it is used. Deaf Hate Crime is therefore symbolic in that it sends a message to the entire world that Deaf Hate Crime is different and that DHC does not matter because it is socially constructed without self-evident definition.

It means different things to different people. Our challenge to DHC has not been in vogue because the majority of our world society holds that DHC seeks to cease language discrimination, language bigotry, language hegemony, and the layers of Audism.

My goal of DHC is to become a useful tool in the movement to fetch a better future. There are lots of us out there who are frequently silenced. What I am attempting here is to map out how research on DHC might be done. Deaf people cannot be forgotten and silenced.

Again, there were few books that have influenced my important work. For one, Barbara Perry in 2001, wrote:

…. Hate crime is a crime like no other…it is implicated not merely in the relationship between the direct “participants”, but also in the relationship between the different communities to which they belong. The damage involved goes far beyond physical or financial damages. It reaches into the community to create fear, hostility, and suspicion. 

The factors that stands in the way of effective DHC as following in a quote by Boeckmann and Turpin-Petrosino in 2002 set the tone by stating that:

There is no consensus among social scientists or lawmakers on definitional element that would constitute a global description of hate crime. Part of the reason for this lies in the fact that cultural differences, social norms, and political interests play a large role in defining crime in general, and hate crime in particular. 

In Solidarity,

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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

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