After watching Conrad Baer’s vLOG about his views on AGBell, (#AGBellLies) first of all, yes, his argument is valid, but I must choose to disagree with him on some of his discussion. He’s young. He’s not a product of AGBell, he comes from Deaf family with privileges. Has he ever experienced by having his language deprived away? I seriously doubt he did. He is lucky. Anyone who has been a product of AGBell is not lucky. Conrad has no right to tell them not to challenge AGBell anymore. It is not his fight—and none of his business, too. I was not lucky.
My first school, Tucker-Maxon Oral School (TMOS), the chief executive of TMOS is AGBell—has taken my natural language away from my own mother and father as well as family and peers whether it is socially or intellectually property. My mother and father were survivors of AGBell, too. Yes, even hearing parents are survivors. My relationship with my mother and father has been seriously damaged. Why? Language deprivation.
However, I agree with one of Conrad’s point and insisted that exclusive ASL is the language of instruction at Gallaudet University because it procreates critical thinking and questioning—the oldest, and still the most powerful teaching tactic. Gallaudet University is the community of Deaf intellectuals, not a training ground for all modes of communication, AGBell’s favorite motto. As long as Gallaudet University fails to advance the use of ASL, it fails in everything else. ASL is not a spectator sport. It is not random; it is real. ASL is like all human languages, is a rule-governed language. Students at Gallaudet University is certainly free to use ASL anything whatsoever they want to say, including:
This is their privilege to express their survivorship from AGBell. Will Conrad understand this part? It is a Socratic teaching—a highly disciplined process. Their stories are one of them. People who writes letter, making ASL videos, whatever it is—they are the Socratic instructors as the logical equivalent of the inner critical ASL which his or her mind develops when it develops critical thinking abilities. For example, the contributions from AGBell survivors are like so many thoughts in the instructor’s mind. All of the thoughts must be dealt with in the language and culture—AGBell survivors know the best, and they must be dealt with carefully and fairly.
AGBell survivors like myself has been not only lied to, but also lied about. And even worse, we are being used and exploited. At the same time, I am a pacifist and I think it would be necessary to be aware that there are things worth “fighting” for. But telling AGBell survivors not to attack AGBell is not cool, does he realize that he is helping AGBell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as its president, Ms. Meredith Sugar becoming a bigger endowment on erratic priority is worth touting for? It is not his fight to tell them that they should stop sending letters and videos, instead telling us to “shifting our wind”—a catchword that may or may nor ridiculed. Patronizing AGBell survivors is BIG NO-NO.
Looking at AGBell survivors, even at Gallaudet University, we see the same pattern. Gallaudet University supports AGBell’s ideology and support their lies—which means Gallaudet University need to stop lying to us and lied about them. All of these things were lies. There are plenty of AGBell survivors been hurt by AGBell Lies; And we the survivors do not welcome these lies; we have instead, done everything we can to preserve ASL and fight the oppressors.
The good news that there is more and more AGBell survivors across our nation are setting up their strength and begin to heal—it is one of beautiful thing to heal—across the country, we need to turn up the heat at Gallaudet, we also must do everything we can to get the word out in our government and communities. We will hold AGBell accountable for their self-touting arrogance and indifference.
In Gallaudet University community, we can do—and become involved to be real part of the process—even at the greatest distance. Most of AGBell survivors came from the halls of Gallaudet in ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ’90s has a right to speak up. Talk about it. Get other interested and concerned for the AGBell survivors in their struggle for ASL social justice. Follow the progress of their stories. Why? Stories will be always powerful—sociologically.
Conrad, it is not your fight. You are very lucky that you would never able to experience your language being deprived.
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
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