Tulsa Police Department employed an officer by the name of Betsy “Betty” Shelby and she is an Audist by heart. She was the one who murdered Terence Crutcher, a Black Deaf fellow in state of Oklahoma. She used “temporarily Deaf” as an excuse to kill Terence. I think the task of describing what “temporarily Deaf” was to defend herself is very offensive and daunting.
After all, Deaf community had spent the greater part of their lives in diverse environments, engaging in relationships with people, truly incorporating our senses, our beings, into the learning experience. We were challenged to discard hearing privileges, and were giving a new learning model: We learned by listening, reading, observing, communicating, exchanging ideas, doing hands on learning, group learning, interdisciplinary learning, to prepare us not for simple “DEAF” what it means, but rather, for LIFELONG LEARNING.
For Betsy Shelby to use hearing privileges, she used it as a textbook answer—a cheap tactic. To simply say, “temporarily Deaf” invites the problematic compulsion of her own lies to take the issues, to strip it, to break it up to its littlest components, and compartmentalize Deaf people in order to make sense of it. If this Audist like Betsy Shelby had taught us nothing else, it has taught us that linear, compartmental thinking of an issue that is complex, global, and interconnected to so many other complex systems and relationships, fails to see the “big picture” that is Deaf awareness.
Perhaps I can only state what I have learned from this Officer Shelby, and the new framework, and new lens of spreading lies with which to view and fundamentally challenge many of previously held beliefs. Truthfully, I held any deeply profound beliefs about my state of being Deaf prior to this lie what Shelby used to defend herself. If anything, I felt truly separate and unique from environment and media, as though we existed separately, and that I occupied a personal space and be proud of my state of being Deaf, and it was MY space to occupy, to control, to conquer.
And, frankly, as long as Audism could sustain me in this lifetime, which was all that truly bothered me the most. Did Betsy give some thought to how her personal lies were damaging to the environment, media, and Deaf community how she contributed to the wasteful misallocation of media lies?
Using “temporarily Deaf” excuse shares many features with traditional forms of harassment, including a clear intent to harm, and the hostile use of power within the context of police brutality. Again, the police brutality, no matter the reasons why, are heartbreaking.
As a Deaf fellow, it is hard to imagine anything worse. Officer Betsy Shelby needs to apologize to the Deaf community for using “DEAF” as an excuse why she murdered Terence Crutcher.
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in ints entirely only, including this copyright message.