Thanks to iDeafNews for doing the interview.
Dear Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, Executive Director for Alexander Graham Bell Association for Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
The letter you wrote, “A Message From My Heart” is one of the most insulting letter I ever seen. There are thousands of AGBell survivors who lived through the world of pain and your letter shows that Alexander Graham Bell Community takes more ownership of the collective reasoning that that of hatred. Although your letter focus more on hating AGBell survivors, and negates to provide any significant introspection. AGBell survivors has shown their stories which contains contributions from some of the greatest minds, some 25, 30, 40 years later which is very insightful to the readers.
As acknowledged earlier, those 25, 30, 40 years later provide a number of hatred, language bigotry and language deprivation for clarity, understanding, and struggles. From what I have read, you took some time to ruminate and ignored in responding letters and did not have the opportunity, as did the AGBell survivors to the Deaf community today and tomorrow, to truly gain clarity through time and space. They said time heals all wounds. I am not sure whether that is necessarily true, but it certainly helps, in my experience as AGBell survivor, to distance myself from pain prior to truly placing an objective lens on my experiences.
Further, as some of the stories from AGBell survivors pointed out, they did personally experience what you use a quote, “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity.” written by Kofi Annan making it impossible for them to truly relate to events and interactions which they were asked to judge. That is a cheap shot what you wrote—you are no better than ignorance and prejudice that made you the handmaiden of propaganda.
It is difficult to have true objectivity in something, which you have not experienced personally. To ask one to provide insight, or moral guidance, on a matter which they have neither experienced nor could they possibly imagine, is highly presumptuous. With that being said, the time value in distancing one’s judgment rendered will, in my opinion, district their ability to assess the situation with the same acute sentiment as someone who has freshly experienced said conditions.
In sum, your letter was full of hatred, and allowed time to provide reflective judgments from the contributors—and therefore a higher, more conscious level of thought than the reactive nature of your letter with hate, derision, and intolerance.
After all, AGBell survivors like myself will double our impact to fight against AGBell followers that attacks on ASL and the Deaf Community. Shame on you, Mr. Emilio Alonso-Mendoza!
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
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
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.