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Tag Archives: America

What Was Laurent Clerc Thinking That Night?

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Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Please Apologize to the Deaf Community

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It is just disheartening to see that once in a while that Deaf people would be mocked for their own language choice: American Sign Language (ASL). When Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former governor for the state of California has mocked ASL front of the audience promoting them to laugh. I was shocked to see what he has done. I had respect for him.

I’ve seen all of Arnold’s movies, of course, The Terminator, but one movie gave me a lot of laughter, Twins with Danny DeVito. Memories were good! Arnold was the one who vetoed AB 2072 in 2010, he saved Deaf community. But…. after what he did couple of days ago, he did not save the Deaf community instead of mocking them. No compassion.

So, I went ahead and find out when the Twins were produced and surprised that it was made in 1988, the same year Deaf President Now won the hearts of American people to pick its first Deaf president in history. Respect!

Where is the compassion?  Is it a right word? A compassion is a moment of sudden clarity on a dank day whether it was morning, neither afternoon nor evening.

We all are the same. We are all Deaf. We are all the same. Though, our stories are not the same. We live in a very oppressed world dominated by hearing people. The hearing world has forgotten that Deaf people have been contributed to the society.  Did Arnold even know that the mirror said to him?

Each day, Deaf people face challenges–discrimination in all spheres of public spaces wherever they go to. The nation that has named United States of America was supposed to live in a peaceful space. When Laurent Clerc arrived on the soil of America in 1816, we all need to remember the old mantra of Deaf progress. It makes Clerc as an immigrant just like all of us. Arnold was an immigrant, too. America was built with immigrants.

Clerc’s America was supposed to be seen as “grandfather clause” meant to protect Deaf people. After infamous 1880 Milan Resolution, thousands of Deaf people even today–I meant, a countless number the last two centuries were targeted for bullying.

Soon, few weeks away from the month of March–the National Deaf History Month. Never mind Alexander Graham Bell’s birthday on March 3rd or Sleep Awareness Month that Deaf people were supposed to sleep peaceful without being bullied. We will not forget what AGBell or Arnold has done to us. Deaf History Month is filled of Deaf people pushing us for future and build stronger foundation at every forward step.

Have Deaf people suffered enough hate from cruel people? The scourge of hate speech about ASL has been built enough reputation. ASL might be seen as homeless to hearing people who laughed just like what Arnold did. ASL, arguably the most marginalized and forgotten group in the United States promoted by AGBell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, is constantly either ignored or encouraged by its laughter.

How in the name of ignorance can it be misunderstood if one does not hear or know it? If you were in the same room, talking on the same objectives, then why was the laughter not very much part of us? Laughing is contagious if it shared and understood.

It is about the moan of pain. Will hearing people accept Deaf people in America today? We will need to continue to stand up against hate speech. ASL and the intellectual life of the Deaf have become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between two educators: Laurent Clerc, and the Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. That is why it is important to celebrate 200 years anniversary with the arrival of Clerc.

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Before closing this post, Deaf people have given plenty of contribution to the society and recognize them as human beings with inherent rights. Arnold needs to apologize for mocking ASL. We do not need a Terminator to mock us. If Arnold refuses to apologize then he’s terminated! Where is California Association of the Deaf’s action and tell Arnold not to do that?

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

Donald Trump: Hater-in-Chief

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After watching NBC’s “Nightly News” with Lester Holt tonight, there was an interview with Donald Trump–as my professor who specializes in hate crimes warned America last fall that he is the new face of white supremacy and he was right! I also specialize hate crimes in Deaf community as well. The interviewer asked Trump why he was against a federal judge–“because he is Mexican“–WHAT????!?! He actually said that!

You know what, Donald? FUCK YOU. The federal judge was born in Indiana and that is in America–not even close. You know why? Because of his “looks”-and that is a dangerous statement coming from an American president candidate

Sadly, there are some Deaf people who are actually voting for Trump–very sad. Deaf people who are KKK-sympathizers, Nazi-sympathizers, Confederate-sympathizers, and hate-mongers, too. Trump’s racism, fear-mongering and hate by pressuring America to associate their white supremacy–with a Republican nominee for president being elected to the highest political office in the United States.

I cannot believe what I am seeing right now. The highest political office in the United States–preaching racism, xenophobia, and misogyny is what I would never imagine to see something like this.

In America where I had been bred and buttered for 41 years, the roar of the crowd as Trump steps up to the microphone–it is scary to see something like this! The future would be clouded with political hatred and that is not what democracy should be in America, and I am sick of his hatred anymore. I have a cousin who is also half Mexican by the name of Cruz, he is my mother’s youngest sister’s son–whose his father was a full-blood Mexican lineage and a very cool one. I am not going to let Trump shit-face my cousin at all.

So, Donald, fuck you….you fucking fart rammer, and get a fucking life, you fuckin’ scrotum gobbler!

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

Is It Right Time To Be An American in Deaf Community?

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A proud owner of this art!

Good morning! So, today is America’s 239th birthday. I shed a tear right now in my eyes. Deaf people today are still unemployed and underemployed, the worst minority group of all around 80%. In the same land of America created a learning environment that would grow into discrimination each day. Deaf people were taught to depend on their hearing relatives, friends, or neighbors because they heard information firsthand and that Deaf people always get it secondhand. It would be nice if America develop Audism in the list of discrimination, you know when people learn how to recognize common types of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment—and what to do if they become survivors. Well, Deaf people are the biggest survivors of all—it is a proven fact.

There are many stories that Deaf people suffer bullying, retaliation, threats, and other factors in the workplace today. How come the employment did not follow the policy? It is important to understand that the organizing principle of power wherein culture can be studied through technologies of power—not progress, not education, not conflict, not struggle, and not resistance.

For someone who have the great pride of being an American, power is a strategy attributable to functions, neither economy nor politics. Power creates truth, and this truth produces a function of power. Does America teach the need to heal from the traumas of living in less than a just, sacred and sustainable country and to resist the further destruction of Deaf community? Legal protection for the Deaf people is not without precedent. The unemployed and underemployed on Deaf people will have only the most marginal of impacts on hiring them—in reality, any company worth its salt will never make any job offer until all references and decisions are thoroughly completed and verified.

By that point, the likelihood is very high that the being Deaf will have come to light anyway—at that stage, and depending on what the employment involves then it is judgmental call. It is time to address the question no one asks as means to poke holes in critical attitudes towards Deaf people. Despite the obvious existence of negative portrayals of Deaf people in high regard, it is better to think that way that Deaf people are definitely changing for the better. Varying ideas of Deaf-owned businesses are coming into consideration, more than anything.

Although, I experience the most severe bullying in the name of the book, there are times that I struggle as an American. Yet, I celebrate America’s birthday for three reasons today: Bill of Rights, the intersection of social justice, and diplomacy of Deafhood framework. The fireworks are in the order. Happy birthday, America and American Sign Language, too!

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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

Abreham “Abe” Zemedagegehu: A Good Example of An Invisible Deaf Soul

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My name is Jason “JT” Tozier. I am a Deaf Justice advocate and returned citizen who hails from the Pacific Northwest. Deaf since birth, my passion for Deaf justice emerged through personal struggles with obtaining access to those things that members of the hearing community often take for granted—education and the justice system, are just two examples. Now, I work to educate others about Audism and universal access.

Abreham “Abe” Zemedagegehu’s story is not an isolated incident. He was arrested and accused of stealing an iPad that was later found. His story simply highlights systemic failures of justice system. The struggles he experienced are truly emblematic of systematic oppression. His story reminds us that the legal system has made Deaf people nihilistic and weak by regarding pity and related sentiments as the highest virtues.

He was wrongfully convicted and spent six weeks in a Virginia jail without being provided with an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.  Perhaps most alarming is that this all happened ten minutes away from Washington, D.C.—home of Gallaudet University, the world’s only Deaf university. Deaf people have used ASL there since 1864! That is over 150 years and 28 United States Presidents.

Zemedagegehu is Deaf. He uses ASL for communication, information, and knowledge. He was born and raised in Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; a country located in the Horn of Africa. He moved to America over 10 years ago to seek education and better accessibility. Today he is an American citizen.

His story begins with a warning that the oppression belongs to Deaf people, perhaps to no one yet living. Warnings aside, be begins by sketching the idea of declining vs. ascending life and culture. An animal (people who follow Darwin’s idea that Deaf people are animals), a species, or an individual is “depraved” when it loses its instincts for that which sustains its life, and “prefers what is harmful to it.”

The legal system in America denigrates Deaf citizens around us as mere “appearance”; a position grounded in the philosophy of Cesare Lombroso, the father of criminology/criminal anthropology and hence invents a “completely fabricated” world of pure imagination. Lombroso said once a baby is born and later finds out the baby is Deaf, they are quickly labeled as “criminals”, no matter what. Today, some of people who work in legal system still believe that theory. However, Lombroso’s theory is pure lie. Yet today, in 2015, people are not required to see the world falsely in order to remain a member in good standing in the American democracy. Deaf babies are not criminals.

Again, the legal system does not demand truth instead ideas, which produce repose or cheerfulness. At home is the higher and learned class—yet they represent themselves as the revengeful instincts of the oppressed class and tames Deaf citizens as uncivilized barbarian, needing to subjugate wild “beasts of prey”, who cannot control their own “will to power”. The way it did so was to make them sick, making them thereby too weak to follow their destructive instincts.

Thus, the legal system today views Deaf citizens as shrewdly inculcating guilt, resentment, and other values hostile to life among their oppressors as a form of ideological germ warfare, taking care not to become fully infected themselves.

The legal system deduces that the Deaf citizens shall not sought to retreat into a state of extreme withdrawal from ‘the world’, undisturbed by reality of any kind. They reject all strong feelings, favorable or otherwise. Their fear of pain, even in infinitely small amounts, by placing the center of life outside of life, in “the beyond” that they deprive life of any focus of center whatsoever.

Deaf citizens are the invisible souls automatically levels all rank in society: “Invisible” conceded to every Lombroso has far been greatest, the most malignant attempt to assassinate Deaf citizens. The legal system should apologize for the discrimination, oppression and abuse that Zemedagegehu endured. It should right all of its wrongs.

I extend my thanks to Abreham “Abe” Zemedagegehu for his bravery to share his story. I would like to close this out with an old Celtic blessing:

May the blessing of light be on you

light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you

and warm your heart

till it glows like a great peat fire.

Brenda Pond did the image. Many thanks for allowing me to use the image. Please visit her Facebook page: Pond Studios.

References: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/03/20/3636853/deaf-man-jail-ignores-disability/

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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