Deaf Returnees: The Case of Language Deprivation

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There was a story about Deaf returnee settled down for $125,000 in Multnomah County Courthouse (Portland, Oregon). The reason: No interpreters were provided during his well being for the last two nights and deny his right to American Sign Language (ASL) in mind, heart, and respect. The root of respect defines in Latin, ‘respectus’ meaning “regard, a looking at,” what happened for the last 48 hours? Sure, it is not the first time anywhere in America. I’ve seen enough cases. Some were much worse.

We understand public relations and media, having spent time spinning with Deaf community. The county claims that the former Deaf inmate can read and write at own expert guesses. Accessible to ASL interpreters are important, no matter what. While Deaf community is being educated about general news like this story, we must pay close attention to stand up for our rights to access ASL interpreters without bias for communication in the legal system. Justice is being tested.

In Ancient Greek, dike as in ‘justice’ means something like behaving in accordance with nature as the former Deaf inmate reserves the right to behave in accordance with nature professionally and legally where he have the rights to access to ASL interpreters, no matter what.

Being neglected and rejected for seeking for ASL interpreters is considered a legal responsibility, becoming a challenging task. Deaf former inmates/returnees are as much a part of inclusive landscape as anything else and it is ridiculous to ignore our language, ASL. This is a language that needs to be included a lot of time to start and empower through training, because there is less space, Deaf inmates, legal rights to access ASL, more and more honest communication of what is needed. How do we combat it without a notion of what respect is?

Deaf inmates and Deaf returnees live our language, ASL. We can call it Deaf Culture but basically justice of the Deaf, been dealing with oppression of ASL–the lack of ability to respect language and culture with an important human meaning.

However, we need to take a hard look at it as a reality to be dealt with in terms of language oppression, which I realize, is a challenge, and then there is no mutual respect. We cannot forget Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution: Nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Why should neglect knowledge of ASL interpreters and what would it benefit the legal system?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

REFERENCES:

https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2019/09/jury-awards-125000-in-damages-to-former-multnomah-county-inmate-who-is-deaf.html

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Gallaudet University: A Signing Community?

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Honestly, as three days ago, when I was at Library of Congress to see private collections of old letters hand-written by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, Edward Miner Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, the list goes on—to help out a friend for PhD dissertation.

ASL stands for American Sign Language. They all had the goal: ASL-centered, ASL-oriented, ASL-controlled for Deaf people who comes from all walks of life. Between 1815 and 1847 letters, they all were fierce. They knew that sign language is the best and powerful to overcome intellectual oppression. The very same letters I read, where Sophia writes to T.H. Gallaudet:

I love Laurent Clerc. I love seeing his signs.”

Sophia became the matron for Gallaudet University. Without the matron of Gallaudet University, sign language would not be there. Sophia knew sign language was the pivotal moment.

That was the goal to see ASL everywhere on Gallaudet campus and that was all they wanted. That was the bottom line. That was it. Sign language changed Sophia’s life forever. That was history in the making!

Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet sailed together for destination back to America. They both knew that sign language have the power to directly represent and protect the interests. They stood true until their death.

Gallaudet University, the world’s first university for Deaf, to claim Deaf people’s intellectual life to ASL across the educational landscape and reject oppression practice; Hearing people with hearing privileges walk and talk around on the Gallaudet campus, insulting ASL that should be appreciated our language, that is ASL within the institution of higher education.

ASL is a step in the direction of intellectual equity, as the huge banner rolls out front of parking garage at Gallaudet University across from Union Market, makes an official statement that it is signing community. Can we really see Gallaudet University an ASL-centered university only? We need to make sure Gallaudet University as an ASL-centered needs to make a clear sense of what ASL is used for so that we are in a position to navigate Gallaudet as an ASL community. Signing is like mode of communication. Signing can be Sim-Com. Oh yeah, Sim-Com is still practiced at Gallaudet. It is better to use ASL instead of signing.

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Yet, there are hearing people who talk without sign language, oppressing ASL on the campus that is supposed to be sacred for Deaf people. Please look at my most previous post, Signing Community: Hypocrism at Best where seven videos were sent to me by several Deaf people who felt insulted.

Why do you think Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet went all the way to England to join in the audience and witness Deaf people signing and writing on stage, and that was where T.H. Gallaudet shook hands with Abbe Sicard—the history of all the Deaf is the most beautiful thing! Is Gallaudet University enough ASL-centered with instruction and scholarship?

The huge banner “We are Gallaudet University: A Signing Community” needs to examine more and I mean, really deep in heart. Audism is not allowed at Gallaudet University. It is a big problem! When hearing people talk on the campus designed for Deaf people, is exactly the struggle for Deaf community to feel oppressed. The latter attitude is that the term “oppression” has been most invisible mirror, oppressing ASL and Deaf people.

Should we allow language hegemony by hearing people? Deaf people had fought hard for ASL. We all cannot deny that. Is it intellectual oppression? Behind the university gates, oppression is everywhere and that is embarrassment. There is no way Gallaudet University should not allow people talking and insulting ASL, its linguistic and cultural heritage of the Deaf, period.

Again, “We are Gallaudet University: A Signing Community”–Can they really be honest with themselves? When hearing people talk on campus, they do not see ASL as a human and it continues to be oppressed. Deaf people are hurt. Deaf people are suffering. That is the real answer.

 

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We cannot forget the passion in ASL. That’s our mother tongue. After all, we are the ones to push for change. No more Audism! If they use that banner, then the major point of using ASL on the campus is to transform the language and culture to intellectual life. That’s how it is supposed to work. ASL is intellectual property and that is it matters the most……for Deaf people whose ownership is ASL first on the campus.

Again, please be honest with yourself. Gallaudet University is not a signing community. Not yet. It is better if the banner says: Gallaudet University is an ASL community.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

 

 

Why Library of Congress Matters Ever in the Age of Deaf Education

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Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.: Guardian of the private collections. There is nothing better than this unique place. The principles at play are much larger than this. I believe in mother of all libraries. Indeed, growing up where I usually carry library card with me all the time, the experiences as a library supporter, my experiences studying in libraries, and by researching, reading, and writing has informed my belief in the ideal that library system, that will greatly benefit of, in the ranks of information that has often quickly forgotten how important it is.

It is with a heartfelt debt of gratitude that I grabbed for the vote of confidence in electing to do this opportunity. I was helping out a friend for PhD dissertation, and I am humbly entrusted with the responsibility of helping out this. Access to private collections is generally limited to those engaged in higher learning studies.

All the books I’ve read about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, Edward Miner Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, and others long before I moved to DC, but nothing will ever replace this. Now I got to witness hand-written letters by the very same people above. Incredible experience!

Until today, walking into Library of Congress to do academic research for the full day, has advanced issues of importance to Deaf community for truth results why American Sign Language (ASL) shall kept strong, vibrant, and resilient who care about the safety and wellness of where Deaf community live and about each other and how we can grow.

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The collections of documents about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Edward Miner Gallaudet papers with hundreds and hundreds of letters goes back to 1806 to 1847, was incredible experience. I got to see the old letters written by Sophia Fowler Gallaudet whom she wrote a letter to T.H. Gallaudet had possibly made a history changer in Deaf Education. Sophia was born Deaf, and there was no Deaf schools in America that time. Sophia was a great writer, beautiful writing, indeed! Intellect. She was a matriarch in Deaf Education.

She writes: (keep in mind, it is not exactly accurate words, but I’ll do my best)

I love Laurent Clerc. I really loved [learning or seeing?] signs”

That might be the earliest birth of bilingualism (ASL/Written English) proficiency in my opinion. Sophia was definitely a thinker after reading the handwritten letters to T.H. Gallaudet and she knew that the importance of sign language in Deaf Education would be much needed in the sustained, systematic, and reflective thinking about the language and Deaf culture.

Laurent Clerc must be an amazing signer, that brought concepts and beliefs in any subject to see what is good and reasonable to believe about it, and why. That must have gotten Sophia to invest in love with sign language to understand expression, and shows that ASL is empirical and observable than ever today.

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That letter written to Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet proved that sign language tends to examine data and evidence already available, usually trying to put ASL into a clear and reasonable perspective, rather than to seek new data.

After all, bilingualism is the best thing. Modes of communication are considered to be a waste of mental energy, for no useful purpose. Bilingualism is a path that can be embraced. It might be a process quite foreign to many of us, but today, the peer pressure of western medical and technological science has pursued a path of restoration of hearing through amplification and cochlear implants, but they do not produce healthy path for Deaf people.

It is best to learn ASL and written English will make ALL the difference. Early life of bilingualism would begin great storytellers and create their layer inner richness as human beings. It develops an understanding of sign language, which makes a better human being.

In Sophia’s words to T.H. Gallaudet about Laurent Clerc is the most powerful means by values of Deaf culture are passed on. The formation of Deaf child’s identity is so important with ASL and written English where the stories that both mirror and appreciate that language and culture, and it is our responsibility to push for stronger bilingualism principles.

That is what Sophia wanted.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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