Double Standard?

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My Meeting with Harlan Lane

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Harlan Lane lived larger than a life as a scholar in Deaf community. Deaf History cannot be defined without Harlan Lane. He was a great advocate on behalf of the human rights of Deaf people around the world.

I shall forever grateful for the book Lane published: The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling Deaf Community that taught me great deal concept of discovering Deaf history to become a fair game to understand information.

I first spotted that book in a laundry room at a RV park where I was living in a 6×8 camper for six months in 1999. Then I took the book and walked back to the camper and begun reading it in mini living room with my beloved three cats. Nacho, Lenny, and Penny. I was 24 years old. That changed my life forever. That was 20 years ago.

Fast forward. May 2010. The meeting with Harlan Lane at Northeastern University in Boston, MA in a private meeting along with late Carl Schroeder, and an ASL interpreter. That meeting that lasted an hour and half was a lot of greatest discussions and found Harlan Lane to be foremost advocate on behalf of Deaf people rights to receive publications and communications in the name of truth.

It was the same month I finished reading Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood by Paddy Ladd before meeting Harlan Lane.

That book was the very reason that generated my Deafhood journey to cover hate crimes beyond Deaf community. The book had energy of activism and began my activism in public speaking and education, what Deaf Studies is really about. It was one of biggest reasons why I was a graduate scholarship recipient in Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University in 2013. It was also a goal of mine to get Ph.D.

Before meeting with Harlan Lane in person, I was on airplane for Boston-bound from Portland reading When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf and brought great discussions in private meeting. My regret is that I did not bring that book to the meeting, and was not signed by Harlan Lane but I only brought the Mask of Benevolence book by Lane I first read had been the most meaningful that offers learning, resources, and information for Deaf people, simply creating safe spaces where Deaf people feel acknowledged is the major human right step is much necessary.

I explained to Harlan Lane how I found this book and why it has inspired me, and he signed my book. It is not something you would see like this every day. He told me to keep up good work and finish my goal.

I am grateful to know him. He was one of a kind. 1936-2019.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

Percival Hall: EMG’s Scary Thought

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The library is a one-stop place to visit, read, study, and find the answers. The scary notion, which was revealed recently as I was reading a book written by Percival Hall, “Impressions of English Schools for the Deaf”

The book is the very rarest book around.

Percival Hall with no Deaf mother either Deaf father was second president of Gallaudet College, was also the second longest president-elected after Edward Miner Gallaudet (EMG), the namesake of his father’s greatest work as the longest president-elected in history. His mother was Deaf.

The notice of Oralism in human history had been failing plenty of Deaf people’s educational aspirations in the past and present time. Oralism had never been warned and is supposedly aimed to stop American Sign Language (ASL) from succeeding in the academic classrooms, it would mark ASL who had been posed as such threat.

Percival Hall writes: “It seems to be pretty well agreed now by the most experienced educators of the deaf that a large proportion of the deaf children can be as well educated by oral methods as by any other. Dr. Edward Gallaudet, himself, put the proportion at two-thirds.”

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Two-thirds in percentage: 66.6666666666666%–with infinite line above the number is forever defined in Deaf Education. There are two meanings behind the definition of infinity.

Synonym: endlessness.

Mathematics: The symbol of infinity looks like ∞: is a concept describing something without any bound. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity)

The cultural trait of Deaf people is a sacred ground and nothing can take away from us. Today’s Deaf Education is viewed as educational bankruptcy in encouraging Deafness as endlessness to make Deaf Education suffer in the hands of Oralism. Deafness is a negative approximation.

Deafhood is an approximation.

Within Percival Hall writes that EMG claims Oralism is the best tool for Deaf students. That is where the buck stops there. Most Deaf students, no matter what their age or cultural background have experienced an amount of betrayal starting at very early age or young age.

Oralism is usually the first to betray Deaf students not knowing how to effectively deal with their Deafhood journey. Everyone in our world, on level, knows that ASL is the best activity to learn for higher education.

A year after disastrous Milan Resolution in 1880, EMG writes, How Shall The Deaf Be Educated?

It is a powerful piece, in the first place, he writes:

“First of all, class should always be spoken of as the deaf. The term deaf-mute should only be applied to such as are totally deaf and completely dumb.”

It was just Oralism who betrayed Deaf students. The Deaf students controlled by Oralism had been also the occasional method doing a “good job” with most experienced teachers of the deaf”the one who shamed Deaf students in front of their classmates often got promoted.

Deaf students should not be dealt with sense of shame and confusion when using ASL for their own pursuit of happiness and human right.

Further betrayal happened when, at Gallaudet College, Percival Hall writes: “Dr. Edward Gallaudet, himself, put the proportion at two-thirds.” in tenure as commander-in-chief at National Deaf-Mute College, secretly instructing professors explaining that sign language is inept in the language and culture of the Deaf and in facilitating between sign language and Oralism.

Did he change his mind after fierce debate with Alexander Graham Bell, the staunch chief of Oralism?

Deaf students in the past and present are betrayed by a society that continues to bastardize ASL and keep Oralism method as “successful” story and profiting. Not only that but it had disempowered Deaf students in classroom by denying them the language credit for their thoughts and ideas in ASL.

Human rights with using ASL in academic classrooms shall always preserve intellectual debates, symbols, and practices for the sake of their cultural heritage and the rights to use ASL.

If Percival Hall claims that EMG was secretly supporting the power of Oralism, then did it make EMG the chief distributor of the Oralism at Gallaudet University today?

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Then it is a scary thought. The large statue of EMG stands on the campus makes a statement. Stigmatizing Deaf students as a threat to ASL everywhere for the rest of their lives seem not irrational, but that does not mean Deaf students who uses ASL will not ever fail academic studies. Even if Oralism is poorly designed to achieve its goals filled with lies, then that is rational enough for Alexander Graham Bell’s greatest work which is the basic test of failure.

Lastly, Percival Hall also writes at the very end sentence of the same sentence above:

“Some of our experienced English friends, who are, I believe, unbiased, after much longer experience in education than we have had, put the proportion at three-fourths.”

Whatever it means.

ASL will never be unbiased because education is the key to documentary path that exposes the truth how much successful ASL is benefiting today and tomorrow.

Oralism is biased. It is all but educational hardship. What’s the difference? The simplest way to put this is that today, in our world remains ignorant of Deaf education and their language and culture.

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-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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