Did H-Dirksen Bauman Experience Bullying?

In higher education, bullying is often invisible in Gallaudet/Deaf community. H-Dirksen Bauman, former chair for ASL/Deaf Studies department got severely bullied and chose not to speak up against bullying on the campus what it is supposed to be hate-free. Why allow culture of silence?

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Allegory of Deaf Returnees: The Opposite of Hate

 

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After watching ACLU video about the treatment of imprisoned Deaf and Deaf returnees in Georgia, I understood the pain myself. We must understand that the law requires humane treatment of Deaf prisoners. When I was jailed almost 25 years ago, I was placed what was called pod known as C-2. It housed around 50, 60 inmates. Only 15 beds were offered, so the majority of inmates slept on the floor. I was 21 years old that time. Now I am 43 years old.

The first 15 minutes of living in jail system, I got in huge fight with three big inmates who were calling me names and placing death threats, and broke my hand. I was given aspirin for it. Nothing else. I had to be forced and learned how to toughen it up.

I remember I asked for ASL interpreter, written down on note, and it was rightfully violated—as I remember one of the jail staff, knew that I was Deaf, and became the target of harassing through shame and shaming even attempts at shaming more. It was nothing but a shame revival as a force.

Once I was thrown into a solitary confinement known as “hole” for 72 hours just for protecting a Deaf inmate. I stood strong while I was in there. How did it happen? Inmates from C-2 were given one hour to play table pool, and this Deaf inmate was standing on red line where people were not supposed to stand there.

He could not understand what jail staff were talking to him and forced him to lip-read, then I walked up to him and explained to him in ASL, then one of the jail staff, happened to be the same officer who were targeting me, roughed me up against the wall to mind my own business. Other inmates did not like that what they saw and they were on my side. Then I was thrown into hole.

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Then later, I became very sick for nine days and asked to see nurse also I also asked for ASL interpreter, of course, denied as usual. The nurse gave me aspirin and water. My temp was 104 degrees. The treatment of Deaf prisoners exists.

While I was very sick, I had to survive myself. All I had to drink Kool-Aid and could not able to eat much for the last nine days, even though there were few inmates who came up to me and gave up their Kool-Aid out of respect and they knew that I was damn sick as fuck.

Finally, I felt better after nine long brutal days, then about few weeks before my release, I fought for my rights to get captions on TV, it took me many months to fight and won. That morning, there were two men from jail staff came in and installed captions there, I was standing there smiling and other inmates looked at me, “Right on!” and later, I was chosen to be a trustee in C-2 cleaning, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and messenger for inmates before my release.

I had very difficult time getting access to TTY—only that I must wait until after 5 PM, but my lawyer’s office closes at 5 PM. They said to me, “Fuck off” and deal with it. When I use TTY, a jail staffer would stand next to me and read what I type. Seriously. Word for word.

Then the hardest part: the brutal treatment of Deaf returnee in society. Eight years on probation, like I wrote in other post, around 97% of time, I was denied for ASL interpreter, only if it is emergency meetings, or polygraph tests.

I was forced to write down on notes, and lip-read—if I do not comply or cooperate with probation officials, I was warned with eight years in prison is on thin ice for me if I do not comply. Writing about my experience became at stroke of a pen that we all know that pen is mightier than sword.

As a Deaf returnee in the making, I had been the biggest target of an online bullying campaign that they wanted to derail me badly, crashing my livelihood, and mental stability by the personal attacks. Shame is not healthy, it is a targeted emotion, which makes Deaf returnees challenging. Is the society on the full scale of anger? Encouraging culture of fear would solve solution? We need to understand the core of shaming.

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Right before deadly heart attack at Gallaudet University on November 8, 2016: the most important question in the history of Gallaudet, I asked in the front audience will be always forever remembered. Room 1011. The question, “Why did Gallaudet University encourage fear targeting Deaf returnees?” then I was dead for ten minutes. They do not want the public to know the truth. I am a living testimony of personal shame and humiliation. Will the living of testimony of support happen? The history of Gallaudet is famous for bullying, shaming, and ostracized.

Flash. Flash. Flash. Then I came back to life. I challenge scholars themselves to be educated about how to define shaming itself, and particularly about whether to emphasize my experience of shame in my own journey. The treatment of Deaf returnees exists. Bashing does not work. Love is what is most important right now. Hate is not.

Yes, Gallaudet University will be always a hate-crime, hate-speech, and hate-literature campus. How can we improve the treatment of Deaf returnees at Gallaudet University? Department of ASL/Deaf Studies comes in many forms, and it is surprising how much of shaming practices from the department bringing an army of trolls causing real psychological damage. Where is the opening examination of shaming?

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

A Deaf Returnee’s Journey: 22 Years Later

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One of the hardest decisions I would face in this writing is choosing whether to walk away or stay still. 22 years ago today on June 18, I walked out of jail at 7:00 AM while my mother, brother, cousin, and aunt were waiting for me outside. Then we went to Denny’s for breakfast. I had four plates and three glasses of tomato juice. I remember that morning I was so hungry more than anything. I weight 102 pounds that day. Yeah, wild.

After I was back to live in society, eight years of probation has been unbelievably harsh and difficult times of my life ever. Always check in with probation officers every first day of the month despite the financial struggles, sometimes, I’d walk all the way from home. The probation office was in central town.

Sometimes, I’d ride city bus on tight time schedule and find a way to get there. If I miss an appointment with probation officer, I’d face eight years in prison. The worst part was that about 97% of appointments resulted without ASL interpreters. I’d have to write down on notes. If I do not comply even without interpreters when I am Deaf and had asked to lip-read or write down notes or I’d face prison. Eight years. It was unbelievably oppressive.

I also had to deal with polygraph known as lie-detector tests every six months for eight years. The questions, up to 50 questions—most brutal questions. The ASL interpreters were always presented for polygraph tests. The last polygraph test, the question was repeated twice or three times with same 50 questions trying to crack my truth. If I fail polygraph test, I would face prison for eight years without a break. It was mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged.

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I was 29 years old when I ended probation. My lost life started when I was 21. My youth life was robbed and taken away for the benefit of cruel punishment. It was also the same day I passed the very last polygraph test and was discharged from probation. I remember a probation officer, writing down on the note, “you are free to go.” and all those pursuit of happiness I thrived for had been robbed.  When I walked out of probation office, I caught a city bus and was riding back home crying and wondering what would I do with my life after this. I have many, many, many stories.

But, you know what? Also, today, June 18, 1996, I made a serious commitment to myself to work harder and find a way to contribute back to the society. When I was back in society, it was also one of the most challenging life tasks I’d ever experienced. Dealing with bullies, hate messages, physical attacks, rumormongers, verbal attacks, and hate-mongers has been affected my life greatly for the last 22 years and counting.

The best part I’ve done after making promise to myself in 1996 and never be back in jail, after making a bet with a Deaf inmate that I’d graduate from university one day. I kept my promise. I ended up being the first in the family to graduate from university.

One of my old roommates, he was hearing and he was one credit short in English Literature graduating from Portland State University. He mocked me badly that I could never graduate from university. That gave me extra motivation. Funny thing is that I have not seen him for six years until a week right before graduation;

He was sitting in my English professor’s office, waiting for her to come in and I saw him there and he was surprised to see me there and I told him that I was about to graduate next week. My old roommate did not even graduate yet. One credit left. It was one of best parts that gave me extra motivation. Oh, you should see his face!

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I was accepted a scholarship in graduate ASL/Deaf Studies at Gallaudet, I felt the right track to be a professor like I promised myself. After forced to lose my scholarship just because I am Deaf returnee, I was not given due process of law. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect everyone’s right to due process of law. When Gallaudet University denies fair treatment for me, makes it impossible to be protected by the Constitution. It is very important for everyone to learn and protect their rights to due process at Gallaudet University.

Yet, unemployed ever since. Being Deaf returnee has dealt with 100 times more oppressive and hostile environment.

22 years later, the bridge of tears continues to live. It has been incredible, but difficult journey. Several heart attacks, including massive one that resulted in death two years ago. I continue to contribute back for Deaf community with something very important avenues. I want to thank people I know for believing in me. I believe in higher learning, I believe in empowerment, I believe in support circles, I believe in awareness, and I believe in motivation.

I am very proud to be a lecturer where I had given more than 15 lectures around country and Canada. I have soon to have 240,000 hits on my blog after written 750+ posts from challenging the cycle of hate crimes in Deaf community, the impact of anti-bias and anti-bullying, challenging incendiary hate speeches, human rights, sociological lens in Deaf community, controversial cochlear implant industries, Deaf returning citizens awareness, and the awareness of Deaf Studies.

22 years later, I never thought I’d do something like this. I was a young man struggling for better journey. Living on 40 dollars for ten years has been difficult enough. On the advice of books I’ve read all these years, I used my time on the western fringes of literature to write my stories and collect stories as well, or as Yeats once said, “express a life that has never found expression.”

When I got at an apartment I shared with my cousin and brother that day in 1996, I slept the longest time ever I could remember and woke up in the morning, wondering if I would ever get better journey and wondered if I’d express a life that has ever found me expression at least. Whatever it is.

It is important to share your story as I am. As I continue to search for my stories to be completed including at ACLU National Conference 2018 in Washington, D.C.; The pursuit of happiness continues to be found. 32 years ago, as a 12 years old kid, I lost my life right there and tend to get my life back rightfully.

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Open Your Eyes: Audism Talking

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I need to admit that it is not easy for me to write this. When you know someone who is a sound-oriented professor, who also “inspires” Deaf people, is extremely rare to see. Deaf students at Gallaudet University are referred to as the future of Deaf community, but without support and opportunities, some fall through the cracks. I am questioning a critical examination done by hearing privileges.

Now, more than ever, we, the Deaf must make a priority to share their experiences to challenge the issue of Audism. To see Deaf people being oppressed invisibility do not have the ground to discuss Audism when hearing people are given higher privileges to talk and use their voice. Is Audism, an invisibility cloak around Deaf people at Gallaudet University?

The state of being Deaf continues to be in the state of an object that cannot be seen. It does not take an expert to understand the detrimental effects that Audism are hurting Deaf people’s well being. From the public standpoint, Audism has provided a serious social problem in Deaf community including Gallaudet University to the point that it affects the way Deaf people learn and thrive.

When Deaf people receive positive academic experience, they should not fear for the oppression from a professor who is hearing, it undoubtedly has a huge effect on the success of Deaf students and Deaf educators alike.

The fact remains that Audism, so easily targeted as uninformed and misguided are becoming the stronger group that would lead the future. How do you feel about someone who used human voice with hearing spouse/partner and refused to use sign language in front of Deaf people? It is not the first time.

Audism Unveiled, Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression, Audism and Deaf-Gainseemed promising to me when I first read the book, I found a powerful statement: “The road less traveled, however, is still a road and is becoming more and more traveled as time goes on……the Deaf community faced the fact that the hegemony of the “voice” and “speaking” was precisely what they wanted to ‘speak out’ against.”—Introduction: Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking

Scenario one: Two hearing people walk into Gallaudet University, sit down, speaks with their voice and is allowed to oppress Deaf people and use the power of hearing privileges. Outcome: Audism.

Multiple reports of Audism occur on Gallaudet University campus. Outcome: Audism. No action against hearing people.

Scenario two: Two Deaf people walk into Gallaudet University, sit down, signs to each other and the outcome is unknown. Think about it.

Over the past decade when I read many books, watched presentations, lectures, and workshops about Audism even I had given my own lectures about Audism few times have changed my life and complete the cultural competency and inclusion. It is best to learn from Deaf people who experience Audism themselves.

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The world’s only Deaf Studies Department—-where did Audism begin? Audism begins and ends with language. That is how it is examined and discussed. Would the chronicle of higher education deny the existence and evidence of Audism because it has never heard Audism before? It can better understand the resistance of the Deaf if it understands the critical events of Audism and other oppression are very much part of language hegemony that supports the power of hearing privileges. Ignoring Audism is unconscious bias. Outcome? You guess.

The question, is what is the effect of Audism on Gallaudet campus? Vulnerability? Is it the vulnerability of Deaf people being oppressed by hearing privileges? Isn’t Audism a human resource to oppress Deaf people’s health and mind? The problem, however, Audism has never taken a clear position enough at Gallaudet University.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

‘Sign Gene’: Blood, Guns, and Testosterone

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When you see the statue of Laurent Clerc on Gallaudet campus, it is the world’s most valuable and earthed symbols of Deaf community. It has ruined the image of Laurent Clerc. The roots of gun violence is not enough examined.

After watching the movie, “Sign Gene”, we the Deaf patrons appear uncomfortable with the gun violence. Co-producers of the movie are both are professors in Department of ASL/Deaf Studies at Gallaudet, the same leadership, the advancement of knowledge, has fallen under a cloud of compassion that it is also falls under a wrong agenda.

It blows my mind away and heart-broken to see this movie was showing so much violence and graphic. The movie was so graphic and violent—did Gallaudet administration watch the film before it was approved in the public eye? It continues to be seen as the problem rather than the challenge.

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We must continue to challenge against gun culture in America. Around 1 million people showed up in DC to support March for our Lives few months ago to stand up against gun violence. Gun violence is important to talk about with everyone. And because it is so important, we need to talk about it more.

This movie, “Sign Gene” has shown plenty of mental health stigmas. And that leads me to share this question I found recently. “What role does mental stigma play in the debate over gun violence and gun policy, specifically stigma?” questioned by Audrey Hamilton. Whose is responsible for this?

Seeing gun violence everyday in America is a critical social problem. Standing up against gun violence is an important of people’s overall health. Their mental health is an important as their physical health. Talking about gun violence is important to others. Gun violence is difficult to talk about. Talking about gun violence is important at every stage in people’s life. Gun violence is more common than you think. Gun violence is caused by trauma and violence.

A German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) wrote: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

But why would Department of ASL/Deaf Studies who sponsored the film and co-produced by two professors chose to carry the tradition of gun violence and help them to become what they are capable of carrying guns in the image of Deaf community?

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So does this mean the gun violence cannot be interpreted? Or does it mean that gun violence stories cannot be interpreted? What about victims and survivors of gun violence who share their stories are about but ignored in ASL? Knowledge is pain, and challenges the practice of gun violence as effective oppressors in the Deaf community.

It is important that we must never be ignorant in any way whatsoever. I seriously think the film would have done a lot better WITHOUT GUN VIOLENCE. The film should be more Deaf-centered superheroes, funny, witty, and inspiring.

Additional Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFDg_WycklI

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Deafhood: A New Realization of Love

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First part: Childhood

Second part: Manhood

Third part: Deafhood

I just completed watching Paddy Ladd’s final and part three. When I first met Paddy Ladd in September 2012, in my birth state, I remember seeing some Deaf people who gave me dirty looks when I showed up there. There were ugly names throwing at me. One Deaf interpreter showed a great deal of displeasure when I was walking down the aisle to meet Paddy, the very same Deaf interpreter was attempting to block me because of malicious rumors the interpreter received from deficit thinkers. I realized that the very same person who supports Deafhood journey does not want me to succeed in my own journey. I refused to let them stop me.

Living in Pacific Northwest those years have not been kind to my journey. From the collective grief I shared my childhood life as a lost kid, I remember when I was 19, I received a full scholarship for two years at ITT Technical Institute, free tuition. They saw great potential in my skills and I was good at math.

For the next few days, it has been really rough time for me then on a Friday afternoon, I made a phone call through Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) to talk with a representative who came to my grandparents house a week ago where I signed the agreements under peer pressure. I informed the representative that I was no longer interested in pursuing my education there because I was not ready in my own core. I dealt with a great deal of confusion.

A year later, I got a letter from Oregon State University offering me a full scholarship, and again, I had to turn down because I was not ready. I felt more confused. I was not sure where I would be doing with my own life. Then my life completely changed when I was jailed at age of 21, and hit a bottom rock. I was jolted back into painful journey. You know, an eagle’s nest has fallen from the cliff’s edge, crushed by a rock fall. Each day, layers of systematic oppression gain more, another layer of hatred I deal daily.

Then I got a job at a hotel in Portland, working in line cook, and the executive chef liked how fast I was, and the hotel chain and executive chef has encouraged me to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and it was a huge honor, but I was on probation and I was heart-broken, and had to turn down the offer. It was tough time. So, I continued to work there for couple of years, struggling to find my own identity as Deaf person. Boy, I was really lost. I became the target from my own community, Deaf community.

I decided to enroll at a local community college, just to do something about my life. Then I became a serious student and ended up getting good grades and pushed me all the way to enroll at a university, that would forever change my life in many ways. I graduated with three degrees, all with honors at the same time.

Within few months after graduation, I got an acceptance letter from Gallaudet University for MA in Deaf Studies with emphasis in Cultural Studies in 2012. I had to hold that spot later. After meeting Paddy in Seattle, the next day, I immediately wrote him an e-mail, showing my passion to sign up for Deafhood Studies at University of Bristol under Centre for Deaf Studies and saw course descriptions, and I was so ready and eager trying to find a way to get there.

Deaf-centered academic studies–Deafhood thoughts. It was perfect! Then I learned that University of Bristol administration did not think Deaf Studies was important anymore. I was surprised—I remember that day well. I said, “Why? Why is it happening?” and then I felt even more lost.

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The very next day after arriving in DC in October 2012, I visited Gallaudet University with a big smile.

The same year when it was shut down in 2013, I enrolled at Gallaudet University on a graduate scholarship in ASL/Deaf Studies, the course descriptions was not the same. It was not Deaf-centered philosophy. The ASL/Deaf Studies department was running erratic priorities, rumormongers, and saw great deal of favoritism, corruption, abusing powers, cheating grades, and an oppressive system continues to target Deaf returning citizens. It was not even Deafhood centric.

I lost scholarship fast enough and became the student of four days journey. I became the pariah at Gallaudet University. They do not support the idea of processing a Deafhood journey. They live in culture of fear, reaffirming its commitment to the society’s oppressive core values and norms.

One Deaf professor from ASL/Deaf Studies department once told me that the department is not the same anymore. I agreed. When I first saw the idea of Deafhood Studies, it was all about investment in the future. It was an integral part of one’s move toward compassion as the state of being Deaf. All the scholarships I turned down until I received a scholarship from Gallaudet University, the world’s only hub for higher education for Deaf people—was taken away. I was even more heart-broken more than anything in my entire life. They invested in hate and humiliation.

I could go on more, but the final question of Paddy’s interview: “What do you feel you’ve given to the world?” Paddy then answers, “What a question!”

Paddy has given my world a complete change and gave me an extra motivation to write a book—the most challenging task I ever done in my life. After reading Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, the knowledge of how the constructed balance of power across levels of oppression affects the capacity and opportunities for Deaf people today and tomorrow. I learned much about myself by seeing thousands of Deaf people being oppressed daily. Even at Gallaudet University, too. It is not Deaf-centered university….not yet.

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Seeing their stories invariably shows me much about their struggles and makes me think of my own. I have found Paddy’s contribution of coining Deafhood, an invaluable to think in terms of healthy and healing process, goals and expectations every time when I would suffer emotional pain; it is difficult to explain this. It is complicated. There was a huge difference between Deafhood Studies at University of Bristol and ASL/Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University.

When I think of Deafhood, I empower myself more. From my bottom of my heart, I thank Paddy Ladd for all compassion as a way of life and appreciate being state of Deaf. In one of my recent blog posts, Deafhood: A Journey of Greater Thinking—I wrote:

To master positive thinking, active learning is a core element of their learning. Deaf people would benefit a lot from their Deafhood journey to identity their freedom, bound, and inflectional, derivative, or obsolete environment and they shall design the goal and assessment for understanding of their journey just as much as building a high view of confidence. They would master the basic content and also express in creative and challenging ways. They feel the true growing of pain. They are taught content but process, the methodology by Deafhood journey is generated.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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