‘Sign Gene’: Blood, Guns, and Testosterone

29572547_820932284756515_5873371231966783545_n.jpg

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.

frontpage2.png

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?

fewerguns.png

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.

Advertisements

The Questioning of ‘Safe Haven’ in Classrooms

10995415_753713171402807_6188435758275371499_n

Every time I see David Call’s artworks–and gives me a lot of ideas to write!

As alumni for Gallaudet University and a scholar recipient for a graduate program in Deaf Studies, every vote counts. It is the key idea in the Deaf community we live in America, a belief that is easily forgotten about ourselves. The sizable chunk of the electorate does not put the vote in the ballot to heal Deaf citizens with prescriptions every day. That is the power, regardless of the wishes of the voters as a whole.

Like I wrote in my previous blog,

“the Deaf (with capital d) is an archetype within the conscious of all the Deaf that contains our awareness of being Deaf. It is the psychological component that we still think and react to our society like Deaf people, and it is the same component that we are fully aware that the society continues to keep from being able to embrace American Sign Language (ASL).

Of all the betrayals that we the Deaf suffer, perhaps the most poignant of all is the betrayal of ourselves. No example of this is more striking than we remain committed to our being Deaf, that archetypical force which will hinder us from becoming fully empowered users of ASL.

To better understand why we the Deaf betray ourselves, let me present the common patterns of this archetype found within the Deaf community. These patterns include behaviors, perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes of the Deaf. This exploration is intended to help us identify how this archetype force is still in control, and to understand how the Deaf adversely affects our daily lives. They keep us struck, disempowered, and isolated.”  @ Jason “JT” Tozier, 2015

This force can be incredibly powerful, such as depicted by the biblical story in which a word make a Deaf man hear: EPHPHATHA. Gallaudet University has this Christian word in its official seal. The idea is that it “contacts” the Almighty. Very powerful, indeed! It is very discriminating! I, myself, could never associate myself with this word in the university seal.

In 1971, Frederick Schreiber, an executive director for National Association of the Deaf (NAD) coined ‘Deaf Studies’ in his quote, If Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, they must have a better image of themselves and their capabilities. They need concrete examples of what Deaf people have already done so they can project for themselves a brighter future. If we can have Black studies, Jewish studies, why not Deaf studies?” (Note: Quoted in Charles Katz, “A Partial History of Deaf Studies, in Deaf Studies VI Conference Proceedings: Making the Connection (Washington, D.C.; College for Continuing Education, Gallaudet University, 1999. 120.

National Deaf-Mute College was founded in 1864—known as Gallaudet University today. Exactly 130 years later, Deaf Studies program switched the lights on and invited students in to study and research. That was when I was a senior in high school when it was founded. However, there was resistance involved with the idea of the program, “This is partially due to the fact that Deaf Studies was already taught across the curriculum at Gallaudet University and partially due to resistance within Gallaudet University, for fear that such a program would foment resistance and activism. In any event, the solidification of a department was an important moment in the field’s history, as was the formation of its graduate program in 2002” (the undergraduate program was founded by Dr. Yerker Andersson and the graduate program by Drs. Ben Bahan, MJ Bienvenu and H-Dirksen Bauman)

I am perpetually honored and humbled to serve as the only hearing member of the Deaf Studies program at the world’s only liberal arts university for Deaf and hard-of hearing students.” H-Dirksen Bauman

That is where the danger begins. That is a big hearing privilege.

Four years after the coinage of ‘Deaf Studies’, Tom Humphries coined the term, Audism, based on the Latin audire, meaning, “to hear”. In his original article, Humphries defined Audism as “the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears”–Tom Humphries, Audism: The Making of a Word, unpublished, 1975.

Words have such power that they can bring respect or they can bring disrespect, as is shown by current Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) president, Alyce Slater Reynolds and its association/board. They have had nothing to protest the word, EPHPHATHA today. They had alienated Deaf people, and their words could never help us to concentrate on our own nature. Their words are associated with the charging of ongoing oppression.

There is another crucial point to make about words, which we do not wish to talk about. However, we need to talk about our nature. What is wrong with it?

Paddy Ladd writes a powerful chapter, Colonialism and Resistance: A Brief History of Deafhood—-that questions why EPHPHATHA is not being discussed in Deaf Studies, We now face the challenge of bringing about the second phase, to search for more explicit Deaf epistemologies and ontologies that can frame these developments in a more holistic way, so that Deaf Studies can become a more conscious model for Deaf-centered praxis

That is exactly why EPHPHATHA should be more conscious model to discuss in classrooms—and one of the reasons we may find nature of the Deaf hard to believe in—even when it has been demonstrated to us—is that we have lost our connection to nature. The lack of action from GUAA would be unlikely to hold true for most Deaf people today, for the way we think of nature has changed.

Flash: Bauman, the only hearing member writes in his own words, “Even within the field of Deaf Studies, perspectives of Deaf people are often not valued. Many programs call themselves Deaf Studies but are actually based on an audiological model…”

EPHPHATHA is an audiologically model that will not allow to discuss in classrooms or you get in trouble. Bauman has the power as a department chair that will not allow discussions about this at all. You know what will happen next? TROUBLE. For example, in 1972, there was a tragic day in my motherland, Ireland, dealt with ‘Bloody Sunday’ and within a year before; ‘Deaf Studies’ was created.

‘Bloody Sunday’ was a national tragic day for Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unharmed Irish people during a protest march. The same idea that ‘Deaf Studies’ applies to oppression, hegemony, language racism, and language bigotry what was going on in Ireland.

A better course for Deaf Studies would be to examine the situation in identity politics now, learn from the past, think about the beyond-identity issues floating in the public sphere, come up with flexible and nonhierarchical models of being, and lead the way out of the dead end of identity thinking”Lennard Davis

13 yeas later after the graduate program was created, Bauman is in charge today. Think about it. Remember, resistance and activism.

Yet, Bauman writes, From Desloges to Veditz to the formation of Deaf Studies, Deaf people have been defending the right to use sign language, the right to intermarry, and the right not to be subjected to medical and religious cures, the right simply to be left alone…while Deaf Studies has proven the existence of Deaf Culture, the cultural argument is often not enough to convince hearing doctors and parents to cease their endless search for a cure.”

Why should society want to keep and promote Deaf people? What good are Deaf people to society? What good are Deaf children to a family? These difficult questions must now be explored if the Deaf world is to continue in the face of biopower institutions intent on the eradication of the Deaf community.”

As Gallaudet alumni, nature is considered part of the family. I recognize that every alumnus and alumni, they do not talk about it to hearing people, they do have their own guiding spirit. Isn’t that part of our nature of being Deaf?

In terms of language, let’s start by defining EPHPHATHA. The English language has a very strange inference of curing ears, and the speakers of English assume from their own inference that being Deaf is pathological. The English language dictionary defines EPHPHATHA: the Greek form of a Syro-Chaldaic or Aramaic word, meaning “Be opened,” uttered by Christ when healing the man who was deaf and dumb (Mark 7:34). It is one of the characteristics of Mark that he uses the very Aramaic words which fell from our Lord’s lips. (See 3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 14:36; 15:34.)

Once again, Bauman writes, “How would the world be affected negatively by the loss of Deaf communities?” The speakers of English are very comfortable applying the word at Gallaudet University. It is a loss that affects Deaf community. Why not Bauman enforce and allow EPHPHATHA in the classrooms to be part of academic discussion? Remember Bloody Sunday 1972.

After all, EPHPHATHA is a Bloody Sunday.

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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

References:

“Ephphatha.” Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. 13 Mar. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ephphatha>.