New Order of the Oppressed: Deaf American Girl Doll

Nyle DiMarco: Do Deaf People Have a Disability?

 

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Today, December 3, 2019: International Day of Disabled Persons. 

When my state of being Deaf had been taught all my life, being told, and being controlled by the medical model of disability, I refuse to live in the negativity bias. Being Deaf is no longer viewed as a disability. What is negativity bias?

It was known as negativity effect (1), also known as the negativity effect, is the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things. (2,3,4)

Do you tend to dwell on bad memories and experiences? It may be due to the negativity bias, because being colonized and taught that Deaf people are disabled.

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The Deaf community is powerful in the human psyche. Indeed, at this level of humanity, would the Deaf community understand the painful history of what the term “disability” define Deaf people? Have the Medical Model of Disability had caused enough destruction in the Deaf community?

‘Do Deaf People Have a Disability?‘ published by Harlan Lane:

“A disability is a limitation of function because of an impairment. Deaf people are limited in some functions because of an impairment of hearing. Therefore, Deaf people have a disability.” (5)

We already know that Deaf people who embody rather healthy traits of higher learning, the pursuit of happiness, and respect, but sadly, though, they are often being colonized by the disability model. Consider the plight of the oppressed of today. Lane writes in, Constructions of Deafness:

“As a social problem, deafness can be variously construed. Each of the primary constructions of deafness today – disability and linguistic minority – has its archetypes but most deaf children match neither of them.” (6)

Why must Deaf people come under a disability label, despite the vast differences, would the Deaf community stop being labeled by the disability model, would they do so with a commitment to developing a healthy task to overcome indifference, a show of human compassion, that plagues the Deaf community?

Nyle DiMarco writes:

“My Deaf identity is not an obstacle but an advantage — an asset.”

But….the confusion……the disability model has been taking advantage of the Deaf community as an asset and live in negativity effect.

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And, I learned that Nyle DiMarco and his twin brother are on a panel about disability inclusion sponsored by the World Bank at this hour. Will Nyle tell the world that being Deaf is not part of disability? I doubt so.

Will Nyle tell the world about The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public? I doubt so. Because Nyle thinks disability is a positivity effect. The opposite of the negativity effect. Does that mean Nyle DiMarco is also being colonized, too?

According to Paddy Ladd, Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood:

“The culturolinguistic model thus leads to the situating of Deaf community experiences within the rubric of colonialism. Although most people conceive colonialism as formed around economic power visited upon cultures less able to defend themselves, there is undeniably a case to be made for the concept of linguistic colonialism, and it is this which provides a bridge across which discourses between signing and other colonised communities can begin.” (7)

We must always remind ourselves as well as all others how our Declaration of Independence makes our country different from any other nation around the world. The Declaration proclaims that we have inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Finally, Harlan Lane writes in the same book above:

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-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

REFERENCES:

(1) Kanouse, D. E., & Hanson, L. (1972). Negativity in evaluations. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, S. Valins, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.

(2)  Baumeister, Roy F.; Finkenauer, Catrin; Vohs, Kathleen D. (2001). “Bad is stronger than good” (PDF). Review of General Psychology. 5 (4): 323–370.

(3) Lewicka, Maria; Czapinski, Janusz; Peeters, Guido (1992). “Positive-negative asymmetry or “When the heart needs a reason””. European Journal of Social Psychology. 22 (5): 425–434

(4) Rozin, Paul; Royzman, Edward B. (2001). “Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion”. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 5 (4): 296–320.

(5) Lane, Harlan L. “Do Deaf People Have a Disability?” Sign Language Studies, vol. 2 no. 4, 2002, p. 356-379. Project MUSE

(6) Lane, Harlan L. (1995) Constructions of Deafness, Disability & Society, 10:2, 171-190

(7) Ladd, Paddy (2003) Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, 17.

 

 

Tim Rarus: Truth Will Set You Free

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Yes, I would never imagine I’d do this. 30 years ago, the world of social justice has changed the faces of Gallaudet University forever. It is the world’s only university for Deaf intellectuals. At the heart of the heart-beat from being colonized in hearing world as a Deaf person to Deaf-centered individual who can handle the oppressive world is a desire to create a social justice based on what works, and that should mean Deaf Studies that could shape and influence Deaf people today. There is always an invisible wall between the stage and the audience.

What the Deaf community who has been colonized in hearing world is something akin to a horror movie experience. It has been really long time, even today. First of all, this post is all about healing and set a good example how to unpack privileges or talk about why being colonized in the first place. I hope Tim can heal and tell the world a story why he had a change of heart and why he was not happy with the selection–but no choice, but to vote for Zinser instead. The whole story needs to be filled from the start.

Deaf President Now (DPN) in 1988 themselves participated in a new era in the history of Deaf community, both for the United States and for international stories in general. Where I was 30 years ago? I was a 14 years old kid living in Washington State, I got an invitation to attend Deaf camp for the first time in my life five months after DPN.

There were Deaf people all over and I was in awe for the first time. I still remember that just like yesterday. I would not be surprised if the majority of campers knew about DPN but me because most of them came from Deaf schools. I was shunned out of literacy by hearing oppressive world, which means I was colonized for their own selfishness. I was struggling for Deaf identity.

After reading couple of DPN books including The Week the World Heard Gallaudet by Jack Gannon years before I met Carl Schroeder who ended up being my mentor. There were two pictures of him in that book. He was Student Body Government (SBG) adviser during DPN 1988. He had seen it all. He told me many stories about it including Tim Rarus.

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I was completely surprised that Tim who was very much involved with SBG and he was on Presidential Search Committee and he voted for Elisabeth Zinser to be selected as president for Gallaudet University. No joke. No imaginary stuff. No bullshit. Yes, Zinser who does not had slightest idea about Deaf culture or had exposed to ASL at all.

Why would Tim vote for Zinser? It confused the university but also their intellectual life–their academic freedom. ASL and being Deaf, both are human rights.

I realized that even though Tim comes from Deaf family, was he also colonized also because of systematic oppression he had seen all his life? Many oppressed people even in Deaf community—can they also identify with the oppressed experienced by colonized people? As soon as Deaf people found out that Zinser was selected as president, it was not the same anymore. Gallaudet University we have known can never grow into a reality or see the light of the day. We got to know that, right?

Why all of sudden, a big change of heart for Tim and realized that Deaf people need Deaf people? Often, if Deaf people live in a colonized society, they deal with the colonizers because they had power and because of system how it runs today. Because Deaf people live in a society that the colonization is still running—which is a problem. When I took Methodology of the Oppressed long time ago, it woke me up big in an influential way. It has taught me an extensive way to recognize identities in my journey as Deaf person.

During the demonstration, Elisabeth Zinser attempted to talk with Tim Rarus but he refused it. Zinser could not understand him. What made he refused to talk to her? Did he realize that he made an honest mistake? The sign, GALLAUDET to imply an ongoing power struggles for the Deaf. We know that Congress appropriates Gallaudet so it is never Deaf-centered.

Tim will be in DC on coming Tuesday to be part of DPN 30th anniversary panel. Would Greg vote for hearing president? Would Bridgetta vote for hearing president? Would Jerry vote for hearing president? It would be nice if Tim would explain his reason why he voted for hearing president in the first place instead of Deaf president. Challenge colonization. Challenge plantation politics. Set a good example. Literature would be stronger by then. Truth sets you free.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

The Nation Was Also Built By Laurent Clerc

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History Through Deaf Eyes 

Today, May 1st is Immigrant Rights Day! Consider, to begin with a colonialism scene in Deaf world–especially in America that time. In 1816, Laurent Clerc to begin his journey for America knew the destiny to create in the name of Deaf Education. Clerc was the ONE who generated Deaf Education, without him, it would not be the same. It was a fate to get rid of Audism and break the colonization.

This was the time that Clerc had to articulate his teaching philosophy in America. The ability to acquire and use sign language exclusively is valuable for Deaf students in the field of literatures and Clerc strive to have students actively thinking about higher education within minutes of entering the classroom, and when communication something Clerc pushed to use as much sign language as possible.

Clerc had been teaching for long time, and I’m sure he enjoyed this work a lot. He had coordinated Deaf Education and there is no way he would realize that his presence had developed and facilitated many courses through the College-wide Curriculum Committees and Higher Education Commission. His gift for America was a huge amount of time, and through this process, he determined to boil down his teaching philosophy to higher principles that Clerc as an immigrant made a huge difference today.

The most important principle of Deaf Education is always demonstrating a passion for higher learning. Unfortunately, there is no unique recipe for passion that works for all Deaf students. While for some Deaf students it is important to know how to use ASL, others find the ideas for education in ASL interesting by themselves.

The final grade has been a top-priority for many Deaf students, but I am sure that Clerc always do his best to explain that it should an ultimate goal for acquiring skills in ASL. Otherwise, students would gain the skills in ASL after classroom is over and that is very desirable for Clerc.

So, I feel that Clerc as an immigrant with his credentials why Deaf Education is important and where it is used today and explain the ideas behind philosophy and linguistics, propagating the idea that ASL can be approached from two perspectives, science (descriptive) and art (prescriptive). Before proceeding to the theory Clerc would give a lot of examples and usually draw appropriate pictures.

Clerc’s passion is enthusiasm for acquiring and mastering ASL for Deaf students. His enthusiasm must be infectious enough to transmit to the students. In this case they would learn ASL because of ASL itself and not only because it is used somewhere else. The goal here is to share the beauty of ASL. Deaf students, I am sure that have never complained about a lack of enthusiasm.

We reinforce Deafhood every time we use ASL. © Jason “JT” Tozier 2017

Clerc might not also realize that he brought human rights of the Deaf in America. It was all about modeling and teaching professional behavior and respect. To Clerc, teaching and learning is palpable: When Clerc can see it in a student’s visible delight in acquiring and using ASL jargon; when Clerc can read the excitement in students’ essays about ASL or Deaf experience that is also part of Deaf Studies, Clerc cannot say anything better than an Irish writer, W.B. Yeats about teaching when he wrote:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Clerc’s energy had ignited in Deaf students a passion to learn as much as possible and be professional within the field of Deaf Studies. I can best summarize in one word for Clerc: passion. Passion helps the Deaf students engage in the course assignment, even if there is no “correct answer” in the processes of exploring the language and culture of the Deaf. Engaged students in classrooms must work hard, write about their Deaf experiences, and learn to think, respect others, and above all, have fun!

Clerc was the most important Deaf immigrant in America. Thank you, Laurent Clerc for your genius and innovations. You were the face of human rights! After all, we are a nation of immigrants. Behold the Deaf community in highest standard possible! Yes, Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!

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-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://www.neh.gov/explore/history-through-deaf-eyes

 

Join the Movement: Indigenous Peoples Day!

Hearing Privileges: The Unspoken Truth

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First of all, I’ve seen all the hashtags #hearingprivilege people shared their experiences. So much pain to see what they were going through. OK, enough small talk. This post will talk about my experience growing up in hearing world—being robbed by hearing privileges. It is rented out for my stress management, allowing me to write on issues that no one cares to or has the courage to.

And trust me, for 41 years of my life is way too long for me to go without being able to vent my pent up frustration in print. This particular issue has been eating away at me for very long time. After pushing myself hard to do this to make room for this dandy, a new truth is ready to be seen for what it really is.

I am sure most people on Gallaudet campus have run into this situation at least once. If not, let me set up the scene to help you visualize what I am picturing. You are walking along, minding your own business when you see a hearing person with privileges coming directly toward you. The person with hearing privileges obviously indicates that they have power, and more specifically they are hearing. Just like anyone else, you move to the other side of the path or hallway to avoid a collision. As the two of you are ready to pass by each other, incident free, they must hear your footsteps, because they begin to swing their stick to feel out the landscape, making sure they are still on course. By doing so, you are forced to play jump rope or dive out of the way to escape a crisp whack on your head.

What is worse, is when you actually are hit with the power-struggling and deal with hearing privileges, or when they try to find a seat in a classroom after showing up late, and they disrupt everyone while trying to feel around for an empty desk. It is an inconvenience to everyone. I know, realize and understand that they have hearing privileges which they control—and I become disgusted each and every person with hearing privileges including within in power for continuing their oppression, and not letting Deaf people stand in the way of their dreams.

But, come on, why must they be an inconvenience to everyone else? According to hearing privileges, they can be provided with power and such. However, why are hearing privileges allow at Gallaudet University to make their routes and everyone else’s trip around campus easier and safer? Why must the mass majority of Deaf students feel obligated to make way for a wildly swinging hearing privileges?

And finally, why hasn’t anyone else had brave enough to speak up about this issue? For example, the chair for ASL/Deaf Studies, Chief for Department of Public Safety, Provost, Director for Mental Health, Vice President, Administration and Finance, Executive Director, Business and Support Services, University administrators, and plenty of assistant professors and professors even some of them that does not know ASL very well, get away with hearing privileges?

Oh well, at least this truth is no longer unspoken for. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to write more about hearing privileges in my next post—this is only beginning.

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-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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