While visiting Washington, District of Columbia from Oregon, I remember watching: Gallaudet: The Film in 2010 with late Carl Schroeder, it was the very day before we visited Gallaudet University. I could not exactly understand the social phenomenon that time because I was not a student at Gallaudet University.
When we entered on the campus from Florida Ave NE by car, I still remember the feeling when I stepped my shoes on the Gallaudet soil, it was something I would never forget. It was the path where we walked that way entering into Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) to find Department of ASL/Deaf Studies.
The passage of second wave Oralism to legalize oppression of American Sign Language (ASL) has been showing both films: Gallaudet: The Film By Facundo Element and Our Deaf Community | Celebrating Gallaudet By Convo has sent a signal to embrace ASL and Deaf culture. The Pandora Box has warned all of us.
I saw the film premiere by Convo last October 2019;
What’s the deal between Facundo Element and Convo? Between Gallaudet University and Convo? What about Gallaudet University and Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)? What is the difference between Communication Service for the Deaf and Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC)?
As University budgets continue to be slashed, Deaf-centered philosophy for the award-winning Deaf space, anti-bias resources had been lacked, and that is the problem of the Gallaudet system. When you enter Gallaudet University as a student, you would be colonized, good or bad. Whether you want to challenge or be a bystander; I now understand the social phenomenon.
The mentality of Gallaudet. I became a student in graduate program on a full-ride scholarship in ASL/Deaf Studies in 2013; Even though the first time in 2010 when I saw Gallaudet: The Film, it has not inflicted me that time. Again, because I couldn’t understand that time. So, I had to watch that film again, and that is where it hit the lighting. Just like Ben Franklin using the kite to test and see if the lighting strikes the kite.
Can we learn ourselves of oppressive Gallaudet University by conversing the university anew to preserve and promote ASL and Deaf Culture? That is exactly what Carl taught me on the plane back home from the Deaf Community (DC) to Portland.
He explained: Gallaudophobia to describe of oppression at Gallaudet University and elsewhere. Of course, we are not experts in curing Gallaudophobia; do you think it is a serious phobia? Is it the culture of fear an outgoing problem: Gallaudet-style oppression? Let me give you few examples of phobias:
Eleutherophobia: fear of freedom
Mastigophobia: fear of punishment
Epistemiphobia: fear of knowledge
Let’s turn our thoughts to the oppression. It strikes me that the program of Gallaudet University is more ideological more than phenomenal rather than generosity. Its ambition is to weaken or destroy ASL and Deaf Culture.
The Deaf space is the hottest market where Deaf scholars are treated with honour. Imagine Board of Trustees (BoT) who sits together in order to share wisdom and advice with the Gallaudet campus. Imagine going to this Board the moment you first recognize your own language there. Imagine sharing your concerns with the Board, the Deaf members like yourself who listen to you with respect. Imagine how you would feel about yourself if you could call on this Board’s guidance when you need it.
Wake up! Do we really have this kind of imagination at Gallaudet University today? Do we understand that the Board of Trustees is powerful? Have they failed to live within the goals now?
Hansel Bauman, the leading-architect for the Deaf Space at Gallaudet University, as I learned later that Janet Pray would typically say that sign language users are an “increasingly small” percentage of the deaf population.
In 2006, from GallyNet-L where a comment by Deep Eyes wrote:
“king and jk plan to meet with washington post editorial board this
afternoon. they will try to manipulate public info & perception. make
sure deaf people get correct info to the media
let world know that board voted 7-5 initially – 7 votes for jk and 5
votes for steve weiner. king then came into the picture…. manipulated
boardies like puppets and get ’em to go 12-0 for jk. illegal? No! But it
stinks!! king is now a fair game
look at king’s compensation package and perks. very similar to the mess
at american university which actually forced him to retire
DPN in 1988 belongs to all deaf people, not to king. remember that cuz
king and his people forget that”
About SLCC, there was a committee of university constituents (approx. 2002) who were discussing plans for the new building and the committee decided that the name should include the word “culture” as in “Sorenson Language and Cultural Center”–however, Irving King Jordan, Janet Fernandes, and Janet Pray ignored that and changed it to “Sorenson Language and Communication Center.” Some people think that when Janet Pray typed the minutes for the committee meetings that she sneakily changed what the committee decided.
Brian Riley wrote in February 2007: “Breaking News–Web page for SLCC taken off Gallaudet.edu”:
“According to one reliable report, Gallaudet’s Faculty and students (in committee) had originally objected to the plan to use the word “Communication” in the name of the building and favored the word “Cultural” instead. However, the wishes of the faculty and the students were ignored. The decision was made by Paul Kelly, Irving Jordan King, Jane Fernandes, and Catherine Sweet-Windham to bypass the committee’s decision. They overrode the decision and took their illegitimate decision (to use the word “Communication”) to the Board for approval.
Question have also raised about the legality of the contract between Sorenson and Gallaudet. The contract reportedly gives away patent rights to Sorenson for any new inventions or innovations created in the planned building. Such an ill-conceived contract is probably not legal, since Gallaudet is registered as a 501 (c)(3) with the Federal Government and is required to reinvest all profits from campus activities and ventures back into the non-profit corporation of Gallaudet itself.”
In its place comes a sort of biblical oppression that would be in Christian name, EPHPHATHA. Through this Christian word on the official university seal, there would be no freedom of expression, no freedom of religion, no independent academic disciplines, and no place for scientific progress. In short, it would be our worst nightmare.
1) Home again at Gallaudet University;
2) The acceptance of ASL in the academy;
3) The nature and persistence of the linguistic research;
4) The power of ASL to influence and shape the human mind;
5) The character of faculty as it shapes intellectual life of the Deaf;
Is Gallaudet University a place of safety, where ASL becomes the focus? Is ASL home or fading?
The understanding of an economic system that oppress ASL and Deaf people be replaced with a system that meets the needs of the Audism. To that end, ASL pays tribute to Deaf people. It is the voice of thousands and thousands of everyday Deaf people who are fighting to preserve ASL and Deaf culture in crisis.
14 years ago. October 31, 2006. Washington Post editorial: Gallaudet Loss. Don’t we all remember that Post article or have we forgotten it? We need to review that again and again.
Despite more aggressive and often dishonest tactics, Gallaudet University public relations are encountering resistance on campus, not only students, but also faculty, staff, and alumni.
That leads to a newspaper letter, The Examiner written technically a letter to the editor by once again, Brian Riley in 2006: Protestors are trying to save Gallaudet University for the future has proved social problems today.
What happened to Gallaudet University unique because it is where ASL is best used comparing between 1988 and 2020? There are so many areas of scholarship in Gallaudet University that cry for betterment, and we need more insightful leaders to create a Deaf-centered path for all of us to be hungry for.
The film differences between Facundo Element and Convo is something we need to do serious critical thinking how to save Gallaudet University for the future. One of the more powerful films we need to stumble upon block of stone that sits on the “sacred ground of the Deaf” in Washington, D.C., the problem is that it is still struggling to be as Deaf-centered University.
Copyright © 2020 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Convo considered as the powerful media in the Deaf community by buying DPAN, the Daily Moth, and Melmira to control the news. Do you agree that it is controlling the propaganda in the Deaf Community by Convo, the first Deaf-owned VRS company only to let a rich Deaf lad from the hearing family to control the news by the money and power? You decide.
Of all U.S. minority groups, the Deaf community is perhaps the most invisible. The mental health sends the message of Deaf empowerment to the public. The principle of Deaf-centric or Deaf-centered mental health is always demonstrating a passion. Or, is it a recipe for power-struggle for passion where the Deaf community needs the most in the mental health field? Especially the Deaf-centered way.
In the highest standard of principle what it should be, a Deaf-centric or Deaf-centered mental health organization had revolutionized the stereotypical odds. It should be of, by, and for Deaf people. This “cultural awareness” in our Deaf community where we live continues to be a minority group thriving for awareness and social justice, which we are seeing in the mental health field that is sorely painful in the Deaf leadership.
National Deaf Therapy (NDT) under the auspices of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). ‘Auspices’ is from the Latin, auspicium, and auspex, which mean “one who looks at birds”.
Communication Service for the Deaf: Using the ‘flying birds’ as power-hungry; According to wiki: ‘Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion of interpreting omens from the observed flights of birds.” (1)
Is it the wrong path where National Deaf Therapy is being heavily appropriated by Communication Service for the Deaf exercising privileges and profiting? Even in 2019. But, should we not completely surprised? Don’t we see manifestations of elitism, favouritism, and privileges every single day? Let me use those examples:
Jameson Crane III and Jonathan Soukup, both CEO and co-founder in the same business together (see link below), they have strong connections to Communication Service for the Deaf, its founder of CSD, Benjamin Soukup, and its current CEO, Christopher Soukup (Jonathan’s brother).
As for Jameson Crane III’s hearing father, Jameson Crane, Jr. was on Communication Service for the Deaf board, now is on the Gallaudet Board of Trustees (see both links below). Social Venture Fund (SVF) has awarded National Deaf Therapy because of father-in-law’s connections as a board to NDT as well. Jameson Crane III’s spouse: Amanda Sortwell Crane, one of National Deaf Therapy co-founder.
Don’t we see manifestations of elitism, favouritism, and privileges?
Power-hunger is shown by connection to Gallaudet University? A good example, ADWAS founder, Marylin Jean Smith is on Communication Service for the Deaf board (see link below), and one of the National Deaf Therapy co-founders, Megan Erasmus is working for ADWAS while running National Deaf Therapy (see link below). Is that a big conflict of interest?
I was told that it is common for people to work full time while maintaining their own practices part-time until their practice grow enough that they can support themselves with the new private practice. Still conflict of interest?
Convo Communications: the CEO, Jarrod Musano who owns the Daily Moth and Melmira, connected to Communication Service for the Deaf, yes or no? However, Jarrod and Communication Service for the Deaf board member, Danny Lacey, have strong connections between each other.
The disability framework, a negativity bias defining the Deaf community, colonizes National Deaf Therapy. Exploring core concepts what “disability” to define ‘Deaf’–especially how the polarity of disability is culturally constructed and embodied, emphasizing the “social model”–and it shows clearly that National Deaf Therapy did not aim enough for a deepened understanding of the social, economic, and political aspects of disability as perceived and embodied in literature.
Does it mean the Deaf are defined from the American society because they are not normal healthy people as long as they must live in the medical model of disability?
Although frequently used to refer to the Deaf, this label is considered highly offensive to the Deaf. It ignored cultural identity and its use among hearing is a sign of ignorance (Roach, 2002) 
Ryan Commerson , producer of “Media, Power, & Ideology: Re-defining D-E-A-F”— Supposedly, Deaf people are labeled as ‘disability’ in the name of ideology.
Commerson: “…the misrepresentation would still reside in your subconscious. What should you do about it?” that leads to ‘Contesting Stereotypes: Taking Images Apart’.
“…When a particular meaning in broadcast for a while, then it becomes common sense,closed, and resides in your subconscious. Life goes on as normal. However, we must go back to the misrepresentation residing in their subconscious…and reveal the distortion of the images. People might be rattled or accept this new reality. However, the problem with this is, by unlocking the meaning, it’s open for interpretation. Would everyone interpret it the same way?”
He used to be a scholar until Communication Service for the Deaf took him in as Social Change Strategist and exploited his views. I bet Ryan couldn’t challenge Communication Service for the Deaf because he is stuck with them.
In my previous blog post:
“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.”
Justice must include human rights and compassion. It must include an appreciation of Deaf cultural uniqueness. What strikes me the most by Lane’s writing as seen in the picture:
“On the other hand, the Deaf-World is a linguistic and cultural minority quite unlike disability groups and with a distinctly different agenda. Moreover, to be Deaf is not disability in Deaf culture, and most members of the Deaf-World see no disability in their ways of being. To give up their legal rights would be self-defeating; to demand them under disability law seems like hypocrisy.”
Does that mean the Deaf community has become a pet cause for Communication Service for the Deaf and National Deaf Therapy? This is not the spirit of the Deaf community. That is the sign of power-hunger. Or, is it power-struggle?
The true leadership that steps up to the plate with the facts as they are and makes intelligent decisions on those facts only and not only on the emotionalized, oppressive of the Deaf community and the misinformed public sentiment. Why is National Deaf Therapy under the auspices of Communication Service for the Deaf pushing for a chess game?
Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
(2) Roach, Amy (2002). “Which is Correct: Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, or Hearing Impaired?” Deaf Linx. 22 Feb. 2003
(4) Lane, Harlan L. “Do Deaf People Have a Disability?” Sign Language Studies, vol. 2 no. 4, 2002, p. 356-379. Project MUSE
#OurDeafCommunity | Celebrating Gallaudet event hosted by CONVO. It was supposed to be a place of celebration, meeting new and old faces, and of course, bias-free. Instead, experiencing bullying in the form of hate including intimidation from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) which no one can ever bully me. Enough of public shaming! What happened to #OurDeafCommunity?