Oralism: The Harvest of Empire

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As I write my story sharing my thoughts about the L’Abbe Charles-Michel de L’Epee—who claimed to be the “father of sign language” which I have my doubts. If Socrates said in a book, Cratylus—Deaf people are intelligent because of sign language. Who was the father of sign language back then? That was 2,400 years’ way before L’Epee claimed to be the father of sign language. The only reason that L’Epee established the first free public school for the Deaf in Paris making him also the father of Deaf Education.

How can it be possible? I mean, who taught Deaf people sign language that time in Ancient Greece? There must be someone who looked up to the person who considered to be father of sign language. L’Epee was born in 1712—the dark hours of wars going on in other parts of world. For example, 1712 Huilliche Rebellion, New York Slave Revolt of 1712, Toggenburg War, and First Fox War—that’s a lot of wars that year!

The Era of Sign Language brought about many changes: economic shifts, the changes of roles concerning Deaf people in society: This was a very difficult time in Deaf world, and is disputed by many historians or is it not? Many changes came into effect. The importance of sign language left out a very important perspective: that of the freedom of using sign language by Deaf person anywhere in the world. Also, this limited view was based on the concept that Deaf people do not deserve political power, and were faced with ignorance from their hearing peers or—hearing supremacists.

Changes in this distorted historical account was made in 1880 Milan Resolution where Deaf survivors from that era started feeling the greatest pain of all through writings. In 1890s, the earlier prejudiced view of history was totally changed, and was improved to include the views of Deaf people thanks to Alexander Graham Bell known as AGBell who advocated Oralism in America.

How does AGBell connect or reflect the addressment of the subject or connected subject? The improved views of history that includes all bigotry, hatred, and language belittlement, not just the hearing supremacists that encouraged hate crimes after AGBell’s death in 1922, even today in 2016, hate crimes in Deaf community has surfaced—year after year thanks to Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, yet, it has became invisible to our eyes—is something Deaf people deal with growing pains every day, and how important it is to analyze history with a critical eye.

There are plenty of bigotry going on today and tomorrow—how much the Era of Sign Language changed the lives of Deaf people, and how important this political and social change was to history, even though sign language and the abolition of 1880 Milan Resolution did not solve the debate over the meaning of freedom in American life.

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

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Examine An Allegory of De’VIA Cave: From Present to Futurism

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De’VIA (Deaf View/Image Art) coined by nine artists in 1989 helps to create a unique learning environment by bringing out the creative learner in all of us. It is able to do this in three ways. The first way is by not only being a fun but also an interactive way to learn. Second it can borrow and bring in other methods of learning that have already been discussed seamlessly, and finally it allows is to teach each other in a more comfortable environment. Let’s first take a look at why it is healthy and that is where I am a strong believer in Deaf Art. Also, art does use a beloved childhood of mine, but it allows for learning rather than the construction of Deaf mind is to take place. All those De’VIA done by Deaf artists are real also we give things like names, name signs, minor back-stories, etc. We come up with inventive stories of situations that they are going through, or that one is about to die from, and then share these sometimes complex and imaginative stories. That is what exactly Edgar Degas’s quote above points out important phrase to see through inventive stories, “Art is not what you see but what you make others see” touches all the bases.

We share them with our fellow people, often times showing a new or forgotten message that the person is more than happy to learn. A New Wave needs to develop and grow a stronger event with all of this preparation to tell their stories they have created for De’VIA the people are using they may have forgot to realize that they are using the methods they learned from Deaf artists to tell a story about their artworks. To get the ideas of what will happen in the story they may have used the creativeness they exercised during their thinking session into Deaf art, resistance, liberation, and affirmation.

The use of De’VIA for these types of things is not separate from the other things we have talked about today but instead a culmination. De’VIA is what allows us to help teach and learn from another person. If they use art to express their mind you do not understand you repeat the message and then you examine it more. That is the beauty of art. Today you have read why De’VIA helps to create a unique learning environment by bringing out the creative learner in all of us.

First by learning how the use of art as a learning aid can be used, second by understanding how artworks use other methods of practice, and finally you learned by working together. Art can be used to bring everything together and teach people of any age in a fun way. From my observation with De’VIA artists, they construct their experiences with the validity of Deaf experience and address what we the Deaf know, value, and be responsible for our own intellectualism. Our knowledge as Deaf people is chiefly derived from pure reason, which is the final principle of reality.

Our being Deaf is real and true without consideration for emotions. De’VIA has awakened reasoning in Deaf mind and our search for knowing, our desire, and our enlightenment of this vast Art world are but the fabric woven in these strands for many centuries from Plato’s Cratylus to 1880 Milan to Deaf people in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries to Deafhood Foundation.

De’VIA must bring the philosophy of Deaf art, resistance, liberation, and affirmation to a sharp focus; Those current artists does the same for Deaf world with strong message of bringing an enlightenment of the struggle. Those people are known to be in the pursuit of arete, which means reaching the highest human potential in Greek, even at the cost of their own life. For next 30 years, the stories must be carried on and they all come from the beginning.

I would like to paraphrase Michel Foucault (1926-1984) statement by advising Deaf people to purse and recognize the supremacy of arts which has made a difference. It is powerful, the stories of lies and the attempt to redeem the nature of being Deaf through the hearing restoration or invention of cochlear implants must be told. Foucault’s quote, “My general theme is not society, it is true nor false discourses: let me say it is the correlative formation of domains, of objects, and of discourses verifiable and falsifiable which are assignable to them; it is not simply this formation which interests me but the effects of reality which are linked to it”–it is about the organizing principle of power wherein De’VIA can be studied through technologies of power–not progress, not education, not conflict, not struggle and not resistance.

Power creates truth, and this truth produces a function of power. De’VIA creates truth with a function of power. It is impossible to imagine without De’VIA and their influences are most often identified with their topics rather than a method. It will challenge people to question their assumptions about truth for their resistance and stop the power dynamics of cochlear implants, Audism, Oralism, and all. The truth is that De’VIA for the next 30 years is critical because Deaf people exist. It is not an accidental at all and a reason to believe that it is necessary to garner success. Since 134 years ago, the dark side of Milan 1880, De’VIA are the recipe for success to find their magic of many more truth. We must become more committed to arts in support of intellectual freedom, the search for social justice, and find the responsibility for the sake of Deaf people. The truth is that De’VIA has spoken.

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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

Tucker-Maxon Oral School Teachers Are Blameless

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That’s me. 1978. Tucker-Maxon School Playground.

My mother was only 18 years old and my father was 20 years old when I was born in the same year President Nixon had resigned. The majority of my relatives are hearing. Almost all except one person who could communicate with me in sign language with me was my younger brother. At age two, I was placed into my very first school, Tucker-Maxon Oral School in Portland, Oregon. The school was not cheap! I was a product of an oral school where their school philosophy that does not promote sign language on the ground which makes my education accessibility harder.

They were trying to make me to act like a prize horse with having my own audiologists, teachers, and speech therapists policing me around and learn how to use my voice and not to use sign language and lose my dignity. That is where I became myself as “another” and loses my sense as an individual. I was only two years old that time!

I can remember my first teacher, Chris (Wolf) Soland who told my parents that everything will be all right. What a big lie! Chris Soland and Alice Davis lied through their yellow teeth and tried very hard to make me successful. Their plan did not work at all. I was glad that I was a rebel kid. A friend of mine told me a story last year that a student also went to Tucker-Maxon, for the take-home final, he wrote “I do have good hearing friends but somehow, I try to make myself act normal and that I wasn’t deaf”–it broke my heart! He was taught about “hearing” people but they were not taught how to be “hearing”. Can you see the difference? It is so unfair!

I was thankful that I was asked to read a book called Cratylus where Plato had Socrates question whether signs by the Deaf are equated with spoken and written names or words. The answer is aye. About 2,500 years ago, in and around the area we now call Greece, a philosopher who may have called himself Plato began an experiment in writing that would shape the world of human intelligence. Embarrassed and heartbroken by the death of his mentor Socrates, Plato left Athens and went to live in Alexandria in Egypt for 20 years. Upon his return to Greece, Plato founded The Academy–the prototype of today’s colleges and universities.

Plato had inherited writing from the Egyptians who were always mindful of the fate of Thoth, the name given by the Greeks to the Egyptian god of writing and knowledge–of intelligence, reason, and logical–associated with learning, language, and literature. After Thoth presented his invention in the court of Pharaoh, he was removed from the chamber so his masterpiece could be examined and deliberated. It was decided that Thoth should be punished to die because written words cannot be questioned for the answers to Pharaoh’s quest for truth. Although the written words are keys to doors leading to truth, the doors are not opened and the truth beyond the doors are not perceptible to Pharaoh’s eye, which means no prior knowledge.

The whole point is that Tucker-Maxon Oral School knows that Oralism is not even part of intelligence, reason, and logical–again, associated with learning, language, and literature. Tucker-Maxon teachers are too stupid to know that sign language is very much part of intellectual discourse, while Oralism has NO knowledge and is not perceptible in our eyes! Also, cochlear implant companies as well as late Mr. William House, the father of Cochlear Implant, heavily appropriated Tucker-Maxon. In fact, Tucker-Maxon was the first oral school in America to offer cochlear implant program. Oregon is the home of the cochlear implanted. I will not name William House as Dr. William House, I will call him Mr. William House instead because he does not deserve the title of Doctor. He said, “Deafness is a such a horrible thing”, he told an audience at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1997. “If a person can hear in their last years of life, I think it is worth it. I recently put an implant in a 95 years old man. He got married after that” What a gelding! His wife was exploiting his life insurance. That was the bottom line. By the way, Karl White was his huge supporter.

Even my Individual Education Plan (IEP) reports said that I couldn’t be successful student if I did not learn Oralism right. Ha ha ha! Tucker-Maxon needs to be shut down for good because there are thousands of violations with no sanctions for the teachers with weapons in their hands. The fact is for the oligarchy and their servants, there is no law against teachers who cannot be blameless as well as their money donors and media trolls to suggest that the society should lynch Deaf children’s hands and be judged by a jury of Audists. Póg Mo Éireannach Thóin! (Kiss My Irish Ass!)

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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

References:

Plato, by Reeve, C.D.C. 1998. Cratylus. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/scimedemail/la-me-william-house-20121212,0,271457.story

http://www.hei.org/stories/articles/william_house.html

Socrates Says YES; Aristotle NO

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This is one of my personal favorite artworks done by Nancy Rourke. I am a proud owner of this work. In this painting, there are two philosophers, Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates is seen with a sign “YES” and Aristotle’s sign “NO”!  According to Plato’s book, Cratylus, Socrates knew that Deaf people have intelligence while Aristotle disagreed. Evidently Aristotle had a lot of issues to be done in order to make it so that the Deaf people are exploited in social media by portraying and seeing the Deaf as unequal to individuals who are not Deaf. Being exposed to falsehoods, Aristotle made the world become aware that even with vast improvements in rights and advantages that the Deaf people entertaining, there is still a negative mentality that has not been eliminated from the Deaf.

Particularly, the belief that is held Deaf people are in some ways broken and need to be either assimilated or overcame with what is “ailing” them. They must be accepted into society by viewing themselves as “normal hearing people.” I have become more and more conscious of this fact that, with the visual nature of the state of being Deaf, it has become too easy for many people to view deafness merely as a puzzle piece that is being put into the world and to think that the puzzle piece shows an entire picture of a whole person. So they are trying to hammer out, to interlock edges of the puzzle of into the picture without considering Deaf people do not fit the puzzle piece for an obvious reason.

Humans tend to view most groups in stereotypes until they get to know them better. Some Deaf people within the groups represent a certain variation in population. Social media about Deaf people serves to introduce to these groups, and more often that not, this introduction perpetuates in an excessive exploitation.

Once we start seeing a Deaf president, a Deaf person dancing, a smart and a successful Deaf corporate executive our views of these groups begin to widen and move beyond the limits of typical. What is simultaneously hard and easy to grasp is that there is more movement to be done. The human consciousness is ready for an expansion and media is calling for it, having been calling it for quite some times.

Socrates knew about Deaf people and acknowledged their sign language. Through Plato, Socrates questioned whether Deaf people have intelligence by using sign language.  This culture was strong enough to continue Socrates’ legacy. Socrates served more than just encouraged a politically corrected vocabulary. Aristotle offered no apology for the atrocious acts he had committed against Deaf people’s intelligence. He referred to his integrity and principles and admonished his own peers for reserving judgement about the Deaf. His zealous beliefs had since created.

Nancy Rourke’s painting was a genius interpretation by looking at these two ancient Greek philosophers because the closer you look at it, there is some assuaging their moral outrage with true feelings of courage of Socrates and remorse of Aristotle. There is no real remorse as Aristotle believed that he was committed to a higher cause. In this sense, Plato cautioned his readers about Socrates’ “enlightenment” and revolutionary ideas when the outcome of such transcendence was bloodshed without culpability in the name of the Deaf. Socrates fought, protect and uphold the human rights of using sign language for Deaf people very seriously and also, seek to have Deaf people to proclaim a triumphant “YES” to human prosperity, knowledge, and happiness.

One quote I found was particularly striking written by Socrates:

        There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

Socrates’s simple quote seems to embody a lot that Deaf people seems to be seeking, which is to be portrayed with a parity that equals the sums of their parts and not in a way that makes them seem lacking or wanting. Socrates is my type of man.

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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