Laurent Clerc: United Nations Human Rights Prize

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70 years ago on December 10th, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was brought up with the idea to recognize that as humans we adopt equal rights, freedom, and pursuit of happiness.

I just read the winners for 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize who deserve an award. From the United Nations website writes:

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.

In the past, United Nations Human Rights had given to someone who passed away such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Why not Laurent Clerc? He contributed to Deaf community in the heart of human rights. Establishing the first American Deaf School in Hartford, Connecticut. For next 50 years, the school had trained many Deaf students in the field of educators to teach Deaf pupils to be successful. Laurent Clerc’s spirit embodies the self-determination of the newly Deaf space; his thoughts are still considered the strongest influence in Deaf people’s bodies, minds, and spirits.

Laurent Clerc’s quote:

“A knowledge of history is extremely useful; it lays before our eyes the great picture of the generations that have preceded us; and in relating the events which passed in their time…it lays before us the precepts of the wise…of all ages…”

There was no “rehabilitation” program or education for Deaf students. Laurent Clerc predicted the importance for future of the Deaf citizens to preserve and perpetuate in the language and culture, protecting and promoting ASL. French influence upon American Sign Language (ASL) and intellectual life of the Deaf has become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between Deaf people to seek for higher education. Not only in America, but influenced Canada as well, too.

Last September 2018, United Nations recognized its first International Day of Sign Languages, and it is a huge step. There was more than 70 million Deaf people living world wide, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, the higher education is pretty difficult to grasp, only two percent out of 70 million Deaf people have the human right access to a formal education.

Since Laurent Clerc’s arrival in America, his mission has been to provide quality individualized education honoring the talents of Deaf students, making sure they were given the highest opportunities to acquire academic skills necessary for success.

Making sure the long journey, the dark moments of doubts and struggles, going through series of emotional, mental and physical—and the feeling in a life time would end up being over, until Laurent Clerc’s arrival made sure it was never over. It was very much part of human right. Being the state of Deaf is a human right in the highest form of freedom.

Honestly, I do think Mr. Laurent Clerc deserve United Nations Human Rights Prize, the largest honour of lifetime work. What do you think?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://usdeafhistory.com/tag/laurent-clerc/

https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/news/dspd/international-day-sign-languages.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Prize_in_the_Field_of_Human_Rights

 

 

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Open Video for Deafhood Foundation

LEAD-K Open Video: Will AGBell Ever Condemn Hate?

Why Should Deaf Children Be Condemned for Life?

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This is invisible hate crime, folks. This is the world where Deaf children can no longer protect themselves. Every year, thousands of Deaf children are mockingly targeted without compassion because they’re easy to target for greed.

For example, a cochlear implant surgeon saying, “Here is a child with no hearing whatever. Previously that child would have been condemned to a life of signing, special schools, and now…we can restore that sense. And the vast majority of the children will given a really a virtually normal life.”

It is a sign of dangerous framing. There are two meanings of the word: “condemned”

Express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure.

Sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, especially death.

Death. Does it look familiar? We the Deaf are in constant danger other than sign language. The sound /f/ in the term, Deaf shares the same fricative—the force of the breath through a constricted or partially obstructed passage in the vocal tract—with the sound of /th/ in the term, death. Deaf people are being punished because they are Deaf. Can we understand and combat hate crime and form of bigotry? Are hate crime, hate speech, and hate literature about Deaf people getting worse?

We all should read Tarski’s Theory of Truth written by Hartry Field and his structure of ideas, sometimes paradoxical, inconsistent, or contradictory, that people have about good and bad, about beautiful and ugly, and about right and wrong, which are the justifications that people cite to explain their actions.

The theory of truth along which people make judgments are all dependent upon what they learn from childhood. These include judging between right and wrong, between good and bad, and between beautiful and ugly, all based upon social and community values. They are not acquired through our genes, but through our socialization. That implies that they can be relearned; that we could change our judgments.

In the broad sweep of human existence, the general trend of change has been for a decrease in the number of truth, and a reduction from societal differences in society to secular space. From local community with theory of truth, Deaf people moved to a community with struggles, from that Deaf people moved to truth and an increase in the proportion of people, like cochlear implant surgeons who believe in no truth.

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The impact of hate crime had spread well beyond the immediate survivors and victims and the target of Deaf community to the general society.

This effect includes practice of hate speech, like this surgeon’s words: “Previously that child would have been condemned to a life of signing”—-is the central point here is that Deaf people are continually punished in the name of hate crimes, we must understand precisely why Deaf children are punishing, and it is a hate crime grounded in name of Audism as well. Audism is in the umbrella of hate.

What we need is in this world, is not healthy, what we need is not hatred of Deaf people, and what we need is not punishment of Deaf people, what we need is love and wisdom.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

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.