Open Video for Deafhood Foundation

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Why Registry of the Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Allow Language Hegemony?

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Hearing privileges is very serious topic in Deaf community. The world is heavily hearing population. There are hearing people who has been mocking Deaf people down their necks and distinguish between hearing and Deaf when it concerns the history, culture, and politics of “hearing” anywhere in the world. Examining the facts might help you realize there is no apples-to-apples comparison and there is no straw that will break the camel’s back and that implementing hearing privileges is unacceptable.

In a society in which hearing people with power, for example, a finalist to be CEO for Registry of the Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), is encouraging “hearing privileges”–without any knowledge of ASL, Deaf culture, and what it is to understand Deaf-centric philosophy. Do Deaf people really have to accept their growing cultural decrease because whether it comes to the sense of social Darwinism that is being promoted by ignorance?

The root of RID since it has founded in 1964, is to understand and respect that Deaf people comes FIRST. When RID CEO search, one of the finalist, a hearing finalist, it is the biggest mistake of all—-to oppress Deaf people. It is unconstitutional, shaming, humiliation, and persecution-oriented hearing privilege control list below Deaf people’s intelligence and experience. Education, standards, excellence? Hmm.

RID Search Committee is immature to allow the hearing privilege to continue chipping away at Deaf people’s most cherished legal protections and freedoms that Deaf people once had—all in the name of “pursuit of happiness” at RID. Whatever it means. It is clear that RID are devolving into large segment of allowing language hegemony in Deaf community that has no business having the power to undermine Deaf people for any reason because they simply lack discipline, common sense, and the ability to realize how other areas of their life impact their behaviors.

RID has nothing to address because it would be an admission along with a problem to face with Audism. They operate behind secret interpretations. You have just got to love hearing privileges what RID is all about today. Once Deaf people engineer a revolution to challenge oppressive tactics, people with hearing privileges will always leave the most vulnerable Deaf people unprotected, so they can undermine them.

That is how RID is justified. Again, when a hearing finalist for  RID CEO, Deaf people cannot “defend” themselves, heavily regulate and restrict them in all means. Shakespeare once wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit”–thus a hearing finalist with ZERO knowledge about ASL, how interpreting world works, how ASL affect Deaf community each day, does not pay attention and time to listen.

Something is wrong with the picture. One of two finalists for RID CEO who is Deaf who holds Ph.D, and Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), truly stands for which is liberty and justice for all and history has taught us that any promise of security and prosperity from powerful hearing privileges ends the same way: suffer and humiliation. This is the real epidemic out there that needs to be addressed.

Is that why RID is being the “New Invisible Hand?”

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There are series of questions that needs to be addressed. What does it mean to be “hearing”? Are “hearing” people considerably different from us? Do they learn how to be “hearing?” Or do they know they are named “hearing?” How different are the Deaf from “hearing” people? What are criteria of being “hearing?” What is a radically new understanding of what it means to be “hearing?” Deaf people are indeed different!

RID allows a hearing person with zero knowledge of Deaf life is one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated against Deaf people because it is based on fiction, myth, and false assumptions. This is clearly unconstitutional and vindictive punishment.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

Righting a Wrong: Racism, Audism, Starbucks, and Us

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Director for We the Deaf People–Chapter for District of Columbia

 

On the afternoon of May 29, 2018, Starbucks, taking an enormous risk by losing 12 million dollars in profits, closed 8,000 stores across the United States for racial-bias training.

This unprecedented move came in response to an incident that occurred on April 12 at a Starbucks in an upscale neighborhood in downtown Philadelphia. Two Black men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, were arrested for trespassing. They aroused the suspicion of the staff because they hadn’t ordered any food or drinks. And they were denied use of the restroom. Their crime? They were waiting for a third person to show up for a business meeting.

There were public protests, calls for a boycott, and lots of negative publicity. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and Police Chief made public apologies. Starbucks made amends, offering the two men who had been unjustly arrested generous financial compensation. The financial settlement was announced on May 2. Then Starbucks ordered the mass closure of stores for the training of its employees.

Starbucks took action to address the racism that is still prevalent throughout the nation. What about Audism, another prevalent social problem?

In 2013, twelve Deaf people, members of a “Deaf Chat Coffee” group that met monthly, filed a discrimination suit against Starbucks for refusing service to them in several New York City locations. The plaintiffs cited harassment, taunting, intimidation, and other forms of mistreatment, such as a staffer screaming obscenities at one and ordering him to leave, and telling a Deaf woman, also a Deaf Chat Coffee member, that they did not serve Deaf people, and a manager calling police and falsely reporting that the Deaf chatters were causing a disturbance. And being told that they were not welcome there.

This seems like an extreme example of what Deaf people deal with daily. We all have “restaurant horror stories.” Just as Blacks recognize that “restaurant Racism” is still part of our reality, we recognize that “restaurant Audism” still exists.

As long as Starbucks is taking concrete action to address racism, why not offer anti-Audism training too? The problem is that Audism is not considered a “burning issue” the way Racism is, because it’s a heavy appropriated “sound and language war,” involving people with an “invisible” difference.

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The complaints of the Deaf Chat Coffee twelve involve a few staff members and a couple of managers. Even one is one too many. The plight of the Deaf Chat Coffee members didn’t grab headlines the way that the plight of Robinson and Nelson did. Yes, there was some publicity, but no protest rallies, no calls for a boycott, no organized outpouring of national outrage.

I was dismayed to learn about the Deaf Chat Coffee members’ lawsuit, the descriptions of the mean-spirited treatment dished out to them, and the profoundly disturbing ignorance displayed by the staffers and manager who mistreated them. Even if these stores had trouble with individual Deaf people before—say, a mentally-unbalanced customer who threw a tantrum, or one who hung around for hours without ordering anything—that wouldn’t give them the license to mistreat other Deaf customers.

Ninety-nine and nine-tenths percent of Deaf people are decent, law-abiding customers, and any commercial establishment should welcome their patronage. The best amends that can be made are acceptance, a welcome (just as hearing people take for granted), and a bit of patience, compassion, and kindness. Also professionalism.

Can Starbucks earn a national reputation for being Deaf-friendly and Deaf-aware in all its locations? I encourage Starbucks to set a good example, and support Deaf people, because if the company continues to ignore Audism, it will ultimately alienate and lose the Deaf community.

I’ll tell you what I’d like to see: Starbucks closing 8,000 stores across the U.S. to administer anti-Audism training to its employees, and hiring Deaf people to do the training and the teaching. That would be a tremendous achievement.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Why Should Deaf People ‘Fall’ for Disability Scholarships?

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‘Do Deaf people view as Disability?’ written 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.” The majority of Deaf people I know do not view themselves as disability. Deaf people have their daily calendar. It was one of the greatest ideology Deaf people deals with the stigma.

“During the Middle Ages, madness and other conditions were thought to be caused by demons. They were also thought to be part of the natural order, especially during and in the fallout of the Plague, which wrought impairments throughout the general population.”

“The European Enlightenment’s emphases on knowledge derived from reason and on the value of natural science to human progress helped spawn the birth of institutions and associated knowledge systems that observed and categorized human beings; among these, the ones significant to the development of today’s concepts of disability were asylums, clinics, and prisons.”- Braddock, David, and Susan Parrish, An Institutional History of Disability, in Handbook of Disability Studies, ed. Gary Albrecht, Katherine Seelman, and Michael Bury (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2001)

Why are Deaf people still viewed as demons and prisoners of the hearing colonization? Where is their greatest human right as Deaf people and their pursuit of happiness? It is a process in the healthy Deaf mind. The good news is, Deaf people will continue to discover the root causes of happy thinking heavily practiced and projected through Deafhood framework. The bad news is, the society continues to label Deaf people as disability will not able to see those “root causes.”

When Deaf people receive scholarships or awards directly from Disability organizations, they are quickly judged without conscious thought from the society. Some say it is invisible. Some say it is good thing. Some say it is a bad thing. Some say it is denial. Some is unconscious. But, within certain demographics it has overwhelmed the old politics, and there are plenty of Deaf people in this or that minority culture for whom the old-fashioned hearing politics is more relevant.

For most people of any group, including minority communities, the specifically sociological issues are a small proportion of the actually important yet it is invisible affecting Deaf people everywhere. The Disability framework about Deaf people should be pretty much extinct by now. In that sense, Deaf-centered view is quite welcoming to anyone Deaf. Is it always true? Language, communication, and deficit thinking exists in the term of denial. The reason Disability framework continues to perceive Deaf people so often wrong in that the literature has successfully evolved the status quo to guide oppressors to speculate whatever it is.

Good example: There are some people who actually think the world is flat today. What about the stars revolve around the earth to determine fate and future?

To be Deaf-centered thinking, (not a word to think “disability”) is something that begins with us. It begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of ours. Between right and wrong, between night and day, and between matter and spirit.

Deaf communities around the world for so long that they have defined themselves in opposition too how the disability framework has viewed Deaf people. Deaf people have defined themselves, and had been defined—and that is the most important thing. It is important not to accept scholarships or awards from disability organizations.

 

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It takes one scholar to recognize another one. I’d like to share my short personal story about scholarships. I was offered several scholarships from disability organizations and groups in the past, and I had to turn them down because I did not feel right about how the society views Deaf people as disability.

Deaf people are being drawn away from the chain of ignorance that the state of being Deaf imposes. Why do Deaf people have to suffer social bias? The educational structure of the Deaf has faced many hardships in the form of disability framework—often invisible. Simply associating Deaf people, as disability is not fair or accurate, as disability is not attributed to a cultural identity.

When I received full scholarship from ASL/Deaf Studies graduate program at Gallaudet University, I felt right. At least I hope I was right. The disability framework is the basic ingredient of American intellectual history. From the eye gaze, the Deaf people build a community that relies ASL for information, knowledge, and communication. Along with the American stories and journeys, we the Deaf people ought to give our community identity and meaning away from disability framework. Receiving scholarships or awards from Deaf-centered organizations would make all the difference.

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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