Waiting for Transformation

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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.

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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.

-JT

Copyright © 2020 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://tinyurl.com/sf3a9uf

http://gallyprotest.org/DC_Examiner_LTE.pdf

http://gpli.blogspot.com/2006/10/letters-to-editor-examiner-oct-19-2006.html

 

How Deaf People Changed Leonardo da Vinci’s Life

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I am glad to see H3 World TV, a Deaf signing centric news, to do a story about Leonardo da Vinci on December 18, 2019, under SportsDeaf Winter: Italy-Day 6. You should watch the video with the YouTube link below.

The statue of Leonardo is beautiful. The story was about Leonardo da Vinci holds a high and true loyalty with Deaf people. The definition of truth is being loyal, something that is real, factually correct, accurate or provable. Leonardo knew that Deaf people’s eyes were masterminding an invisible gate. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest thinkers in humankind.

September 2013: My brother and I grabbed this opportunity to visit Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds at National Air & Space Museum inside Wright Brothers Gallery.

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October 2015: I was honoured to give a lecture: Composition in Values: The Art and Deaf Studies of Leonardo da Vinci at Gallaudet University where we discussed how much his work was influenced by Deaf presence.

He knew that Deaf presence would become a creative biography for one of the greatest Renaissance artists, thinkers, and inventors, to challenge the status quo of culture and history how Deaf people would surround around Leonardo da Vinci’s presence to recognize the beauty of human nature.

The quote by Leonardo: “The human being, creature of eyes, needs the image.” 

The book, Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, the New York Times had rated this book as the national bestseller for a good run and I enjoyed reading that book along with other books like Math and the Mona Lisa and How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci. His greatness influenced critical thinkers around the world among us. It is forever grateful. Although, it is too bad that Walter Isaacson did not write about how important Deaf people were in Leonardo’s life.

In 2004, while taking an Art History class for a community college, I grabbed an opportunity to write 15-page essay about Leonardo da Vinci’s artworks, and learned that Leonardo had greatest students, one of them happened to be Deaf for one of the masterpieces, The Virgin of the Rocks, known as Madonna of the Rocks in which Mary’s right hand is seen to represent the manual letter L; the angel’s hand is the letter D; and the baby Jesus’s hand, the letter V.

Leonardo believed in his two Deaf apprentices to use the eyes because he knew that their eyes are beyond powerful than nothing can measure the perception so powerful that cannot be overlooked.

At the same time, Leonardo writes in his personal notebooks: “Do you not see how many and how varied the actions which are performed by men alone are?”

For Deaf people, seeing something understanding.

The attachment of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting–Leonardo, the Renaissance painter, had observed sign language by one of his students, Ambrosio de Predis, the son of Christoforo de Predis (1440-1486), a Deaf artist from Milan. Leonardo was so marvelled that he painted his initials by using the letters from the manual alphabet, LDV–see the circled hands in this portrait to honour his own experiences with sign language and his collaboration with the users of sign language.

This work of Leonardo da Vinci is indeed one of the most amazing stories ever told.

Not only that, Leonardo da Vinci being the first Renaissance artist who imitates sign language in one of his paintings, and his influence on Raphael is also realized in his painting, School of Athens, in which sign language is used and learn from the expressivity of the Deaf.

As I learned about the School of Athens in the same art history class above and learned the Golden Ratio rule, I have been inspired to do the more serious reading and research how much Deaf people contributed to the world, especially during Leonardo da Vinci’s time only years later. How come the art world does not discuss enough how much Deaf people contributed to Leonardo da Vinci’s works that will never be at that moment?

What was the intent beneath the inconsistencies in the character of Deaf people? What would be Leonardo da Vinci’s motivation to simply reveal his own thoughts through the PEOPLE of the EYE? Respect? Stopping the practice of satire, a mockery of people of the eye?

Deaf people’s eyes will never be challenged, and society continues to stigmatize Deaf people as undeniable examples of human agency, complicity, self-glorifying in society.

At that very moment, Leonardo knew that Deaf people had been the walking, signing, living, and breathing definition of a character. It is indeed a powerful voice of reason.

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-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

Reference:

The Discussion of Second Chances: Deaf Returnees

“Find ways of sharing the land, of achieving dignity without eradicating the other”- Naomi Chazon

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At the improving myself end of my life, I return home from a trauma stage: telling a story who dealt with an oppressed environment in the hearing world. The majority of the world: hearing. It makes Deaf community built into a minority gambling for human struggle and painful journey.

To the survivors of oppression, those Deaf valiant souls who fought for freedom their whole lives long and never lived to taste its pursuit of happiness; To learn awareness about Deaf returnees, who lived in this strange and cruel land, yet, dreamed more safe without ignorance.

Will Gallaudet University no longer safe because of bullying policies and social values? Where was I shut out of my trauma wiped from my memories of pain for 32 years and of my accomplishments to turn my life around and dealt with hate-mongers?

Labeling heavily regulated because they are federal employees. Regulated for collecting evidence, regulated for search and seizure and regulating on the ideas of profiling. These guidelines need to be followed but sometimes the federal employee does not want to follow the rules, sometimes they want to act like a human. Yes, human have biases and have histories.

In the personal tragedy of what it has happened to me, had been damaged to be enfolded and left to be a scapegoat at will in the eyes of ASL/Deaf Studies, whether our traumas can ever truly be overcome. The answers it offers are denial, deeply rooted in culture of fear, and empty my heart out. Truly broken. It is what it is called siege mentality. Us versus them rhetoric about Deaf returnees.

It is very radicalized—for example, oppressors “police” Deaf returnees, there are expectations that a person is an oppressor. They are considered flash points. If oppressing Deaf returnees on the campus of Gallaudet, what do you call it?

It is a Superman Syndrome. Oppressors are expected to SAVE THE DAY and do everything to everyone. Anti-hate mentality but when oppressors are in trouble and they need the idea of the dual relationships. It is senselessness of bullying. The problems with this type of policing—it is a masculine model, and old school stigma follow and lack of awareness is a big problem.

Let’s exacerbating this idea. Amount of awareness: 100% of educating themselves about Deaf returnees “paid dues to the society”, during the day, the “invisible oppression” and is not regulated, do not have to go by the books, but at night they are regular people by the books.

More about 10,000 Deaf inmates in the United States are invisible. When one let out of prison, only to find that landing a higher education at Gallaudet University is near impossible. In fact, they remain unemployed—often because of the stigma that they carry and concerns over what kind of higher education they would prove to be. It means the awareness of Deaf returnees is three times more invisible and marginalized.

Then lack of awareness goes back to their day job. The Allegory of Deaf returnees—stories that create a meaning that create a meaning beyond the literal level of interpretation.

The rhetoric of supremacism. What is supremacism? It “is an ideology of domination and superiority: it states that a particular class of people is superior to others, and that it should dominate, control, and subjugate others, or is entitled to do it.”

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When I took American Indian Literature for one of my undergraduate requirements, I was asked to read a book called The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living:

“We Lakota believe that the roads in life, but that there are two that are most important. The Red Road and the Black Road. They represent the two perspectives to every situation, the two sides of every person, the two choices we frequently face in life.

The Red Road is the good way, the good side, and the right choice. It is a narrow road fraught with dangers and obstacles is extremely difficult to travel.

The Black Road is the bad way, the bad side, the wrong choice. It is wide and very easy to travel. The Red Road and the Black Road appear in many of our stories, not as roads but as the personifications of right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark.”

That is something we need to think about. Can Deaf returnees be forgiven and give a second chance? The activity of entering or “invading” the awareness on the part of Deaf returnees is clearly one of struggling subversion. Intended by their visible presence in this clearly showed Gallaudet mecca is limiting between the allowable spaces for Deaf returnee’s search for healing and the rest of Gallaudet campus.

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Left unchallenged in such an action, however, are the hardest ways, besides the awareness about Deaf returnees, in which Deaf returnees feel alienated and excluded from Deaf space.

In the higher learning, it was the contention of oppressors to continue combat this stigma must be regarded as the same source of power that denied Deaf returnees access to higher education. Bullying—long tolerated as just part of growing up—finally has been recognized as a sociological problem.

In 1999, District of Columbia enacted anti-bullying legislation. In addition, research on the causes, consequences, and prevention of bullying has not enough discussed at Gallaudet University. However, major ignorance still exists in the understanding of bullying that could prevent the effects of bullying Deaf returnees. The form of social isolation is another sociological problem. With the right training, Deaf returnees who’ve been returned to the society thrive to hold hunger for higher education even more than your regular American citizen.

Higher education plays an important role in their lives. To empower the strategy of unity through democracy—and to teach them is the most peaceful thing. The spirit of peace and democracy that lacks the Gallaudet community-Deaf returnee agreement is gone, and there is no second chance for how to reverse it and how to cope with it.

Professors regarded as, Person who professes being usually an expert in arts or sciences, a teacher of the highest rank.” Harper, Douglas, “Professor.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-07-28.

Text defines “social movements” as collective attempts to bring about change….” Nothing. They originate OUTSIDE the established political system. Let’s emphasize on interlocking systems of oppression—however that is being conceptualized to it. Perhaps it seems surprising because the society have class, power and other issues to contend with. Deaf returnees are less likely to say that the society needs a movement because they continue to be oppressed.

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All for all, Deaf returnees have constitutional right to seek higher education at Gallaudet and change their lives around to make them better. 8th Amendment and 9th to the United States Constitution respectively: Bails, fines, and punishments“nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Rights retained by the people. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be constructed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

What is something really important about the relationship between Deaf returnees and Deaf community that we have not discussed in higher learning, and why is it important? Can we find ways of sharing awareness, of achieving dignity without oppressing Deaf returnees at Gallaudet University?

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

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