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Tag Archives: Deaf Studies

Who Coined “Deaf Studies” First?

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No Human Rights Law Shall Expel ASL Ever

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When I read all the letters Illinois Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (IRID) sent to the Honorable Julie A. Morrison, a senator for Illinois about SB0752 and HB1811.

IRID president, William Lee’s words: Requiring fluency in ASL does not need to be explicitly stated in the law in our opinion. It was a huge insult to ASL community that the power dynamics of Audism was allowed to oppress Deaf people. It is also a language hegemony. We do not need to deal with educational bankruptcy and struggle with human rights.

Illinois Association of the Deaf (IAD) followed up with Senator Morrison. I am deeply concerned about the ability of IRID to allow Audism against ASL. My concern has been compounded by the failure exhibited by the professionalism of interpreters to understand the nature of cross-linguistic and cross-cultural inquiry and the integrity of critical thinking in ASL.

President William Lee of IRID needs to look at these dismal facts portend a clear and present danger to the role of Deaf Education in the United States including Illinois that ASL is very important. Lee may filter this post out because it is about insulting Deaf people and witty put-downs of their language and culture. ASL that William Lee and the board of IRID should not continue to oppress.

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I am sure just like Deaf students struggling to learn but getting nowhere without ASL, Lee has no business to fulfill his own desires and the best interests of Deaf community, never realizing that his effort is the problem, not the solution. His own insecurity is the motive to attack ASL and the best interests of Deaf community in Illinois for their language and culture.

Imagine this—can you imagine that for centuries Deaf people have suffered appalling language and culture abuses and the devastating consequences of educational and economic sanctions? Can you imagine that in a climate of language oppression, many Deaf students in Illinois would be neglected without ASL over the years in Lee’s words?

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

My Letter for Graduate School

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My mother and my father were proud of me graduating that day! June 2011. 

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[It was written in 2011]

Gallaudet University
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

ATTENTION: Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and to express my interest in attending your graduate program in Deaf Studies.

It has been my experience in life that the process of development requires baby-steps and growth from a place that is firmly grounded. For example, before I became a student at an university, I had no intention to attend college. It was not because I was incapable of achieving success at the university, but my immediate environment did not expect it of me. I was told then that I was incapable of succeeding at a university. Over time, my resilient nature, positive attitude and motivation helped me to rise above that expectation.

I am both a first-generation college student. My long path to intellectual freedom and academic achievement has not easy, yet it has been worthwhile I have found it to be immeasurable in the personal and academic growth that I have experienced on that path. I gave up a debt-free life for a college degree. I have balanced my job and schoolwork while subsisting on Mac and Cheese because I believe my education and personal development are worth the liberating value that comes from academia.

To me, achieving this degree is not about getting a piece of paper, rather, it is about fully absorbing what the entire Deaf world has to offer the people who compose it. It is also about informing the hearing world about its continual struggles and the diversity of Deaf culture. It is about change.

The most meaningful change in my life has been that transition from the boy I was 15 years ago to the man that I am today. My perception of myself has altered radically from a quiet, isolated adolescent to an extroverted, involved, and socially active person. I attribute this transformation of my academic skills, personal relationships and intellectual insights to provide to an university experience.

Currently, I do not have a simple answer for my purpose and long-term goals within your program, but I do know that I have a longing to express my experience as a Deaf person. I also have a conviction that at the heart with in addition to the foundation of belief, I am aware of my ability to offer my unique perspective on life. I am a human, with Deaf desires.

The Deaf are an underrepresented group in society that requires appropriate representation at the university level. Historically, Deaf persons could not attend university because of the lack of infrastructure that impeded their mere existence on a campus.

However, there are only few numbers of Deaf professors teaching at the university level, which significantly impairs the diversity and representatives that universities, in general, strive to attain. More credentialed Deaf people are needed at this level to facilitate an understanding and acceptance of Deaf people and our culture.

As an undergraduate Sociology major, my sociological perspective will help bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing communities in order to broaden cultural acceptance. My study of Sociology has provided me within the opportunity to explore my intellectual curiosity of how people create, maintain, and am by social influences.

I have found that the study of sociology requires critical thinking, problem solving, written and signed communication and interpersonal skills. I can also say that the program at an university has cultivated my skills in these areas. I am very excited about the opportunities that sociology offers me to explore the world through a sociological perspective and look forward to expanding my knowledge with the discipline.

A Master of Deaf Studies degree with a concentration in Cultural Studies will allow me to continue my path to achieving my career goal of being a university professor teaching Deaf Studies. With this degree, I strive the reduce the stigma and discrimination that Deaf people and other individuals with disabilities encounter, which I believe is masked by “political correctness,” lack of information, and a perceived insensitivity from the non-Deaf, non-disabled community. I want to help both Deaf individuals understand their unique place in the world while also broadening the experience and understanding of those who are non-Deaf.

I believe that your program would not only help me to build a stronger foundation of knowledge and skills applicable to Deaf Studies, it will also to continue to build towards my personal and professional goals. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Cordially,

Jason Tozier

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

The Nation Was Also Built By Laurent Clerc

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History Through Deaf Eyes 

Today, May 1st is Immigrant Rights Day! Consider, to begin with a colonialism scene in Deaf world–especially in America that time. In 1816, Laurent Clerc to begin his journey for America knew the destiny to create in the name of Deaf Education. Clerc was the ONE who generated Deaf Education, without him, it would not be the same. It was a fate to get rid of Audism and break the colonization.

This was the time that Clerc had to articulate his teaching philosophy in America. The ability to acquire and use sign language exclusively is valuable for Deaf students in the field of literatures and Clerc strive to have students actively thinking about higher education within minutes of entering the classroom, and when communication something Clerc pushed to use as much sign language as possible.

Clerc had been teaching for long time, and I’m sure he enjoyed this work a lot. He had coordinated Deaf Education and there is no way he would realize that his presence had developed and facilitated many courses through the College-wide Curriculum Committees and Higher Education Commission. His gift for America was a huge amount of time, and through this process, he determined to boil down his teaching philosophy to higher principles that Clerc as an immigrant made a huge difference today.

The most important principle of Deaf Education is always demonstrating a passion for higher learning. Unfortunately, there is no unique recipe for passion that works for all Deaf students. While for some Deaf students it is important to know how to use ASL, others find the ideas for education in ASL interesting by themselves.

The final grade has been a top-priority for many Deaf students, but I am sure that Clerc always do his best to explain that it should an ultimate goal for acquiring skills in ASL. Otherwise, students would gain the skills in ASL after classroom is over and that is very desirable for Clerc.

So, I feel that Clerc as an immigrant with his credentials why Deaf Education is important and where it is used today and explain the ideas behind philosophy and linguistics, propagating the idea that ASL can be approached from two perspectives, science (descriptive) and art (prescriptive). Before proceeding to the theory Clerc would give a lot of examples and usually draw appropriate pictures.

Clerc’s passion is enthusiasm for acquiring and mastering ASL for Deaf students. His enthusiasm must be infectious enough to transmit to the students. In this case they would learn ASL because of ASL itself and not only because it is used somewhere else. The goal here is to share the beauty of ASL. Deaf students, I am sure that have never complained about a lack of enthusiasm.

We reinforce Deafhood every time we use ASL. © Jason “JT” Tozier 2017

Clerc might not also realize that he brought human rights of the Deaf in America. It was all about modeling and teaching professional behavior and respect. To Clerc, teaching and learning is palpable: When Clerc can see it in a student’s visible delight in acquiring and using ASL jargon; when Clerc can read the excitement in students’ essays about ASL or Deaf experience that is also part of Deaf Studies, Clerc cannot say anything better than an Irish writer, W.B. Yeats about teaching when he wrote:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Clerc’s energy had ignited in Deaf students a passion to learn as much as possible and be professional within the field of Deaf Studies. I can best summarize in one word for Clerc: passion. Passion helps the Deaf students engage in the course assignment, even if there is no “correct answer” in the processes of exploring the language and culture of the Deaf. Engaged students in classrooms must work hard, write about their Deaf experiences, and learn to think, respect others, and above all, have fun!

Clerc was the most important Deaf immigrant in America. Thank you, Laurent Clerc for your genius and innovations. You were the face of human rights! After all, we are a nation of immigrants. Behold the Deaf community in highest standard possible! Yes, Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!

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-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://www.neh.gov/explore/history-through-deaf-eyes

 

The Long Silence of Forgotten Audism

Since Tom Humphries coined “Audism” in late ‘70s for his Ph.D., his vision of seeing a lot of Deaf people being oppressed so frightening that as Tom did not give any professional lectures about it. Almost four decades later, Humphries does not believe in it to pretend that Audism exist. Is Audism controversial? I remember reading a book, The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community that was published in 1992 while I was a sophomore in high school, I did not read the book until 1999.

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Harlan Lane, Carl Schroeder and I had a private meeting in 2010. He signed the very same book I read in 1999. 

There are millions of poor Deaf people, any kind of color in America that are suffering from pain and exploitation they all had in common, as a lover of freedom and liberty for all Deaf people to enjoy, I believe that efforts to build a law that recognizes Audism through stories, hard facts, and professional opinion, basic elements that are commonly missing when discussing “Audism” in the society.

If I coined a term whatever it is, I would make sure I educate the country, no matter what how long it is because it is my social responsibility and civil duty to continue educates Deaf people.

Let’s face up to it, Mr. Tom Humphries, there are millions of Deaf people who might look up on you, in a sphere of heavily steeped emotionalism, political struggle, power struggle, and human struggle that are completely ignored and continue to ignore Audism that exists today and tomorrow. I was one of them who look up to you. I own a painting of your face done by Nancy Rourke along with 12 faces in my personal space that was supposed to make all difference.

Is Tom Humphries still a scholar today? As in a book chapter called Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression by hearing chair of ASL and Deaf Studies department at Gallaudet University, H-Dirksen L. Bauman writes:

However, it is was not until 1975 when a Deaf scholar, Tom Humphries, decided it was time to name the discrimination against Deaf persons and to coin a term that would be part of the currency of discussions on human rights, deaf education, and employment.”

Audism did not discuss until 1992. Why long silence? Funny thing that I was struggling in schools, home life, and personal life because of long-silenced treatment that Audism exists. Talking about Audism has often occurred in the context of angry words, hostility, accusations, and divisiveness.

This coming Friday and Saturday, April 14th and April 15th, there will be rally sponsored by Audism Free America (AFA) celebrating 200 years of American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Education and their stories through the power, freedom, and justice to fight against Audism to let the society know that it is a permanent movement.

Where is your empowerment, Humphries? That was 42 years ago—and Deaf people would be empowered by now instead of being in silence about it. Since 1880 Milan Resolution, Deaf people have been survivors of the longest hate crime in American history. We refuse to live in hearing superiority. They need to respect Deaf people—the more respect, less Audism. In Humphries’s words:

The notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. It is the bias and prejudice of hearing people against deaf people, it is the bias and prejudice of some deaf people against other deaf people.”

Although, the society that I envision is one that maximizes freedom and liberties for ALL Deaf people coming from walk of life—the concept of ignorance is what completes the loop of full justice even at Gallaudet University.

Yet, Bauman writes, “The term now appears at all levels of the Deaf Studies curriculum at Gallaudet University, from Introduction to Deaf Studies to Deaf Cultural Studies.”

I was asked to give a lecture at Gallaudet University a month ago and found that Deaf students who comes from mainstreaming schools, some of them are juniors and sophomores at Gallaudet has no idea what Audism stands for or do not know who George Veditz is, or Alexander Graham Bell, even the story about Milan. It’s very serious problem. I call it “Social Problem 101”.

Gallaudet University needs to bring stronger ethics and require ALL Deaf students to take at least 12 credits in Deaf Studies and Deafhood courses even though if they are not ASL/Deaf Studies majors.

Perhaps we should re-frame the question: How can Audism protect Deaf people from future social problems? In this case, the answer probably lies in higher learning and lectures. How would you answer this, Tom Humphries? Deaf people who are survivors of Audism do not need to be forgotten even in long silence.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

References:

Humphries, T. (1975). Audism: The Making of a Word. Unpublished essay. 

Lane, H. (1992). The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community.

Bauman, H-Dirksen L. (2004). Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression.

The Unreal and Real: Stories From Deafhood Journey

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Four years ago the day before today, we were selected to give a play called The Deafhood Monologues written by Ella Mae Lentz held at Atlas Performing Arts Center, one of the oldest theaters in District of Columbia that night. It was special for all of us. I was very proud to be part of the cast—despite that I am from Portland, Oregon.

That night was truly special. I was a product of Tucker-Maxon Oral School in Portland, Oregon—every oral school for the Deaf proudly proclaims that it teaches its students how to speak. Every such school proudly advertises that it does not teach sign language, nor do its students use it. Every residential oral school has traditionally had a clandestine signing subculture.

It is far more difficult for this to occur in day schools, where students are shuttled between their families and school, which is why Alexander Graham Bell thought they were the best solution to the problem of educating Deaf students. His ideal was schools where there would be a single Deaf student in the midst of the hearing majority.

It goes without saying that he never considered Deaf children’s linguistic, social, or cognitive needs. Much less than their feelings.

Denial is the first law of healing. It is the first practical step toward getting rid of your mind the mistaken beliefs of a lifetime. The word, “deny” means to “declare not to be true that that appears true.” It is important that the first law of healing, the best way to get rid of negative beliefs from your mind and rid of toxic that eats up your body. Deaf community was taught to use self-hate when growing up in a society that is in a great deal of denial.

Self-hate is a disease and the truth is that the disease is that it is also self-inflicted. Deaf people inflict their own diseases upon themselves by their fears, resentments, hate, and belittlement. Self-hate in the Deaf community is probably the number one in the circle that it carry a gross injustice, which destroys our community, sabotages democracy and it is linked to many of our social problems.

The Deafhood Monologues changed my life. Self-hate is a form of darkness that flees in the presence of light and enlightenment. The Deafhood Monologues gathers up in a circle and used ASL as a breakthrough to stop politically correct society that Deaf people should not be oppressed.

It was part of healing for The Deafhood Monologues cast how to break trough self-hate from their childhood before discovering their true Deaf identity.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

Foucault’s Pendulum: The Bone of Deaf Studies

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There has been an educational journey through Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) at Gallaudet University on 22nd of February 2017, Ryan Commerson asked a question for the panelists: “What is your Super Power?”

If I had a chance to say something, I’d say Michel Foucault. The super power grows on the tree of the strongest philosopher, and gave me an idea what would cultural history like. It seems that Commerson is a fan of Foucault as well, too.

He was born in 1926 and died in 1984, he knew how to organize principle of power wherein culture can be studied through the education of leadership, Foucault knew that the power could be a strategy attributable to functions, neither education nor politics.

Foucault once wrote, “My general theme is not society, it is true/false discourses: let me say it is correlative formation of domains, of objects, and of discourses verifiable and falsifiable which are assignable to them; it is not simply the formation which interests me but the effects of reality which are linked to it”

It is important to preserve Deaf culture to be studied through the ranks of leadership, education is bouncing up to the eyes of Deaf Studies, the truth about Deaf people to verify that they are the backbone of the American cities and towns.

Foucault was a genius. He would make you to question your own assumptions about truth– for example, in the Gallaudet halls of Deaf Studies department. The truth is that Gallaudet University happens because Deaf people exist.

When the question was asked on Gallaudet campus, the needs of strive to live by the values it teaches and to reflect them in lives of the Deaf everywhere and in their work as a world community.

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The super power makes all the difference to become more committed to higher education in support of intellectual freedom, the search for social justice, respect for differences, and a belief in collective responsibility for the welfare of all the Deaf people. Reading Foucault’s books would worth your time! It’d be proper to call the title, Foucault’s Pendulum: The Bone of Deaf Studies.

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Carl Schroeder and Why Literacy in Deaf Community is Important Today

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Today is late Carl Schroeder’s birthday—he would be 64 years old. Also, he shares the same birthday as the greatest Deaf visionary leader in America, Laurent Clerc. As for Carl to be the first person to coin American Sign Language (ASL) philosophy and ASL Storytelling Theatre. How fitting! Learning stories from Carl was one of my greatest time in my life. He lived in a beautiful and quiet town in Oregon, about 45 minutes drive from Portland, Oregon. Most of the times when he would visit Portland, he would come down to my apartment and we both would zoom to Powell’s, the largest and best bookstore in Pacific Northwest, which was five minutes from my apartment.

Once when he asked me to house-sit his residence while he was away for ten days—at the same time, he said to me, “I am going to give you those books and I expect you to read and write me an essay when you’re done with it” and I was like, “Wait a minute, I thought, I did not expect like that” but looking back, I realized that he made me a better writer out of this and pushed me hard to understand philosophy than ever. Heck, he was better explaining in person than paying up for classrooms. That was how good he was.

We would spend hours in there browsing books and talking about each books we would purchase—even sometimes, we would exchange books once we finish with those books. He PUSHED ME to to set up a club called American Sign Language Book Club (ASLBC), to make sure it would be in wonderful feature of humanity and begin to draw together strands from reading, reviewing, referring—and linguistics of ASL—to explain why we are so compelled to use ASL exclusively. ASLBC allows people to examine how ASL sustains our community and promotes our academia. It made many meanings.

It was best times when we both were talking about books and how important public libraries are today. I was totally bummed that Carl could not make it to Washington, D.C; in November 2013—we both were about to give a lecture at Library of Congress to talk about literacy in Deaf community because we both understood what public libraries are very critical for literature. The lecture would have been awesome!

Carl created thick pictures of what was going on in literature, particularly about Deaf community. There is often a symbolic relevance behind his story-telling skills, behind his descriptions of nature and life. Almost mythical. He also gives mostly physical descriptions how to challenge Audism and we end up not knowing very much about the power dynamics of Audism. He also taught me about today’s interpreters that are from an old school of thoughts, trained to view the Deaf as clients and to justify their claims of misunderstanding and other things.

Professor Schroeder was phenomenal. It is OK to be controversial—it’s about challenging the oppressive society. It is important to appreciate public libraries everyday. Discover the radical new way we the Deaf people are treating our most traumatic memories with a single book. Public libraries are good for your soul!

Happy birthday, Carl.

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Chilly and Rainy Oregon. 2012.

-JT

Copyright @ 2016 Jason Tozier

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

Cochlear Implants: Demodernizing Consciousness in Deaf Mind

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Today, I recently saw a lecture held at Gallaudet University by Laura Maudlin, the author of Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising Deaf Children was worth watching! I really enjoyed it—a dynamic lecturer. One of the best lectures I had seen in long time!

You all need to know that Gallaudet University owns cochlear implant center on second floor inside Sorenson Language Communication Center (SLCC) largely all about profiting, then it is pathological, period. Cochlear implant is about human violence. It is about diversities of cochlear implant, something lacks, something missing, something wrong, something defiant, something benevolent, something pitiful. They want to have hearing to be restored, so to speak.

I am really glad that Laura Maudlin took the courage to tell the truth, no human being can restore anyone’s hearing: they can only amplify it. When cochlear implant batteries run low or expire, the state of being Deaf will be always an inevitable and that is actually the reality! That is why Gallaudet University set up the CI center to do mapping—largely because of battery economics, money, POWER and bullshit. How come Student Body Government (SBG), Graduate Student Association (GSA), University Faculty, National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) and numerous consumer organizations across the nation did not object ENOUGH to protest against cochlear implant center on the campus? I mean, how did that really happen?

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If Gallaudet University owns cochlear implant center, would we allow genocide procedure that is widely practiced on campus? Are they attempting to destroy Deaf? Why is Deaf marginalized? Why is cochlear implant center still belonging in the schoolhouse? Is cochlear implant an amusement for academia? When we talk about Deaf, it ends up in the schoolyard. That is a big difference. What bothers me the most is that Gallaudet University is a federally funded, private institution located on Florida and West Virginia Avenue in NE Washington—it is appropriated by the United States Congress. We all know that, right? It is no secret.

The money is so powerful to coerce people (cochlear implant stock-holders) to divide up our Deaf community and instituting us as warm bodies in the same manner that the oppressors had America coerced into dividing up America and instituting private land ownership away from Native Americans, my people. Gallaudet University choose to ignore that the fact that it would vulnerable Deaf people with no money so are we and that is not very cool. [WEAK LINK, YOU DEAF PEOPLE, WEAK LINK!] Money in power that Deaf people must claim to define our language and culture. Cochlear implants are being done in any teaching spaces around Gallaudet campus. Again, not cool.

I’m glad that I got to meet Laura Maudlin and signed the book, and she wrote with heavy passion—the book was very challenging to write which I can imagine that she recognized the later attitude that the term “cochlear implant”—has always carried the scent of impropriety of Deaf and ASL discourses even at Gallaudet University. It is all about Gallaudet University administration that have been known to fail. Indeed, many of their deliverances of reason do not seem reasonable at all. Intellectuality is natural. ASL is natural. Deaf is natural. Cochlear implants are not natural. Period. It will never workable. Lies are the main spinning of propaganda all over Gallaudet University campus. It is never too late.

I look forward to read the book, Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising Deaf Children. Then I can share my thoughts when I finish read the book. Give me couple of days then. Like Laura Mauldin said, “DIG DEEPER”—in the picture. I will always carry many conversations about how the globalization of cochlear implants are greedy in the public-health regulations, and to end the child labor.

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-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

Deaf Awareness Month: A Knowledge of Matter

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I realized that there are not enough knowledge Deaf Awareness Month and it is evident that it has not come to a head. There is more work to be done in order to make it so the Deaf community are not exploited in literature but portrayed and seen as equals to individuals who are not exhibiting the meaning of Deaf. Being exposed to early literature makes one aware that even with vast improvements in rights and advantages that Deaf people enjoy, there are still negative mentalities that have not been eliminated.

Particularly the belief held that Deaf people are in some way broken and need to either assimilate or overcome what “ails” them in order to be accepted into society of viewed as “normal”. These viewpoints are not reached alone. I’ve become more and more conscious of the fact that with the visible nature of being Deaf, it becomes too easy for many to see merely one puzzle piece that is being presented to the world, and think that shows the entire picture of who a person is. So they try to hammer interlocking edges of the puzzle into the picture of other individuals without considering that the pieces do not fit for a reason.

Humans tend to view most groups in stereotype until they get to know some individual within the group. Literature serves as an introduction to these Deaf people. More often than not, these introductions end in exploitation. Yet, once we start seeing a Deaf leader, 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 literature is calling for it.

We will aim for a deepened understanding of the social, economic, and political aspects of Deaf people as perceived and embodied in literature.

I believe that Deaf Awareness Month serves to do more than just encourage a politically correct vocabulary. It helps one consider the foundation of human perception that even spans to the recognition of beauty in society. Focusing only on Deaf issues, it is evident that social and economic advances go hand in hand but that the economic element of Deaf often goes to benefit those with abilities. Those portraying or capitalizing on those people who are Deaf.

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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