The history lessons we may or may not taught in schools, we need to be aware about this. History should not be repeated.
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. Washington, DC.
When I was living in Portland, Oregon—I visited Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr statue called The Dream just right outside Oregon Convention Center. That was where Deaf People of Color Conference was taken in 2010. I was blown away with each of presenters. I see dream in the conference theme “Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying”—with the main objective to heal from Racism, one of the society’s most venom letter in the English language. The quote by MLK continues to inspire as well as struggle to overcome hate, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
That quote was mind-boggling—and we must continue to honor MLK’s legacy. When I visited National MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C; the statue of MLK had reflected many values that unite all of us to continue to fight against hate. Especially in the Age of Trumpism, we need to continue to fight for civil rights, and the legacy what MLK had done made us to be socially responsible to be on the front lines to make a radical change to overcome hate.
I remember one day when I visited Lincoln Memorial and stood where MLK gave the most famous speech, I Have a Dream front of the largest audience—no way you can ever take that away like that. Moving from Portland to Washington, D.C. is a huge difference.
Portland, the whitest city in America, to DC, one of the largest Black populations in America, I see oppression every day around the city. This is 2018. For example, I remember standing outside in the back of the apartment in Trinidad area, my next-door neighbor was hosting a party, so they asked me to join the festive and appreciate the DC life. I was only living in DC eight months that time…and saw something surreal what I saw. It was hot summer.
Maybe one of the hottest summers so far and there were couple of Black people sitting, standing, and drinking a bottle of water and all of sudden, the police was driving around and decided to make a power trip and got out of the car and decided to grab their water bottle and emptied right front of them with laughter and one of the mothers became so upset and had bravely confronted them and the cops laughed and drove away. I saw the whole thing—I was like, what the fuck? Of course, the police officers—who were white.
The language is different from Portland and DC. It has been a lot of experience to understand the problem of Racism, and I have seen the stereotype and full of hate. One of the best examples that Donald Trump said about Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, “SHIT-HOLE”—what a SHIT HOLE PRESIDENT. As for Deaf community, we have to be thankful for National Black Deaf Advocates for its leadership. I’ve met few Deaf people from Haiti, and few African countries and they are incredible people!
As for Trump, you cannot fix a personality disorder—Trump is mentally nuts. People with personality disorders do not think there is anything wrong with them, and Trump is one of them. Trump will never acknowledge the fact that he has a problem even when he spewed hate as an American President—just wrong to see like this.
The growing of white supremacy in America is alarming, and the President of the United States creates the big picture about Racism and encourages violence against Black Deaf people. Remember the way he encourages harsher police brutality front of police officers and they all laughed. It was an alarming experience to see this. Perhaps there is a racist angle in there somewhere if we look hard enough.
MLK day—the reflection about “soul searching” is important for us in the society. The book you see on the left side is one of the best books I ever read about MLK.
Please honor MLK’s legacy and celebrate his life. Oh, yes, please reserve a ticket in advance should you visit in DC to see National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
After Donald Trump makes a racist language calling Haiti and other African countries–“shit-hole” is a good example of white privilege through hate and encourage white supremacy.
It is sad to see Trump, a bright president that does not know the history of Alexander Graham Bell that preaches bigotry and hate against Deaf people.
The state of Oklahoma has decided not to charge police officers for the murder claimed that it was justified aka “good or legitimate reason” shooting. In Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess:
“Most striking, perhaps, is the overwhelming evidence that implicit bias measures are disassociated from the explicit bias measures. In fact, studies indicate that people become increasingly harsh when an alleged criminal is darker and more “stereotypically black”; they are more lenient when the accused is lighter and appears more stereotypically white. This is true of jurors as well as law enforcement officers.”
It is a real tragic what happened in Oklahoma City where Magdiel Sanchez, a Deaf Disabled Latino man were killed by police which its job was sloppy and unprofessional. It was all about about stereotypes because Magdiel was Latino and Deaf. It could have been avoided. It could have easier for all of us. It could have better compassion. It was unbelievably, without question, what David Prater, District Attorney for the state of Oklahoma, created Audism, by saying: “the fact that Sanchez was deaf was “irrelevant”….you don’t need to hear to know what these officers are saying to you.” OUCH! That’s really low! Maybe one of the lamest excuses ever coming from District Attorneys anywhere. The definition of irrelevant:
Adjective. Not connected with or relevant to something. Of course, Deaf people are not connected with the social acceptance! Seeing Audism is not the problem, how will we accept and learn how to care for the people we see which people would see it as a problem? Why is that? How can it be irrelevant? Mr. Prater does not know what it feels like to be Deaf. That is not his place to say that. Totally not necessary. Not so cool.
Do you think David Prater is a Audist? It is not the first time he said that. He said same thing about Pearl Pearson, a Deaf Black man. He does not even care about Deaf people. The letter Prater writes about Pearson, “he was either hearing impaired or that he couldn’t hear due to the loud traffic noise…” shows that he lacks awareness about Deaf culture. That is the problem that there are not ENOUGH awareness training about Deaf people in police academy. They’d fuck you over.
Suppose, if we follow the quote written by Jose Zalaquett Daher:
If you close a wound without cleaning it, it will fester and reappear.”
How can Deaf community heal a wound when a Deaf man who was unarmed and completely innocent was shot several times when he cannot hear the commands? Will it re-appear somewhere in America when a Deaf person gets killed by police for being “Deaf”? It is a high probability even if it is unpredictable in the hidden statistics, yes, it will be. The double oppression in this police brutality, it was also added Racism played a big factor in this scene.
Ready for the bigger problem? In Oklahoma, if someone wants to be a police officer, they’d have to pass psychological evaluation by licensed psychologist in the state of Oklahoma, and that was the iceberg of the ignorance. So, if it comes to psychological evaluation, was there a question mark down, “How would you deal with Deaf person?” It is critical! They cannot IGNORE that question. Deaf people cannot be left out of the social acceptance. We must not forget sensitivity training.
What works to get Deaf community to build trust with police by having a policy from Deaf community to make a statement, “our policy is take four years ASL classes, Deaf Studies, and Deaf Culture as a requirement for police departments.” It would keep build better awareness. It is not that hard. Deaf people have lived enough to deal with the fact they are living in strong-dominated hearing community. Is that not hard to see that?
We do not need Trump’s policy to beef up harsher police brutality and harm Deaf people. Police brutality is one of the greatest social problems; we shall explore the social position of oppression (Audism and Racism) in Deaf community and discuss how Audism and Racism intersects with Deaf community, and what is involved to talk more about Audism and Racism? Then we can consider the position of oppression in the institutional areas of Deaf people. We can conclude the awareness with an examination of social movements and social change.
As for the police officers and David Prater, who refused to accept the fact that they created Audism and Racism—isn’t that a double standard? The American spirit: the history of hidden Audism as a way of looking at life? Whatever happened to the circle of freedom? Such questions like that were necessary because in the case of Deaf community, pain is seeded as originated from the viewpoints. Do American spirit define Deaf community as a people and nation? That includes immigrants, too. Any one.
Seeing Deaf people gets killed by police—may have caused us all to deal and suffer at what a long way we have come. It is not the first time that police got away with the murder of unharmed Deaf people. It could happen to one of us.
Blink. Blink. Blink. Tick. Tock. Forgotten soul. We must not forget Magdiel Sanchez. We must remember this from Magdiel’s family initial press statement dated September 22, 2017:
“We are devastated by Magdiel’s death and the fact it occurred at the hands of OKCPD even though he was not a suspect for any crime, was not breaking any laws, and was standing in his own front yard with his trusted walking stick.”
***OKCPD stands for Oklahoma City Police Department***
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess. Page 107.