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

 

Five Years Later: Carl Schroeder’s Ongoing Influence

Five years ago today, Carl Schroeder passed away. We need to remember the birthright what Carl did for Gallaudet University 30 years ago and today. He inspired the spectators on the night before the students and other people marched to the Mayflower Hotel. Even Fred Weiner shared this story for DPN25: The 7 Ducks Behind the DPN Movement produced and narrated by Benjamin Jarashow. Please see the picture of video below:

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Fred Weiner signs: “I knew there would be just disruption. We were in, ah, the auditorium,………I mean, Carl was talking to students. The very first time when we saw them, we thought, oh, my gosh there is no control here. The three of us went into the corner and started talking about this.

That’s actually the picture that you see published in “When The Week the World Heard Gallaudet. I mean it just exploded. It blew up. From that point on, I warned people, this is going to get crazy. If you pick Zinser it is over and there were people who questioned that. But I knew from that moment.” [You can find the video online]

The picture right here below.

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If it were not for Mayflower Hotel, it would not be Carl Schroeder. The people, who were part of the march, became the face of Deaf identity. It was a flip switch for a light bulb. As in the days of hearing oppression against Deaf people until 1988, seemed to change the history out into the open.

Carl Schroeder stirred Deaf America’s melting pot of language war and oppressors emerged. It was not just the pride of Deaf identity, Deaf people had been found themselves as targets of identity oppression for the hearing status—both on the campus and in real life.

He delivered the message as it was time to make Gallaudet—to break the glass ceiling and gave Deaf people to overcome outrage in the hearing world, which helped them to overcome the oppression movement.

It was one of the most important display of Deaf President Now (DPN) in America, who had long felt safe in the Gallaudet community even as they dealt with the struggles since Milan Resolution 1880 for the practice of rhetoric and Audism acts in Deaf community.

Carl Schroeder, your contribution to DPN and its congregation, was very important 30 years ago and today, as with Deaf America, the importance of storytelling will never disappear and respectfully, heal.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Dealing with Plantation Mentality. WHY?

Written English Transcript in the video:

 

Starbucks: Advocate of ‘Ban the Box’ for Deaf Returnees

 

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Guy Wonder. Deaf Artist.

There was huge news around about Starbucks announcing about first American Sign Language (ASL) signing store in United States for Deaf community and it is in Washington, D.C; it is perfect location to match our national intellectual movement. It is the Deaf community generates ideas that we all should make commitment to improve unemployment concerns. It is huge news.

First, I’d like to point out some important movement that had generated Deaf community in D.C; As Starbucks opened its first store in America: Seattle, Washington in 1971. The same year in 1971, Frederick Schreiber, former executive director for National Association of the Deaf (NAD) coined Deaf Studies, in his profound thoughts,

“If Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, they must have a better image of themselves and their capabilities. They need concrete exampled of what Deaf people have already done so they can project for themselves a brighter future. If we can have Black studies, Jewish studies, why not Deaf Studies?” (Note: Quoted in Charles Katz, “A Partial History of Deaf Studies, in Deaf Studies VI Conference Proceedings: Making the Connection (Washington, D.C.; College for Continuing Education, Gallaudet University, 1999. 120.)

ASL informs us that human beings have been around for many centuries before the writing culture merged. Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, signing hands are the reason why every day across the nation, including nation’s capital, and it offers life. Don’t forget Deaf President Now (DPN) in 1988. That time in ’88, Starbucks owned 33 stores.

Starbucks have around 8,000 stores. The first signing store in U.S. could be a huge project to discover the root causes of Deaf Studies. Like Schreiber said, “If Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, they must have a better image of themselves and capabilities…” and expand more signing stores across the country.

Starbucks is also one of largest companies in the country that would help former prisoners. It is called ban the box. When I lectured “Deaf Returning Citizens as Forgotten People” at California State University Northridge Social Justice conference sponsored by Deaf Studies Association in 2015, I explained about ban the box as well as Starbucks in that lecture. I also met the creator of “Ban the Box” at Yale Law Conference in 2014.

The District of Columbia has adopted a ban-the-box policy. Deaf returnees (former prisoners) who are living in DC are encouraged to get a job. In this time of crisis, it is Deaf leaders who hold out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf returnees.

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I hope Starbucks would teach Gallaudet University the same model that does not discriminate Deaf returnees or shame them in the name of hate and suffering and support ‘ban the box’. Same idea that when employers are being interviewed at Gallaudet, they are not required providing background check. I had asked several faculty members at Gallaudet that they never had background check at all. Irony, right? Privileges?

It is now becoming a central theme in the face of Gallaudet University. Deaf returnees must not be more invoked than deeply understood. Not everyone will agree with that, but it is essential for three critical reasons. 1) It is necessary for empowerment. 2) It is necessary for Deaf returnees. 3) It is necessary for the quality of higher education for Deaf returnees.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

As a best practice, and consistent with applicable laws, the Commission recommends that employers not ask about convictions on job applications and that, if and when they make such inquires, the inquiries be limited to convictions for which exclusion would be job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”

Deaf returnees are struggling to find new ideas, avenues, directions, and motivations to change their lives around that is to be understood, appreciated, and used in growing pain stories. Higher education is the highest point of getting out of dark caves, and the critics are due first to the readers themselves, whose judgments can be traced not only to their past but also to their abilities and expectations.

As Starbucks is opening its first signing store in DC, it is something that will generate discussions in Deaf Studies classrooms for sure. Deaf returnees are encouraged to apply to work at this historic Starbucks and show that they can be hardest workers. After all, it is perfect location to match our national intellectual movement.

-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.