Today we need to reflect history what it meant to all of us. History is what we live, learn, and suffer from the founder of the National Geographic Society (NGS) that was founded on this day today 130 years ago on January 27, 1888 in Washington, D.C; If history was never existed, what would it be like if NGS did not exist in the first place? Warning: The essay will be bit long to read. Open your eyes to the readership what NGS had an agreement with the Volta Review that may have severely hit Deaf community hard that time.
It is invisible that they share with the common interests of hate speech the goal of a tolerant society, in which Deaf people are judged by “the content of their character”—the term, “tolerant society” I learned as a sociology major, and had asked the class to read a book, The Tolerant Society by Lee C. Bollinger. The question, how much tolerance can Deaf community live with the fact that the pain with hate speeches that targets Deaf people from National Geographic Society that has strong ties with Alexander Graham Bell Association For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing?
The formation of National Geographic Society’s idea was the brainchild of Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Alexander Graham Bell’s father in law. Hubbard’s daughter, Mabel Hubbard was Deaf. Ten years after it was opened in 1888, Alexander Graham Bell became the second president of NGS.
Did National Geographic Society ever hire a writer to do a biased story about Deaf people in a magazine? The leadership of Alexander Graham Bell has not forgotten for his legacy to run NGS.
If there was a story written about Deaf people, then how come The Volta Review writes in 1910, written by Alexander Graham Bell, Chairman of the Advisory Council, “The New Departure Explained” in The Volta Review, Volume 12, Number 1 with the opening statement: “The American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf came into existence in 1890. “
In a paragraph called The Example of the National Geographic Society, Bell writes: “The Board of Directors have been much impressed by the great success that has attended the introduction of a new policy by the National Geographic Society, and have considered favorably the expediency of trying this policy with our own Association.”
Whose Association? The American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf. It is now known as Alexander Graham Bell Association For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
In that same paragraph Bell writes in Application to the Association, the quote in his words, “The Board of Directors have thought the experiment at least worthy of trial. If we meet with success at all comparable to that attained by the National Geographic Society, we can advance the work of teaching speech to the deaf in a way that has never hitherto been possible. If we fail, we are no worse off than before and can return to our present practice of supporting our publication from our endowment funds.
Of course, is considering such a proposition, the fear will very naturally be felt that in popularizing the Review we will lessen the technical value of our journal and diminish its usefulness to teachers of the deaf. Here again the experience of the National Geographic Society is decidedly encouraging. In that Society the feeling was very generally entertained by the geographical experts, who largely composed the membership of the Society before the adoption of the new policy, that the technical value of the National Geographic Magazine would be impaired by its popular features. That fear has proven groundless, and the Society publishes today as many technical articles as it did when its magazine was exclusively a technical journal.”
Alexander Graham Bell was a fear-monger leader. He was a master manipulator. When I first read this article, the way he writes, it is about culture of fear towards Deaf people, in encouraging Oralism and hatred because in his words, “….we can advance the work of teaching speech to the deaf in a way that has never hitherto been possible.” And that reeks of a red flag that with the goal of diminishing teachers of the Deaf, it may been point out to the image of Deaf teachers being as usefulness.
It was mind-boggling to read this article this morning and had promoted me to write this post because what it has bothered me the most that he encouraged the culture of fear and many technical articles had been biased towards Deaf people. “That fear has proven groundless….”
Why did NGS allow hate speech, deficit thinkers, and the formation of hate mongers that targets Deaf people today? The history exactly 130 years ago, the formation of hate speech in a popular magazine was invented and approved by the board including Alexander Graham Bell’s father in law and Bell himself. It has increased the culture of fear in higher friction by a factor of a million readers. The number was 40 million readers each month that time. Think about it.
When Alexander Graham Bell was chosen as second president of NGS in 1898, what was Deaf community like in that time? One year before he was appointed as president, Volta Bureau known as Alexander Graham Bell headquarters today was founded as a center to begin lab experiments on Deaf children.
Bell writes in his 1898, a 26-page paper called, The Question of Sign Language and the Utility of Signs—unbelievable. He said, “I say this from personal knowledge; for long before I became an instructor of the deaf, I was myself a teacher of elocution, as my father was before me, and my grandfather before him.” The legacy of Bell family continues. Notice his paper title? The questioning of sign language bears the authority and the culture of fear in Bell’s power.
Robert McGregor, the first president of National Association of the Deaf, two years before AGBell was chosen to run NGS, McGregor answers with strong message that we need to see:
“By whom then are signs proscribed? By a few educators of the deaf whose boast is that they do not understand signs and do not want to; by a few philanthropists who are otherwise ignorant of the language; by the parents who do not understand the requisites to the happiness of their deaf children and are inspired with false fears by the educators and philanthropists.” that can be found in the book, The Deaf Mute Howls by Albert Ballin. The key words: Philanthropists and false fears.
In that picture Bell said, “The world and all that is in it is our theme, and if we can’t find anything to interest ordinary people in that subject we better shut up shop”
That quote really ticks, no? AGBell and his father in law were huge philanthropists for NGS. No wonder why AGBell writes in Volta Review: “the review will be naturally be felt that in popularizing…” in the same theme above to shut up and dominate Deaf people.
The popularizing of Deaf people has been AGBell’s favorite target and the tolerant society of false fears continues in the name of NGS. The pursuit of happiness for Deaf children has also been targeted for cochlear implant industries, Oralism, mainstreaming and the laundry list of colonization and oppression. To face this betrayal of Deaf people dealing with hatred, it is urgent that we as Deaf community needs to realize that the reality that the language of crisis, is seriously needed to be examined and discussed.
Will we ever see an apology letter from National Geographic Society for encouraging hate speech towards Deaf children? Unchecked hate speech is expensive and we as Deaf community who are survivors of Alexander Graham Bell’s hateful ideologies, we cannot afford ignorance anymore. The exchange value of fear becomes dominant, and this has been recognized and reflected in language hegemony against sign languages and the culture of the Deaf. Time is spent, saved, invested, and wasted.
When I was a kid, I used to collect lots of magazines from National Geographic Society to educate myself to be aware and appreciate the “geographical experts” that later became the scarlet letter and hidden message just like da Vinci Code, and then I did not realize that I had been exploited to Alexander Graham Bell’s dark secrets within geographical borders. He was the master manipulator. As for the survivors of Alexander Graham Bell, in the past and present tense, I feel the pain. So much for Bell’s words, “In that Society the feeling was very generally entertained by the geographical experts, who largely composed the membership of the Society.”
40 million readers that time in 1888, eight years after notorious Milan Resolution, became the geographic experts to follow Alexander Graham Bell’s practice to teach Oralism and fire 90 percent of Deaf teachers has been dominated by hearing supremacy including hearing teachers taking their jobs away.
We see the word, “education” every day in our eyes, Is it one of the most complex noun of all? Education means “to train someone for what?” and AGBell believes in teacher-centered, not student-student. If a hearing teacher thinks a Deaf pupil is better off speaking, then the pupil is really struck more than we actually think.
Look at the image on above left side: imagine with Deaf people were being targeted in 1898, the loss of jobs, shamed, shunned, exploited, and ridiculed thanks to AGBell’s doing. What happened with the American democracy for Deaf Americans, Deaf immigrants from all walks of life who came to America for the quality of Deaf Education thanks to Clerc’s vision?
That came to all sense when I first found out about the history date this morning and lead me to do a lot of reading and felt the importance that we must boycott NGS and challenge AGBell’s lies for exposing media manipulation about Deaf children, signed languages and the “success” stories about Oralism.
It was also mind-boggling for me to write this, too. Looking back as a Deaf kid remembering my first time reading National Geographic Society, I felt violated. I even subscribed NGS with my hard-working money where I would chop a lot of woods and build chords getting ready for winter time. Do you feel the same way that you were being violated and exploited by AGBell later when you found out the truth in your adult life?
Today, in Deaf community, we need to focus on civil and human rights, social justice, and challenge the misconducts of Alexander Graham Bell. We have to stop any form of hate. By the way, you see Washington Monument when you visit in the nation’s capital. It was completed in 1888, that time it became the world’s tallest structure and let’s give Alexander Graham Bell the 555 feet middle finger. Do not be surprised that he witnessed the completion of Washington Monument.
What was he doing on October 9, 1888? Did he get the invitation to join the celebration? Get this, upon my research this morning, exactly four years on same date on October 9, 1884, he writes a paper in Washington, D.C., “The Deaf Audiometer”—Editorial copied from the “Deaf-Mute” Journal. In the opening statement: “Prof. Alexander Graham Bell is certainly laboring hard and faithfully in the interests of of the deaf and dumb” and here comes the statement we may not seen this before, “One of his newest devices is called the Audiometer, and is intended to test and register the hearing capacity of those who suffer partial or supposed total deafness”
What does it mean to you? To me, I have my thoughts what it means to me. Registering the hearing capacity is a form of bigotry. Is it also language hegemony? Language deprivation? Was it the beginning of the rise of cochlear implant industries and give AGBell as the champion of listening and speaking to wipe out the image of Deaf people that includes “partial or supposed total deafness”?
The highest goal is to hear completely again even with failed cochlear implant attempts, stem cells at the University of Bristol in England with hopes to cure Deaf people and many biased ideas is all about to register the hearing capacity again. The state of being Deaf is natural and biological. It is not pathological.
National Geographic Society was only nine months baby when the Washington Monument was completed that year. It’s the same idea when a mother carry a Deaf healthy baby in the womb for nine months. It is a biological condition. AGBell found a way to build that idea in his head for long time and used to trick Deaf people, the parents of Deaf children, and the society for his brilliance.
AGBell saw the idea of NGS as a baby step to remind the society that Deaf babies needs to forget themselves as the quote below but first, Alexander Graham Bell found a way to promote The Volta Review with the membership of NGS readers to expose Deaf children and the practice of Oralism. Did AGBell ever re-printed his most famous hate speech in 1884, “We should try ourselves to forget that they are deaf. We should try to teach them to forget that they are deaf “even after NGS was founded with the idea of adding the Volta Review to the readers? No way we can forget AGBell’s ideas in 1910 that we must repeat ourselves to remember this quote:
“If we meet with success at all comparable to that attained by the National Geographic Society, we can advance the work of teaching speech to the deaf in a way that has never hitherto been possible. If we fail, we are no worse off than before and can return to our present practice of supporting our publication from our endowment funds.”
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Ladd, Paddy. Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. Page 129.
It has been really difficult day for me because a year ago today, I was clinically dead for ten minutes on the campus of the world’s famous university for Deaf people, Gallaudet University. In the same room where Dwight Benedict was in, he was walking down the aisle with a smirk because he had the hatred towards me—it was really difficult for me to think that way. How can I forget that? It is impossible to forget something like this.
My story must be seen, written, and examined. I grow tired and sick of people telling me to live in PAST. People do not know my life stories what exactly happened. It has been always HEARSAY. People choose to ignore my stories. Especially when a lot of people do not know the facts cannot comprehend what they were listening or do not care what the facts are and make up their own stories.
Do you think it was professional of Dwight to smirk when someone else is dead? Many of faculty members witnessed in that room what Dwight did and would vouch for me whenever I need support. He is still walking around campus with power and the same smirk he carries.
When you see the statue of Laurent Clerc on Gallaudet campus, this is one of the most iconic symbols of America—a beacon of hope and acceptance for Deaf people everywhere. So how did coming to Gallaudet University become a crime? Deaf returning citizens are bad news! Make them suffer! Give them the death stare!
If we look at the history of Dwight Benedict’s bullying tactics for the last 37 years, being “Deaf returning citizen” usually just means being “unwanted” and more often than not, that has to do with ignorance and hatred. There are plenty of widespread insecurities at Gallaudet University. As an intellectual community, we the Deaf now seem to exist in permanent fear of the oblivion in the top university leadership, worrying about whether we can survive Dwight’s leadership.
At the same time, at Gallaudet University, we the Deaf appear uncomfortable with the hatred of Dwight’s leadership. The same leadership, so often the means to our advancement, now finds itself under a cloud of power that it falls under a wrong agenda. Disenchanted with Dwight’s past history yet fearful of our future, why are Deaf people—especially people of color and marginalized group struck in Dwight’s leadership where a mood of fear, hatred and low expectations influence our discussion and discourses on many fronts—where our higher education continues to be seen as the problem rather than the challenge.
I worked extremely hard to change my life around and I made an ultimate goal to be a professor. I even made name tags as a personal identification when I arrived in DC and put it around my neck to remind myself. I was so determined more than anything.
This irrational insight against the grain of oppressed Deaf people on the campus, which teaches that hatred and bullying by Dwight does not lack human compassion. Deaf people in their struggle for social justice—are ignored because Dwight gets away with it. There have been many stories from Kendall Green about Dwight’s 37 years of oppressive leadership. A great many of damages were done, and many Deaf people were hurt.
My constitutional rights has been violated of due process and amounts to Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Eighth Amendment under United States Constitution and Dwight made it very difficult for me to receive higher education and set me up for harassment, public humiliation and bullying long after I served my time.
In February 27, 2014 meeting I was in, the most oppressive meeting ever I experienced in my entire life, he loved the idea very much where his buddy, Ted Baran, Director for DPS whom Dwight calls Ted in the meeting, “Ted is a good man” front of four other people brought up that I must be required to notify my graduate cohort, and walk around the entire Gallaudet campus and must tell everyone why I was jailed for with ugly labeling on my forehead. I was shocked. I already experienced humiliation and harassment at times when I would be at Gallaudet. No doubt, Dwight Benedict opened my old wounds. Dwight and Ted acted as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The bald faced truth is that they should held accountable.
Even though it has happened 30 years ago, still, I am set up for extreme public shaming and harassment. I had been a good returning citizen more than 20 years and paid no more than $100,000 in counseling and worked very hard to change my life around and graduated with three degrees all with honors even though I had been experiencing thousands and thousands of times being humiliated in my life. I’ve dealt with hearing counselors who do not understand my journey as Deaf person. I realized it was total lie and waste of money and time. Until I found Deaf-centered counseling, I cried and….
Did I deserve “scarlet letter” for the rest of my life? Am I allowed to become a productive member of society? I am really sick of people telling me to live in the past and live with the stigma. Horrible lies about me, making me look really bad and I lost almost everything. It’s really hard for me. I cry. I cry. I cry. I suffer more. I suffer more. I suffer more.
Dr. Pernessa Steele, author of “Stand Up to Stigma: How We Reject Fear and Shame” writes: “Stigma” is a simple two-syllable word, yet it carries the weight of negative and often unfair beliefs that we hold about those who are different from us. Stigmas lock people into stereotyped boxes and deny us all the right to be our authentic and whole selves.
I already had been ostracized from Gallaudet community. Dwight made sure to do more harm than good, with my commitment to turn my life around. I lost my scholarship, I lost my dream job, I lost networking opportunities, I lost pretty much everything and I became the scapegoat on the campus. That is exactly the cruel and unusual punishment. That was the sign of death.
When I woke up on the floor that day, I cried. I still remember being carried out of the room on the emergency stretcher and saw people hand waving at me and I put both of my thumbs letting them know that I’m still strong. Then I was rushed into emergency surgery and carried to an intensive care unit (ICU). The television on right side was turned on—and the presidential election results were still pending.
The worst part was….I was still in extreme shock wondering how I survived from massive heart attack. The election results—did not finalize until 3 AM and became even more heart-broken that Trump was elected. The rises of hate crimes begun. Then I finally fell asleep for only three hours until the nurses woke me up and said, “Time for injections”—my first reaction when I woke up hoping it was only a dream. Only I find it was not a dream. I stayed in the hospital for ten long days. Longest stay in my life.
Do you all remember how you felt when you woke up on November 9th of 2016 morning?
Many people who walked around from Gallaudet University have caught up and suffered in the idea that Dwight thinks he is always right, and that the way Dwight acts is best. But he was wrong in Gallaudet University. What happened with the due process? Why I was not informed with required due process?
Due process means that Gallaudet University cannot give me a serious punishment, like suspension or expulsion, without first having followed fair procedures to determine if I am “bad news”. Fair procedure would include: telling me exactly what I was “bad news”, telling me exactly what the punishment will be, and giving me a chance to tell my side of the story before punishing me. If Gallaudet chooses to punish me, it must punish all others the same. I was never given a chance to do due process. I felt numb.
When I woke up from death, some people who are loyal to Dwight, told me to shut up and stay in silence. Right now Dwight is walking around freely with a smirk and will not apologize for his actions what he had done. It was the most incompetent decision Gallaudet University chooses to keep Dwight in his office. I was targeted by Dwight’s openly discriminatory policies and the discriminatory policies will be always remembered for abuse of power and corruption on the wrong side of professionalism.
For the last 365 days since my death, I wonder if I actually die, the truth would not be seen.
On November 8, 2016, in SAC 1011, the event, “Deaf in Prison Screening & Discussion” sponsored by Gallaudet ASL & Deaf Studies, the very same department I was part of which was very ironic, and the reason they sponsored this because Dirksen Bauman wanted to do this to cover his ass. Complete bullshit. I asked a question for the audience that will be always remembered for long time, “Why Gallaudet University promote FEAR targeting Deaf returning citizens?” and Dwight was in the same room standing in the back giving me a death stare and that was where I had massive heart attack. Dwight was walking down the aisle—slowly and a smirk. Cool, huh?
My death experience has made me stronger than ever. I recently learned that there has been some “talk” around Gallaudet campus that Dwight might retire early—well, there is no way he would walk away with it. My death does not give him full satisfaction and sit in the sun with a smirk. Will Dwight ever experience death for ten minutes and wake up and realize that he is asshole? It was all about personal attack against me as a motivation to new heights of fervor. Master Yoda said: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.