#GallaudetSolidarity: White Fragility?

#GallaudetSolidarity was a powerful event showing that Gallaudet University have serious problem.

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Open Letter for Gallaudet President Cordano

 

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Gallaudet University

800 Florida Avenue NE

Washington, DC 20002

Dear President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano,

I voted for you as President of Gallaudet University because of the vision you presented. I even made a vlog in supporting of you and your wife where a certain Deaf guy preaching self-hate claiming that homosexuality is illegal.

You knew who I am. I was the one who had a massive heart attack and left dead for 600 seconds on November 8, 2016. When I became conscious again, there were many people being panicked in the hallway crying and cheering. I used both thumbs up to let them know I was all right carrying on stretcher on the way to hospital where I stayed there for a week. It was really tough week for me emotionally.

Last January 2018, I was hospitalized for heart condition, and an interpreter who works for Gallaudet University on a regular basis, informed me that you and certain people were discussing about discrimination to prevent Deaf returnees to receive higher education, and told me that I was the one who had been advocating for a change.

Finally, last April 2018, at an art show on the campus, we met each other, and you seemed very nervous to meet me. I wonder why. I introduced myself politely, but you knew who I am. I became the digital pariah forever. I asked for a meeting with you, and you said to me, “Sure, I will have my assistant get in touch with you once I am done with graduation, NAD conference, and all that and will schedule a meeting with you”

I had hope. I wanted to come home and finish my goals. I wrote an e-mail to your assistant, Patricia Thompson on October 18, 2016—few weeks before massive heart attack, no response. You said to me, “Yes, I got your e-mail” but why did you said to me after waiting for two years? I became puzzled.

After we met in April, then I waited for four months then I wrote an e-mail to you directly to do friendly reminder about the meeting. No response. Completely neglect. I had a lot of patience. I realized it is not going to happen. I felt completely fool.

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I give up. There is no point for me to return to Gallaudet. I do not feel safe anymore. I accept the fact that I am the most hated identity on Gallaudet campus. I accept the fact that I am banished from Gallaudet University. I accept the fact that I am publicly shamed. I accept the fact that I am barred forever. I wasn’t even a teenager. 32 years ago. No one wanted to hear my stories.

Most likely, I will never see a degree from Gallaudet University, I will be always cherishing the most by being an alumnus forever. I had a lot of academic ideas to make Gallaudet proud.

I give up. There is no point why should I return to Gallaudet built on fear. Labels hurt the most. Labeling does not contribute to public safety—instead my life was robbed of my own humanity. No employment opportunities. No networking opportunities. Gallaudet University was supposed to be healing and a safe haven. Earning a Master’s degree from Gallaudet could have improve the odds in trying to re-enter the workforce, but I had been unemployed for eight years and very difficult to find. I realized Gallaudet was not the right place to help Deaf returnees. They don’t even believe in second chances.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The picture, the meeting between President Cordano and me does not lie. Photography is powerful even with words. I became the digital pariah forever. Although, I still love Gallaudet University. It’s the system that built on fear.

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Encouraging Suicide at Gallaudet University

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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

My name is Jason “JT” Tozier. I am a survivor of “encouraging” towards suicide tendencies by Gallaudet University because of my status as Deaf returnee. I thank you for your honest leadership, and commit to human healing to continue and share awareness about suicide prevention.

I am even more heart-broken that Gallaudet University is hosting Out of the Darkness Campus Walk sponsored by Gallaudet University, Office of Student Affairs and Academic Support and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Thursday, April 5th, 2018.

I was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. I was forced to explain why I was jailed 21 years ago front of my graduate cohort and faculty members every time I enter into classroom setting up for suicidal tendencies. Silence hurts. If I do not explain why, then I would face harsh punishment. Possibly expelled from Gallaudet University.

This is not because of oppression and bullying or even lack of trust; instead, the meeting I was in 2014 was one of the most oppressive meetings in my life, such of them do not acknowledge that they were bystanders because they do not think they were. Therefore, it is not enough to ask an individual whether he was oppressed from oppressors.

Society can reinforce the oppressor’s self-blame in several ways. When shaming and humiliation is discovered on Gallaudet campus, the oppressed is often removed from the truth. People who experienced severe oppression often tell the truth from experience.

The bullying allows even by Gallaudet University who would argue that shaming, bullying, and humiliation has nothing to do with their behavior, I am merely the most convenient target; I became powerless. Which explanation is more comforting to Deaf returnee?

Gallaudet University choose to stay in silence is a reversal of roles and identities. Here’s my story: Don’t know if I have really conveyed how hard it has been for me all these years, how I really struggle in there through lots of depression, sometimes no sleep, I would struggle more, some days I’ve dealt with crossing between honest concern, and learning.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I hope you would hear my story. I have more to share. Just like this one, “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”—Sue Monk Kidd.

I actually died for ten minutes. I’m back from death and ready to share more stories. I guess my sensitivity has become stronger, deeper, and smarter. Gallaudet University was not honest about it. How can we prevent another suicide if Gallaudet University was not honest about it? Is there a Mask of Benevolence there?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

The Buff and Blue: Cloak of Invisible?

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The first picture you will see above, it was taken in 1990. The second picture was taken below in 2017: See the difference in both pictures? What do you really see the whole picture of it?

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When you see The Washington Post, it writes “Democracy Dies in Darkness” 

When you see The Buff and Blue in 1990, it writes “Student Publication of the World’s Only University of the Deaf. Established 1892.”

It was the pride that consisted Deaf writers,  Deaf editors, Deaf Editor-in-Chief, and Deaf students who worked hard to give their capabilities to share stories. The respect of giving Deaf people the opportunities to flourish their careers and develop academic skills for the future of the Deaf. Is that supposed to be part of the Buff and Blue life, too?

When Deaf students arrive at Gallaudet University for the first time to begin their quest, the creative path that leads Deaf students filled with notes along with observations and experience. The answer was clear for their well beings. When they see the motto like in 1990, it would inspire them even more. The Buff and Blue was created for Deaf people in the first place and shall give all the Deaf people a chance, it really make a huge difference!

There is a reason why the first Deaf Editor-in-Chief, James M. Stewart (1893) who wrote a powerful column, The Beginning of the Buff and Blue that all the names you read Stewart’s post was filled with all Deaf people’s names. It was an eye-opener and I’m sure it had changed every fiber and bones of Deaf community. The journey has begun in the search of higher knowledge. The Buff and Blue filled with Deaf souls were given the liberty of democracy cannot be forgotten.

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Please notice that I added “Deaf” Editor-in-Chief, James M. Stewart because 2017 Buff and Blue did not emphasize that Mr. Stewart was Deaf.

“Below is a column written by the very first Editor-in-Chief of the Buff and Blue”

What happened? I strongly believe when Deaf people learn that the fact that Buff and Blue’s First Editor-in-Chief was Deaf then they would be inspired more. Stewart became really huge role in Deaf community even strongly influenced Amos G. Draper, John B. Hotchkiss, Agatha Tiegel Hanson’s lives and many others.

Around 1990s, I believe it was 1992; Gallaudet University begins to accept hearing students in undergraduate school and changed everything that includes the Buff and Blue. Were there ever hearing Editor-in-Chief? When did the hearing person break the ranks of the Buff and Blue? It reminds me of a hearing student who recently broke the tradition for Student Body Government (SBG) to be on cabinet when it was rooted for Deaf people to flourish and share their experience in the first place. That is how it was supposed to be like that.

Just like the Washington Post’s motto: Democracy Dies in Darkness. Gallaudet University Administration plays a huge role that oversees the Buff and Blue. Why delete the beautiful motto: Student Publication of the World’s University of the Deaf right under the Buff and Blue? Is that where it has become a part of the democracy that dies in darkness in that motto, no? Mr. Stewart writes in his first post, “There were many printers among the students then and they were called to the colors of The Buff and Blue”

How fitting for the opportunity for Deaf people! That is why. He meant printers and students: Student Publication of the World’s Only University of the Deaf.

The contributors of the Deaf have been always the democracy that sees in the light. Yet, the Gallaudet University administration chose its affairs and instructs the Buff and Blue not to publish Student Publication of the World’s University of the Deaf on the front page conducts under a cloak of invisible.

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

Do You Agree With The Idea Dwight Benedict as Victim of ‘Administration System’?

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In one of my most recent blog four days ago, The Power of Positive Leadership, I forgot to add “administration” before system. I applaud President Cordano of Gallaudet University made a decision to place the position, Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement, on hold. However, I am still questioned by president’s motivation to make a statement below.

Why did President Cordano of Gallaudet University signed in a town hall front of sold-out with countless onlookers standing at Foster Auditorium, Dwight Benedict is a victim of administration system’?

What does it mean to you, “…..victim of administration system….”? Do you agree or not agree that Dwight is a “victim of administration system“? Do you think it was fair for Cordano to make this statement? Have you seen “victim of administration system” ever showed up anywhere until now? I never seen this statement before.

How is bias seen, written and expressed this time? Bias is part of physical, written acts of oppression, insensitivity, lack of awareness, intimidation, the use of vulgarity, making comments, restricting of free movement of an individual and the list goes on.

Using “victim of administration system”–does that mean it was also part of white silence? Have we forgot about Deaf people of color who were oppressed? Have we forgot about Deaf LGBTQA who were oppressed? Have we forgot about Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Deaf-Disabled people who were oppressed? Have we forgot about Deaf returning citizens who were oppressed? Have we forgot about marginalized groups?

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Is white silence also a white consent? What’s up with that by making a statement to silence the Foster auditorium filled with faculty, staff, students, alumni and alumnus in a white consent when it is named after Andrew Jackson Foster?

How can they suffer oppression at the same time while Dwight Benedict is a “victim of administration system”? We need to increase opportunities for restorative justice for students, staff, and faculty and collect all the data how all of them to share their experience on campus climate. How can we improve the campus climate in regards to bias when it is in Dwight’s leadership?

Privileges? Victim of administration system? Does it mean all Deaf of Deaf families who run Gallaudet University “old school” victim? How? It cannot be. We are the victims of Dwight Benedict’s power. Not the administration system. His power. Did he ever support students’ rights, welfare, and the laundry list goes on?

So, Dwight is the victim of administration system? Does it mean the whole system of all administration system bad news? No! Dwight is the bad apple–not the administration. He is the one and only Dwight Benedict. Finish. Not the administration. No, he is the one. President Cordano should not sign to students, faculty, and staff: You are all in pain. No. Dwight Benedict’s power is the pain because he is not allowed anyone to be above him–just like above the law. This is his pain. Not ours. Negligence, abuse of power, and again, the laundry list goes on. The growing pain continues.

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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