I am a Deaf White Straight Male. I am an alumnus of Gallaudet University. As Gallaudet University is strongly white establishment system even today, the administration, majority of faculty and students are still predominately white. I am sharing my major concerns about Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) final three picks. I honestly think that Gallaudet University need to search again and pick the right people—there are plenty of qualified only Deaf People of Color candidates.
Focusing on Charity Reedy Warigon, a White Deaf privileged female who is a special assistant to the Vice President for Engagement at Gallaudet University. She is one of three finalists. As I am sure that Charity have an impressive resume that I will not deny that, but is she the right person?
Will she understand the “home” at Gallaudet University for people of color? Will she understand Deaf people of color’s power struggles in the white-establishment academy? Does Charity understand the character of Racism as it shapes intellectual life of the Deaf people of color?
Although Gallaudet University has a Racism long history to be performed within the Deaf community, it has yet to stop marketing itself and treating Deaf people of color as its consumers. It should develop and share much needed “diversity and inclusiveness” catchword, and hardly ever offered resolutions. Even hate crimes is the face of “dark crime figure” known as under the rug at Gallaudet. Yes, you read this right, diversity is also about recognizing hate crimes and hate speech. It is rarely talked about.
The position for CDO must be responsible for demonstrating accountability for diversity and effectively communicating the accomplishments, needs and value of Deaf people of color to the public and to the world. Why Gallaudet University thinks Deaf people of color in language and cultural oppression should be oppressed was my comprehension. Once someone is oppressed, he or she learns to become the oppressor.
The problem is that Charity is white. I also realized that she did not attend an important event last March 2017 at Gallaudet University: Islamophobia Within Deaf Community. This is also part of diversity as well. I remembered seeing Charity to show up for an event Beyond Inclusion hosted by Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) that it did not include Deaf people of color on the panel. It was more important for Charity to attend this event than attending Islamophobia Within Deaf Community.
Although it is not the first time what Charity had done before. She was only an American sitting on Canadian Hearing Society [CHS] board making best interests for Deaf Canadians when she is not a Canadian. I think what she did was very selfish move. I believe that it applies to Deaf Canadians only when they understand Canada better than an American who does not live there. Is that also a power trip, no? Would we really describe Charity as a “leader” for the position of CDO?
I think Charity knows better than that—and would make a wise decision to give CDO position to someone else who are qualified Deaf people of color. As in CDO search announcements via Gallaudet website, Charity may be “married to an African-American, she has exposure to the rich and diverse African cultures.” Still, it does not mean anything really. She will always have white privileges. Always. Even Deaf privileges that are often oppressed Deaf people of color. Ain’t that true or not?
Even though my Aunt Sue who is married to a Black male, I have strong exposure in Black cultures as I have many Black cousins, Aunts and family member. I still would not apply for CDO because I do not understand their experiences through pain and struggles. And I am a White Deaf man. I respect them first. That is a big difference.
Please, no hearing candidates that DOES NOT KNOW ASL either, too! Also, the CDO should be well-versed knowledge about LGBTA, Deaf returned citizens (which is the most marginalized and most oppressed group), ethnicity, socio-economic status, religious beliefs (for example, Islamphobia) and many others.
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
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