Be Greater than Average

Can mathematics (in terms of ASL/Deaf-centric thinking) become Deaf community’s best friend?

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Socrates Says YES; Aristotle NO

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This is one of my personal favorite artworks done by Nancy Rourke. I am a proud owner of this work. In this painting, there are two philosophers, Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates is seen with a sign “YES” and Aristotle’s sign “NO”!  According to Plato’s book, Cratylus, Socrates knew that Deaf people have intelligence while Aristotle disagreed. Evidently Aristotle had a lot of issues to be done in order to make it so that the Deaf people are exploited in social media by portraying and seeing the Deaf as unequal to individuals who are not Deaf. Being exposed to falsehoods, Aristotle made the world become aware that even with vast improvements in rights and advantages that the Deaf people entertaining, there is still a negative mentality that has not been eliminated from the Deaf.

Particularly, the belief that is held Deaf people are in some ways broken and need to be either assimilated or overcame with what is “ailing” them. They must be accepted into society by viewing themselves as “normal hearing people.” I have become more and more conscious of this fact that, with the visual nature of the state of being Deaf, it has become too easy for many people to view deafness merely as a puzzle piece that is being put into the world and to think that the puzzle piece shows an entire picture of a whole person. So they are trying to hammer out, to interlock edges of the puzzle of into the picture without considering Deaf people do not fit the puzzle piece for an obvious reason.

Humans tend to view most groups in stereotypes until they get to know them better. Some Deaf people within the groups represent a certain variation in population. Social media about Deaf people serves to introduce to these groups, and more often that not, this introduction perpetuates in an excessive exploitation.

Once we start seeing a Deaf president, a Deaf person dancing, a smart and a successful Deaf corporate executive our views of these groups begin to widen and move beyond the limits of typical. What is simultaneously hard and easy to grasp is that there is more movement to be done. The human consciousness is ready for an expansion and media is calling for it, having been calling it for quite some times.

Socrates knew about Deaf people and acknowledged their sign language. Through Plato, Socrates questioned whether Deaf people have intelligence by using sign language.  This culture was strong enough to continue Socrates’ legacy. Socrates served more than just encouraged a politically corrected vocabulary. Aristotle offered no apology for the atrocious acts he had committed against Deaf people’s intelligence. He referred to his integrity and principles and admonished his own peers for reserving judgement about the Deaf. His zealous beliefs had since created.

Nancy Rourke’s painting was a genius interpretation by looking at these two ancient Greek philosophers because the closer you look at it, there is some assuaging their moral outrage with true feelings of courage of Socrates and remorse of Aristotle. There is no real remorse as Aristotle believed that he was committed to a higher cause. In this sense, Plato cautioned his readers about Socrates’ “enlightenment” and revolutionary ideas when the outcome of such transcendence was bloodshed without culpability in the name of the Deaf. Socrates fought, protect and uphold the human rights of using sign language for Deaf people very seriously and also, seek to have Deaf people to proclaim a triumphant “YES” to human prosperity, knowledge, and happiness.

One quote I found was particularly striking written by Socrates:

        There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

Socrates’s simple quote seems to embody a lot that Deaf people seems to be seeking, which is to be portrayed with a parity that equals the sums of their parts and not in a way that makes them seem lacking or wanting. Socrates is my type of man.

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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

Social Media vs. My Personhood

ImageMe and My Father (2011)

“We tell the public which way the cat is jumping. The public will take care of the cat”Arthur Hays Sulzberger

Being Deaf is personal for me and I believe that it is like my right to believe in any way. The problem is when the media and politics got into my father’s mind.

I did not know about Milan Resolution 1880 banning sign language until three years ago and it took me to realize that from the time we all were being indoctrinated with Oralism as well as Cochlear Implant (CI) today when we did not know why they imposed the Milan 1880 resolution.

Eight years ago, for example, my father asked me during our lunch outing at famous Carol’s Café, and we were about to order our food from the menu when my father said to me in some of “home” sign language that he had found some good news.  He heard from other people as well as saw the television advertisement that cochlear implants (CI) is the best tool for me to hear. He thought that if I get CI it would make me happy, get a job, and even to hear all the things I could ever imagine. He thought it was great.

By looking at my father’s face with high hopes, I realized that my being Deaf is not good enough for him.  I was 30 years old that time. I had been Deaf all my life since I was a baby. I was devastated and decided to walk away from the table and unlocked my bicycle so I could go home alone.  It was raining that day.

My father was puzzled why I left all of sudden. He tried to call me several times that day but I did not pick it up. I did not talk to him for a couple of days. I realized that it was one of my earliest stages of understanding the dynamics of Deafhood.

We need to bring stronger ethics and philosophy back into our Deaf minds and, especially at an early age.  We the Deaf need to stop negative media. Do not let negative media degrade us by offering us the Deaf those Cochlear Implants  (CI) because they are filled with the false hopes.

Perhaps we should re-frame the question: How can society protect Deaf children from being implanted?

This dangerous “CI myth” is what nearly all the media are selling false hopes. The CI myth is also pushed by media sources that has fed my father into thinking that CI is equated to “happiness,” “job” and “information access.” I did not blame my father for it. I am blaming the social media that exploited my father into believing so.

It has concerned me that the media continues to IGNORE the facts and follow our emotions when it comes to public policy. We the Deaf are people, too, for two things: the state of being Deaf is human right and using American Sign Language (ASL) is our legal right, too. We have the hard facts because we are the breeds of Deaf blood. Why should the public policy by getting cochlear implant be based on? Should it be based on anecdotal experiences?

When Deaf children are being persecuted as in those caught up in Alexander Graham Bell Association of the Deaf (AGBAD)’s stupid policy, which is the first thing that they want to do by eliminating being Deaf right off the face of the Earth, making sure Deaf children are breeding and acting like hearing people. Deaf people do have human rights and basic legal rights, but AGBAD breeds the myths and fictions which had driven my father to think that CI will bring me happiness. It is a legal train wreck.

We the Deaf need to challenge those AGBAD politicians who have only their careers to watch out not for the public good.

Dad, it is not your fault! The media took our love away! They want you to love CI. You might be a turd, but damn it, I do love you, Dad!

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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