Harlan Lane: CI Survivors

Harlan Lane was a fierce opponent of cochlear implants. His 1991 paper position against cochlear implants was the most important critical pedagogy in Deaf community that needs to be seen every day and discuss about it in classrooms, public discussions, anywhere. That’s the power of truth.

 

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My Meeting with Harlan Lane

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Harlan Lane lived larger than a life as a scholar in Deaf community. Deaf History cannot be defined without Harlan Lane. He was a great advocate on behalf of the human rights of Deaf people around the world.

I shall forever grateful for the book Lane published: The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling Deaf Community that taught me great deal concept of discovering Deaf history to become a fair game to understand information.

I first spotted that book in a laundry room at a RV park where I was living in a 6×8 camper for six months in 1999. Then I took the book and walked back to the camper and begun reading it in mini living room with my beloved three cats. Nacho, Lenny, and Penny. I was 24 years old. That changed my life forever. That was 20 years ago.

Fast forward. May 2010. The meeting with Harlan Lane at Northeastern University in Boston, MA in a private meeting along with late Carl Schroeder, and an ASL interpreter. That meeting that lasted an hour and half was a lot of greatest discussions and found Harlan Lane to be foremost advocate on behalf of Deaf people rights to receive publications and communications in the name of truth.

It was the same month I finished reading Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood by Paddy Ladd before meeting Harlan Lane.

That book was the very reason that generated my Deafhood journey to cover hate crimes beyond Deaf community. The book had energy of activism and began my activism in public speaking and education, what Deaf Studies is really about. It was one of biggest reasons why I was a graduate scholarship recipient in Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University in 2013. It was also a goal of mine to get Ph.D.

Before meeting with Harlan Lane in person, I was on airplane for Boston-bound from Portland reading When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf and brought great discussions in private meeting. My regret is that I did not bring that book to the meeting, and was not signed by Harlan Lane but I only brought the Mask of Benevolence book by Lane I first read had been the most meaningful that offers learning, resources, and information for Deaf people, simply creating safe spaces where Deaf people feel acknowledged is the major human right step is much necessary.

I explained to Harlan Lane how I found this book and why it has inspired me, and he signed my book. It is not something you would see like this every day. He told me to keep up good work and finish my goal.

I am grateful to know him. He was one of a kind. 1936-2019.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

The Image of Deaf People As ‘DISABILITY’

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It is incredible about how much soul breaking each day for Deaf people who must viewed as “disabled” minds in the society. The social model of Disability allows language hegemony towards Deaf people. It is important to know that every day Deaf people carry their soul they create better awareness and establish nationwide with greater freedom and inclusion for Deaf people behind the walls and their free world support, “Soul”—defined from Merriam Webster Dictionary, “the moral and emotional nature of human beings.”

All of this is a good soul for the advocacy work. Eventually Deaf people would able to furnish happiness translating some of the key human compassion against ignorance in the society.

Where is the focus on empowering Deaf people to begin empowering themselves? Before Deaf people begin a public campaign, we need to educate better. American Sign Language (ASL) is all about building a pursuit of happiness. Deaf people will capture the more active and good citizens. Once Deaf community neglects, where is the training for an advocacy for well-being? There are many words in the legal community, social workers, psychiatrists, the Deaf community, and write up complaints, ignorant state lawmakers. What about the media and why Deaf people are viewed as “disabled” people?

The truth is that the Deaf community is vulnerable because there is no mobilization of Deaf database to explain our lawmakers or sign a petition is not a project, and should not be seen as an organizing tactic and recruitment tactic –for example, whenever Deaf people and it would increase Deaf people’s mental health to be process within moving forward.

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It is important that Deaf people are also important to human well being’s cause and it is the key to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that would lead them to the land of healthy thinking selected (like Early Healthy Deaf Identity idea) to score the most resourceful idea for Deaf people’s well-being. Information, efforts, resources, awareness, and of course, pursuit of happiness, Deaf people are being furious with a massive image that Deaf people’s adversary are being silenced for the strongest resources, the information is being wiped out when it becomes did or did not.

Harlan Lane wrote an article, Do Deaf People Have a Disability? And the article shows to see struggles and growing pain how Deaf people suffer themselves as disability. How would it replicate Deaf community? Trust, confidence, and respect?

Whose society makes the decision to view Deaf people as Disabled people? Did it begin the marginalization of all, and those who make decision to make Deaf people suffer and carry that stigma? When society labels Deaf people as “Disabled” or “Disability”, it is beyond isolation and alienation—and finally, it is also a betrayal of Deaf people’s fundamental values as a society we live and breathe in. Deaf people are language minority. Not Disabled. Life makes much easier in the long run.

There are plenty of Deaf people’s personal stories of challenges they had faced, and allowed them to express their values, why should they must think, act, and breathe as “disabled people”—that is not how the society works. The model of “Disability” paints wrong picture about Deaf people.

The inspiration and wisdom of Deaf people share their labor of love without thinking “disabled” in their minds. It is a power to move each other that they should not viewed as disabled people.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

A Witch Hunt: America 1883

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Over the last couple of years, I have been meeting some of Deaf people who were colonized by Alexander Graham Bell’s witch-hunt. Words are too great to describe. The practices of Alexander Graham Bell Association bring in the climate of environmental hate. After reading a book, The Colonizer and the Colonized written by Albert Memmi for my Methodology of the Oppressed class in 2011, that day I remember sharing with the class about AGB’s speech in 1883:

Those who believe as I do, that the production of a defective race of human beings would be a great calamity to the world, will examine carefully the causes that lead to the intermarriages of the deaf with the object of applying a remedy.”

One of the classmates I never met before said, “It is the problem that AGB lack human-consciousness.” and that was probably best answer I’ve seen from a hearing ally. Their attitudes do serve to juxtapose the consumptions of Deaf people to that of the inhabitants of Americans; however, I think a further look could possibly be taken.

Within millions of potential allies in America, how is it not possible to see people curb their ignorance about hate crimes? Is it because the Deaf people have a tendency towards more Deaf-centered way of life? The quality of hate depreciation is also real.

Where are hearing allies? We need more allies. The classmate whom I also never met before as well, came up to greet herself and said that she read a book, “When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf, one of Harlan Lane’s books for her ASL class years ago in California. The teacher was wise to recommend the book even though it was not required for the class. “Recommend Reading” really makes all the difference. Thank you!

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This line and many other examples in media and print reminds me of a Rubik’s cube that finds with hearing allies and those without, as if Deaf people gain a higher sense of self in their differences. We need more hearing allies to pass national hate crime law that targets Deaf people. After all, we need a big group of stronger human consciousness, too.

Friday, April 14th evening, there will be a vigil held at Gallaudet University around Laurent Clerc bust to share their stories what they experienced Audism in their lives.

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

The Long Silence of Forgotten Audism

Since Tom Humphries coined “Audism” in late ‘70s for his Ph.D., his vision of seeing a lot of Deaf people being oppressed so frightening that as Tom did not give any professional lectures about it. Almost four decades later, Humphries does not believe in it to pretend that Audism exist. Is Audism controversial? I remember reading a book, The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community that was published in 1992 while I was a sophomore in high school, I did not read the book until 1999.

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Harlan Lane, Carl Schroeder and I had a private meeting in 2010. He signed the very same book I read in 1999. 

There are millions of poor Deaf people, any kind of color in America that are suffering from pain and exploitation they all had in common, as a lover of freedom and liberty for all Deaf people to enjoy, I believe that efforts to build a law that recognizes Audism through stories, hard facts, and professional opinion, basic elements that are commonly missing when discussing “Audism” in the society.

If I coined a term whatever it is, I would make sure I educate the country, no matter what how long it is because it is my social responsibility and civil duty to continue educates Deaf people.

Let’s face up to it, Mr. Tom Humphries, there are millions of Deaf people who might look up on you, in a sphere of heavily steeped emotionalism, political struggle, power struggle, and human struggle that are completely ignored and continue to ignore Audism that exists today and tomorrow. I was one of them who look up to you. I own a painting of your face done by Nancy Rourke along with 12 faces in my personal space that was supposed to make all difference.

Is Tom Humphries still a scholar today? As in a book chapter called Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression by hearing chair of ASL and Deaf Studies department at Gallaudet University, H-Dirksen L. Bauman writes:

However, it is was not until 1975 when a Deaf scholar, Tom Humphries, decided it was time to name the discrimination against Deaf persons and to coin a term that would be part of the currency of discussions on human rights, deaf education, and employment.”

Audism did not discuss until 1992. Why long silence? Funny thing that I was struggling in schools, home life, and personal life because of long-silenced treatment that Audism exists. Talking about Audism has often occurred in the context of angry words, hostility, accusations, and divisiveness.

This coming Friday and Saturday, April 14th and April 15th, there will be rally sponsored by Audism Free America (AFA) celebrating 200 years of American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Education and their stories through the power, freedom, and justice to fight against Audism to let the society know that it is a permanent movement.

Where is your empowerment, Humphries? That was 42 years ago—and Deaf people would be empowered by now instead of being in silence about it. Since 1880 Milan Resolution, Deaf people have been survivors of the longest hate crime in American history. We refuse to live in hearing superiority. They need to respect Deaf people—the more respect, less Audism. In Humphries’s words:

The notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. It is the bias and prejudice of hearing people against deaf people, it is the bias and prejudice of some deaf people against other deaf people.”

Although, the society that I envision is one that maximizes freedom and liberties for ALL Deaf people coming from walk of life—the concept of ignorance is what completes the loop of full justice even at Gallaudet University.

Yet, Bauman writes, “The term now appears at all levels of the Deaf Studies curriculum at Gallaudet University, from Introduction to Deaf Studies to Deaf Cultural Studies.”

I was asked to give a lecture at Gallaudet University a month ago and found that Deaf students who comes from mainstreaming schools, some of them are juniors and sophomores at Gallaudet has no idea what Audism stands for or do not know who George Veditz is, or Alexander Graham Bell, even the story about Milan. It’s very serious problem. I call it “Social Problem 101”.

Gallaudet University needs to bring stronger ethics and require ALL Deaf students to take at least 12 credits in Deaf Studies and Deafhood courses even though if they are not ASL/Deaf Studies majors.

Perhaps we should re-frame the question: How can Audism protect Deaf people from future social problems? In this case, the answer probably lies in higher learning and lectures. How would you answer this, Tom Humphries? Deaf people who are survivors of Audism do not need to be forgotten even in long silence.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

References:

Humphries, T. (1975). Audism: The Making of a Word. Unpublished essay. 

Lane, H. (1992). The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community.

Bauman, H-Dirksen L. (2004). Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression.