Open Letter for Nyle DiMarco

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This post is written for Nyle DiMarco:

First, I admire Nyle for defying the mathematical odds in Hollywood industry. That was really big. Math is your best friend but it can be your enemy where it can define your life overnight. Just like that.

Second, this is not about Deaf versus Deaf. It is about educating what Native Americans had been gone through. It can also apply to Deaf community whom they suffer as well what Native Americans do. I hope it would be learning experience for Nyle.

Please no harassing or bullying Nyle about this. Either should I be not harassed or bullied about this. Sometimes we have to remind each other and understand the stigma with open mind.

I was cheering for him on Dancing with the Stars show. That night, Mirror ball on a huge TV with full house of Deaf people were jumping joyfully when Nyle won the show. I was there and jumped joyfully because Nyle defied odds. And not only that, he had spread the message in Hollywood about language deprivation in Deaf community.

It is a huge thing.

And I appreciate his advocacy work in Deaf community. Not all I agree with, but winning two shows in Hollywood, as Deaf person understands the adversity and roadblocks matter the most. Especially the continuation of criminalizing Native Americans to be mock, marginalizes, and judges in Hollywood industry.

For years and years, Native Americans struggles with their lives, it is an unbearable journey. Go back to 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed The Indian Removal Act into law, where the law has targeted Native Americans for their skin and heritage to be bullied and removed from American society.

By 1890s, around 95%, less or more in 90th percentage, had shown that Native Americans were murdered, cut off their hair and such. The language deprivation also applies in Native Americans. It is no brainer.

Today, Native Americans suffer from unemployment, cruel and unusual punishment, one of the highest rates of fetal alcohol syndrome, and think about those Native American women being murdered at highest rate than ever as you can find the source to read online: Police in Many U.S. Cities Fail to Track Murdered, Missing Indigenous Women. It is still going on in 2019. The last two years has been worst, highest. Trump’s America.

Native Americans had also been mocked plenty of times in Hollywood. For example, Adam Sandler, sometimes funny, sometimes not funny, few years ago, there were dozen Native American actors walked off the set of his movie called, The Ridiculous Six because the actors felt offended that the portrayals of Native Americans continues to be mocked and degraded.

Few months ago, there was an article showing that hate crimes against Native Americans increased 63 percent in the first year of Trump’s policy. It has been dully noted in FBI’s data report. We should not ignore that 63 percent is nothing?

Often, Native Americans ends up invisible…and wonder why? “…Especially the hate crime data is notoriously flawed as a result of public under reporting of criminal victimization.” [Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans by Barbara Perry.] When Nyle as a Deaf white man pressed the button “LIKE” on Twitter that Elder Native American man by the name of Nate Phillips who got mocked by White Catholic Boys with MAGA “Make American Great Again” hats has shown the powerful image of mocking Native Americans.

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Nate was struggling with alcohol addiction where he was charged with possession of alcohol at very young age, and we should not judge him on that. That was four and half decades ago and we should not judge him. Nate’s childhood life was hard enough.

Nyle was not even born during that time either.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always.”

We must understand that in 1960s and 1970s era was really rough time for Native Americans. Especially for Nate Phillips. The society that time and today in 2019 continues to criminalize Native Americans.

There are some things we all need to reflect the history and the stigmatization of Native Americans cannot be ignored. Like in 1960s, Native Americans were the nation’s poorest minority group, and that was bad enough, imagine the painful journey, and in 1970, the unemployment rate were TEN times the national level.

The math when we know that TEN TIMES is powerful and bigger number like an exponent than we really understand, and what is more, 40 percent of the Native American population below the poverty line, and we know that Deaf community is also below the poverty line, too. No?

Native Americans with criminal record even if its 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago, continue to face several problems related to employment, income, education, media, and Hollywood industry. Why do we have to dig out old past about Nate Phillips? He is now 64 years old. That is a cheap shot. It is really a shame.

After taking Native American Literature, Environmental Education through Native American Lenses, and Native Studies had opened my eyes and understand why media continues to mock Native Americans.

Devon Mihesuah in 1996, American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities showing that Hollywood continues to frame popular perceptions of Native Americans. Hate crime against Native Americans is really a BIG problem. We cannot let haters bring Native Americans down.

Police brutality against Native Americans are really high and heart wrenching. I mean, high, high, high that is not even funny. Native Americans are most likely to be killed by law enforcement than any other racial or ethnic groups and they are most overlooked group of all. Like Daniel Sheehan, general counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project: “Native American people are basically invisible to most of the people in the country.”

 

 

We cannot forget Deaf Native Americans, too. Remember John T. Williams? When Nyle was featured on show called Full Frontal with Samantha Bee few weeks ago and it was good and I was very much glad that it has shared with the public eye to understand about Deaf people suffering in the hands of law enforcement. However, he signed: “your training has barely covered the importance of how to interact with America’s one million Deaf citizens.”

There is most likely a Deaf Native American might be as well as killed any time, any day in White America.

There are a lot of White teens and early 20s got away with it. We cannot deny that. No way. Please stop criminalizing Native Americans.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

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Harming Deaf Community: Hate Crime Laws

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Hate Crime in Portland, Oregon is a serious issue. Portland has been a hot spot for hate crimes even though it is invisible just like that. Raised in greater Portland area for 37 years, and studied under world-class hate crime professor where he taught me how to be knowledge about prejudice, hate crimes and violent crimes. My work was and been focusing on Deaf people who were victimized by the hate crimes.

I was very much proud to play a crucial role in Oregon making sure Deaf people who were survivors or victims of hate crime are included in Oregon bias crime statute in 2011. It is one of my proudest life work ever. Thanks to Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes (OCAHC), I was grateful for its leadership.

Last August 2018, I attended a congressional teach-in on hate crimes and participated in the discussion where I asked the panel experts, including one who was my professor, a question that was critical enough for the society to see a sociological problem, for example, “Since the 1990s, when hate crimes began to be documented, there hasn’t been one documented incident against Deaf people, although they happen.” that can be found on C-SPAN website with closed captions. It was very important time to ask.

That inspired me to write a column called The Reality (and Invisibility) of Deaf-Targeted Hate Crimes in DEAF LIFE October 2018 issue and gave a lecture: Fighting the Fires of Hate: Deaf America in Crisis in the same month as well.

I got invited to be part of training how to combat hate crime sometime this year with well-known and well-respected organizations and hate crime experts which I am very excited and will bring my knowledge how to combat hate crimes against Deaf people. The biggest problem is that the laws lacks the most where they fail to protect Deaf people from hate crime are ultimately enforced by ignorance. Deaf people needs protection at all cost and stop the hearing privileges that the hate crime laws needs to be updated because for number one reason: Deaf people do not deserve hate.

Once the power is taken away from Deaf people, it makes Deaf people’s lives harder if it has not enforced in hate crime laws to protect them at all cost. Often misunderstood that the stigma about Deaf people are one of the greatest damage control. Hate crime laws should not criminalize Deaf people because of the stigma.

How do Deaf people ensure the public trust is enforced? There is no exit. Where is the sympathy for Deaf victims, survivors, and its families? The mainstream society inflicts harm, which, in turn, affects the Deaf community today and tomorrow.

Yet, Deaf people continue to suffer the cruel punishments because of their identity and practice the culture of fear in sound-oriented society. The violence needs to be stopped.

For lectures: please visit this website below.

https://jasontozier.net/

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

The Last 48 Hours: Deaf Community Marginalized?

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After I watched State of the Union by #45 in 2019 speech, I have to admit that it was a joke. I mean, come on, it would take someone to have a simple common sense to solve math problem in additional formula. Does Donald Trump understand the solution that would fix the sociological problem in the society?—and I am writing about the lack of Deaf sociological problems in America.

All of Trump’s speech tonight, think about how much the language had been showing—language hegemony in the power of hearing privileges, think about Deaf Studies or the people of the eye we live in for time being when we breathe or die. It is a life and death situation. It is amazing how the literature been going through trials of struggle and trying to betray the language of truth. Which was the smallest minority group of all?

DEAF COMMUNITY. The number 45, it was said to be in the mathematical literature that that number would shift major changes in people’s life. That makes sense. Do not let this new norm to rattle and crumble the Deaf community in lower numbers. When I watched #45’s speech, the key merit to recognize the beginning of literature that allows hearing privileges to hold the power, the hate crime is too bullshit to discuss and why we cannot walk away from this social problem and how can we discuss more about hate crime in our own community: Deaf community?

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The actual Issac Newton’s Drawing as a Kid.

The wall is a joke. Let’s discuss about the wall of Deaf community. The metaphor by one of my favorite mathematicians: Sir Isaac Newton: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Exactly. Where is the bridge between Deaf and hearing community? Too many walls! Why cannot hearing community get along with Deaf community when it should not build too many walls and ignore bridges that should have been prevented? For one, I have always believed in the bias against the Deaf. The Deaf bias has managed to weave itself a very haunting reputation that is extremely difficult to catch and comprehend. When it comes to American Sign Language (ASL), the bias would be laid on the table and then allow itself to be examined, thus becoming easily erased and eradicated.

In my most recent lecture, “Fighting the Fire of Hate: Deaf America in Crisis” last October 2018 held at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, it has transformed into a model of its own kind, rich with anecdotes and facts from all the Deaf, from all walks of life, and the laws that lacks the protection of Deaf people, has been missing the facts, and it has missing the most from two parts: ASL and counterpart English.

When we are glued to watch through television, it is so powerful that the trick of political language that matters you the most, challenging in the most of truth of all truth that the biases are often invisible against the Deaf. Where is the betterment of all the Deaf?

When Deaf people are heard around the world and the country, it goes by the ballots in the years and years ahead—and it needs your help. Is there a fundamental right for Deaf person to stand and hold democracy in America? Think about this one, after America, there is no place to go in this vast universe. Although Deaf community like myself, had experienced implicit prejudices and discrimination. America is still a great place to be and live.

The last 48 hours had been making Deaf community difficult to breathe and live with the consequence that had been marginalized, and neglected, the Super Bowl 2019 game: “Deaf, Dumb, and Blind” even if it was a lyric that hurts them the most—and less than five seconds of live coverage of Deaf person signing in ASL on national television, and the history of the State of the Union that always lack the discourses of Deaf Studies in people, literature, and history. All in thrice! We should remember that “Deaf” will be always unparalleled force in our politics. Action does show much the difference. Can we find the next generation of DEAF-CENTERED leaders in our movement?

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-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

Invisible Hand: Did Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia Experience Hate Crime?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Was it a hate crime what Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia experienced at Detroit Airport because of their state of being Deaf? Sexual orientation? That they are not white? Even though the gate agent is Black. It’s most likely the person who called police on Deaf couple is White. Who knows? The agent was mocking Deaf couple because…..you know.

Think about the consequences Deaf people face daily even though it’s invisible hate crime. For example, a Deaf male got attacked by two white Hearing men and stole their laptop because they knew he was Deaf. How? He was chatting with someone through American Sign Language (ASL) on the table outside of a coffee shop in Riverside, CA. Police doesn’t think it was a hate crime.

A Deaf lesbian couple in CA got severely beaten with baseball bat by someone—a hearing person who doesn’t like them as Deaf and hated sign language and as lovers. Hate crime? Nope! Why?

Seven days ago or a week ago in January 2019, a hearing gay couple in TX were severely beaten by baseball bat. The attacker was hearing. Why? Think about it. Hate crime? Yes! Why not?

Spring 2018. Two gay men who are American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in Washington, DC got attacked last April because of their sexual orientation. Hate crime? It was said to be possible.

See the point? Hearing people who experienced hate crime more—As for Deaf survivors of hate crime, “too bad and live with consequences” attitude.

I could go on more, but the whole point is there are many unreported hate crimes against Deaf people is a factor because there is not enough sensitivity training about the appreciation of Deaf lives. Hate crime is the most trivialized subject when it comes to target Deaf people. Do you agree that Deaf people have been trivialized along those times in our lives? Can hearing people dare to see in the eyes of innocent Deaf people that they are also the most marginalized group?

How could the society dare to tell Deaf people who experienced hate crime even though it’s not reported to go on with lives, as it never happened? It is because it is highly publicized culture of denial and culture of fear. Hate crime teaches the society to be liars, and allows to dehumanize innocent Deaf people.

We need to remind that when hearing people calls police on Deaf people is something—a dangerous framing that could be a new norm in the future. We need to watch out for that. A ‘hate crime’ is when crimes as in ‘action’ preventing truth, that often results the most is hostile and prejudiced in a manner when being targeted, for example, “DEAF”—is very difficult to challenge.

“How often are the perpetrators of hate-crimes discovered to be self-loathing? Valued individuals do not strike out against strangers.”—Harvey Fierstein

Do you agree that Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia experienced hate crime? Why or why not?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

MAGA HATS: Hate-Filled Literature at Native Rally

Are MAGA HATS making America great again? In the light of hate-filled literature mocking, and intimidating Native Americans is trying to make America great again is not even close. Whose land belongs to in the first place? Silence equals hate. We need to stop hate targeting Native Americans.

CORRECTION: IT IS NATHAN PHILLIPS. NOT RICHARD PHILLIPS. MY APOLOGIES!

“We Hate Deaf and Dumb People!”: Funny or Offensive?

 

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Someone photo shopped an image and put it on Dunkin Donuts door in state of Illinois to make it look like real: “We hate Deaf and Dumb people! They are not welcome in our store. Go order your food from McDonald’s! We don’t want your SSI Check. Thanks, Management”—do you think it is funny at all? Where can you find humor in this statement?

When someone finds time to type “hate Deaf and Dumb people!” with passion, the word “hate” comes from the Old English, hatian “regard with extreme ill-will, have a passionate aversion to, to treat as an enemy.”

In practice, it refers to treat Deaf people as enemy, making an action that needs to be taught in the society. That practice could be either smart or stupid.

An image created from “Photoshop” style like that, it means hate mail. As the word, “hate mail” was coined in 1951, and that was 68 years ago and the practice still carry the legacy. It has been too long. Why wait so long to stop hate mail? You can see that clearly from the society view of Deaf people in which the “hate” is used in the legal sphere seemed more dignified. It does not matter whoever created the image—even from Deaf person.

The definition of ‘hate’ in crimes, literature, mail, and speech, targeting Deaf community is a secret in the making, and the word itself is a dangerous framing, attaching a criminal behavior that has become normalized in the society. Why do you think there is no laws protecting Deaf people in the name of hate crimes? So, over the years, lack of laws has become a part of our “deficit thinking” of what a hate crime, hate mail, hate speech, and hate literature and it is crucial part when it comes to the understanding of hate crimes.

When hearing people call police on Deaf people, what is about fearful of Deaf people, watched, suffering and told stories by millions at the time and for many years including current status like today, had ignored the evidence of one of painful human conditions, to understand the word of “hate” hurting Deaf people that makes the bigotry invisible?

The reasons that hate crime are not being enough discussed in Deaf community is because the truth that was not seen enough and ignoring social problems, in order not to show the truth in the light. The lack of learning about hate crimes in Deaf community is a big problem, I repeat, really big problem has been ignored in all angles of human compassion because when someone like Deaf people experiencing hate mail, hate speech, hate literature and hate crime becomes invisible.

Today in 2019, the terminology of “hate” about Deaf life on the Earth we live and breathe has failed.

The image was found to be offensive and insulting even though it was attempting to be funny, but it was poorly choice of words. Head shaking. No Deaf people shall be enduring torture like “hate”–we are much stronger than “hate”. Agreed? Even if it was supposed to be joke, it just does not work that way.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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