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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Chicago MED: Profiting Off Deaf People in Hollywood Industry?

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Dear readers,

I had technical problem with iMovie and tried to upload YouTube video via ASL, but it is not working for some reason. My apologies. “IMovie quit unexpectedly” twice—argh!

Few hours ago (Wednesday, September 26 evening), I was watching NBC show, “Chicago Med”—and there were plenty of red flags. And, that is not cool how to politicize Deaf people out of their journey to make NBC earn huge profiting.

The show was showing about the marvel of cochlear implants, and a nurse who was using very poorly ASL to a patient who is Deaf—forced to use cochlear implant, and inspire viewers that cochlear implant is a marvel invention. Not only that, but the show with millions of viewers, like nurses, doctors, hospital administers, board of trustees, and all that, thinks it is OK to allow a nurse who barely knows ASL and rejects ASL interpreter for communication, information, and knowledge is being denied for policing. It put Deaf patient in greater danger.

Enough of criminalizing of the Deaf community—NBC is number one network. Really, it is. I grew up admiring NBC, like funny shows, “Frasier”, “Marlon”, “Friends”, “Cheers”, “Last Comic Standing”, “Alf”, “Diff’rent Strokes”, “Sanford and Son”

Come on, NBC! It is not funny about exploiting Deaf people at all. No, it is not. Deaf people matter. And there is no doubt that Deaf people are the forgotten course of our democracy for generations to come. Come on, it is not cool! Hollywood industry, can they listen to us, Deaf signing 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, when it increases Deaf people’s mental health to be process within moving forward in media.

Showing cochlear implant in “Chicago Med” is showing an inspiration that makes all financial services are created equal—and equal access to them through oppression layers. It is important to present a unique Deaf community—signing community, showing how to have or have not, access to higher education journey. As the media giants like NBC, becomes increasingly connected to viewers, cochlear implants grows, that becomes demand and supply, is a dangerous democracy grows out with it.

“Chicago Med” show like tonight, 2018, is continuing to explore how cochlear implant are changing the future about image of Deaf people.

Inspiration porn about cochlear implants in Hollywood showing in hospital shows is hurting many of us in Deaf community, no matter what. No one deserves to be asked whether to get cochlear implant surgery while living in health crisis, for example, heart attack survivors.

Millions of viewers are fan of this show, “Chicago Med”—missing out what it is important that Deaf patients have the right to have access to ASL interpreters right away. It is their human right.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Another Hearing Privilege in Hollywood Industry

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Honestly, when I learned about the movie, “The Silence”, the hearing actress would play a role as Deaf person. It’s another language war. The term of war comes from old English, “wyrre”—bringing into confusion. It is also an insult to Deaf culture. It’s the bandwagon of hearing privileges that always the stronghold to overcome. Deaf people should never been confused. It’s the hearing people who are confusing.

I do not really understand this social phenomenon why hearing people keep denying by unpacking own privileges. I mean…it’s no excuse! What is so special about Deaf community? Deaf actors and actresses are talented and attuned to their people.

I remember when I was selected to act as Hansel in Deaf program in 1983, that time I was 9 years old. The joy and excitement of learning as much acting as possible through which it can be understand, intellectually and emotionally, that Deaf people can act and understand the presence in their life experience is the consequence of those learning experiences so we are better prepared to act once we leave the acting experience.

It was a big deal for me even I realized just now. It’s really big deal. You know, Deaf children are precious to be given and empowered with acting skills. The study of acting as Deaf person had shown that the study of ASL is a creative process based upon the analysis of linguistic/cultural evidence, which results in a conversation between ASL and its users.

When I become an actor for Deafhood Monologues, it was a learning experience at Gallaudet. I believe that not only in ASL but in all areas Deaf actresses and Deaf actors should have the opportunity to reach their full potential as informed and knowledge young women and men. As they have chosen to learn about the language and culture.

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It’s just impossible and unthinkable that hearing actresses and actors would deprive away from Deaf talent. It’s an invisible tool that Deaf community continues to be oppressed. We all need to be reminding of Homer’s Odyssey, Deaf people are challenged to overcome the unknown. It’s the same that goes to Hollywood industry.

Deaf actresses and actors had a joy of learning something novel—something mind-blowing. They are the ones who have gained from the learning journey that shall furnish their home. Back in 2011, I attended Toronto International Deaf Film + Arts Festival, the Gala event was a huge insult to Deaf community, the gala film was showing 88 minutes of hearing actresses and actors until three minutes left in the movie, finally Deaf actress. What does it mean?

What happened to the safe and rigorous, one that empowers Deaf actresses and actors in pursing ASL for Hollywood industry? After Gala night, the film festival begun and the opening of the festival, I’m Deaf and I Didn’t Know made by French Deaf filmmaker was the best film of the festival that morning that I decided to write down this film as best film and sure enough, the film won the best film of festival. It should be in the gala first place!

Yet, SEVEN years later, the film industry is still dominated by hearing privileges. Oh yeah, 30 years later after Marlee Matlin won Academy Award for the movie, Children of a Lesser God is still oppressed in the name of hearing privileges. I mean, what’s worst the most of all? The Silence.

The term: silence—complete absence of sound and cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking.

Yes, speaking from pain. Speaking from experience. Speaking from truth. It’s really unbelievable and insulting that Deaf culture continues to be oppressed from the absence of sound and prevent from showing Deaf talent. It’s quite shameful, hmm?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

My Film In-Depth Analysis: “A Quiet Place”

 

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You see this picture above? The Deaf actress signs to her character father in the film scene, “It does not work!” in reference to cochlear implant.

A Quiet Place was one of the most controversial films of the year in Deaf community. My reflection about this film is a major challenge. The opening scene of cochlear implant first thing exposes the arrogance of modern medicine and the decided failure of our society in heeding health system. The culture of fear continues.

Is it to benefit medicine and battery corporate controlled systems? The root of this aforementioned control is that those profiting from practicing medicine and selling batteries see no money to be made in respecting Deaf culture first thing.

It was powerful enough to create an image to meet the advanced methods of blatant oppression that approaches and questions necessary. It is only the beginning. Is this a sign of cochlear implant war? Is this a sign of third wave of Oralism? It only gets worsened when it comes to “Deafness”. In this film about profiting from cochlear implants, I would like to point out that cochlear implant crisis threatens not only economic collapse among families but also educational inflation beleaguered by costly services.

Hollywood needs to be honest about arrogance of Deaf culture.

Does this film’s approach of cochlear implants to be personal and individual freedom challenge the norms of Deaf community? Does this film of powerful and oppressive forces simply create Audism? The critical examination shows the absence of cultural contribution to the Deaf community and the tradition of literacy canon in this film. This cultural oppression is directly related in Hollywood historical tradition of systematic and institutional Audism proscribing an inferior status to Deaf babies.

Not only did this cultural phenomenon produce a scant offering of works by cochlear implant companies, criticism of Deaf babies that are not implanted in regard to these offerings were indicting and angry, perhaps that Deaf babies should stray too far from their state of happiness in the “pursuit” of healthy journey. Truth be told, however, Hollywood remains a nonstarter for “bonding” purposes.

Carol Padden and Tom Humphries write in one of their book chapters:

We had heard several stories along themes similar to the ones in this folktale, but it was not until we were displaced in a foreign country that we were able to recognize consciously what until then we had only intuitively understood: these stories are myths, tales, parables that carry the set of ideas about what makes it possible to be a Deaf person. By retelling these stories the group can talk about a knowledge it believes to be essential, its lifeblood.” (Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture)

Hollywood was supposed to be the front-line lifeblood of knowledge. We need to look at the central role of the public and private split has played in big issues such as Audism, oppression, and human rights, the need for “cochlear implant” spaces, and the legacies of colonialism. Relationships and Hollywood abound in many ways, cochlear implant industries are able to experience the many forms of big money that emerge to practice the oppression of Deaf babies, through the eyes of Hollywood.

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The pairing of cochlear implant to beloved friend, Hollywood illustrates the perhaps most ill perceived of Deaf babies with pride and prejudice. Both parties desire the film to fulfill familial and societal expectations, establish battery economics, and affix social status connections that Hollywood supplant cochlear implant industries firmly with first-class genteel society.

I was clearly disappointed with the grand opening of the film that hurts the most. Looking back through history of 12 Deaf children who died from cochlear implant surgeries in 1989 and the many painful stories by cochlear implant survivors to this date today and the future, too. This abiding human question about whether cultural oppression strikes at the very soul of Deaf humanity—of how Hollywood view Deaf babies. The stories about how successful cochlear implants are myths and tales.

So much for “these stories are myths, tales, parables that carry the set of ideas about what makes it possible to be a Deaf person

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

My Thoughts: “A Quiet Place”

The movie, “A Quiet Place” is generating a lot of money more than we understand. Hollywood is the front burner of powerful information. It the most powerful oppression of Deaf people.

 

From Rejection of Deaf People in Hollywood Industry

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Ah, people has asking me what are my thoughts about the latest movie, “Wonderstruck” from what I understand that there were hearing people who pretended to be Deaf– has shed light on what hearing privileges really mean when they attack Deaf people and steal the image from them as well as free speech, too. I am not writing about the law or the Constitution, I am writing about how hearing actors or actresses hijack the system and using it to amplify oppression as a message. The illustration above was drawn by Brian Selznik.

I continue to be amazed by the unnecessary cruelty of the Hollywood industry, which has again taken aim at the most vulnerable members of the society in the name of language hegemony. Isn’t Hollywood industry was supposed to be the “civil rights and human rights” safeguard to protect Deaf people from unequal treatment? Obviously not. It is not the first time what Julianna Moore has continue to be ignorant about the importance of Deaf Studies in recent memory.

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A graphic created by Amber Zion–Deaf person with plenty of talent!

This is the time to think about that there are plenty of Deaf talent can do to stop exploitation of Hollywood to hire hearing actors or actress to act as Deaf. We need to educate them in anti-bias and anti-bullying discourses. Can we educate them with effective tactics that defuse exploitation before they can trigger over time into the kind of systematic oppression?

When Deaf people show the world that they have talent in acting with better eye movements, learns of people with hearing privileges and deceit, they essentially disowns Deaf citizens and implore them to shut up and stay in the cell in order to allow them to beat their appearance up and harm their reputations. Again, when Deaf citizens learn that the oppression in Hollywood have been returned to be practiced, they are suffering in the hands of oppressors. Oh, the sentencing of their fate!

We are tired of the worst oppression over the past year that a well-known Hollywood actress has again stepped over Deaf people just like stamped out Audism! Did Hollywood really acknowledge their errors? No. Instead, in the days since, oppression of Deaf people in Hollywood scenes, they would probably refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. All evidence to the contrary, Hollywood have continued to insist on Julianna Moore’s false version as a Deaf person, ignoring the grief of Deaf community, who are trying to make an attempt to educate the society that there are plenty of Deaf people who can show their talents.

Even a Deaf administrator and moderator for Deaf Talent Guild News wrote, “I do not wish to see any more posts critical of Julianna Moore for taking the deaf adult role nor discussing plans for a boycott of the movie Wonderstruck, which frankly in my opinion would be counter productive. I know some of you may not have fond opinions of her after reading the news of what she did…she may have already realized by now she made a mistake; let her be.”

Umm, excuse me, what about the pain what Deaf community has suffered? Where is the compassion? This is a disgrace. We are talking about the opportunity—no longer in the invisible hand. Isn’t Hollywood supposed to be the land of the opportunity? Deaf people on Mother Earth have a reason–know no life other than America. Can we even recognize Hollywood’s America?

I want to make it clear that this is not hoax or an exaggeration. I have been personally embarrassed by this whole ordeal, but out of continued frustration, I find it now necessary to write about what occurred in Hollywood. I feel that least writing this post could help start healing process. When I had been chosen to as an actor for Deafhood Monologues in Washington, D.C.—I understood the importance of Deaf talent where Julianna Moore has twice oppressed the Deaf community—with the quote below:

You will know you are completely done with something when you give it up and feel freedom instead of loss”.—Emily Maroutain

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2012/januaryfebruary/feature/deaf-meets-wonderstruck