Yesterday, there was a headline about demolishing a house where Adolf Hitler was born—a birthplace in Austria. Yes, wise decision to do so! Time to heal—and I support the idea. I mean, after visiting United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. more than five times, it is mind-boggling and it makes you THINK what Hitler has done to Deaf people was fucking unbelievable—yet, Deaf people were in silence! After reading few books, Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, and Crying Hands: Eugenics and Deaf People in Nazi Germany was painful to read—it is exactly why bigotry and hate crimes had been recognized in Alexander Graham Bell’s (AGBell) hands.
Since AGBell’s time, he had devastated as the whole world and villages that had decimated Deaf people and forced them to walk into the deserts of pain. There are millions of scenes that have tragically become familiar again today by not recognizing enough hate crime in Deaf America. From I can remember those books, I have not seen a detailed story about Deaf people that suffer through hate crimes, the America we live in the shadows of freedom, time for us to prevent hate crimes in Deaf community, too. I must be an advocate for Deaf people who were survivors of AGBell.
Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe written by Donna F. Ryan and John S. Schuchmann, the book made an agreement with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
The fate of deaf people in Nazi Germany is a neglected aspect of the Holocaust. Certainly, few would think of them as Holocaust victims or survivors. In the United States, even in Germany, few were aware that during the Nazi era, human beings—men, women, and children—with impaired hearing were sterilized against their will, and even fewer know that many deaf people were also murdered. Under Nazi rule, they shared the fate of all persons with mental and physical disabilities. [Holocaust Studies and the Deaf Community, Henry Friedlander, Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, p. 15]
I learned that there were an international conference held in Washington, D.C.—1998, called “Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, 1933-1945”—I was only 23 years old that time living in Great Pacific Northwest.
The media continues to portray “uncalled” hate crimes in Deaf community so wrong is that they has successfully evolved hate speech into story-tellers to guide us to speculate or guess diverse modes of Audism. For example, as a kid I grew up into reading literature, Christopher Columbus thought that the world is flat and the stars revolve around the earth to determine our fate and future. The same future we live shall makes a difference and support Deaf people to minimize hate speech in our community.
If you read Deaf books, try to find why most of survivors who were living in AGBell’s hands, it is clear that they represent a new, important form of hate expression. They mark a fundamental shift in power away from public life dominated by invisible hate crime to dark cave, which now empowers the Deaf community. For example, the books reach places that Deaf community, as journalism cannot touch today.
With a Deaf fellow like myself, who was survivor of AGBell —his ideology was a fearful example of the damage wrecked by inbreeding leadership with Deaf community, is it painful to protest hate crimes against AGBell? The answer is yes! I believe that they should complain to start the healing process. The same Deaf community we live in, sets up us up to ignore the pain of Deaf people who were survivors of AGBell, so we need to turn against the oppression and question why it is still practiced today.
Can we dream that AGBell’s birthplace in Scotland be demolished? We are dreaming because we can see by dreaming a connection between premises and conclusions: we dreamed that we would solve a problem that we would read earlier then we would write down on it on the paper made out of tree, we found out that the conclusion does not follow from the premises in our dreams. As you can imagine, it must be painful to write a story about it. AGBell destroyed Deaf people was the exactly what Adolf Hitler destroyed Jewish people and others—including Deaf people.
Yet, it fails to mark a case that Deaf people experience of a hate crime, literature, or speech. It must be even more painful that people who are AGBell advocates are protesting the ignorance of Deaf American community. In the time of crisis, it is AGBell who holds out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf community.
Again, AGBell in Deaf community was biggest insult because Deaf people were not taught to be leaders for their own people—Deaf people. This is the reason they live in silence. We need to feel the wind more often. We relate to Audism nor hate crime in Deaf community as family and experience a bond within the same community, which is clearly unknown to you. We have different inner clocks and deal with time differently. Maybe you can remember the famous artist by Salvador Dali where the clock was melting. That is the most invisible trait that did not prepare us excellently enough for Deaf community to talk about it and easily labels us as intellectually vulnerable in our American society.
The media and newspapers are what you know: a modern of they-Adolf-Hitler. They use the recipe for using propaganda, fear, and scapegoats to convince the readers to go along with AGBell that is supposed to be the bureaucrat’s heaven. Not only Deaf people suffer, but also the Deaf community as a whole becomes more vulnerable. It is time to have AGBell’s birthplace DEMOLISHED house in Scotland and begin healing!
Thanks, friend for sending me the pictures of AGBell’s house. He was actually there in person. Oh, clocks are melting everywhere!
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
[When the oppressed Deaf people discover Deafhood, the chains of oppression start to dissolve and hands becomes free as butterfly]-David Call
Last February 2013, at age 38, I suffered a heart attack, and I was taken to Emergency Room. After examining my heart condition, while I was resting, I was asked if I would like to have cochlear implants.
It was highly offensive. What they were attempting was to make me a by-product of cochlear implant industry. That day I felt that I was in a Holocaust concentration camp. The air inside the hospital was very still, regardless some doctors were surrounding with their activity.
I thought about driving by the mental hospital and seeing Deaf patients behind the fence. Deaf people on display? It reminded me of the Nazi proclamation: Arbeit Macht Frei (Work makes you free). Cochlear implants make Deaf people free so they could speak and hear. Asking me about being cochlear implanted was, and is, INHUMANE!
Once I encounter the word Deafhood as the state of being Deaf, the process of linguistic and cultural behavior, and the technology related to communication, I realized that Deafhood requires a lot of self-examination from the perspective of social change, language planning, and how technology affects my future and my membership in the Deaf community. Not only the social determinants of Deaf community with respect to how we use American Sign Language (ASL) as a tool for communication, but also the non-intentional structuring of technology that promotes standards and assumptions of Deaf people.
After all, cochlear implants are not an arbitrary economic style that Deaf people pick and choose. CI are stimulant, just like dogs needing constant praises and treats.
I, JT, offer two characteristics that are distinctively different in my life situation, yet they are similar in my common struggles to find a sense of self within a tension of two cultures. I wonder if I am anything, but a “hero”, and hardly a stereotypical rendition of a Deaf lad. After I read Paddy Ladd’s book on Deafhood and discussed it with several Deaf scholars I met. I enjoyed them as they offered a rare glimpse into a life of a Deaf person in a contemporary situation. I often felt a true confinement of my personal cell as a reflection of my greater potentiality. As my name reflects, I felt “captured” in a situation I felt that I was unable to change.
There were so many other issues I faced. Many stemmed from my painful childhood in which I struggled with issues of Audism and identity crises, as I tried to find a place of my own as a Deaf individual in this contemporary society. I had dealt with depression and coped with the ghosts of my past.
My life is not that typical drawing upon rich imagery and spiritualism to confront my demons. Instead, I was a guy with an unknown Deaf heritage that was in a conflict with by my life issues under which I have viewed through the lens of two cultures. They are in tension. Yet, it was ultimately my initial connection with a Deafhood progress which saved my insanity. My acknowledgement of my past failures, and my ultimate courage to continue living, to change my future, stemmed in part from my cultural connections.
I am writing to renew myself, my name, and my identity, and to find my connection to my own Deaf heritage. I had been searching for meaning and personal identity in relation to the current time of cultural change and adaptation among Deaf people. I find my own narrative broken up, disjointed, almost as if to convey the literacy and oral “storytelling” technique of traditional Deaf literature.
My story is not linear, but spherical. The use of “distance” thematically shows the estrangement of Deafhood from my culture, my separateness from Deaf community, which stresses holistic, meaningful connections to each other and, to nature. “The country has created a distance as deep as it was empty, and the people accepted and treated each other at a distance. But the distance I felt came not from country or people; it came from within me” (James Welch). The “distance” is further felt by a general absence that is felt by my narrative. This void is sensed by the lack of personal depth in my life and my desire for a change in the personal circumstances of my life.
After reading Paddy Ladd’s book, it offers me a new sense of purpose, through my connections with my ancestry and coming to terms with my past. My personal estrangement from my Deaf life was suddenly replaced with a new framework rich in cultural identity and meaning. Deafhood has been creating a stark depiction of my lifeblood. Its progress comes with its challenges, and continuing survival, with humor, and perhaps a sad recognition that I must continuously face and sometimes capitalize on stereotypes such as Audism to ensure my survival.
The comparisons that I make with Audism seem to both trivialized and disrepute. As an opponent to Audism, I find such a way to take the understanding of its nature further, philosophically. It is not as easy for Deaf people to consider other species equal, as it is to consider each other equal. The essence of Ladd’s work stands as a call to Deaf people to adjust their mentality in such a way that there is no room for hypocrisy or contradiction. The only manner in which Paddy Ladd downplays Audism is time-related. “Mainstream” liberation movements hold just as much weight as those not widely recognized.
Paddy Ladd employs comparison of Deaf people to human liberation movements in order to promote Deaf rights. In this way, Ladd creates room for the readers to doubt their current mentality. This doubt serves as the foundation on which he builds the rest of his arguments, citing in his book, page seven (7): “You will be asking yourselves why this has not come to public notice before and why someone [else] isn’t doing something about it. One of the aims of this book is to find answers to both questions. For in order to understand how something like this has escaped notice on such a planet-wide, century-long scale, one has to be able to understand the true nature of the society in which we live; how political power, medical and educational dominance and media information strategies interact and reinforce each other to create an overarching form of what is effectively thought control. In other words, to understand how one’s own cultures really operate” His debate urges the reader to question the status quo.
Audism is an everyday influence on our Deaf community. Audism has a great power partly because we don’t talk much about it. I have turned to the book Deafhood to lead myself into the metaphysical world by making manifest the questions I have asked daily: Who am I? With whom shall I deal? And what is my purpose?
Please visit David Call’s website: http://www.eyehandstudio.com
Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Ladd, Paddy. Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. 2003.
Welch, James. Winter in the Blood. New York: Penguin Group, 1986.