Gallaudet University: A Signing Community?

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Honestly, as three days ago, when I was at Library of Congress to see private collections of old letters hand-written by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, Edward Miner Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, the list goes on—to help out a friend for PhD dissertation.

ASL stands for American Sign Language. They all had the goal: ASL-centered, ASL-oriented, ASL-controlled for Deaf people who comes from all walks of life. Between 1815 and 1847 letters, they all were fierce. They knew that sign language is the best and powerful to overcome intellectual oppression. The very same letters I read, where Sophia writes to T.H. Gallaudet:

I love Laurent Clerc. I love seeing his signs.”

Sophia became the matron for Gallaudet University. Without the matron of Gallaudet University, sign language would not be there. Sophia knew sign language was the pivotal moment.

That was the goal to see ASL everywhere on Gallaudet campus and that was all they wanted. That was the bottom line. That was it. Sign language changed Sophia’s life forever. That was history in the making!

Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet sailed together for destination back to America. They both knew that sign language have the power to directly represent and protect the interests. They stood true until their death.

Gallaudet University, the world’s first university for Deaf, to claim Deaf people’s intellectual life to ASL across the educational landscape and reject oppression practice; Hearing people with hearing privileges walk and talk around on the Gallaudet campus, insulting ASL that should be appreciated our language, that is ASL within the institution of higher education.

ASL is a step in the direction of intellectual equity, as the huge banner rolls out front of parking garage at Gallaudet University across from Union Market, makes an official statement that it is signing community. Can we really see Gallaudet University an ASL-centered university only? We need to make sure Gallaudet University as an ASL-centered needs to make a clear sense of what ASL is used for so that we are in a position to navigate Gallaudet as an ASL community. Signing is like mode of communication. Signing can be Sim-Com. Oh yeah, Sim-Com is still practiced at Gallaudet. It is better to use ASL instead of signing.

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Yet, there are hearing people who talk without sign language, oppressing ASL on the campus that is supposed to be sacred for Deaf people. Please look at my most previous post, Signing Community: Hypocrism at Best where seven videos were sent to me by several Deaf people who felt insulted.

Why do you think Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet went all the way to England to join in the audience and witness Deaf people signing and writing on stage, and that was where T.H. Gallaudet shook hands with Abbe Sicard—the history of all the Deaf is the most beautiful thing! Is Gallaudet University enough ASL-centered with instruction and scholarship?

The huge banner “We are Gallaudet University: A Signing Community” needs to examine more and I mean, really deep in heart. Audism is not allowed at Gallaudet University. It is a big problem! When hearing people talk on the campus designed for Deaf people, is exactly the struggle for Deaf community to feel oppressed. The latter attitude is that the term “oppression” has been most invisible mirror, oppressing ASL and Deaf people.

Should we allow language hegemony by hearing people? Deaf people had fought hard for ASL. We all cannot deny that. Is it intellectual oppression? Behind the university gates, oppression is everywhere and that is embarrassment. There is no way Gallaudet University should not allow people talking and insulting ASL, its linguistic and cultural heritage of the Deaf, period.

Again, “We are Gallaudet University: A Signing Community”–Can they really be honest with themselves? When hearing people talk on campus, they do not see ASL as a human and it continues to be oppressed. Deaf people are hurt. Deaf people are suffering. That is the real answer.

 

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We cannot forget the passion in ASL. That’s our mother tongue. After all, we are the ones to push for change. No more Audism! If they use that banner, then the major point of using ASL on the campus is to transform the language and culture to intellectual life. That’s how it is supposed to work. ASL is intellectual property and that is it matters the most……for Deaf people whose ownership is ASL first on the campus.

Again, please be honest with yourself. Gallaudet University is not a signing community. Not yet. It is better if the banner says: Gallaudet University is an ASL community.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Laurent Clerc: United Nations Human Rights Prize

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70 years ago on December 10th, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was brought up with the idea to recognize that as humans we adopt equal rights, freedom, and pursuit of happiness.

I just read the winners for 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize who deserve an award. From the United Nations website writes:

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.

In the past, United Nations Human Rights had given to someone who passed away such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Why not Laurent Clerc? He contributed to Deaf community in the heart of human rights. Establishing the first American Deaf School in Hartford, Connecticut. For next 50 years, the school had trained many Deaf students in the field of educators to teach Deaf pupils to be successful. Laurent Clerc’s spirit embodies the self-determination of the newly Deaf space; his thoughts are still considered the strongest influence in Deaf people’s bodies, minds, and spirits.

Laurent Clerc’s quote:

“A knowledge of history is extremely useful; it lays before our eyes the great picture of the generations that have preceded us; and in relating the events which passed in their time…it lays before us the precepts of the wise…of all ages…”

There was no “rehabilitation” program or education for Deaf students. Laurent Clerc predicted the importance for future of the Deaf citizens to preserve and perpetuate in the language and culture, protecting and promoting ASL. French influence upon American Sign Language (ASL) and intellectual life of the Deaf has become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between Deaf people to seek for higher education. Not only in America, but influenced Canada as well, too.

Last September 2018, United Nations recognized its first International Day of Sign Languages, and it is a huge step. There was more than 70 million Deaf people living world wide, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, the higher education is pretty difficult to grasp, only two percent out of 70 million Deaf people have the human right access to a formal education.

Since Laurent Clerc’s arrival in America, his mission has been to provide quality individualized education honoring the talents of Deaf students, making sure they were given the highest opportunities to acquire academic skills necessary for success.

Making sure the long journey, the dark moments of doubts and struggles, going through series of emotional, mental and physical—and the feeling in a life time would end up being over, until Laurent Clerc’s arrival made sure it was never over. It was very much part of human right. Being the state of Deaf is a human right in the highest form of freedom.

Honestly, I do think Mr. Laurent Clerc deserve United Nations Human Rights Prize, the largest honour of lifetime work. What do you think?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://usdeafhistory.com/tag/laurent-clerc/

https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/news/dspd/international-day-sign-languages.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Prize_in_the_Field_of_Human_Rights

 

 

Election Day: Deaf Returnees VOTE.

Elections IMPORTANT. Our democracy depends on November’s midterm elections. Bottom line, the consequences are real blocking Deaf Returnees’s fundamental rights to vote without prejudice. Stigma is not needed in the society that includes Deaf community.

The Consequences of Restaurant Audism

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By now, we know that Audism is a serious issue. What about restaurant Audism? A “hostile” environment is responsible for the people who ignited Audism has often overlooked. Restaurants knew the potential consequence of violating Deaf people’s human rights and took the chance to do so nonetheless.

As do all American restaurants, they have responsibilities to respect Deaf community which they are also part of American life. One of the responsibilities is to educate in workers and business owners, and for the democracy by which restaurant business makes those policies. When restaurant business claims to adopt anti-Audism policies, they do the opposite. The teaching of violating human right is inhumane. And they teach that hate speech is an acceptable way to continue Audism.

How will this help minimize restaurant Audism into responsible workers and business owners and appreciate Deaf people in the eye of an American life? Most recently as of June 1st, 2018, in Mississippi, a Deaf couple were mocked at a fast food restaurant (KFC) by workers who were making fun of them for being Deaf, and restaurant Audism have a strong effect on hearing attitudes toward Deaf Americans, business had a stronger incentive not to discriminate, but hearing workers resented having to deal with and complete with Deaf people.

http://www.wapt.com/article/woman-claims-restaurant-workers-mistreated-her-deaf-parents/21053795

In my most recent blog, Righting a Wrong: Racism, Audism, Starbucks, and Us: This seems like an extreme example of what Deaf people deal with daily. We all have “restaurant horror stories.” Just as Blacks recognize that “restaurant Racism” is still part of our reality, we recognize that “restaurant Audism” still exists.”

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/05/30/righting-a-wrong-racism-audism-starbucks-and-us/

It is a negative effect of restaurant Audism. The golden thread that weaves itself through each case is that impoverished society is so removed from the status quo of hearing privileges socially that discriminating Deaf people before realizing other oppressive attacks is not as viewed as entirely negative because it is so commonplace.

Therefore, it is not deemed as risky in restaurants. It does, in a lot of forgotten cases, cause the Deaf community continue to suffer and suck it up, recognizing their surroundings are not healthy. Deaf community begins to strive for a better life for themselves. It is at this point that they begin to want the American dream that upper echelons of society also want and they begin to strive for them in the same order, but with Audism last.

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Deaf people put their Deaf journey before human oppression because society lacks the social education to know that dealing with Audism in restaurants to be successful citizens takes more hard work than they are exposed to in their immediate environment and they postpone knowledge about Audism almost indefinitely after Deaf community as they attempt to play “catch up” in order to realize the community accountability.

-JT

 

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Dwight Benedict: Stop the Practice of Discrimination, Shaming, and Cruel Punishment