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.
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.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
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.
In National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Spring 2016, Volume 16, Issue 1 magazine, a feature written beautifully by Trudy Suggs, A Quick Look at Everyday Disempowerment of Deaf People, writes:
The word disempowerment has quite a simple definition for such a powerful concept: to take away power.
There is an important paragraph to focus on, In Disempowerment through ASL:
Are all the Deaf Studies and ASL programs in the nation run by Deaf people? No. “We advertised the position and couldn’t find anyone qualified.” That certainly could be the case. Still, such situations have ripple effects: deaf people aren’t hired, and those outside of the deaf community, in turn, continue to have beliefs and perceptions shaped by hearing people. These hearing people then believe they can educate others about us, rather than bringing in appropriate Deaf community representatives.
At Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for Deaf students to articulate their higher learning experience. The ability to acquire and write stories exclusively is valuable for their life struggles in the field, for example, ASL/Deaf Studies for their knowledge of literacy and they strive to tell their stories actively thinking about hardships they had endured of entering into the harsh world. The truth must be seen. Some people know who Dirksen Bauman is, the only hearing member of ASL/Deaf Studies who happens to be in full charge of the department.
Here are the two videos that will show you what Dirksen really have to say.
“Crazy” people in Deaf Studies who wanted to hire him–I know who it is and it was a Deaf professor who desperately wanted him in just because the professor needed his writing skills and changes the image of ASL/Deaf Studies. That is how Dirksen became a Chair after that. He should be honest with himself why he took the position first place. Like Trudy writes, “Cost-beneficial and cost-effective in the long run? Absolutely.”
The masked man became the version of Socrates. There is a story that needs to be seen. When Dirksen invited Carl Schroeder to be a guest speaker for one of his courses, Carl was signing a story about Cratylus and Dirksen briefly stopped and asked Carl, “You knew about Cratylus?” and Carl was puzzled why he was asked that question. Meaning Carl was the first Deaf person now he knows. He assumed that there was not any other Deaf person to know about it. Perhaps the interpretation might be different. Carl knew about this way before Dirksen published a book, Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking.
Then Dirksen writes, “Even within the field of Deaf Studies, perspectives of Deaf people are often not valued. Many programs call themselves Deaf Studies but are actually based on an audiological model or are focused on deaf education and the strategies for acquiring English.”
Carl became well versed in an area of scholarship other than being Deaf professor, which was unavailable. He was committed himself to teach students very well as I had been his teacher assistant which was a thrilling experience for me. As it turned out, it has been difficult at the basics of the oppression in this society; The course, DST 311: Dynamics of Oppressed, the more Deaf students study books, articles, publications, they should be aware of the oppression documentations that gives Deaf students a chance to grow, and in the sociological oppression, which can supposedly help them what the original oppression were.
The originals of oppression went through a language clash with DST, but the reality is that does Gallaudet University have the originals so saying that a hearing professor have the right to be in charge of DST program? Unless Deaf professors reconstruct the originals of oppression.
Try to revert a basic question: How does it help Deaf students to say that oppression is the inerrant language of the Deaf, if in fact, we do not have a college or university oppressing Deaf students. Gallaudet University ASL/Deaf Studies is one. Once again, the question from the beginning of the post above, “Are all the Deaf Studies and ASL programs in the nation run by Deaf people? No.” In the first video, Dirksen says, “hearing person in Deaf Studies Department? No, it does not make sense.” How come he choose the change of heart?
The post is based on the meaning of the university level awareness is involved and is bit convoluted. This kind of realization coincided with the problems Deaf students encountering the more closely they study oppression. That is exactly why we need to take a quick look at everyday disempowerment of Deaf people.
It is so important that we all are aware of the rights we hold as human who are Deaf.-Trudy Suggs
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.
Suggs, Trudy. A Quick Look at Everyday Disempowerment of Deaf People. Spring 2016. Volume 16, Issue 1.
Bauman, H-Dirksen L. Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking.
Every time I see David Call’s artworks–and gives me a lot of ideas to write!
As alumni for Gallaudet University and a scholar recipient for a graduate program in Deaf Studies, every vote counts. It is the key idea in the Deaf community we live in America, a belief that is easily forgotten about ourselves. The sizable chunk of the electorate does not put the vote in the ballot to heal Deaf citizens with prescriptions every day. That is the power, regardless of the wishes of the voters as a whole.
Like I wrote in my previous blog,
“the Deaf (with capital d) is an archetype within the conscious of all the Deaf that contains our awareness of being Deaf. It is the psychological component that we still think and react to our society like Deaf people, and it is the same component that we are fully aware that the society continues to keep from being able to embrace American Sign Language (ASL).
Of all the betrayals that we the Deaf suffer, perhaps the most poignant of all is the betrayal of ourselves. No example of this is more striking than we remain committed to our being Deaf, that archetypical force which will hinder us from becoming fully empowered users of ASL.
To better understand why we the Deaf betray ourselves, let me present the common patterns of this archetype found within the Deaf community. These patterns include behaviors, perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes of the Deaf. This exploration is intended to help us identify how this archetype force is still in control, and to understand how the Deaf adversely affects our daily lives. They keep us struck, disempowered, and isolated.” @ Jason “JT” Tozier, 2015
This force can be incredibly powerful, such as depicted by the biblical story in which a word make a Deaf man hear: EPHPHATHA. Gallaudet University has this Christian word in its official seal. The idea is that it “contacts” the Almighty. Very powerful, indeed! It is very discriminating! I, myself, could never associate myself with this word in the university seal.
In 1971, Frederick Schreiber, an executive director for National Association of the Deaf (NAD) coined ‘Deaf Studies’ in his quote, “If Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, they must have a better image of themselves and their capabilities. They need concrete examples of what Deaf people have already done so they can project for themselves a brighter future. If we can have Black studies, Jewish studies, why not Deaf studies?” (Note: Quoted in Charles Katz, “A Partial History of Deaf Studies, in Deaf Studies VI Conference Proceedings: Making the Connection (Washington, D.C.; College for Continuing Education, Gallaudet University, 1999. 120.
National Deaf-Mute College was founded in 1864—known as Gallaudet University today. Exactly 130 years later, Deaf Studies program switched the lights on and invited students in to study and research. That was when I was a senior in high school when it was founded. However, there was resistance involved with the idea of the program, “This is partially due to the fact that Deaf Studies was already taught across the curriculum at Gallaudet University and partially due to resistance within Gallaudet University, for fear that such a program would foment resistance and activism. In any event, the solidification of a department was an important moment in the field’s history, as was the formation of its graduate program in 2002” (the undergraduate program was founded by Dr. Yerker Andersson and the graduate program by Drs. Ben Bahan, MJ Bienvenu and H-Dirksen Bauman)
‘I am perpetually honored and humbled to serve as the only hearing member of the Deaf Studies program at the world’s only liberal arts university for Deaf and hard-of hearing students.” H-Dirksen Bauman
That is where the danger begins. That is a big hearing privilege.
Four years after the coinage of ‘Deaf Studies’, Tom Humphries coined the term, Audism, based on the Latin audire, meaning, “to hear”. In his original article, Humphries defined Audism as “the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears”–Tom Humphries, “Audism: The Making of a Word”, unpublished, 1975.
Words have such power that they can bring respect or they can bring disrespect, as is shown by current Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) president, Alyce Slater Reynolds and its association/board. They have had nothing to protest the word, EPHPHATHA today. They had alienated Deaf people, and their words could never help us to concentrate on our own nature. Their words are associated with the charging of ongoing oppression.
There is another crucial point to make about words, which we do not wish to talk about. However, we need to talk about our nature. What is wrong with it?
Paddy Ladd writes a powerful chapter, Colonialism and Resistance: A Brief History of Deafhood—-that questions why EPHPHATHA is not being discussed in Deaf Studies, “We now face the challenge of bringing about the second phase, to search for more explicit Deaf epistemologies and ontologies that can frame these developments in a more holistic way, so that Deaf Studies can become a more conscious model for Deaf-centered praxis”
That is exactly why EPHPHATHA should be more conscious model to discuss in classrooms—and one of the reasons we may find nature of the Deaf hard to believe in—even when it has been demonstrated to us—is that we have lost our connection to nature. The lack of action from GUAA would be unlikely to hold true for most Deaf people today, for the way we think of nature has changed.
Flash: Bauman, the only hearing member writes in his own words, “Even within the field of Deaf Studies, perspectives of Deaf people are often not valued. Many programs call themselves Deaf Studies but are actually based on an audiological model…”
EPHPHATHA is an audiologically model that will not allow to discuss in classrooms or you get in trouble. Bauman has the power as a department chair that will not allow discussions about this at all. You know what will happen next? TROUBLE. For example, in 1972, there was a tragic day in my motherland, Ireland, dealt with ‘Bloody Sunday’ and within a year before; ‘Deaf Studies’ was created.
‘Bloody Sunday’ was a national tragic day for Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unharmed Irish people during a protest march. The same idea that ‘Deaf Studies’ applies to oppression, hegemony, language racism, and language bigotry what was going on in Ireland.
“A better course for Deaf Studies would be to examine the situation in identity politics now, learn from the past, think about the beyond-identity issues floating in the public sphere, come up with flexible and nonhierarchical models of being, and lead the way out of the dead end of identity thinking”—Lennard Davis
13 yeas later after the graduate program was created, Bauman is in charge today. Think about it. Remember, resistance and activism.
Yet, Bauman writes, “From Desloges to Veditz to the formation of Deaf Studies, Deaf people have been defending the right to use sign language, the right to intermarry, and the right not to be subjected to medical and religious cures, the right simply to be left alone…while Deaf Studies has proven the existence of Deaf Culture, the cultural argument is often not enough to convince hearing doctors and parents to cease their endless search for a cure.”
“Why should society want to keep and promote Deaf people? What good are Deaf people to society? What good are Deaf children to a family? These difficult questions must now be explored if the Deaf world is to continue in the face of biopower institutions intent on the eradication of the Deaf community.”
As Gallaudet alumni, nature is considered part of the family. I recognize that every alumnus and alumni, they do not talk about it to hearing people, they do have their own guiding spirit. Isn’t that part of our nature of being Deaf?
In terms of language, let’s start by defining EPHPHATHA. The English language has a very strange inference of curing ears, and the speakers of English assume from their own inference that being Deaf is pathological. The English language dictionary defines EPHPHATHA: the Greek form of a Syro-Chaldaic or Aramaic word, meaning “Be opened,” uttered by Christ when healing the man who was deaf and dumb (Mark 7:34). It is one of the characteristics of Mark that he uses the very Aramaic words which fell from our Lord’s lips. (See 3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 14:36; 15:34.)
Once again, Bauman writes, “How would the world be affected negatively by the loss of Deaf communities?” The speakers of English are very comfortable applying the word at Gallaudet University. It is a loss that affects Deaf community. Why not Bauman enforce and allow EPHPHATHA in the classrooms to be part of academic discussion? Remember Bloody Sunday 1972.
After all, EPHPHATHA is a Bloody Sunday.
Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirety only, including this copyright message.
“Ephphatha.” Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. 13 Mar. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ephphatha>.