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Tag Archives: Identity

Let’s Grab Some Popcorn!

Watching Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump is like a set of movies in order or perhaps a sequence. Cutting 9.2 Billion dollars for Education is a big insult to the American people. LBTQA and Black students including Deaf students are America’s future students that should not be demoralized and oppressed!

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Cochlear Implants: A Legacy of Lies

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Speaking of Audism in a hospital I had endured back last February 2013, it is something that it cannot be cured. That doctor who asked me if I want a cochlear implant during my heart attack stage tried to lock me up in a cage like I need to act like hearing person. Any doctors in that day who believes in witch doctoring along with medical doctoring should not be wandering outside on her own. During my two days there, I thrived and survived, I was one of those patients of their “think-hearing” mode through doctors’ orders that they should be on endangered list. Even though I had an interpreter during the whole time, it is one thing for a doctor to subscribe to believability as a sort of death wish to make Deaf patients act and think like hearing.  It is something else that that doctor tried to make me suffer for my own delusions.

Cochlear implant is a mad fraud. The truth is that what has distinguished this smooth talking and congenial tool is that the cochlear implant companies have a plan to make Deaf patients even children suffer the worst of all.  Their plan is to make a dream and Deaf children getting their nightmares. It leads with a lie—namely to control money by spending money and false myths—the companies’ plan is clearly about lack of insecurity, not only that but making Deaf people suffer and work longer before receiving curtailed benefits, threatening their lives not to act like Deaf person anymore instead to invest more into “hearing” mode. That doctor opened my floodgates to understand and protect future Deaf children to the rapacious cochlear implant companies to feed the sharks with money to make profit.

Are those cochlear implant companies too busy to challenge the truth and also too fearful of trying to defend their lies and plutocratic values to the likes of their own theories? The cochlear implant companies also sets up complicated relations between belonging and alienation, identity and identification, subjectivation, and subjectification inside the hospitals. Deaf people’s everyday lives are articulated by and with culture. It needs to investigate how Deaf people are empowered and disempowered by the particular structures and forces that organize their everyday lives in many ways, and how their lives are also articulated to and is strongly influenced by economic, social, cultural and course, political power. Audism is at best to describe the mood there.

Perhaps the single greatest camera technique occurs at the culmination of each episode. Reversing the famed Hitchcock’s God’s Eye Shot, the camera shoots from low to high, pulling slowly up and away from the characters so that a panorama of the entire street, then the entire city, can be seen. As the street becomes visible, the viewer sees a larger area of devastation and some kind of infestation. The camera pulls away further, suggesting a view of human live as very small. If the God’s Eye Shot represents as unseen worldly omnipotent vantage point, then the inverse of this shot suggest something more sinister. The camera angle suggests a godless state, spiritual hopelessness, and no omnipresence to suggest hope for the future.

Comfort and complacency juxtaposes with poverty, myth and survival. I was placed in a hospital, emerging from a heart attack, to face a new apocalyptic reality if I receive cochlear implant. The same hospital I stayed at, it was supposed to be a place for health and healing, is now a repository for genocide to wipe Deaf people out. Society no longer responds to the needs of its members. The hospital, like society is now deserted.  The only signs of “life” emerge from a desperately quarantined room with an ominous warning on the door: “DO not open! Deaf person inside!”—I watched in disbelief and fear as the door heaves forward, opening slightly. I am not a child anymore!

Did I get a chance to emerge from the freedom accompanied by an unearthly cacophony of calling moans of the doctors? My experience had been physically and metaphorically allowed me to close my eyes to the realities of horrors in civil society. Now, in a frail human state of emotional disorientation, and physical weakness from heart attack, I refuse to become an unwitting candidate in a living nightmare for cochlear implant. I stay with Deaf identity now and forever. I shall die Deaf. I rather pick heart attack over forcing to get a cochlear implant anytime. Now this is my second time I suffered heart attack. Most recent: November 1st, 2013. This time, they did not ask me if I wanted a cochlear implant. Smart move!

-JT

Copyright © 2014 Jason Tozier

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

Unlocking The Deaf Mind

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It was on September 11, 1880 when Abbe Giulio Tarra, the conference president held an emergency press conference for Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf to make a proposal known today as the Milan Resolution in Italy. It was the date that would live in infamy—government agencies around the world began to attack Deaf people forcibly and deliberately in an attempt to discredit sign languages by taking away the language status as Deaf people’s human right. Oralism has since locked the mystery of the Deaf mind. Is it a grand lesson of history?

Louis Michael Siedman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center teaching constitutional law, published the book, On Constitutional Disobedience, and in this book, he questions, “Why should we care about what the Constitution says? Should we feel obligated to obey it? How can we make decisions today based on a document created more than 200 years ago?”

The term, Audism, was coined by Tom Humphries in 1975, and it was built behind the brick walls for a while until Paddy Ladd published his book, Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood in 1992, it has became evidently strong. In fact, Deafhood is the only cardinal way to unlock the mystery of the Deaf mind.

When Deafhood appeared into our Audism dictionary of, the U.S. Constitution must establish a judicial system as a challenge to our Constitutionality. The question: does the U.S. Constitution threaten to undermine Deaf people’s foundational documents to have their own human right to be Deaf? Can we the Deaf change the laws including our constitutional laws to keep American Sign Language (ASL) strong? Yes, we can!

Yes, I know it is just some old news…but now there is the second wave of Oralism and we must generate stories about our language and culture–ASL, which has positive results with our own mind, it is also meant to provide ourselves by planting the seeds necessary to ensure a happy, healthy, and long-lasting relationship with ASL. When Deaf people use ASL, they are fully-fledged citizens. They coast on waves of silence and can relay the most gripping messages using only their hands. Their existence encompasses many planes, the highest ones being the leader, and the least populated. Home of the humble elite, stripped of their pride by the glamour stealing nature of life and their lessons and also the fates and their scissors. ASL reaches out to the individuals to guide them to these higher places. One of their most utilized methods to do so is literature.

People often turn to books and pamphlets to lead them into the metaphysical world by making manifest the questions they ask everyday, like ‘who am I?’ or ‘what is my purpose?” We the Deaf need to create more literature so it can be possess so much enlightenment the planar hierarchy that exists Deaf people is very much highly apparent and carry on live amidst a populace of lesser beings. Deaf people are the metaphysical social caste system to order the importance of their stories with the most enlightened and complimentary stories being the least. After all, ASL in literature is very much part of the Deaf world where it has forms of Deafhood to share their Deaf experiences because they exist.

Back to Siedman’s question above, “Why should we care about what the Constitution says? Should we feel obligated to obey it? How can we make decisions today based on a document created more than 200 years ago?” –-Yes, we need to trace our roots to a firm presence in Deafhood life to establish a use of our paternal tone, and supports our needs to use constrained language, ASL. We need to use our legitimacy by being part of something greater than the Second wave of Oralism: We all have ancestral ties to Deafhood, its traditions and its history. Our personal identities play an important part in national and international identity, then and now. The name of Deafhood as it is explicated here, is stronger and older than the U.S. Constitution today.

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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

Renaming the Deafhood is Sinful!

ImagePaddy Ladd by Nancy Rourke

The book, Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood is the best bookseller in the Deaf community without question. The book has offered many positive contributions. This book is significant as it highlights the process of naming Deafhood as it shapes an identity of a Deaf individual. In this book, Paddy Ladd, in his own thoughts and ideas, tries to convince the Deaf world that he is already embracing the name for us, Deaf people.

Each of us, Deaf people, is the owner of Deafhood. We must insistent upon yet another name change. The book highlights depths of subjugation which has faced Ladd and other Deaf people. Ladd has an ability to carry his culturally based birth name with him throughout his Deafhood journey. The history has been attempting to erase the language and culture of the Deaf. Ladd simply wishes to continue his Deafhood journey to which he has grown accustomed and preferred. Ladd prefers to be called by his birth name, which would have restored individual autonomy to him. The process of renaming personhood by calling it Deafhood in his Master’s thesis, reinforcing his ownership of the Deafhood by postulating it with the sphere of personhood.

Renaming the Deafhood is sinful and it functions to further degrade Ladd from a person to a chattel status. Renaming in this book can be seen as a counterpart of the strategy of colonialism by hearing people. Justifications for hearing colonialism have demanded a suspicious vantage point of Deaf people as heathen and immoral, and imparting this consciousness into the minds of the enslaved. This reliance upon their captors more firmely entrenched them in subjugation.

Renaming attempted to erase Ladd’s past, for example, his cultural roots. In essence, renaming ultimately a function of rejecting Deaf culture, a fundamental crux of personal agency. Ladd’s initial resistance to hearing colonialism is a paramount testament to the level of forced assimilation as a subtle byproduct of colonial slavery. The author wants to see Deaf people get successful moving forward to create an positive environment where everyone in the trenches of Deaf community are all looking at the big picture to stand up against the problems and obstacles.

There is no better time than the present–right now. The Deafhood book is the international largest provider of truth for Deaf people, but it is being gutted by lawmakers who dismiss the value of Deaf people’s lives under the dogma of prohibition. Again, the book is delightful to read, many of readings in there has spanned life-changing thoughts.

It will strike you and turn your life around. One of my favorite comedians, Conan O’Brien said: “Let me leave you with the one last thought: If you can laugh at yourself and hard every time you fall, people will think you are drunk.”

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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

Laugh and The World Laughs With You

Image                                                 Identity Gone by Nancy Rourke

Laugh, laugh, laugh! Come on, it is not that hard to do! What is wrong with you?

Well, when I was growing up seeing family members in the same room, laughing, and I often asked them, “what is so funny?” They would say, “I am too lazy to tell you,” “it is not important to know,”  “you do not understand,” “get lost,” “who are you?” Why is the laughter not very much a part of my life? I became dumbfounded on-spot that something was funny in another language: spoken English. Not just the family gatherings, but I would watch movies with closed captions, I still did not laugh. Growing up as a kid, I was completely clueless about American Sign Language (ASL).

Growing up in THE hearing world all my life, I was just a stranger, an interloper without guidance, a lack of ASL, and confused with no goal or direction in life. As a boy growing up in a small town, I drank into my character a dark with empty life that had not shared enough with an important human property, laughter. Without laughing, it gave me a handful of toxic legacies that flushed me inside out.

There were several times when my cousin Tony and I would be watching a movie with some of comedy together, he was laughing hard but he noticed that I did not laugh. He then asked me why I would not laugh. I never really understood any part of the laughter. I was just an angry kid, knowing that my family did not bother to communicate with me. Also, I was angry that I was being bullied and ostracized at my school. I often landed me in the principal’s office where I would get accused, blamed and suspended right away. Those hearing peers would mock and laugh at me. So I did not laugh.

After I saw stories in ASL via vlogs and Deaf scholars, I was shocked to discover that I was able to laugh! It had transformed me from a lonely and introvert childhood. I always had trouble with the hearing world, and with laughter, I went to being an outgoing, sociable jock, just a full of life.

I lived with the label in hearing world all my life until ASL came into my life that removed my depression right away. As my story goes on, I saw people laughing with furtive glances in public.  I could remember for the first time when I laughed in ASL in the air, it became free. It changed my life; I still feel the stigma from growing up in the mainstreaming world. I believe that mainstreaming changed the presence of who I am. It is the most reviled label that I lived in that world.

When I was 20, I chose to move out of from a small plot of land in the rural southwestern Washington State town, population of 500, the back door of the single-wide house faces the forest—the fact that I had to escape from vigilant attacks. The stigma by not laughing too much followed me around until I met Deaf scholars. I never knew they knew how to make me laugh! What kept me going? My anger, my guilt, my ignorance.  I had lived in the hearing world. My return to a “normal” life has been slow. I needed to go to ASL festivals more often. With glints of laughing in ASL made a lot of progress where I had opened up to my friends and relatives outside my immediate family.

I realized that laughing is itself a learned behavior. ASL is the language usage to learn. I was intrigued by seeing comedies in ASL to help me identify myself as a Deaf person. The act of role in ASL makes a huge repetitious performance of Deafhood that is dictated by a hearing dominance culture. It questions the idea of laughing in ASL is very important to recognize the state of being Deaf from which hearing world deviates. Learning how to laugh in ASL goes through a fallow period and has some conceptualization of what I am to ASL around me before I can comfortably live in the world. After all, laughing is contagious if it is shared and understood.

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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

My Reflection Triggered by the CI question: Deafhood is the Answer

ImageDeafhood Unleashed

[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

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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

Reference:

Ladd, Paddy. Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. 2003.

Welch, James. Winter in the Blood. New York: Penguin Group, 1986.