Open Letter for Nyle DiMarco

0.png

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.

DyMot_KU8AAibdf-1.jpg

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.

Advertisements

The Last 48 Hours: Deaf Community Marginalized?

donald-trump-sotu-getty-20054529.jpeg

After I watched State of the Union by #45 in 2019 speech, I have to admit that it was a joke. I mean, come on, it would take someone to have a simple common sense to solve math problem in additional formula. Does Donald Trump understand the solution that would fix the sociological problem in the society?—and I am writing about the lack of Deaf sociological problems in America.

All of Trump’s speech tonight, think about how much the language had been showing—language hegemony in the power of hearing privileges, think about Deaf Studies or the people of the eye we live in for time being when we breathe or die. It is a life and death situation. It is amazing how the literature been going through trials of struggle and trying to betray the language of truth. Which was the smallest minority group of all?

DEAF COMMUNITY. The number 45, it was said to be in the mathematical literature that that number would shift major changes in people’s life. That makes sense. Do not let this new norm to rattle and crumble the Deaf community in lower numbers. When I watched #45’s speech, the key merit to recognize the beginning of literature that allows hearing privileges to hold the power, the hate crime is too bullshit to discuss and why we cannot walk away from this social problem and how can we discuss more about hate crime in our own community: Deaf community?

image.jpg

The actual Issac Newton’s Drawing as a Kid.

The wall is a joke. Let’s discuss about the wall of Deaf community. The metaphor by one of my favorite mathematicians: Sir Isaac Newton: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Exactly. Where is the bridge between Deaf and hearing community? Too many walls! Why cannot hearing community get along with Deaf community when it should not build too many walls and ignore bridges that should have been prevented? For one, I have always believed in the bias against the Deaf. The Deaf bias has managed to weave itself a very haunting reputation that is extremely difficult to catch and comprehend. When it comes to American Sign Language (ASL), the bias would be laid on the table and then allow itself to be examined, thus becoming easily erased and eradicated.

In my most recent lecture, “Fighting the Fire of Hate: Deaf America in Crisis” last October 2018 held at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, it has transformed into a model of its own kind, rich with anecdotes and facts from all the Deaf, from all walks of life, and the laws that lacks the protection of Deaf people, has been missing the facts, and it has missing the most from two parts: ASL and counterpart English.

When we are glued to watch through television, it is so powerful that the trick of political language that matters you the most, challenging in the most of truth of all truth that the biases are often invisible against the Deaf. Where is the betterment of all the Deaf?

When Deaf people are heard around the world and the country, it goes by the ballots in the years and years ahead—and it needs your help. Is there a fundamental right for Deaf person to stand and hold democracy in America? Think about this one, after America, there is no place to go in this vast universe. Although Deaf community like myself, had experienced implicit prejudices and discrimination. America is still a great place to be and live.

The last 48 hours had been making Deaf community difficult to breathe and live with the consequence that had been marginalized, and neglected, the Super Bowl 2019 game: “Deaf, Dumb, and Blind” even if it was a lyric that hurts them the most—and less than five seconds of live coverage of Deaf person signing in ASL on national television, and the history of the State of the Union that always lack the discourses of Deaf Studies in people, literature, and history. All in thrice! We should remember that “Deaf” will be always unparalleled force in our politics. Action does show much the difference. Can we find the next generation of DEAF-CENTERED leaders in our movement?

deaf-police-brutality-2.jpg

 

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

DATA-ISM: The New Audism

Is Data-Ism the New Audism? Data can be tricky and could lead to the unlocking the power of data to gain more Audism to benefit Alexander Graham Bell as money generator.

Be Greater than Average

Can mathematics (in terms of ASL/Deaf-centric thinking) become Deaf community’s best friend?

My Personal Struggles in Mainstreaming America

ImageNancy Rourke’s System Fails

After reading an article about Fausto Delgado, a Deaf mainstreamed kid who decided to take his life two weeks ago in California, and it hit me hard by bringing my memories back.

News flash: I never shared this with anyone but only two good friends know about it. When I was 14, I was so fed up with my life, I was a very unhappy individual, unable to express my own frustrations through sign language, and no one could really understood what I was going through. I grew up mainstreamed all my life and I could easily vouch that it was one of the most brutal experiences in my life.

One weekend in late April a long time ago, for example, I went inside the barn on my family’s property, I saw an opportunity by putting the rope on the beam around my neck, so I could commit suicide until my grandfather was walking up to the barn, I hid the rope right away and acted like nothing had happened. I could even remember my grandfather’s face, looking bit puzzled, and he asked me what I was doing there. Only that he did not know sign language. Home-signed “nothing” by shaking my head.

No one knew about this until now. That was in 1988, few weeks after Deaf President Now (DPN).

Why is it being labeled as the most misgiving in human life that being Deaf in mainstreaming is not normal? I had been subjected to limit ASL from being natural Deaf. My “sound-oriented” teachers, school administration, principals even most of my interpreters were deficit thinkers. I had one interpreter who was a Child of Deaf Adult (CODA) and she tried to help me so much she could then one day she moved away. I never knew what CODA meant until I was in my late 20’s. I can still remember my middle school principal, Mr. Hicks who was a mean-spirited bully, and he had one of the worst and poor flexibilities within Deaf Education that made my education to suffer. He allowed students to bully me as much as they could.

Mr. Hicks made sure that I was suffering from my own emotional insecurity and destroy my intellectual development within receiving fair education. From going through K-12, I was the target of bullies at the same time; I was suspended from school 18 times just for protecting myself. There were many stories to share.

Once, when I was in the third grade, I disobeyed an order from my interpreter “X” telling me to slow down because she did not like the fact that I was good in solving fractions so quickly in front of the other students making her look bad. But I was natural in mathematics then she actually slapped my face in the hallway and dragged my hand to go see my principal, Mrs. Gloria Pappas and I cried so hard asking, “WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!” and I ended up in detention for two days. My father never knew about this. When I was 17, I had a chance to visit Deaf school; I admit that I was shocked. I really wanted to go there, but I did not.

The mainstreaming system failed to release itself from the grasp of the bullying methods by permitting them to have as much influence in “power-struggling” Deaf students down in their faces. Once the bullying is granted to a fair and constant price more people will choose between bullying and intimidation. More Deaf students will have to suffer with their afflictions for lack of being to protect themselves, and lastly, more bullies will be able to find a way to belittle Deaf students that they are deemed to impossible to fight back. Mainstreaming schools for Deaf students will realize that the words of those bullies do apply to school administration and their families.

The Deaf body can be resilient but also frail and fallible and they are people, too. The mainstreaming is a dark pot into which activities that relates to many Deaf mainstreamed kids being bullied everyday. It is time to minimize aggression, bullying, threats, and distress. Why being hesitant by supporting bullying against Deaf kids that now are deeming to be ineffective?

It is evident that Deaf children in mainstreaming schools experience higher percentage of emotional abuses more than hearing peers. The safe haven in classrooms does not exist at all. The mainstreaming schools fails to make a cardinal decision by protecting Deaf students with public safety efforts and grant them freedom and protections. The problem is that the society is too ignorant. Will mainstreamed Deaf kids ever rehabilitate from emotional scars? Maybe. Maybe not.

One of my favorite authors, Barbara Perry wrote,

This historical example is a reminder that acts of discriminatory violence and intimidation—hate crimes—are not new phenomena in the United States. It is important to keep in mind that what we currently refer to as hate crime has a long historical lineage; the contemporary dynamics of hate-motivated violence have their origins in historical conditions. With respect to racial violence, at least, history does repeat itself, as similar patterns of motivation, sentiment, and victimization recur over time….”

It matches perfectly what mainstreamed Deaf kids experience discriminatory violence and intimidation—intellectual Audism. History does repeat itself…..

Remember that CODA interpreter I mentioned? Well, I bumped into her in Las Vegas in summer 2012 during World Deaf Expo, it was very nice to see her after 20 years and she said that I grew up so much and knowing I had very rough life and she said that she really wished she could have helped me out more to escape from dark rooms in mainstreaming schools. It was heartbreaking to see her say that. Maybe I could have better life. The society failed me. The mainstreaming system failed me. Even today they are still trying to make me a failure. The million-dollar question, what is the effect of dehumanizing Deaf students in mainstream classrooms?

Image

Third grade. Front row. Fourth person on the right with black watch (That is me) See first three boys in the very back on the left side. Bullies. In the second row, second person on the left, a boy who loved to taunt me. Years later we bumped into each other in high school at a wrestling tournament where we faced each other on the mat. Guess who won? By a majority score. Good times.

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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

David Call’s Ghost: How Call Created his Deaf Art in His Own Image

173662986-thinking-heads-icons-thinkstock

There are many inherent differences and similarities between the artwork of David Call’s, however I found that Call has to be to be very influenced by Deafhood period. Using different stylistic, and artsy techniques yet still adhering to a rather flattened result and a focus on figures, David Call made this specific mark in the transitional time shifting to Deafhood theme.

Call’s artworks is one of the powerful “alter pieces” dedicated to the lad who invented Deafhood. The same word that has been heavily influenced Call to find the golden age of Deaf stories. His artworks are considered to be one of the greatest graphic representations of Deafhood in any neither form nor shape. His artworks are heavily discussed with an ingenious, transitional “bridge” from a flatter style of art to more full-bodied, richly textured Deaf art. Pointing out Call’s tendencies toward Deafhood thinking, I would like to use one of my favorite quotes of all time, “A blind man in a dark room is looking for a black cat which is not there”-Lord Byron. Call saw the deep thinking in those stories that needs to be seen through Deaf art.

His artworks I would like to put away that he wanted to have those stories to be thoughtful and rejoicing in the gift of the Deafhood stories. His artworks are most noticeable in his ability to realistically render the human form; Call utilized a flat style typical of the Deafhood era, and Call demonstrated a higher knowledge of form and dimension.

The next point of comparison worth discussion is the nature of the composition; how the arrangement of figures and objects, and graphic sense of space were utilized comparatively by Call. For example, Submission has a series of three levels, which, due to flatness of the sense of space, appear to be like bookshelves on which rest miniature scenes. The center of the composition of his artworks in Submission whom looms magnificently over the tiny figures and is flanked by hovering audists, and the light of Deaf Metamorphosis also draws the viewer’s eye to the center of the painting, where the Deaf Metamorphosis holds one hand up in a powerful gesture, and in the other cradles, presumably, Deafhood somewhere in there.

It is very obvious that Call planned this dramatic, horizontal composition beforehand, and probably mapped exactly where to put all of the smaller figures in the composition in relation to the all-important central figure. While all of these artworks he created an image that is strong in dimensionality, there is still plenty of intrigue to be found within his artworks, such as the mystical overlapping wing design to the upper left of Deaf Metamorphosis and the multiple scenes to the right and left of Submission which depict various interactions.

Call had a clear idea of relationships of objects, perspective, some foreshortening techniques, the value scale, and dimension of Deaf space. The faces, bodies, and limbs of the two figures I mentioned above reveal detailed shading and correcting anatomy, and also suggest a real study of Deaf people for the principle of Call’s artworks and it seems to work visually on his own respective levels, Call’s version seem to be more simplified with minimal figures, and more captivating with its use of delicate shading, and perceptive sense of Deaf space. There was probably many factors contributing to these differences between his artworks, some of which might been influence of mentors and apprenticeships on and by the artist themselves, and the concept of an ever-increasing faculty for the sciences, mathematics, and visual perception. One thing can be said that David Call, his work had a profound influence on much of Deaf art that came after them. Keep up the good work!

Please visit David Call’s website: http://www.eyehandstudio.com

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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