The state of Oklahoma has decided not to charge police officers for the murder claimed that it was justified aka “good or legitimate reason” shooting. In Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess:
“Most striking, perhaps, is the overwhelming evidence that implicit bias measures are disassociated from the explicit bias measures. In fact, studies indicate that people become increasingly harsh when an alleged criminal is darker and more “stereotypically black”; they are more lenient when the accused is lighter and appears more stereotypically white. This is true of jurors as well as law enforcement officers.”
It is a real tragic what happened in Oklahoma City where Magdiel Sanchez, a Deaf Disabled Latino man were killed by police which its job was sloppy and unprofessional. It was all about about stereotypes because Magdiel was Latino and Deaf. It could have been avoided. It could have easier for all of us. It could have better compassion. It was unbelievably, without question, what David Prater, District Attorney for the state of Oklahoma, created Audism, by saying: “the fact that Sanchez was deaf was “irrelevant”….you don’t need to hear to know what these officers are saying to you.” OUCH! That’s really low! Maybe one of the lamest excuses ever coming from District Attorneys anywhere. The definition of irrelevant:
Adjective. Not connected with or relevant to something. Of course, Deaf people are not connected with the social acceptance! Seeing Audism is not the problem, how will we accept and learn how to care for the people we see which people would see it as a problem? Why is that? How can it be irrelevant? Mr. Prater does not know what it feels like to be Deaf. That is not his place to say that. Totally not necessary. Not so cool.
Do you think David Prater is a Audist? It is not the first time he said that. He said same thing about Pearl Pearson, a Deaf Black man. He does not even care about Deaf people. The letter Prater writes about Pearson, “he was either hearing impaired or that he couldn’t hear due to the loud traffic noise…” shows that he lacks awareness about Deaf culture. That is the problem that there are not ENOUGH awareness training about Deaf people in police academy. They’d fuck you over.
Suppose, if we follow the quote written by Jose Zalaquett Daher:
If you close a wound without cleaning it, it will fester and reappear.”
How can Deaf community heal a wound when a Deaf man who was unarmed and completely innocent was shot several times when he cannot hear the commands? Will it re-appear somewhere in America when a Deaf person gets killed by police for being “Deaf”? It is a high probability even if it is unpredictable in the hidden statistics, yes, it will be. The double oppression in this police brutality, it was also added Racism played a big factor in this scene.
Ready for the bigger problem? In Oklahoma, if someone wants to be a police officer, they’d have to pass psychological evaluation by licensed psychologist in the state of Oklahoma, and that was the iceberg of the ignorance. So, if it comes to psychological evaluation, was there a question mark down, “How would you deal with Deaf person?” It is critical! They cannot IGNORE that question. Deaf people cannot be left out of the social acceptance. We must not forget sensitivity training.
What works to get Deaf community to build trust with police by having a policy from Deaf community to make a statement, “our policy is take four years ASL classes, Deaf Studies, and Deaf Culture as a requirement for police departments.” It would keep build better awareness. It is not that hard. Deaf people have lived enough to deal with the fact they are living in strong-dominated hearing community. Is that not hard to see that?
We do not need Trump’s policy to beef up harsher police brutality and harm Deaf people. Police brutality is one of the greatest social problems; we shall explore the social position of oppression (Audism and Racism) in Deaf community and discuss how Audism and Racism intersects with Deaf community, and what is involved to talk more about Audism and Racism? Then we can consider the position of oppression in the institutional areas of Deaf people. We can conclude the awareness with an examination of social movements and social change.
As for the police officers and David Prater, who refused to accept the fact that they created Audism and Racism—isn’t that a double standard? The American spirit: the history of hidden Audism as a way of looking at life? Whatever happened to the circle of freedom? Such questions like that were necessary because in the case of Deaf community, pain is seeded as originated from the viewpoints. Do American spirit define Deaf community as a people and nation? That includes immigrants, too. Any one.
Seeing Deaf people gets killed by police—may have caused us all to deal and suffer at what a long way we have come. It is not the first time that police got away with the murder of unharmed Deaf people. It could happen to one of us.
Blink. Blink. Blink. Tick. Tock. Forgotten soul. We must not forget Magdiel Sanchez. We must remember this from Magdiel’s family initial press statement dated September 22, 2017:
“We are devastated by Magdiel’s death and the fact it occurred at the hands of OKCPD even though he was not a suspect for any crime, was not breaking any laws, and was standing in his own front yard with his trusted walking stick.”
***OKCPD stands for Oklahoma City Police Department***
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess. Page 107.
I am 42 years old male, my government skin is white, and a direct line with indigenous people in my family, I will copy and paste this powerful statement that today people still thinks Indigenous people are “people of color”:
A common phrase used to describe minority or underrepresented populations is “people of color.” American Indians are not, to quote Elizabeth Cook Lynn, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe and founding editor of Wicazo Sa (a leading journal in American Indian Studies), “people of color”. Cook-Lynn writes:
Native populations in America are not “ethnic” populations; they are not “minority” populations, neither immigrant nor tourist, nor “people of color.” They are the indigenous peoples of this continent. They are landlords, with very special political and cultural status in the realm of American identity and citizenship. Since 1924, they have possessed dual citizenship, tribal and U.S.; and are the only population that has not been required to deny their previous national citizenship in order to possess U.S. citizenship. They are known and documented as citizens by their tribal nations. (1)
After watching a Deaf white woman with privileges video to belittle Deaf people of color conference couple of days ago, I do not know what to say, more like tying knots in my stomach. This post might be bit long to read—and try my best to unpack my white privileges. When I was a college student at a local community college, I signed up for African American History as part of my degree requirement before transferring to a university. My majors were: English, Liberal Studies, and Sociology.
That day in 2005 when I entered into the classroom to learn and appreciate African American history, I reached a very low moment in my academic experience when the teacher turned out to be a white male and had no experience in teaching this subject. It was a very last minute notice by the History department and I was offended. That was where I decided to withdraw that course on the same day. I felt good about it—that was part of unpacking my white privileges.
Later I became a university student—I signed up for American Indian Literature that was taught by Indigenous professor. I signed up for Jewish Literature that was also taught by Jewish professor. Then I signed up for Advanced Topics in American Literature: The Harlem Renaissance taught by Black professor. If Deaf Studies is taught or run the department by a hearing person, what do you call it? Is that a cultural appropriation? What about disempowerment? Dirty politics will always get in the way.
The whole point is that it is appreciated by what it is called cultural appreciation to learn about another culture with respect and courtesy by their own experience through the trials of oppression. In 2010, I attended National Deaf People of Color Conference: Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying held in Portland, Oregon, it has popped my eyes even more coming from Deaf POC. They were the teachers of stories. I thank them for their experiences.
….What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society succeed in this, that society is about to perish.” [A Talk to Teachers]
What this means is, if we project that someone fail, they indeed might. But if we encourage and educate them, especially to take the occasional chance and challenge existing knowledge, we could truly advance as a society.
It is about education of People of Color. What I learned all these years not just the courses I took, but all the books I’ve read is that people of color has been stigmatized and never allow a Deaf white people with privileges to challenge Deaf people of color conference’s goals and missions on the basis of gender and race. Did it create an environment of paranoia? They already suffered as a result of extreme prejudice and stereotype.
This pertains to social problems because there is definitely a large gulf of misunderstanding between POC and whites that seems to pervade society to this day, and that is tragic if we are to share the earth’s resources and live and work together as a human race. When no one asks honest racial questions about it, generations of ignorance and hatred fill the spaces between different races. When we all make an extra effort to understand each other’s experience or at least learn to it, that is progress in filling these racial gaps between people.
If I may make friendly suggestions to read three those books just to start and understand:
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk
John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me
And two movies to watch: Dear White People: A Satire about Being a Black Face in a White Place and 13th: From Slave to Criminal With One Amendment.
Yes, I have more books to share, but I feel this is good enough for now. It is only beginning—time to unpack white privileges right there. Remember, Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying……Deaf People of Color comes FIRST—and try not to break up the hands, signs, and colors into white privileges. Make a good example.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.