Good-Bye, Chief Wahoo

Older blog post: https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2016/11/04/deaf-community-the-gravity-of-racism-in-sports/

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How To Be a Better American

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America’s neighbor, Canada—someone from there left me a comment to tell me that I need to be a better American and leave Donald Trump alone. I’ve been bred and buttered in America since 1974. I’ve walked through school halls being constantly bullied by hearing peers everyday. I’ve been suspended several times just because I was standing up and protect myself from bullies. I was taught to follow American values—I’ve been breathing through thick air for 365 days a year for next 42 years.

Oh, I also remember growing up in schools telling me to respect American flag and yet I was mocked for being Deaf. That tells a lot, right? Oddly, I feel compelled to explain what an American flag is all about—today in current political climate under Trump, the flag is now seen as a taboo. When a person from Canada tells me that I need to be a ‘better American’.

What the person does not know that in 1970s, Trump and his father was constantly bully and discriminate Black people in several American cities when they were looking for a place to rent out for their human necessities as we all do to have a roof over our heads. They were profiled. The Department of Justice (DOJ) took them to the court for racial discrimination and the violation of Fair Housing Act. Was the person from Canada aware of this?

Oh, Trump has a huge list of history mocking Native Americans. In 1993, he was called out to testify front of congressional testimony and the true colors came out of Trump’s mouth when he said, “They don’t look like Indians to me and they don’t look like Indians to Indians.” Damn! That is a hate speech, folks! I’m part of Cherokee and I did not really appreciate what Trump said. Where did he learn that? His father. Hate is a learned behavior. You ever notice that Trump never talks about his mother? Tsk tsk. Wait, do not forget what Trump lied to the media that he was not aware of protestors at Standing Rock. That’s one damn lying sack of shit!

Back in 2013, I attended a conference at National Museum of the American Indian, Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports to fight against systematic racism. Is that not a better American?

For the last few days has been difficult for America to deal with Trump’s lies and he was the one who incited political violence. He is a rampant xenophobic, racist, misogynist and a very bad actor to cover up his lies. Now, that person from Canada tells me to be a better American. Guess what? I am—because I am fighting against all forms of hate, systematic racism, and we are witnessing increasing violence by angry racists who are targeting Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ people, minority communities and Deaf community as well. We are witnessing…invisible consequences. Seriously!

As a better American, it is my civic responsibility to inform Deaf community that we need to get Trump impeached, jailed, and out of the office for the highest treason and incite political violence. It is also all of our duties to put hate groups out of business, and of course, seeking justice for survivors of discrimination. As for the American flag we see everyday, old America was not built on faith, it was built on hate and violence and we do not need history repeating again. Trump is bringing old America back.

Hence, “America First”—that’s bullshit. My maternal and paternal great grandfathers were immigrants who fled from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany for safety and opportunity. They were granted immigration, and seek for better life for themselves and their families. My own families. Do not forget my Cherokee families, too.

I will not let Trump’s “politics” to corrupt my own American flag I was taught to follow American values. Back in 2007, as an undergraduate student signing up for Hate Crime and Bias course, that changed my life forever. A year later, I voted for Obama and was very proud to know that Obama was my president. The next day after Obama won the election, I remember showing up for a class, it was practically empty because everyone was partying so hard and cried for a change.

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That was the real America we are talking about because we were sick of systemic racism everyday and believed that it is change to erase hate because we have no place for hate anymore. When the white supremacists causing major violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, they wanted to “take America back”—OK, the real question, maybe make it a sociological question—take it back for what? From whom? Why? For what kind of purpose? I do not really understand this at all.  Trump does not represent American flag. No way!

By telling me that I need to be a better American and leave Trump alone does not sit well with me.

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

Fools Crow: Roots and Branches of Native American Literature

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Today is James Welch’s birthday—a famous Native American writer whom he passed away in 2003. When I looked up Google, there was a Doodle of James Welch honoring his contributions. I did not realize today was his birthday—so, I am writing a post to honor him. When I signed up for American Indian Literature course as a student, I really enjoyed his book, Fools Crow, it really hit me hard a lot what Native American literature was about. What impressed me the most is that he was a founding author of the Native American Renaissance—I remember my professor was talking a lot about Mr. Welch. He had asked all of us to read his books as required and write no more than 15 pages essay.

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I was really intrigued how Welch, in his book, Fools Crow, was able to show the tension in traditional values of the Blackfeet Indians during time of cultural and historical change. In the beginning of the book, younger Pikuni males (includling White Man’s Dog, who later becomes Fools Crow) are planning to embark upon a horse raid. Gaining horses for the tribe is viewed favorably and earns the Pikuni respect and a level of responsibility within their group. However, the younger Pikuni in the novel seem to be more focused on the personal glory attained in the plundering of horses from the Crow Indians.

I loved how Welch illustrates the life of the Pukini through storytelling. In this sense, he is preserving written tradition as important to Native American culture and a theme in Native American writing. For instance, rather than just describe the Sun Dance ritual, he describes Fools Crow’s experience of transcendence as he dances:

Fools Crow listened to the faraway rumble of Thunder Chief and felt his step becomes lighter. He felt in his heart, in the rhythm of the drum, a peculiar kind of happiness—a happiness that sleeps with sadness. And the feeling made his head light and he was removed from the others, dancing alone, singing a song that had to do with his life in this world, and in that other world he visited from his vision…. [Fools Crow, page 390]

My best time in that course I took, the book I was also required to read, The Jailing of Cecelia Capture written by Janet Campbell Hale, I decided to write both books in my final essay, Cecilia Capture and the Welch’s Narrator: An Examination of Two Cultures in a Search for Identity. if it was not for James Welch, it would not have published. Thank you, Mr. James Welch for the characters of Native Americans come to terms with its challenges, and continuing survival, with humor, and perhaps a sad recognition that they must continuously face and sometimes capitalize on derogatory stereotypes to ensure their survival.

Be sure to celebrate Native American Heritage Month!

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The Pin I Am Proudly to Hold!

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

Deaf Community: The Gravity of Racism in Sports

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Leading my community service through the heart of Washington, D.C; I refuse to slow my stride when I posed a question for the panelists at an all day conference called Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports held at National Museum of the American Indian back in February 2013, a week before my first heart attack, I was honored to meet Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former United States Senator from Colorado. The museum offered the cream of the crop American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and I am forever thankful for their support.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYHE8CBnBVk and you can find me at time: 1:17:52. And another one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SelJGI9na7Y and find me at 1:49:36 through 1:51:10. It has subtitles.

It was one of my best experiences I ever attended. The conference was intense, emotional, and educational trying to minimize Racism in sports. I was very happy that Chicago Cubs, my preferable team to win the World Series, beat Cleveland Indians. The logo by Cleveland Indians, the chief racist about Chief Wahoo was to me, the most offensive logo in all of sports—actually, the same company as Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, and other racist mascots. With a big grin on his face, red skin, and a feather coming out of his “stinky” hair, that is why it is called Chief Wahoo—the fans in Cleveland are clearly ignorant and uneducated what racism is really about.

After Chicago Cubs whipped Cleveland Indians—where Native Americans learn to embrace Cubs in their backyard as a symbol—a natural animal in the making. It was a curse, all right! 68 years and counting—I actually smiled BIG TIME that they did not win World Series. They do not deserve it at all because from the conference, I met and seen people telling their struggles and being belittled because they are Native Americans. It was grossly offensive to see the logo in 2016 World Series; it needs to be removed from the sport world. The curse remains on Cleveland Indians forever—I do not have any sympathy for those fans that cried that they lost.

I remember seeing the video where they ask the fans in Cleveland to see the logo, all I see a lot of stupidity and ignorance—a form of white supremacy and of course, it is also language hegemony and belittlement. How do I understand the emotions? Well, on my father’s mother’s side, my great grandmother was a full-bloodied Cherokee and I celebrate for her heritage. Now you all see the tragic what’s going on at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and that was bullshit what the white privileges are doing to Native Americans there. If you do not know what Standing Rock Indian Reservation is all about, well, the government is trying to install pipeline on sacred land where Native Americans were buried—a high genocidal action. I visited North Dakota once and boy, did the spirits blow me away. Water is sacred there!

It is very important to know that the Deaf community need to heed the knowledge that there was a treaty that people do not often talk about, the 1851 Dakota Land Cession Treaty where the land belongs to Native Americans and I’m sickened to see how much militarized police ROUGH UP Native Americans—on their own land! Times were hard and tough; their lives were chaotic—each hour it becomes stressful and they do not need that at all. They were here way before white privileges showed up and see how it happened today. How can Deaf community not see it? Outside, many Native people from where, for example, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, somewhere leaning against a chain link fence and keeping them out of their own land. Is it without demanding allegiance?

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The definition of allegiance: loyalty to a person, country, group, etc. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]It can be tricky. That is why I do not believe in pledge of allegiance. It is a fraud. I can remember in grade school, I was required to do pledge of allegiance in sign language forcing by my own interpreter in a fucking hearing  classroom and that makes me feel like lousy.

It makes me even sick what Deaf people are wearing jerseys of Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, all the offensive logos—an ASL teacher for a community college wearing Redskins jersey making ASL videos mocking Native Americans while wearing a jersey in a white privilege is really a mistake and will continue to make the mistake now. Support #NoDAPL

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-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

Join the Movement: Indigenous Peoples Day!

DEAFHOOD: Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!

IMG_1088Yes, celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day with Deafhood, too!

Time to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day! No more Columbus Day! I am happy to inform that more cities are recognizing Native Americans today—the movement to change the holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of indigenous cultures around America. It is a huge deal.

My grandmother on my father’s side–her own mother–my great grandmother was Cherokee born and raised in small town called John Day in Oregon–she died at “childbirth” giving my grandmother a life and she refused to talk about it because her father (my great grandfather) told her not to bring up about it. I was from small town, Yacolt, on the southwestern border of Washington, in the shadow of Mount St. Helens. The name, from local Native American lore, means “haunted place” or “valley of the demons.”

I had no idea that I have Cherokee blood until I was 33 and I begin to learn more about Native Americans now and then. I had no idea about Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota where one of the courses I signed up for requiring us to read one of many books called “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” written by Dee Brown really bury my heart. Hint: Did you know that there was a Deaf Native American in that book by the name of Black Coyote who “started” it all? Then after that, I started to read more Native Americans books–from political to cultural to history to hate crimes and so. The picture you see above I bought in DC—I have more books stored inside a box in the great Pacific Northwest.

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As for hate crimes, it does happen—there is plenty of virulent hatred and bigotry toward Native Americans in this country—and feel that they only suffer from the challenges of poverty and neglect as well limited access to opportunities and it is not true. They are survivors of hateful assaults on given day now and then. I think diversity is racist in America. Why do I think it is racist? Because it presumes that the color of Native American or the surname of a Native American defining his or her thinking, that somehow he or she will bring something different to the intellectual table just because he/she looks Native American or his/her name looks Native American.

One of books, which had influenced me greatly written by Barbara Perry, called Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans, where Perry writes in page 25, “There is an important distinction between the two terms. The former, genocide, refers to the explicit and frequently brutal physical violence perpetrated against Native Americans in an effort to eliminate them as a people. There are those who would oppose the use of such strong terminology.”–Is true enough in this country with Perry writes another one in same page, “The second term, ethnocide, refers to the much more subtle efforts to deculturate Native Americans, sometimes through physical violence but more often through the social violence implied in efforts to “resocialize” or “civilize” Natives.”

Now I understand hate crimes more.

When I visited Harper’s Ferry, there were two rivers there—Princess Shenandoah and Potomac Warrior why the rivers were named. Princess Shenandoah and Potomac Warrior were forbidden to get married by their tribes. They both cried a lot and made the rivers to meet. That is where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet. The Native American folklore. One of my favorite stories from a book I hold in my possession The Storytelling Stone: Traditional Native American Myths and Tales edited and with an introduction by Susan Feldman about ‘Bat.’

“Once there was a war between beasts and birds. Bat was on birds’ side. In the first battle, the birds were badly beaten. As soon as Bat saw that the battle was going against them, he crept away, hid under a log, and stayed there till the fight was over. When the animals were going home, Bat slipped in among them. After they had gone some distance, they saw him and asked one another: “How is this? Bat is one of the men who fought against us?”

Bat heard them, and he said, “Oh, no! I am one of you; I don’t belong to the bird people. Did you ever see one of those people who had double teeth? Go and look in their mouths and see if they have. If you find one bird with double teeth, you can say that I belong to the bird people. But I don’t; I am one of your own people.” They didn’t say anything more; they let Bat stay with them. Soon after, there are another battle; in that battle birds won.

As Bat’s side was getting beaten, he slipped away and hid under a log. When the battle was over and the birds were going home, Bat went in among them. When they noticed him, they said: “You are our enemy; we saw you fighting against us.” “Oh, no.” said Bat, “I am one of you; I don’t belong to those beasts. Did you ever see one of those people who had wings?” They didn’t say anything more; they let him stay with them. So Bat went back and forth as long as the war lasted. At the end of the war, birds and beasts held a council to see what to do with him. At last they said to Bat: “Hereafter, you will fly around alone at night, and will never have any friends, either among those that fly, or those that walk.”

If you visit DC for some reason, please visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian—it would blow your body and mind away. Appreciate Indigenous Peoples Day! I wrote this blog post last year (October 2014) to get better idea why I am against the idea of celebrating Columbus Day. The link below:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2014/10/13/racism-is-ancient-columbus-began-it-all/

For additional links about Deaf Community: A Hidden Dimension of Racism Among Sports. Plenty of Deaf vloggers wearing Redskins to belittle Native Americans. One of them is a teacher.

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2014/10/01/deaf-community-a-hidden-dimension-of-racism-among-sports-2/

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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