The Rebirth of Gallaudet University President: 2016-???

IMG_0530Walking up to Thomas Jefferson’s Home.

The last three days has been a presidential journey with three most important presidents in American history—deep thinking questions the movement roots in the breathtaking change for Gallaudet newest’s 11th president. First, I visited Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello, Virginia, the same Jefferson holds as a well respected philosopher-king of the American democracy that no one can bestow him or better that way, no American philosopher has surpassed him.

Then I visited Abraham Lincoln’s summer cottage where he stayed there for 13 months during his presidency, he loved to write in his private chamber, but there is a story that must be read—Lincoln as a boy, he helped his father with farm chores.

IMG_0703Be sure to visit Lincoln’s cottage!

When he was home, his mother encouraged him to read and write. One day there was a huge rainstorm and Abe watched the field of potatoes being washed away by the flood but his father started to plant potatoes all over again. Fast-forwarded, President Lincoln experienced the loss of Americans during the Civil War, and he moved on to rebuild the nation. The same time that he as a president to be grand patron for National Deaf-Mute College known as Gallaudet University needs Gallaudet president to rebuild Gallaudet University today and in the future. The grand patron waits for the change.

Finally, the third president I visited—Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. The house on the Potomac River is stunning. In his first Inaugural address, Washington hoped in his own words, “a reverence for the characteristic rights of freeman, and a regard for public harmony, will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question” What does it mean? Washington meant is that it is our human right to live without any obstacle whatsoever. He used the term reverence to imply that this human right is to be respected to the fullest. Will the next Gallaudet president understand that power dynamics of human rights on the campus?

Between one of three candidates for Gallaudet University president that needs to have high interest in preserving, archiving, collecting past occurrences and more of a focus on this life as a process—her potential. The important voice for Deaf community, the questions needs to be discussed:

-Do you believe that the lack of mention of the 1988 Deaf President Now was intentional or not?

-Could one of those candidates have enough experience in university setting—be the work of an educated and diligent and creative scholar?

-Like Washington and Jefferson, they had difficulties with public speaking, what is the most difficult impression do you think one of those candidates are qualified on her leadership through public speaking?

Let me wrap this up. Whoever the candidate have been chosen, Gallaudet University is obviously wants to turn into an effective document, drafted to expose the wishes of Gallaudet alumni and Deaf community at least the governing body of Deaf people and is still regarded as one of the most important documents to American history today. What my opinion even as an alumni matters the most to me, I write of my need and would like to see Gallaudet improve higher education needs. Since 1988, I had seen stories from Deaf people I meet whom was there if not, had became my stories.

IMG_0715The beautiful Potomac River.

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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

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MY RESPONSE: Teresa Blankmeyer Burke in Defense of Vinton Cerf

lookingI am excited to challenge the only Deaf-signing woman in the world that receives PhD in Philosophy. Her name is Teresa Blankmeyer Burke. She was there at the graduation held at Gallaudet University and admitted that Vinton Cerf did talk about technology, but did not “exhort everyone to get implanted.” I am surprised for someone like her holding the highest honors in Philosophy did not exactly read the lines very well. We cannot ignore the hate speech that is already proved scientifically or verified objectively. So, it is important to put a lot of investment in understanding hate speech. The tools we learn is very crucial for everyone with greater perspective about hate speech and bias, so we can forward with healing to pursue the higher truth and value of Deaf people, no matter what conclusions are. The mockery is gone. Long gone.

There are only two words that are people: survivors and hostages. How can Teresa dare to make personification out of civility, integrity, and truth without elaborating or describing them? Try to imagine who civility is, who integrity is, and who truth is. In Burke’s own words, “That is my observation as well after I watched the video. There is nothing in his presentation that gave any hint of exhortation to anyone. I see him as a technophile who is amazed by all the technologies that we currently have and is very excited to see what the future will bring. I copied two small portions of captions of his presentation that I think where some people misunderstood him. Approximately around 2:04:24: “Wearable computers and sensing devices on or embedded in our bodies will be standard practice some already are, such as the insulin pump, cochlear implant, and video cameras you can shallow.” Approximately around 2:04:58: “Stem cell and genetic therapies will almost become commonplace in your lifetimes and it is not inconceivable that we will be able to re-grow damaged parts of our bodies and that may include the reconstruction or organs that help us see or hear.” I could not find anything in his presentation that is even close to the exhortation. The burden is on those who made such claim to provide the accurate source of where he said that. My theory is that they were afraid of what the future would being (in the sense of technophobe, opposite of him) and saw his presentation through their own anti-cochlear implant lens that led to wildly inaccurate claim.”

WOW! WOW! Now I find Burke not as smart as I thought. I will copy several portions of captions of his presentation that I think where people did not see between the lines. Again, English language can be very tricky. My findings below:

  • “My wife, Sigrid Cerf received her first cochlear implant in 1996 and a second one ten years later. Now in 2015 you are about to graduate into a world that we can only begin to imagine. Notice the word right before this? ‘First cochlear implant…and second one ten years later….into a world that we can only begin to imagine. It means use your best imagination what to hear out there. ONLY WE CAN ONLY BEGIN….
  • “In my own field, it is reasonable to expect that quantum computers will become real. If not, necessarily in wide spread use. Minimally invasive surgery will be the norm for many conditions and nano-scale devices will be reduced to practice. Some may be autonomous and others guided by skillful hands or even by robots. Some will work inside our bodies. The key is “minimally invasive surgery will be the norm for many conditions.”—Many conditions means to wipe the condition of Deaf world. The second key is that “some will work inside our bodies” suggesting cochlear implant will work inside our ears. Is the ears part of the bodies? You decide.
  • “The Internet is becoming a reality and it will be the norm for you in your life time. Wearable computers and sensing devices will be standard practice some already are. Such as the insulin pump, cochlear implant, and video cameras you can shallow.” Cochlear implants are the reality that people need to shallow. Sensing devices are the part of encouraging getting cochlear implants.
  • “It is not inconceivable that we will able to re-grow damaged parts of our bodies and that may include the reconstruction of organs that help us see feel or hear.” It is easy to know what it means when someone says “re-grow damaged parts of our bodies”—re-grow ears are part of the bodies!
  • Some of you will discover new physical principles….” Hmmm. That is very tricky. Isn’t physical principle part of eradicating Deaf and learn to be hearing again? Deaf people have principles to protect their constitution rights.

From I had learned through my academic experience, it is best to stop any demonstrating troublesome and potentially harmful behaviors. When people practice any behavior, for example, hate speech, that behavior becomes stronger and harder to get rid of. In our human minds, we see a person of different culture walking past the street, and people sneer at them. They then become invariably disappears. To the human mind, the awareness works. To a slightly anxious people who did not take full responsibility to stop any kind of hate, and to a very anxious person like Alexander Graham Bell, Aristotle, Dimity Dornan, Karl White, William House, Vinton Cerf, many more, this completely reinforces the idea that hate speech makes scary things go away.

The goal is to teach people awareness that people should not be harmful and to substitute other behaviors, such as relaxing (at home), or paying attention to you. It is vital that you manage the environment to prevent this from happening. Do not allow people to spend time with haters unsupervised, where they can see outside, access the door, and criminalize at passersby. We would like to change people’s emotional reaction, as well as their behavior, when they seems different people on the walk. To do this, they must be comfortable—not making hate comments, literature, or speech that can constitute a hate crime. They will have to make judgment calls about which people they think they will react to, but err on the side of caution. We already know what they are more likely to react to people in hoods or carry backpacks.

That is my two cents. Share the truth! It is important to use your knowledge to recognize your civility and the truth wins with the most powerful integrity as possible. Philosophy holds the most noble thinker—try to read the lines better next time. Socrates, the most wisest thinker of all time would drink some red wine celebrating the civility, integrity, and truth that Deaf people do not need cochlear implants.

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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

Cochlear Implant Promoters: Stop Recruiting Deaf Children!

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Cochlear implants are irreversible and irreplaceable. The article was very important to read for one biggest reason: Doctors are against recommendations by implanting Deaf children and that is damaging enough already. This is a huge step! It is very important to remember that none of young children under seven years of age have a normal speech. Cochlear implant promoters always target on babies and children under age 7 do “age-appropriate” speech. Do we even realize that? The link below will lead you to read and understand why the doctors are now against cochlear implants.

The other thing is that the older deaf children began grammar lessons, which focus on their skills in applying punctuations in their speech. CI does not pick up punctuation “pauses” because it is unable to filter sounds as well as “punctuation” silenced.

From the article that says, “The device was implanted before they were 7 years old….” Again, up to seven years old. It is a big trick! No child, deaf and hearing alike, have normal speech till after age 7. Ask any linguist, good or bad, if children under age 7 years old have intelligible speech. The answer will be NO. Period. How can they compare deaf children with cochlear implants with those children if their speech is not intelligible? They would capitalize on “age-appropriate” speech, meaning unintelligible speech. It is totally unbelievable! They always advertise deaf children up to age 7.

In grammar school, children are taught to speak properly based on punctuation. Once they have mastered the speech, they begin to shift from writing to rhetoric, the highest form of speech. Like I said in my older post, I had witnessed plenty of “yes-man” environments at Gallaudet where they accept the information with questions that confirm the same information. They allow the advertising flyers about cochlear implants on the hallways there. Serious business.

What bothers me the most is that the article said, “the implant preventing the thinking capacity among the kids” is very scary to read like this! How well Deaf children with cochlear implants, for example, depends on how much of listening and speaking they have done, and it is never autonomous! They have to start to think about hearing: they enter into a body of thought and try to hear. FOR WHAT? It is like, why would the bus driver drive to a wrong place and that’s how badly the thinking capacity is! For example, in 1980s, 12 children died from the cochlear implant surgery!

Cochlear implant makers are trying to make Deaf children to be “hearing” people and act considerably different. All they care is about moneymaking and charging down on our being Deaf. They make us “hear” through high “hearing” technologies. It is all about general social exile are the norms that must be reversed.

The doctors who agree that cochlear implanting are morally wrong that makes them good doctors! Maxwell Bennett wrote in the Neuroscience & Philosophy: “The brain does not hear, but it’s not deaf, anymore than trees are deaf”. The other words, only human beings can be said, “to see or be blind, hear or be deaf, thoughtful or be thoughtless, and decisive or be indecisive.” We live in a society, why not we taught to believe in facts before myth, science before faith, and reason before assumption?

-JT

Copyright © 2014 Jason Tozier

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

Links:

http://americanlivewire.com/2014-05-24-cochlear-implants-can-lead-memory-problems-kids/

http://usdeafhistory.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/final-transcriptforpanelexcerptpetitto1.pdf

Socrates Says YES; Aristotle NO

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This is one of my personal favorite artworks done by Nancy Rourke. I am a proud owner of this work. In this painting, there are two philosophers, Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates is seen with a sign “YES” and Aristotle’s sign “NO”!  According to Plato’s book, Cratylus, Socrates knew that Deaf people have intelligence while Aristotle disagreed. Evidently Aristotle had a lot of issues to be done in order to make it so that the Deaf people are exploited in social media by portraying and seeing the Deaf as unequal to individuals who are not Deaf. Being exposed to falsehoods, Aristotle made the world become aware that even with vast improvements in rights and advantages that the Deaf people entertaining, there is still a negative mentality that has not been eliminated from the Deaf.

Particularly, the belief that is held Deaf people are in some ways broken and need to be either assimilated or overcame with what is “ailing” them. They must be accepted into society by viewing themselves as “normal hearing people.” I have become more and more conscious of this fact that, with the visual nature of the state of being Deaf, it has become too easy for many people to view deafness merely as a puzzle piece that is being put into the world and to think that the puzzle piece shows an entire picture of a whole person. So they are trying to hammer out, to interlock edges of the puzzle of into the picture without considering Deaf people do not fit the puzzle piece for an obvious reason.

Humans tend to view most groups in stereotypes until they get to know them better. Some Deaf people within the groups represent a certain variation in population. Social media about Deaf people serves to introduce to these groups, and more often that not, this introduction perpetuates in an excessive exploitation.

Once we start seeing a Deaf president, a Deaf person dancing, a smart and a successful Deaf corporate executive our views of these groups begin to widen and move beyond the limits of typical. What is simultaneously hard and easy to grasp is that there is more movement to be done. The human consciousness is ready for an expansion and media is calling for it, having been calling it for quite some times.

Socrates knew about Deaf people and acknowledged their sign language. Through Plato, Socrates questioned whether Deaf people have intelligence by using sign language.  This culture was strong enough to continue Socrates’ legacy. Socrates served more than just encouraged a politically corrected vocabulary. Aristotle offered no apology for the atrocious acts he had committed against Deaf people’s intelligence. He referred to his integrity and principles and admonished his own peers for reserving judgement about the Deaf. His zealous beliefs had since created.

Nancy Rourke’s painting was a genius interpretation by looking at these two ancient Greek philosophers because the closer you look at it, there is some assuaging their moral outrage with true feelings of courage of Socrates and remorse of Aristotle. There is no real remorse as Aristotle believed that he was committed to a higher cause. In this sense, Plato cautioned his readers about Socrates’ “enlightenment” and revolutionary ideas when the outcome of such transcendence was bloodshed without culpability in the name of the Deaf. Socrates fought, protect and uphold the human rights of using sign language for Deaf people very seriously and also, seek to have Deaf people to proclaim a triumphant “YES” to human prosperity, knowledge, and happiness.

One quote I found was particularly striking written by Socrates:

        There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

Socrates’s simple quote seems to embody a lot that Deaf people seems to be seeking, which is to be portrayed with a parity that equals the sums of their parts and not in a way that makes them seem lacking or wanting. Socrates is my type of man.

-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.