Using Non-Deaf Returnees to ‘Speak’ for Deaf Returnees: NO-NO!

It is important to analyze privileges. Check your privileges! For example, White people speak for Black people? NO! Men speak for Women? NO! Hearing people speak for Deaf people? NO!

Same thing as non-returning citizens. No difference. Those people who had not experienced jail or prison emotionally, physically and mentally. Understand what it is being a Deaf returning citizen or returnees “RC” like after returning to the society. Do they really understand hardships, emotional triggers, stigma, PTSD, depression, labeling, the list goes on. You cannot measure their struggles and understand the pain.

Those non-returning citizens should not speak for Deaf returning citizens.

HEARD [Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf], a hearing-owned organization run by Talila Lewis, decides to use non-returning citizens in a video discussing semantics related to quarantine is inappropriate. Those non-returning citizens should not speak for Deaf returning citizens.

It is the same way for other organizations that use privileged people to speak for unprivileged people. It is best to learn from Deaf returning citizens because they had gone through the system. They are the unprivileged people.

I wrote a column for DEAF LIFE in December 2017 Issue: “DEAF RETURNEES: WHAT DO THEY RETURN TO?” “They’re [Deaf returnees] kept invisible. The stigma they experience is deeply rooted in the sense of struggle, a fear of being silenced.”–Jason “JT” Tozier

For more reading on my piece: Check the link below.

THREE (3) REFERENCES:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/03/24/deaf-returnees-what-do-they-return-to/

https://www.deafcounseling.com/returning-citizen-on-asl-sign-for-quarantine/

 

 

Deaf Returnees: Helping Them Through PTSD

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The adage that there is no perfect machine holds true from a Jack-in-the-Box to the criminal justice system. What can Deaf inmates and returnees broken by this system hope to achieve during June, which is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness month?

Especially when this awareness reach extends deeply into the Deaf community to places needing empowerment, healing, and positive steps? What resolution can empower Deaf returnees to build learning, healthy and safe spaces?

Imagine the stories of Deaf inmates and Deaf returnees, their hearts shattering under the fiber of social rejection. Even while they are making a positive change to share their experiences to overcome the depression, they experience bullying, humiliation, and surmounting hardships; the toughest thing.

I believe that there are high and unreported PTSD cases by Deaf inmates and Deaf returnees that the social media needs to acknowledge. The sweeping impact of ignoring Deaf simply for who they are, and the lack of awareness, is not felt enough in the criminal justice system. Just like the marginalization of Deaf returnees in Deaf community, why are they being singled out?

While the United States has put more people in prison than any other country, it does not have resources to help Deaf returnees rebuild their lives once they are released. While there is a growing need, there is also a forgotten movement to end mass incarceration to reduce recidivism. Deaf returnees need inspiration and guidance.

Deaf returnees who are in search of rebuilding lives are at once faced with overcoming steep economic hardship, systematic privileges, unemployment, and lastly, PTSD. Changing the pattern across the country would help Deaf returnees successfully transition from inmate to returnee life on the outside.

The Second Chance Act of 2007, which is having a difficult time getting funding, would most likely hurt Deaf returnees in the long run. Why? So, Deaf returnees would be able to get help and learn how to develop healthy thinking patterns.

One bit of critical information here. Not empowering Deaf returnees enough can become frightfully expensive and mentally taxing. Empowering Deaf returnees would require intimate examination of the territory of their lives and not just a perception of its surface, incorporating new knowledge into other knowledge;

Empowering is a good investment, and the supporters’ efforts pay off. Empowering would gain intellectual and emotional agility and strength so needed in society.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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