‘Sign Gene’: Blood, Guns, and Testosterone

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When you see the statue of Laurent Clerc on Gallaudet campus, it is the world’s most valuable and earthed symbols of Deaf community. It has ruined the image of Laurent Clerc. The roots of gun violence is not enough examined.

After watching the movie, “Sign Gene”, we the Deaf patrons appear uncomfortable with the gun violence. Co-producers of the movie are both are professors in Department of ASL/Deaf Studies at Gallaudet, the same leadership, the advancement of knowledge, has fallen under a cloud of compassion that it is also falls under a wrong agenda.

It blows my mind away and heart-broken to see this movie was showing so much violence and graphic. The movie was so graphic and violent—did Gallaudet administration watch the film before it was approved in the public eye? It continues to be seen as the problem rather than the challenge.

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We must continue to challenge against gun culture in America. Around 1 million people showed up in DC to support March for our Lives few months ago to stand up against gun violence. Gun violence is important to talk about with everyone. And because it is so important, we need to talk about it more.

This movie, “Sign Gene” has shown plenty of mental health stigmas. And that leads me to share this question I found recently. “What role does mental stigma play in the debate over gun violence and gun policy, specifically stigma?” questioned by Audrey Hamilton. Whose is responsible for this?

Seeing gun violence everyday in America is a critical social problem. Standing up against gun violence is an important of people’s overall health. Their mental health is an important as their physical health. Talking about gun violence is important to others. Gun violence is difficult to talk about. Talking about gun violence is important at every stage in people’s life. Gun violence is more common than you think. Gun violence is caused by trauma and violence.

A German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) wrote: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

But why would Department of ASL/Deaf Studies who sponsored the film and co-produced by two professors chose to carry the tradition of gun violence and help them to become what they are capable of carrying guns in the image of Deaf community?

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So does this mean the gun violence cannot be interpreted? Or does it mean that gun violence stories cannot be interpreted? What about victims and survivors of gun violence who share their stories are about but ignored in ASL? Knowledge is pain, and challenges the practice of gun violence as effective oppressors in the Deaf community.

It is important that we must never be ignorant in any way whatsoever. I seriously think the film would have done a lot better WITHOUT GUN VIOLENCE. The film should be more Deaf-centered superheroes, funny, witty, and inspiring.

Additional Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFDg_WycklI

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

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My Letter for Graduate School

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My mother and my father were proud of me graduating that day! June 2011. 

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[It was written in 2011]

Gallaudet University
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

ATTENTION: Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and to express my interest in attending your graduate program in Deaf Studies.

It has been my experience in life that the process of development requires baby-steps and growth from a place that is firmly grounded. For example, before I became a student at an university, I had no intention to attend college. It was not because I was incapable of achieving success at the university, but my immediate environment did not expect it of me. I was told then that I was incapable of succeeding at a university. Over time, my resilient nature, positive attitude and motivation helped me to rise above that expectation.

I am both a first-generation college student. My long path to intellectual freedom and academic achievement has not easy, yet it has been worthwhile I have found it to be immeasurable in the personal and academic growth that I have experienced on that path. I gave up a debt-free life for a college degree. I have balanced my job and schoolwork while subsisting on Mac and Cheese because I believe my education and personal development are worth the liberating value that comes from academia.

To me, achieving this degree is not about getting a piece of paper, rather, it is about fully absorbing what the entire Deaf world has to offer the people who compose it. It is also about informing the hearing world about its continual struggles and the diversity of Deaf culture. It is about change.

The most meaningful change in my life has been that transition from the boy I was 15 years ago to the man that I am today. My perception of myself has altered radically from a quiet, isolated adolescent to an extroverted, involved, and socially active person. I attribute this transformation of my academic skills, personal relationships and intellectual insights to provide to an university experience.

Currently, I do not have a simple answer for my purpose and long-term goals within your program, but I do know that I have a longing to express my experience as a Deaf person. I also have a conviction that at the heart with in addition to the foundation of belief, I am aware of my ability to offer my unique perspective on life. I am a human, with Deaf desires.

The Deaf are an underrepresented group in society that requires appropriate representation at the university level. Historically, Deaf persons could not attend university because of the lack of infrastructure that impeded their mere existence on a campus.

However, there are only few numbers of Deaf professors teaching at the university level, which significantly impairs the diversity and representatives that universities, in general, strive to attain. More credentialed Deaf people are needed at this level to facilitate an understanding and acceptance of Deaf people and our culture.

As an undergraduate Sociology major, my sociological perspective will help bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing communities in order to broaden cultural acceptance. My study of Sociology has provided me within the opportunity to explore my intellectual curiosity of how people create, maintain, and am by social influences.

I have found that the study of sociology requires critical thinking, problem solving, written and signed communication and interpersonal skills. I can also say that the program at an university has cultivated my skills in these areas. I am very excited about the opportunities that sociology offers me to explore the world through a sociological perspective and look forward to expanding my knowledge with the discipline.

A Master of Deaf Studies degree with a concentration in Cultural Studies will allow me to continue my path to achieving my career goal of being a university professor teaching Deaf Studies. With this degree, I strive the reduce the stigma and discrimination that Deaf people and other individuals with disabilities encounter, which I believe is masked by “political correctness,” lack of information, and a perceived insensitivity from the non-Deaf, non-disabled community. I want to help both Deaf individuals understand their unique place in the world while also broadening the experience and understanding of those who are non-Deaf.

I believe that your program would not only help me to build a stronger foundation of knowledge and skills applicable to Deaf Studies, it will also to continue to build towards my personal and professional goals. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Cordially,

Jason Tozier

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

Gallaudet University: ASL/Deaf Studies and Intellectual Property Problem

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Many graduate even undergraduate students at Gallaudet University does not know how to protect copyright their thesis and term papers to be protected their works by notarizing through legal notary. Do you know that Gallaudet University professors can use students’ work without their permission and use it for their own benefit? Since in few weeks, Gallaudet University is about to start soon.

One “so-called” professor in ASL/Deaf Studies was caught by stealing Deaf student’s work and got suspended for a year without pay. There was never “health problem” at all. It was embarrassing and insult to the intellectual property–that become a big problem today. The chair of the department came to save the professor’s face and appealed to have the professor to be allowed to be back into the department and teach again, the professor still ask other students if the professor can use them. That professor is no scholar!

There is a wonderful quote: “…What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society succeeds in this, that society is about to perish.” James Baldwin, A Talk to Teachers in 1963.

What this means is, if ASL/Deaf Studies project that students fail, they indeed might. But if they encourage and educate them, especially to take the occasional chance and challenge existing knowledge, they could truly advance as a society. This is ASL/Deaf Studies about education of Deaf people. It was found in a study that many Deaf people dreamed of becoming better role models, a profession that requires intellectual property, not mental attributes.

This trend is thought to be because it is so important that Deaf students could never achieve the sort of scholastic success that it would require, for example, to be a professor or a lawyer. Additionally, there are Deaf professors in ASL/Deaf Studies department, yet still retain denial what they knew about this so-called professor. While the chances for anyone to be a Deaf professor are minimal at best, this glamorous image encourages Deaf students subliminally to resign to the intellectual property in their pursuits.

Also, there is a strong education in effect that Deaf students should protect their paper works, that they are perhaps destined for a life of success. This typecast “intellectual property” actually foretells the actual future, because it does not give one a chance to realize their full potential before branding themselves with failure.

The unification of Deaf students doing homework and study hard, there might be a greater encouragement of Deaf culture’s youth to pursue academia, and also an increased higher educational awareness required on the part of the professors. I would support it myself.

Educators, especially at Gallaudet University need to be aware of the consequences of intellectual property, so that Deaf students will get a fair chance to learn.

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

In Memory of Carl Schroeder (1952-2013)

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Carl Schroeder has passed away early this morning (1:44 AM PDT)–I was informed by this message when I woke up first thing. I talked with his family all day yesterday. His birthday was in eight days. He would have been 61. We talked everyday while he was in hospital since last week of November. The last time we talked the day before he fell into unexpected coma. He was doing so well until his transfer to a treatment center and that is where things changed. I was the last friend to see him “awake” before his departure.

I can remember when I was in my living room looking for something to change my life until I turned my computer on in 2008, I decided to look for Deaf videos to inspire myself then all of sudden, Carl’s videos were there explaining about Deaf Education and many things, I was in awe how he explained very well because all my life I was very confused child and had no guidance trying to understand my identity. A year later, I finally got a chance to meet Carl at Western Oregon University and I was honored to have this opportunity to meet him. I really thought he was in Hawai’i the whole time, but after finding out he was in Oregon, my world changed.

I need to say that meeting Professor Schroeder in his office has transformed me enormously. In his office I saw a portrait of the 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln, a bust of William Shakespeare, and many books on languages and linguistics. Carl told me how the American Civil War played an important role in promoting the Deaf to the fullest potential and excellence because President Lincoln received many reports from the battlegrounds where the soldiers, North and South alike, turned Deaf. There was no program for them when going home. The National Deaf-Mute College (Gallaudet University) was then created. Carl also explained that William Shakespeare came up with over ten thousand new words that the English language has allowed to happen. He then asserted that American Sign Language (ASL) also allows new signs to happen. I was totally captivated by his stories and asked where he got them. His response: “Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.” and I was taken aback because I had heard and thought that Gallaudet University was a school for “those who could not help themselves”–again, that is where my world changed.

I was extremely impressed with his intelligence, academic experiences, passion, independence, and most significantly his fortitude through knowledge that have at times been challenging and that is where I learned how to a critical thinker because of his work. That is a gift he possesses. From his blog loaded with writing and ASL videos, I committed myself to change my life around. It is about organizing my principle of power where Carl taught about Deaf Culture that is through technologies of power without progress, education, struggle, and resistance. Carl knew what power is all about functioning and how to keep the state of being Deaf strong. He found the truth with a function of power that heals Deaf people to be themselves again. The state of being Deaf.

I credit Carl, as he is strong and positive presence; his contributions to class discussion and Deaf community were always valuable as was his interaction with the other students, who he invited to engage with him by being open, friendly, and curious. He is a tough philosopher. He would send me e-mail along with questions and discuss about philosophy. Boy, am I crazy to challenge up with him! I was actually sweating and said, “Who is this guy?” and glad that I got to know him personally. No one can match him at all. He is my HERO for introducing me to the Deaf World with vast of knowledge. I would not be here if it was not for him. We worked together to discuss about philosophy, education, Deaf studies, cultural studies, brainstorming ideas, so many ideas…

Thanks for all those valuable lessons Carl taught me, for example, how to stand up, to speak out about, to take courage against, to fight for, to believe in, to be proud of–if everyone came from the same experience and thought exactly alike, Carl taught the community—Deaf people and myself—to improve upon anything without openness to diverse concepts. I can only guess that the future will not the same without his presence, the best I can hope to remember his legacy what he had done for the Deaf community.

I am privileged to have Carl’s friendship and regard. I always feel the highest regard for Carl, and am thankful to have met Carl! It is impossible to imagine Carl Schroeder’s well-versed influence along with his character and fellowship. Most importantly of all, he taught me academic freedom is not all ABOUT tenured professors, but students long for life, too. He taught me all about stories at Gallaudet that defines the epitome of responsible commitment from one academia to another.

The picture below was the last time we took together at his employment.

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-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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