Are We Racists?

Can White Deaf Community admit that they are racists? Does Racism overwhelm you? Do you see enemies all around? Racism is a lifetime habit that is hard to break and it starts with us.

 

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How to be a Better Champion

A high school wrestling referee in New Jersey made a wrestler choose between cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting his match on Wednesday. Written English transcript is available.

 

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.

At the Center of White Privilege: Altering Deaf People of Color’s Public Spaces

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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) 

References: https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/p/we-are-not-people-of-color.html

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.

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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.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 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.