MENTAL HEALTH: Power Hunger or Power Struggle?

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Of all U.S. minority groups, the Deaf community is perhaps the most invisible. The mental health sends the message of Deaf empowerment to the public. The principle of Deaf-centric or Deaf-centered mental health is always demonstrating a passion. Or, is it a recipe for power-struggle for passion where the Deaf community needs the most in the mental health field? Especially the Deaf-centered way. 

In the highest standard of principle what it should be, a Deaf-centric or Deaf-centered mental health organization had revolutionized the stereotypical odds. It should be of, by, and for Deaf people. This “cultural awareness” in our Deaf community where we live continues to be a minority group thriving for awareness and social justice, which we are seeing in the mental health field that is sorely painful in the Deaf leadership.

 National Deaf Therapy (NDT) under the auspices of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). ‘Auspices’ is from the Latin, auspicium, and auspex, which mean “one who looks at birds”.

Communication Service for the Deaf: Using the ‘flying birds’ as power-hungryAccording to wiki: ‘Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion of interpreting omens from the observed flights of birds.” (1)

Is it the wrong path where National Deaf Therapy is being heavily appropriated by Communication Service for the Deaf exercising privileges and profiting? Even in 2019. But, should we not completely surprised? Don’t we see manifestations of elitism, favouritism, and privileges every single day? Let me use those examples:

Jameson Crane III and Jonathan Soukup, both CEO and co-founder in the same business together (see link below), they have strong connections to Communication Service for the Deaf, its founder of CSD, Benjamin Soukup, and its current CEO, Christopher Soukup (Jonathan’s brother).

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As for Jameson Crane III’s hearing father, Jameson Crane, Jr. was on Communication Service for the Deaf board, now is on the Gallaudet Board of Trustees (see both links below). Social Venture Fund (SVF) has awarded National Deaf Therapy because of father-in-law’s connections as a board to NDT as well. Jameson Crane III’s spouse: Amanda Sortwell Crane, one of National Deaf Therapy co-founder.

Don’t we see manifestations of elitism, favouritism, and privileges?

Power-hunger is shown by connection to Gallaudet University? A good example, ADWAS founder, Marylin Jean Smith is on Communication Service for the Deaf board (see link below), and one of the National Deaf Therapy co-founders, Megan Erasmus is working for ADWAS while running National Deaf Therapy (see link below)Is that a big conflict of interest?

I was told that it is common for people to work full time while maintaining their own practices part-time until their practice grow enough that they can support themselves with the new private practice. Still conflict of interest?

Convo Communications: the CEO, Jarrod Musano who owns the Daily Moth and Melmira, connected to Communication Service for the Deaf, yes or no? However, Jarrod and Communication Service for the Deaf board member, Danny Lacey, have strong connections between each other.

The disability framework, a negativity bias defining the Deaf community, colonizes National Deaf Therapy. Exploring core concepts what “disability” to define ‘Deaf’–especially how the polarity of disability is culturally constructed and embodied, emphasizing the “social model”–and it shows clearly that National Deaf Therapy did not aim enough for a deepened understanding of the social, economic, and political aspects of disability as perceived and embodied in literature.

Does it mean the Deaf are defined from the American society because they are not normal healthy people as long as they must live in the medical model of disability?

Although frequently used to refer to the Deaf, this label is considered highly offensive to the Deaf. It ignored cultural identity and its use among hearing is a sign of ignorance (Roach, 2002) [2]

Ryan Commerson [3], producer of “Media, Power, & Ideology: Re-defining D-E-A-F”— Supposedly, Deaf people are labeled as ‘disability’ in the name of ideology.

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Commerson: “…the misrepresentation would still reside in your subconscious. What should you do about it?” that leads to ‘Contesting Stereotypes: Taking Images Apart’.

“…When a particular meaning in broadcast for a while, then it becomes common sense,closed, and resides in your subconscious. Life goes on as normal. However, we must go back to the misrepresentation residing in their subconscious…and reveal the distortion of the images. People might be rattled or accept this new reality. However, the problem with this is, by unlocking the meaning, it’s open for interpretation. Would everyone interpret it the same way?”

He used to be a scholar until Communication Service for the Deaf took him in as Social Change Strategist and exploited his views. I bet Ryan couldn’t challenge Communication Service for the Deaf because he is stuck with them.

In my previous blog post:

“The Deaf community is powerful in the human psyche. Indeed, at this level of humanity, would the Deaf community understand the painful history of what the term “disability” define Deaf people? Have the Medical Model of Disability had caused enough destruction in the Deaf community?”

‘Do Deaf People Have a Disability?‘ published by Harlan Lane [4]:

“A disability is a limitation of function because of an impairment. Deaf people are limited in some functions because of an impairment of hearing. Therefore, Deaf people have a disability.”

Justice must include human rights and compassion. It must include an appreciation of Deaf cultural uniqueness. What strikes me the most by Lane’s writing as seen in the picture:

“On the other hand, the Deaf-World is a linguistic and cultural minority quite unlike disability groups and with a distinctly different agenda. Moreover, to be Deaf is not disability in Deaf culture, and most members of the Deaf-World see no disability in their ways of being. To give up their legal rights would be self-defeating; to demand them under disability law seems like hypocrisy.”

Does that mean the Deaf community has become a pet cause for Communication Service for the Deaf and National Deaf Therapy? This is not the spirit of the Deaf community. That is the sign of power-hunger. Or, is it power-struggle?

The true leadership that steps up to the plate with the facts as they are and makes intelligent decisions on those facts only and not only on the emotionalized, oppressive of the Deaf community and the misinformed public sentiment. Why is National Deaf Therapy under the auspices of Communication Service for the Deaf pushing for a chess game?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

References:

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augury

(2) Roach, Amy (2002). “Which is Correct: Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, or Hearing Impaired?” Deaf Linx. 22 Feb. 2003

(3) https://vimeo.com/12817361

(4) Lane, Harlan L. “Do Deaf People Have a Disability?” Sign Language Studies, vol. 2 no. 4, 2002, p. 356-379. Project MUSE

Links:

http://naturaltcapital.com/

https://www.prweb.com/releases/brandi_rarus_top_marketing_communications_executive_joins_communication_service_for_the_deafs_board_of_directors/prweb16295100.htm

https://www.gallaudet.edu/board-of-trustees

https://www.csd.org/about/

Foucault’s Pendulum: The Bone of Deaf Studies

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There has been an educational journey through Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) at Gallaudet University on 22nd of February 2017, Ryan Commerson asked a question for the panelists: “What is your Super Power?”

If I had a chance to say something, I’d say Michel Foucault. The super power grows on the tree of the strongest philosopher, and gave me an idea what would cultural history like. It seems that Commerson is a fan of Foucault as well, too.

He was born in 1926 and died in 1984, he knew how to organize principle of power wherein culture can be studied through the education of leadership, Foucault knew that the power could be a strategy attributable to functions, neither education nor politics.

Foucault once wrote, “My general theme is not society, it is true/false discourses: let me say it is correlative formation of domains, of objects, and of discourses verifiable and falsifiable which are assignable to them; it is not simply the formation which interests me but the effects of reality which are linked to it”

It is important to preserve Deaf culture to be studied through the ranks of leadership, education is bouncing up to the eyes of Deaf Studies, the truth about Deaf people to verify that they are the backbone of the American cities and towns.

Foucault was a genius. He would make you to question your own assumptions about truth– for example, in the Gallaudet halls of Deaf Studies department. The truth is that Gallaudet University happens because Deaf people exist.

When the question was asked on Gallaudet campus, the needs of strive to live by the values it teaches and to reflect them in lives of the Deaf everywhere and in their work as a world community.

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The super power makes all the difference to become more committed to higher education in support of intellectual freedom, the search for social justice, respect for differences, and a belief in collective responsibility for the welfare of all the Deaf people. Reading Foucault’s books would worth your time! It’d be proper to call the title, Foucault’s Pendulum: The Bone of Deaf Studies.

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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