#GallaudetSolidarity: White Fragility?

#GallaudetSolidarity was a powerful event showing that Gallaudet University have serious problem.

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Let America Be America Again

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When I read Langston Hughes’s poem called, “Let America Be America Again” few hours ago today, I was really blown away by how he wrote this. Looking back when I took Harlem Renaissance course [part of credits for English majors] as an undergraduate student years ago, I must have missed this because this is exactly what America is being in deep pain right now today thanks to hate-mongers, culture of fear, political hegemony,  and the state of Make America great again in the purest white language under Trump’s regime.

It is very dangerous framing, my fellow Deaf folks, when you see the famous phrase, “America the Beautiful”–the most important subject, what does beautiful mean to you? The English language is the most difficult and invisible language in the world. Why is it the most difficult language in the world? Is English part of the pathology of a global culture? Think about how much English literature plays a huge role for money, values, and human lies.

Today, the United States is celebrating its holiday, the Declaration of Independence through series of violence. Emotionally, mentally, and physically. I do not support any kind of hateful violence. America belonged to Native Americans first. When Indian Treaties and the Removal Act of 1830 passed by a racist president, Andrew Jackson–the current 45th supported Jackson and praised for his work few months ago. He is doing to Muslims, people of color, and minorities including Deaf people, too. Yes, Trump does not represent Deaf community, period.

Today, the 45th is making America worse again by breaking the higher education down by robbing the souls of today’s students and the need of democracy.  Are we living in illiterate America again? How can we make America be America again without racists, haters, sexists, and all that? Is Deaf community part of illiterate? Of course, there are plenty of Deaf people who are racists, haters and even white supremacists who voted for the 45th.

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Deaf community does not need to live in the dark again, hate again, and live in America that is becoming WHITE again. In few hours tonight, when you see fireworks, you will feel the vibration—think about violence that preach hate and racism what fireworks do to Deaf community. Think about all those people who got killed by gun violence and white supremacists. The 45th does not represent the Declaration of Independence tonight. Langston Hughes’s written poem needs to remind all of us. He was a great essayist and social activist.

When you are in District of Columbia, be sure to visit Busboys and Poets and check out the social justice books, great food and excellent drinks, it was in honour for Langston Hughes who was a busboy in a hotel, I believe in Harlem and recognized his poet skills. Pretty cool, huh?

References: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/let-america-be-america-again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

Let’s Grab Some Popcorn!

Watching Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump is like a set of movies in order or perhaps a sequence. Cutting 9.2 Billion dollars for Education is a big insult to the American people. LBTQA and Black students including Deaf students are America’s future students that should not be demoralized and oppressed!

The Invisible Spot: ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ in Deaf Community

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I am an activist in Deaf community—the community I grow to love, and being an activist is who I am. It is my passion. It is my calling. I am Deaf. I grew up in a very small town that had a culture of racism, sexism, xenophobia even audism. My mother and father are life-long Democrats, my recently passed away grandparents were life-long Democrats, too. We were a Blue family. In the town I lived with bullies that I knew of around me growing up, my identity as Deaf had been hidden from making some kind of difference.

It was not until after I turned 35 years old that I found the meaning of Deaf identity and culture through Deafhood book, coming out as a strong Deaf identity. At 35, I started learning about my people and my culture more than ever. I finally found where I belonged. I am an activist and I am Deaf. Those two statements have been always important to me and would never allow anyone to break me down. The presidential election on November 8th, 2016 had struck the greatest fear in my heart and many other Deaf people. Xenophobia has begun to open the can of worms than before.

The election, I almost lost my life—resulting up dead for ten minutes at Gallaudet University with massive heart attack. Being in ICU, I remember watching an election result via television, the fear in my heart has struck powerful word with me. The Deaf community had been viewed as a lonely and alienating world. So, I made a decision to be activist and visible ally in the community. After the election, Donald Trump had won, it was not very good timing for me while I was in hospital wondering how to deal with this.

The American flag, and the “Pledge of Allegiance”—is not what created of Deaf community today and tomorrow. This is not the flag we allow to practice hatred in Deaf community. Why? It is important to treat people with respect and dignity, no matter what—need to be constant source of support. Deaf community do not need to deal with high spikes in hate crimes, we owe it to ourselves making a better citizen. “Pledge of Allegiance” is really racist.

Francis Bellamy, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, was a bigot. His cousin and cohort Edward Bellamy was also a bigot. The link I suggest the readers to click and read the history behind Pledge of Allegiance.

http://rexcurry.net/pledgebigot.html

So-called Trump administration with the worst cabinet ever in history, Deaf community including myself refuses to be invisible—we need to remind ourselves that we are their neighbors. The best part is to create a stronger culture of normalization.

“It’s likely that our country will remain polarized for the foreseeable future. That makes our work fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice eve more urgent in the coming year.” -Morris Dees and Richard Cohen

With the incoming administration, Deaf community will not tolerate bullying at all. We might be viewed as a minority group; we will not be threatened at all. I hope the electors will realize what the true meaning of American democracy is and make a difference.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2016 Jason Tozier

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

A Lincoln Lesson for AGBell: The Presidential Election

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What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.”-Alexander Graham Bell

This election season has been very strange, if not, the strangest of all election seasons I can remember. Last April, Meredith Sugar, Alexander Graham Bell’s outgoing president has fueled a tidal wave of Audism, Bigotry, Hatred, and Xenophobia to destroy American Sign Language (ASL) and run the most un-hinged association in American history. I often wondered if Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is also “Left” like Republican Party face critical challenges—advocated sweeping changes in Deaf community to make sure ASL is wiped out. Same thing what Donald Trump has done: racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

With the Election Day coming in within eight days, it is the most consequential in history, should Deaf people unite behind Donald Trump’s candidacy, Alexander Graham Bell is the same force as Donald Trump is doing, while aware that AGBell represents the status quo of corporate influence on politics? Or should AGBell support hate ideology, understanding the profound limits to the ability of Democrats to meaningfully impact Deaf community? And what will the election mean for the terrain in which activists campaign once a new president is inaugurated, for the movement for Deaf lives, the struggle for social justice, the movement for constitutional rights, and more?

As we need to remind ourselves that Abraham Lincoln, a Republican president, had a big heart for Deaf people. We also need to remind that during that time in 1864 when Lincoln signed the charter bill to support higher education for Deaf people, Republicans were way better than Republicans today. If Lincoln sees AGBell as an association, he would argue that the ghosts of AGBell, the one which embodied noble virtues of a powerful organization that breeds oppression towards Deaf people and became subjugated by AGBell, the ghosts embraces the “virtues” (more like sentiments) of an oppressed, resentful Deaf people until it became something entirely alien to what it formerly had been.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Freidman wrote, “Freedom is the ability, desire, and aspiration to live in a context where I can realize my full potential as a human being.” Lincoln would give AGBell a lesson: AGBell is all about limiting themselves as the untruth and therefore the unthinkable. Lincoln also would think that it is true that AGBell is strong supporter of Trump’s hate ideology. This is just an essential choice, by the way.

Everything AGBell is doing is absolutely dismissive, because Deaf people’s freedom does not consist in assenting to what they do ASL, and then they are responsible for being what they adversely avoid the truth of ASL. Donald Trump does not have big heart for Deaf people—never had been. The Republican candidate is struggling that he most likely loses. Trump had no choice but to face the final election results whether or not to accept the result, whatever it might be. I’m saddened to see that there are some Deaf people who are actually vote for Trump. Thank you, President Lincoln for teaching AGBell a lesson that he never shall forget. Trump wanted to make America great again—the greatest white ideology same as AGBell—the hearing ideology making Deaf community suffer again, again, and again.

It makes sense that when Trump said in one of presidential debates, I believe in second debate “the late, great Abraham Lincoln”—it was quite different in 1864 than in 2016, Donald wanted to be like Honest Abe whom he professes to admire in a strange way. We do not need a president who is a racist, sexist, phobic, audist, practicing hatred and the laundry list goes on forever.

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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