Nyle DiMarco: Do Deaf People Have a Disability?

 

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Today, December 3, 2019: International Day of Disabled Persons. 

When my state of being Deaf had been taught all my life, being told, and being controlled by the medical model of disability, I refuse to live in the negativity bias. Being Deaf is no longer viewed as a disability. What is negativity bias?

It was known as negativity effect (1), also known as the negativity effect, is the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things. (2,3,4)

Do you tend to dwell on bad memories and experiences? It may be due to the negativity bias, because being colonized and taught that Deaf people are disabled.

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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:

“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.” (5)

We already know that Deaf people who embody rather healthy traits of higher learning, the pursuit of happiness, and respect, but sadly, though, they are often being colonized by the disability model. Consider the plight of the oppressed of today. Lane writes in, Constructions of Deafness:

“As a social problem, deafness can be variously construed. Each of the primary constructions of deafness today – disability and linguistic minority – has its archetypes but most deaf children match neither of them.” (6)

Why must Deaf people come under a disability label, despite the vast differences, would the Deaf community stop being labeled by the disability model, would they do so with a commitment to developing a healthy task to overcome indifference, a show of human compassion, that plagues the Deaf community?

Nyle DiMarco writes:

“My Deaf identity is not an obstacle but an advantage — an asset.”

But….the confusion……the disability model has been taking advantage of the Deaf community as an asset and live in negativity effect.

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And, I learned that Nyle DiMarco and his twin brother are on a panel about disability inclusion sponsored by the World Bank at this hour. Will Nyle tell the world that being Deaf is not part of disability? I doubt so.

Will Nyle tell the world about The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public? I doubt so. Because Nyle thinks disability is a positivity effect. The opposite of the negativity effect. Does that mean Nyle DiMarco is also being colonized, too?

According to Paddy Ladd, Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood:

“The culturolinguistic model thus leads to the situating of Deaf community experiences within the rubric of colonialism. Although most people conceive colonialism as formed around economic power visited upon cultures less able to defend themselves, there is undeniably a case to be made for the concept of linguistic colonialism, and it is this which provides a bridge across which discourses between signing and other colonised communities can begin.” (7)

We must always remind ourselves as well as all others how our Declaration of Independence makes our country different from any other nation around the world. The Declaration proclaims that we have inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Finally, Harlan Lane writes in the same book above:

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-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

REFERENCES:

(1) Kanouse, D. E., & Hanson, L. (1972). Negativity in evaluations. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, S. Valins, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.

(2)  Baumeister, Roy F.; Finkenauer, Catrin; Vohs, Kathleen D. (2001). “Bad is stronger than good” (PDF). Review of General Psychology. 5 (4): 323–370.

(3) Lewicka, Maria; Czapinski, Janusz; Peeters, Guido (1992). “Positive-negative asymmetry or “When the heart needs a reason””. European Journal of Social Psychology. 22 (5): 425–434

(4) Rozin, Paul; Royzman, Edward B. (2001). “Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion”. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 5 (4): 296–320.

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

(6) Lane, Harlan L. (1995) Constructions of Deafness, Disability & Society, 10:2, 171-190

(7) Ladd, Paddy (2003) Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, 17.

 

 

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.

Fear in Deaf America: Understanding Impact of Change

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The other day, I watched a very good movie called The Butler directed by Lee Daniels and gave me a lot of idea what it feels to be oppressed in hearing world. The movie shows a lot of same path what Deaf people has gone through. This is a blog about Audism for Deaf people. It is not another blog about how bad Audism is, filled with facts and figures about ‘social injustice’—in this blog I want to write personally about what it means to those of in who are Deaf and how we can make a difference in this struggle for social justice.

There is a fire raging around the world. Whether it is intellectual debates or everyday misunderstandings in our communication, Audism is burning us all. Some of us have third degree burns; many others live in the charred wreckage. We all live with fear in the flow of fire’s menacing and distorted light. As Deaf people we do many things to survive the heat.

On the whole, The Butler was thoughtfully chosen and presented a well rounded sampling of Deaf literature we face everyday from the early, middle and late 21st century, but I found that the subject matter was extremely challenging. It took some time to understand what I saw from that movie, mainly because the language was unfamiliar. As a Deaf person myself, I can only imagine the effect and lament that I am unable to appreciate it.

While I understand the significance of Paddy Ladd’s book: Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, it took a lot of heroic efforts to write which I know now as a literary convention at the same time. I can remember the first time when I read that book, I did not feel as enthusiastic about it, but I kept reading and reading and I found myself surprised by the indictments of religion and the tension between morality and human nature how Deaf people suffered.  Understanding the historical and cultural contexts in which both the movie and the book were made and written more powerful and relevant for me.

I realized that when I read the book, I was a beginner in the study of Deafhood and had much to learn, not only about the texts and the time periods from which the texts are borne, but also about the process of writing analytically and thoughtfully. Now, I appreciate the word of Deafhood more and more. If it was not for Deafhood, I would most likely suffer an inordinate amount of betrayal that would leave me deeply wounded and unhealed, I would probably unable to reach my full potential. Even today I still identity my own types of betrayal specific to my own Deaf experience—from society, my family, and my own self-betrayal. I need to understand how my betrayal influences my behavior and my perception I hold.

As for The Butler and Paddy Ladd’s masterpiece book, I think that we the Deaf can transform our betrayals into a source of wisdom. Through wisdom, we can be great winners. Arthur Ashe once said “Racism ultimately created the state in which defensiveness and hypocrisy are our almost instinctive responses, and innocence and generosity are invitations to trouble”….Imagine this if it was ‘Audism’ instead. I would like to loosely paraphrase this quote, “Audism ultimately created the state in which defensiveness and hypocrisy are our almost instinctive responses, and innocence and generosity are invitations to trouble” What would you say in this response?

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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