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Tag Archives: Social Norms

National Bullying Prevention Month: Deaf Returning Citizens

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I would like to focus on writing about Deaf returning citizens and how to support them instead of bullying them. Deaf returning citizens recognize the society’s described behavior as a form of bullying which is and has been normalized in Deaf community, like competition over sharing. It is important to call out bullying as the social sickness it is.

That said, the Deaf community is now exposing the emotional hurt of their world and in this writing, tied it into fear of bullying drivers. As a member of Deaf community and a returning citizen who had experienced bullying and dealt with the bulk of the public accusations were kicked off in a style. October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Since the bullying popped into my life scene and become part of my social and professional landscape. My life routinely overlaps at events and social media. I say hello friendly to each other in the way that you are friendly to someone who shares your goals and a generous portion of your friend group, but maybe not a lot of mutual respect.

To me, bullies have always been a pitch-perfect caricature of the haters. While I truly respect some people’s energy, and most of their goals, I have found their political tactics clueless, and their grasp of bullyinh tenuous. Some of my friends recognized this, too, and either steered clear or took an “it takes all kinds…” attitude towards those people with privileges.

This is a hard lesson here. Deaf returning citizens need to be more vigilant and protect themselves and their allies, but they hope not to lose trust and not lose their edge by building walls that protects them from the utmost extreme bullying at all times. We need to break down bullying dominance of Deaf community and look at their own behaviors that contribute to it, protect it, or are simply just bad behavior.

Working harder to break the social norms can go a long way. And what happens when we have a person or acquaintances that callously do not follow that rule in our midst? Then we protect others, as we would want to be protected. We do it with courage and tenacity. It starts all with you.

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Shame? Guilt? Revenge? Anger? Hate?

Upon the community initial call-out, the bullying is not accepted and encourages the community to take full responsibility if they ever wanted to continue to play in a role in the community. No body has really come forward.

1) Especially in a time of transition, Deaf returning citizens are very important part of the Deaf community.

2) Can Deaf community embodies the qualifications, character, and commitment to empower Deaf returning citizens that are essential to success and high achievement?

3) Will we empower Deaf returning citizens as members of the Deaf community to see the present is a new opportunity for bold change that cannot imitate the past if it is to ensure the future?

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

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Laugh and The World Laughs With You

Image                                                 Identity Gone by Nancy Rourke

Laugh, laugh, laugh! Come on, it is not that hard to do! What is wrong with you?

Well, when I was growing up seeing family members in the same room, laughing, and I often asked them, “what is so funny?” They would say, “I am too lazy to tell you,” “it is not important to know,”  “you do not understand,” “get lost,” “who are you?” Why is the laughter not very much a part of my life? I became dumbfounded on-spot that something was funny in another language: spoken English. Not just the family gatherings, but I would watch movies with closed captions, I still did not laugh. Growing up as a kid, I was completely clueless about American Sign Language (ASL).

Growing up in THE hearing world all my life, I was just a stranger, an interloper without guidance, a lack of ASL, and confused with no goal or direction in life. As a boy growing up in a small town, I drank into my character a dark with empty life that had not shared enough with an important human property, laughter. Without laughing, it gave me a handful of toxic legacies that flushed me inside out.

There were several times when my cousin Tony and I would be watching a movie with some of comedy together, he was laughing hard but he noticed that I did not laugh. He then asked me why I would not laugh. I never really understood any part of the laughter. I was just an angry kid, knowing that my family did not bother to communicate with me. Also, I was angry that I was being bullied and ostracized at my school. I often landed me in the principal’s office where I would get accused, blamed and suspended right away. Those hearing peers would mock and laugh at me. So I did not laugh.

After I saw stories in ASL via vlogs and Deaf scholars, I was shocked to discover that I was able to laugh! It had transformed me from a lonely and introvert childhood. I always had trouble with the hearing world, and with laughter, I went to being an outgoing, sociable jock, just a full of life.

I lived with the label in hearing world all my life until ASL came into my life that removed my depression right away. As my story goes on, I saw people laughing with furtive glances in public.  I could remember for the first time when I laughed in ASL in the air, it became free. It changed my life; I still feel the stigma from growing up in the mainstreaming world. I believe that mainstreaming changed the presence of who I am. It is the most reviled label that I lived in that world.

When I was 20, I chose to move out of from a small plot of land in the rural southwestern Washington State town, population of 500, the back door of the single-wide house faces the forest—the fact that I had to escape from vigilant attacks. The stigma by not laughing too much followed me around until I met Deaf scholars. I never knew they knew how to make me laugh! What kept me going? My anger, my guilt, my ignorance.  I had lived in the hearing world. My return to a “normal” life has been slow. I needed to go to ASL festivals more often. With glints of laughing in ASL made a lot of progress where I had opened up to my friends and relatives outside my immediate family.

I realized that laughing is itself a learned behavior. ASL is the language usage to learn. I was intrigued by seeing comedies in ASL to help me identify myself as a Deaf person. The act of role in ASL makes a huge repetitious performance of Deafhood that is dictated by a hearing dominance culture. It questions the idea of laughing in ASL is very important to recognize the state of being Deaf from which hearing world deviates. Learning how to laugh in ASL goes through a fallow period and has some conceptualization of what I am to ASL around me before I can comfortably live in the world. After all, laughing is contagious if it is shared and understood.

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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