My mother and my father were proud of me graduating that day! June 2011.
[It was written in 2011]
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
ATTENTION: Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies
To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and to express my interest in attending your graduate program in Deaf Studies.
It has been my experience in life that the process of development requires baby-steps and growth from a place that is firmly grounded. For example, before I became a student at an university, I had no intention to attend college. It was not because I was incapable of achieving success at the university, but my immediate environment did not expect it of me. I was told then that I was incapable of succeeding at a university. Over time, my resilient nature, positive attitude and motivation helped me to rise above that expectation.
I am both a first-generation college student. My long path to intellectual freedom and academic achievement has not easy, yet it has been worthwhile I have found it to be immeasurable in the personal and academic growth that I have experienced on that path. I gave up a debt-free life for a college degree. I have balanced my job and schoolwork while subsisting on Mac and Cheese because I believe my education and personal development are worth the liberating value that comes from academia.
To me, achieving this degree is not about getting a piece of paper, rather, it is about fully absorbing what the entire Deaf world has to offer the people who compose it. It is also about informing the hearing world about its continual struggles and the diversity of Deaf culture. It is about change.
The most meaningful change in my life has been that transition from the boy I was 15 years ago to the man that I am today. My perception of myself has altered radically from a quiet, isolated adolescent to an extroverted, involved, and socially active person. I attribute this transformation of my academic skills, personal relationships and intellectual insights to provide to an university experience.
Currently, I do not have a simple answer for my purpose and long-term goals within your program, but I do know that I have a longing to express my experience as a Deaf person. I also have a conviction that at the heart with in addition to the foundation of belief, I am aware of my ability to offer my unique perspective on life. I am a human, with Deaf desires.
The Deaf are an underrepresented group in society that requires appropriate representation at the university level. Historically, Deaf persons could not attend university because of the lack of infrastructure that impeded their mere existence on a campus.
However, there are only few numbers of Deaf professors teaching at the university level, which significantly impairs the diversity and representatives that universities, in general, strive to attain. More credentialed Deaf people are needed at this level to facilitate an understanding and acceptance of Deaf people and our culture.
As an undergraduate Sociology major, my sociological perspective will help bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing communities in order to broaden cultural acceptance. My study of Sociology has provided me within the opportunity to explore my intellectual curiosity of how people create, maintain, and am by social influences.
I have found that the study of sociology requires critical thinking, problem solving, written and signed communication and interpersonal skills. I can also say that the program at an university has cultivated my skills in these areas. I am very excited about the opportunities that sociology offers me to explore the world through a sociological perspective and look forward to expanding my knowledge with the discipline.
A Master of Deaf Studies degree with a concentration in Cultural Studies will allow me to continue my path to achieving my career goal of being a university professor teaching Deaf Studies. With this degree, I strive the reduce the stigma and discrimination that Deaf people and other individuals with disabilities encounter, which I believe is masked by “political correctness,” lack of information, and a perceived insensitivity from the non-Deaf, non-disabled community. I want to help both Deaf individuals understand their unique place in the world while also broadening the experience and understanding of those who are non-Deaf.
I believe that your program would not only help me to build a stronger foundation of knowledge and skills applicable to Deaf Studies, it will also to continue to build towards my personal and professional goals. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely coped in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Since Tom Humphries coined “Audism” in late ‘70s for his Ph.D., his vision of seeing a lot of Deaf people being oppressed so frightening that as Tom did not give any professional lectures about it. Almost four decades later, Humphries does not believe in it to pretend that Audism exist. Is Audism controversial? I remember reading a book, The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community that was published in 1992 while I was a sophomore in high school, I did not read the book until 1999.
Harlan Lane, Carl Schroeder and I had a private meeting in 2010. He signed the very same book I read in 1999.
There are millions of poor Deaf people, any kind of color in America that are suffering from pain and exploitation they all had in common, as a lover of freedom and liberty for all Deaf people to enjoy, I believe that efforts to build a law that recognizes Audism through stories, hard facts, and professional opinion, basic elements that are commonly missing when discussing “Audism” in the society.
If I coined a term whatever it is, I would make sure I educate the country, no matter what how long it is because it is my social responsibility and civil duty to continue educates Deaf people.
Let’s face up to it, Mr. Tom Humphries, there are millions of Deaf people who might look up on you, in a sphere of heavily steeped emotionalism, political struggle, power struggle, and human struggle that are completely ignored and continue to ignore Audism that exists today and tomorrow. I was one of them who look up to you. I own a painting of your face done by Nancy Rourke along with 12 faces in my personal space that was supposed to make all difference.
Is Tom Humphries still a scholar today? As in a book chapter called Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression by hearing chair of ASL and Deaf Studies department at Gallaudet University, H-Dirksen L. Bauman writes:
However, it is was not until 1975 when a Deaf scholar, Tom Humphries, decided it was time to name the discrimination against Deaf persons and to coin a term that would be part of the currency of discussions on human rights, deaf education, and employment.”
Audism did not discuss until 1992. Why long silence? Funny thing that I was struggling in schools, home life, and personal life because of long-silenced treatment that Audism exists. Talking about Audism has often occurred in the context of angry words, hostility, accusations, and divisiveness.
This coming Friday and Saturday, April 14th and April 15th, there will be rally sponsored by Audism Free America (AFA) celebrating 200 years of American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Education and their stories through the power, freedom, and justice to fight against Audism to let the society know that it is a permanent movement.
Where is your empowerment, Humphries? That was 42 years ago—and Deaf people would be empowered by now instead of being in silence about it. Since 1880 Milan Resolution, Deaf people have been survivors of the longest hate crime in American history. We refuse to live in hearing superiority. They need to respect Deaf people—the more respect, less Audism. In Humphries’s words:
The notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. It is the bias and prejudice of hearing people against deaf people, it is the bias and prejudice of some deaf people against other deaf people.”
Although, the society that I envision is one that maximizes freedom and liberties for ALL Deaf people coming from walk of life—the concept of ignorance is what completes the loop of full justice even at Gallaudet University.
Yet, Bauman writes, “The term now appears at all levels of the Deaf Studies curriculum at Gallaudet University, from Introduction to Deaf Studies to Deaf Cultural Studies.”
I was asked to give a lecture at Gallaudet University a month ago and found that Deaf students who comes from mainstreaming schools, some of them are juniors and sophomores at Gallaudet has no idea what Audism stands for or do not know who George Veditz is, or Alexander Graham Bell, even the story about Milan. It’s very serious problem. I call it “Social Problem 101”.
Gallaudet University needs to bring stronger ethics and require ALL Deaf students to take at least 12 credits in Deaf Studies and Deafhood courses even though if they are not ASL/Deaf Studies majors.
Perhaps we should re-frame the question: How can Audism protect Deaf people from future social problems? In this case, the answer probably lies in higher learning and lectures. How would you answer this, Tom Humphries? Deaf people who are survivors of Audism do not need to be forgotten even in long silence.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
Humphries, T. (1975). Audism: The Making of a Word. Unpublished essay.
Lane, H. (1992). The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community.
Bauman, H-Dirksen L. (2004). Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression.
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”- Thomas Jefferson
The report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism conducted by California State University, San Bernardino had found 22% increase in reported hate crimes in 2016 for ten largest cities in America. That is the new norm in Trump’s America, folks, this is scary. We must stop hate. OK, what about Deaf people? Where is the statistics about Deaf people?
There is something that you did not know about me—back in 2007 when I signed up for Hate Crimes and Bias course as in part of my Sociology degree. The professor required students to conduct original research projects and require no more than 25 pages essay.
My essay, Negative Perceptions of Deaf Individuals in Relation to Knowledge of American Sign Language and won my professor’s heart and attention. I was very proud of it. Maybe the best feeling I had ever done. I will share my past blog link below and let you read the blog and understand more.
The most proud moment is that the bill passed along with the new hate crime law went into effect on January 1, 2012. It was part of my direct commitment to make sure the law passed. The sad part is that Deaf people in Oregon does not give a shit about it. I made sure that the greater harm of Deaf people comes first.
Unfortunately, the hate crime law does not recognize Deaf people in America—that’s the truth because it was not included either in state and federal hate crime statues. I am telling you that there is plenty of invisible hate crimes and hate incidents targeting Deaf people are not in the news—zero!
The sad part is that hate incidents are actually part of acts that are even protected by the United States Constitution because it is so-called “free speech”—hate speech is not recognized in America. Look at other countries, in Europe; they have laws for hate speech. That is the big problem!
On a given day, people could commit hate crimes against Deaf people in America because of “demographic membership”. It is complicated, folks, it is. Many people do not know that hate crimes are actually form of terrorism.
The act of terrorism starts with Alexander Graham Bell’s ideology. They focus on a motive to make sure “Deaf” is no longer in the dictionary. Is that not a criminal prosecution? Karl White said, “Deaf people do not know what is best for Deaf babies”—that’s an act of terrorism.
It has become a greater harm, folks—and hurts more. Hate hurts. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Alexander Graham Bell sends a clear message to America that they are doing everything to push for cultural genocide. I mean, think about it. There are many Deaf survivors that have to deal with deep psychological scars—no funny business!
How will we deal or stop the hate crimes in Deaf America? Deaf children are being bullied every day, Alexander Graham Bell has put the flames of hate, and we need to ask ourselves, our own Deaf people to take a stand and fight against hate and the history of oppression for more than 100+ years.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.