Open Letter for Nyle DiMarco

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This post is written for Nyle DiMarco:

First, I admire Nyle for defying the mathematical odds in Hollywood industry. That was really big. Math is your best friend but it can be your enemy where it can define your life overnight. Just like that.

Second, this is not about Deaf versus Deaf. It is about educating what Native Americans had been gone through. It can also apply to Deaf community whom they suffer as well what Native Americans do. I hope it would be learning experience for Nyle.

Please no harassing or bullying Nyle about this. Either should I be not harassed or bullied about this. Sometimes we have to remind each other and understand the stigma with open mind.

I was cheering for him on Dancing with the Stars show. That night, Mirror ball on a huge TV with full house of Deaf people were jumping joyfully when Nyle won the show. I was there and jumped joyfully because Nyle defied odds. And not only that, he had spread the message in Hollywood about language deprivation in Deaf community.

It is a huge thing.

And I appreciate his advocacy work in Deaf community. Not all I agree with, but winning two shows in Hollywood, as Deaf person understands the adversity and roadblocks matter the most. Especially the continuation of criminalizing Native Americans to be mock, marginalizes, and judges in Hollywood industry.

For years and years, Native Americans struggles with their lives, it is an unbearable journey. Go back to 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed The Indian Removal Act into law, where the law has targeted Native Americans for their skin and heritage to be bullied and removed from American society.

By 1890s, around 95%, less or more in 90th percentage, had shown that Native Americans were murdered, cut off their hair and such. The language deprivation also applies in Native Americans. It is no brainer.

Today, Native Americans suffer from unemployment, cruel and unusual punishment, one of the highest rates of fetal alcohol syndrome, and think about those Native American women being murdered at highest rate than ever as you can find the source to read online: Police in Many U.S. Cities Fail to Track Murdered, Missing Indigenous Women. It is still going on in 2019. The last two years has been worst, highest. Trump’s America.

Native Americans had also been mocked plenty of times in Hollywood. For example, Adam Sandler, sometimes funny, sometimes not funny, few years ago, there were dozen Native American actors walked off the set of his movie called, The Ridiculous Six because the actors felt offended that the portrayals of Native Americans continues to be mocked and degraded.

Few months ago, there was an article showing that hate crimes against Native Americans increased 63 percent in the first year of Trump’s policy. It has been dully noted in FBI’s data report. We should not ignore that 63 percent is nothing?

Often, Native Americans ends up invisible…and wonder why? “…Especially the hate crime data is notoriously flawed as a result of public under reporting of criminal victimization.” [Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans by Barbara Perry.] When Nyle as a Deaf white man pressed the button “LIKE” on Twitter that Elder Native American man by the name of Nate Phillips who got mocked by White Catholic Boys with MAGA “Make American Great Again” hats has shown the powerful image of mocking Native Americans.

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Nate was struggling with alcohol addiction where he was charged with possession of alcohol at very young age, and we should not judge him on that. That was four and half decades ago and we should not judge him. Nate’s childhood life was hard enough.

Nyle was not even born during that time either.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always.”

We must understand that in 1960s and 1970s era was really rough time for Native Americans. Especially for Nate Phillips. The society that time and today in 2019 continues to criminalize Native Americans.

There are some things we all need to reflect the history and the stigmatization of Native Americans cannot be ignored. Like in 1960s, Native Americans were the nation’s poorest minority group, and that was bad enough, imagine the painful journey, and in 1970, the unemployment rate were TEN times the national level.

The math when we know that TEN TIMES is powerful and bigger number like an exponent than we really understand, and what is more, 40 percent of the Native American population below the poverty line, and we know that Deaf community is also below the poverty line, too. No?

Native Americans with criminal record even if its 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago, continue to face several problems related to employment, income, education, media, and Hollywood industry. Why do we have to dig out old past about Nate Phillips? He is now 64 years old. That is a cheap shot. It is really a shame.

After taking Native American Literature, Environmental Education through Native American Lenses, and Native Studies had opened my eyes and understand why media continues to mock Native Americans.

Devon Mihesuah in 1996, American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities showing that Hollywood continues to frame popular perceptions of Native Americans. Hate crime against Native Americans is really a BIG problem. We cannot let haters bring Native Americans down.

Police brutality against Native Americans are really high and heart wrenching. I mean, high, high, high that is not even funny. Native Americans are most likely to be killed by law enforcement than any other racial or ethnic groups and they are most overlooked group of all. Like Daniel Sheehan, general counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project: “Native American people are basically invisible to most of the people in the country.”

 

 

We cannot forget Deaf Native Americans, too. Remember John T. Williams? When Nyle was featured on show called Full Frontal with Samantha Bee few weeks ago and it was good and I was very much glad that it has shared with the public eye to understand about Deaf people suffering in the hands of law enforcement. However, he signed: “your training has barely covered the importance of how to interact with America’s one million Deaf citizens.”

There is most likely a Deaf Native American might be as well as killed any time, any day in White America.

There are a lot of White teens and early 20s got away with it. We cannot deny that. No way. Please stop criminalizing Native Americans.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

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Choosing to Overcome the Greatest Shame in Deaf Community: Suicide

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There were couple of older blog posts I wrote about challenges of suicide in Deaf community. It’s really powerful. I’ve experienced a Deaf friend by the name of Greg from the school bus we rode together committed suicide when I was in 8th grade, and one of my hearing professors who committed suicide which hit me hard. She was only 39 years old. My first Sociology class was Sociology of Health and Medicine under Professor Heather Hartley.

I never forget the day when I showed up into classroom with injured right arm from kick-ass bicycle accident where I crashed my right shoulder so hard on the road and I was wearing an arm sling that time. I couldn’t write. Too much pain. That day was final exam. Yet, I still showed up with bicycle again.

She had a better idea and asked me to meet her in her office, and took the final exam by typing down the answers on her computer to take final exam and save it and send it to her. That was a brilliant idea. She was a good professor. Also, I remember the day when the news broke where I showed up for a Sociology course, Criminology and my professor was looking really down, it was not the professor I know. It became quiet in the classroom. It hit the hardest. They were good friends. The same professor in that quiet classroom later discussed about “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” book by Émile Durkheim.

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When I had a fatal heart attack last November 2016, I continue to question my death experience and how I defied death. Living in real world at this current hour has been much harder than I ever face with, and it finds a lot of strength and growing pain to deal with, and one of the most challenging part, was the haters who went after me after I woke up from death. It is much worse than death. Living with labels. Especially most damaging labels. It leads a major culprit.

On the face of it, gaining access to find help, support, and strength how to overcome adversity, it was also cynical, is the most difficult thing. The last 32 years of my life has been rough enough that is way too much to deal with everyday, and when I got a gift certificate for my birthday from my mother last December 2018, I stopped by Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy a book to read: Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D.

Joseph Burgo writes: “Self-esteem can’t thrive in the soil of nonstop praise and encouragement. Instead it depends upon setting and meeting goals, living up to the expectations we hold for ourselves, and sharing our joy in achievement with the people who matter most to us. Listening to and learning from encounters with shame will go further than affirmations and positive self-talk in helping to build authentic self-esteem.”

One of my many and beloved Sociology classes, I learned a great deal about Erving Goffman, a high-thinking sociologist who coined “stigma” where he described, “Society establishes the mean of categorizing persons and the complement of attributes felt to be ordinary and natural for members of each of these categories.”

How do you cope with the society when it establishes the mean-spirited of battling with tendencies to go toward suicides?

I am not writing this for myself only, but it applies to Deaf returnees living in Deaf community lacks for accessibility and big help, over the past couple of decades have shaken Deaf America and made them the most invisible minority group and their own identity and forgotten stories. When it comes to Deaf returnees who comes back into the society to change their life around, and blowing the whistle to test the strength, and the story is very much related to my experience.

When Calvin Young, a Deaf vlogger made a vlog: “Life is like a Jenga” is a great example of how to overcome adversity. Dealing with Jenga through shadows, and try to think positive as much as possible, and try to be in my shoes if you can handle Jenga. Beyond the shadows of Jenga, there are real consequences for living with the label. I learned of the news that there are four times more likely to commit suicide for young children as much as ten years old, with hard life lessons.

There are plenty of people who got away with miserable actions, but did not own up to their actions. Again, I am far from perfect and I make human mistakes, too. Will you be willing to learn the culture of Deaf returnees?

As the author of Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem wrote from the book: “You’re a fucking loser. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Nobody likes you. You might as well die. You’re stupid. Why bother doing anything? You know you’ll fail. It goes on and on like that for hours, repeating the same things. Relentless, like I’m always being watched and judged. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Over and over.”

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I know the feeling. I won’t let it control me to set up for self-hatred so profound it sometimes left me dealing with the label. Will you accept me to be part of Deaf community? I’ve told many times that I should not doing anything and set me up for failure, and judged without knowing my life stories.

Bullying: Deaf vs. Deaf is the hardest thing to deal with. I am no better either. In this time of crisis, it is Deaf leaders and Deaf community itself who hold out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf people including Deaf returnees. It begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of ours. Am I allowed to earn empowerment that is something that begins within ourselves that finds a big mirror to reflect who we are between healing and growing pain?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

Additional blog posts to read about suicide:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/06/09/treatment-of-suicidal-deaf-people/

 

 

Deafhood Foundation: A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Define Your Entire Existence

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Deafhood Foundation writes, Your donation will help end the economic exploitation of Deaf people, support anti-audism work, and create a society where everyone experiences full humanity and celebrates American Sign Language and Deaf culture.”

I have had been thinking about this for a while. For the last eight years, I have had invested a lot of heart and believability in Deafhood Foundation after reading Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood written by Paddy Ladd. The book arrived at my apartment in Portland, Oregon in April 2010 and I finished that book on the same day. It was mind-blowing experience. As soon as I finished that book, I remember calling up a friend who was one of certified Deafhood presenters and had brief discussion about it. I understood the magnitude of healing. That was the goal.

Two weeks after finishing that book, I was walking on Hawthorne Street in Portland, one of the famous streets, most laid-back streets, and there was a tattoo shop, and I decided to walk in and asked them to give me a tattoo, ‘Deafhood’ on my left arm where it ends up being first Deaf person to have ‘Deafhood’ in America. I was very proud of it.

Fast forward. June 2011. I was awarded with three degrees with honors. I worked very hard as Deaf returnee. I remember that day when I was released from jail in 1996, I told myself; I will never look back and make a huge difference in future. Day after day, year after year, I had no guidance, no space to call my own, or where to go. It was very difficult to deal with. I was separated from friends and Deaf community. I refused to be the scapegoat.

Couple of years later, a Deaf person informed me that the board position was open on the same day, and I immediately became interested in board position. I contacted one of the founding board members for Deafhood Foundation, and the board member said to me that I would not be welcomed on the board and I was devastated more than anything in my life all because I am a Deaf returnee. WITHOUT due process or screened—nothing just like that. Just right on spot right there. I was completely surprised and hurt, too.

It was a major discriminatory. I was surprised that the founding board member signed to me that I’d be “frustrated” and knew that it was discriminating against its own Deaf member in Deaf community. It was a huge blow. It shows that Deafhood Foundation does not support recidivism in Deaf community.

When I had to re-read the book by Paddy Ladd, I realized that the book does not support Deaf returnees either. If less than 0.00000005 percent of Deaf returnees suffering today—the truth supported by lack of awareness, the support matters, and goes a long way, How can we improve this conscious?

Think about emotional and physical impact that has gone deep enough to deal with struggles, with the capacity to think strong that has stored enough. Thought-provoking adventures. I live by reading books doing everything I can to make a living on the streets, and effectively deal with a world that most of us would never understand would never understand what it is like or known about. I often wonder about discovering the origin of life.

It will make a big impact of the overall quality of life. Can we articulate the specific needs of empowerment by building bridges to Deaf community? Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them”—that’s where it starts right there.

So, why not Deafhood Foundation supports Deaf returnees? The “philosophy” of Deafhood Foundation in the broadest sense, ignoring a barrier repertoire—stories, literacy expressions and the like—against Deaf returnees whose forms of expressions exert upon them.

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Where are the tears of joy—and tears of pride? Having being “incarcerated” since my early teen years, I had ever experienced a pursuit of happiness before and never thought I would have that opportunity, my young adulthood forever lost. Deaf returnees do not given a second chance as “productive contributor” to Deaf community.

Deafhood Foundation, where is the compassion and willingness about Deaf returnees to put their lives on the line for others is deeply rooted in their own struggles for being given the opportunity for redemption and for being welcomed back into society?

In Paddy’s Corner: Dr. Ladd coined the word “Deafhood” to describe positive ways of being Deaf in spite of the discrimination and oppression, and to present a framework to understand our past, work within the present, and plan for the future.”

What about the positive framework to understand Deaf returnees’ past, work with the present, and plan for the future to focus on positive ways of being Deaf in spite of the discrimination and oppression every day?

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Few months ago, when I attended as lone Deaf attendee for ACLU National Conference in Washington, D.C.—I saw a powerful image that says I believe a criminal record shouldn’t define your entire existence”—sadly, Deafhood Foundation does not see that way that it would always define your entire existence forever because Deaf community is small–and quickly judged by its looks and books.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

DATA-ISM: The New Audism

Is Data-Ism the New Audism? Data can be tricky and could lead to the unlocking the power of data to gain more Audism to benefit Alexander Graham Bell as money generator.

ACLU: Hate Crime Exist in Deaf Community

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As a Deaf person who had supported American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for years had walked through ACLU’s conference 2018 in Washington, D.C. with thousands and thousands of people, after I walked through and met some coolest ACLU state chapters, and national members you’ve ever seen.

This is what it feels like when you understand your rights feel worth every minute, when the conference starts, when there is an opportunity right there. This is what it feels like when you feel empowered. In the last 22 years of being a Deaf returnee, has been shackling to a cruel and unusual punishment in the eye of United States Constitution, Eighth Amendment.

I was a Gallaudet University graduate student with full scholarship. I was expelled from Gallaudet University for my 32 years ago wrongdoing and mistake. That is when I was 12 years old kid. Just a fucking kid. 32 years ago. I was wrong what I did. Come on! How can it be in the name of truth by figuring out the solution, second-chances upon a potentially far more healthy discourse for Deaf community?

How come the cruel punishment continue to fail to meet the lowest acceptable standards of human fairness, why Deaf community in America spent decades in defending and speaking out against injustice, Audism—when is a hate crime a hate crime? When it is a crime of hate, or when the media say it is not?

And if the society are to be the arbiters of what is, or not, a hate crime, who will judge Deaf people without bias? Is Deaf community the last hope resort?

When society took the dominance over Deaf people’s turfism, the screaming pain in the early days of cruel punishment, Deaf people became the target for the society that could not escape the hate. Whether Deaf people’s traumas can ever truly overcome. The answers offer is in denial, deeply rooted in lies and empty my heart out. The name of truth will ever be seen.

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There are two important amendments to the United States Constitution that help to explain the rights of Deaf community.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Here is the breakdown: freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to petition.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; or shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal when accused of wrongdoing. Due process means the Gallaudet University cannot give you a serious punishment, like suspension or expulsion, without first having followed fair procedures to determine if you are guilty.

If you are found guilty of something, the punishment cannot be more serious than the misconduct was. If Gallaudet chooses to punish you, it must punish all others the same. I continue to “speak up, speak out!” Gallaudet needs change now. Be bold, be changed, and be heard!

In Gallaudet University, most of the people around are totally unaware that there is any problem at Gallaudet University. Talk about it more! Get other interested and concerned for the Deaf in their struggle for social justice. One day to complete my dream to give lecture for ACLU about hate crimes in Deaf community.

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Support the Concept of EHDI?

Upon reading a newspaper article recently talking about what it looks inside “mind” like. What about Deaf Mind looks like? I support EHDI to begin healthy life for a Deaf individual. Older blog post below with the link I wrote five years ago about the importance of Deaf Mind means for Deaf people to embrace healthy journey as Deaf individual.

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2013/06/16/mirror-who-is-the-fairest/