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Tag Archives: Stigma

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Understanding Stigma About Deaf People

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Remember the book I was reading few weeks ago, Stand Up to Stigma: How We Reject Fear and Shame by Pernessa C. Seele–finally finished reading the book and has put many questions that needs to be seen in Deaf community.  Once promoting the culture of stigma means to defame others. At the same time, however, stigma have some kind of social rule in what the members of a society are forced to taught when they are growing up.

The eyes of xenophobia about Deaf people are once again invisible.

One of the most difficult issues for the survivors of stigma is thinking how widespread the stigma is. As bad as stigma in Deaf community may be, where is the direction of making some effort, through community help, to reduce stigma about Deaf people and increase awareness for Deaf people?

In all likelihood, Deaf people have been the survivors of stigma—ignorance in the society. Life had not easy for the lives of Deaf people, their future should have been looked bright. In the spirit of renewed activism and social justice, Deaf people should be generally more willing to share their stories, even if it means suffering in the shadows of stigma.

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Has stigma take a backseat to tolerance or ignorance in today’s society? In the spirit of tiredness activism, are Deaf people generally more willing to express their experiences through the stages of stigma? Even if it means suffering through the acts of stigma and…..hate. Life had not been easy for Deaf people; the future should have been bright for each of them.

Finally, as a form of stigma, what kind of it would serve the society a purpose?

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

Two Tales of Americas

World Kindness Day: Escape from Stigma

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Today, November 13, 2017, is World Kindness Day. Seriously, it is. Good time to remind yourself that for next year and for the reminder of the humanly lives. Be kind. Remember that everybody is fighting his or her own personal battles that you know nothing about. Stop hate please. I am writing about Deaf returning citizens.

Currently, I am reading a book, Stand up to Stigma: How We Reject Fear and Shame by Pernessa C. Seele, has helped me to think and questions that we need to analyze more about community accountability. We also need to recognize in a hierarchy who do a good job that would be promote to the next level. If they are not competent, then they do not get promoted and remained at that level. We also have responsibility to break the cycle of stigma, too.

Seriously, this book is damn good! I’ve read few books about Stigma, but this one is the top of all! I write to you that it will worth every dollar of yours to read this book and help break the cycle of stigma, and guide you to see the personal stories and it is only $17.95, of course with taxes.

Remember great literature George Orwell, that guy was brilliant for creating a shared language for educational equity, to understand the glossary of an important term:

Doublethink: The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Then does it leads to a compassion that is any and all thoughts that serves the actions of seeing ourselves? Do we ever wonder that we do not talk enough about compassion?

Compassion is enhanced wherever and whenever consciousness displaces repression and unconsciousness and reality replace unreality.” Compassion & Self-Hate: An Alternative To Despair by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D;

Be kindness. Like I wrote above, everybody is fighting his or her own personal battles that you know nothing about. Let’s celebrate World Kindness Day!

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

Dwight Benedict’s Smirk

 

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It has been really difficult day for me because a year ago today, I was clinically dead for ten minutes on the campus of the world’s famous university for Deaf people, Gallaudet University. In the same room where Dwight Benedict was in, he was walking down the aisle with a smirk because he had the hatred towards me—it was really difficult for me to think that way. How can I forget that? It is impossible to forget something like this.

My story must be seen, written, and examined. I grow tired and sick of people telling me to live in PAST. People do not know my life stories what exactly happened. It has been always HEARSAY. People choose to ignore my stories. Especially when a lot of people do not know the facts cannot comprehend what they were listening or do not care what the facts are and make up their own stories.

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Do you think it was professional of Dwight to smirk when someone else is dead? Many of faculty members witnessed in that room what Dwight did and would vouch for me whenever I need support. He is still walking around campus with power and the same smirk he carries.

When you see the statue of Laurent Clerc on Gallaudet campus, this is one of the most iconic symbols of America—a beacon of hope and acceptance for Deaf people everywhere. So how did coming to Gallaudet University become a crime? Deaf returning citizens are bad news! Make them suffer! Give them the death stare!

If we look at the history of Dwight Benedict’s bullying tactics for the last 37 years, being “Deaf returning citizen” usually just means being “unwanted” and more often than not, that has to do with ignorance and hatred. There are plenty of widespread insecurities at Gallaudet University. As an intellectual community, we the Deaf now seem to exist in permanent fear of the oblivion in the top university leadership, worrying about whether we can survive Dwight’s leadership.

At the same time, at Gallaudet University, we the Deaf appear uncomfortable with the hatred of Dwight’s leadership. The same leadership, so often the means to our advancement, now finds itself under a cloud of power that it falls under a wrong agenda. Disenchanted with Dwight’s past history yet fearful of our future, why are Deaf people—especially people of color and marginalized group struck in Dwight’s leadership where a mood of fear, hatred and low expectations influence our discussion and discourses on many fronts—where our higher education continues to be seen as the problem rather than the challenge.

I worked extremely hard to change my life around and I made an ultimate goal to be a professor. I even made name tags as a personal identification when I arrived in DC and put it around my neck to remind myself. I was so determined more than anything.

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This irrational insight against the grain of oppressed Deaf people on the campus, which teaches that hatred and bullying by Dwight does not lack human compassion. Deaf people in their struggle for social justice—are ignored because Dwight gets away with it. There have been many stories from Kendall Green about Dwight’s 37 years of oppressive leadership. A great many of damages were done, and many Deaf people were hurt.

My constitutional rights has been violated of due process and amounts to Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Eighth Amendment under United States Constitution and Dwight made it very difficult for me to receive higher education and set me up for harassment, public humiliation and bullying long after I served my time.

In February 27, 2014 meeting I was in, the most oppressive meeting ever I experienced in my entire life, he loved the idea very much where his buddy, Ted Baran, Director for DPS whom Dwight calls Ted in the meeting, “Ted is a good man” front of four other people brought up that I must be required to notify my graduate cohort, and walk around the entire Gallaudet campus and must tell everyone why I was jailed for with ugly labeling on my forehead. I was shocked. I already experienced humiliation and harassment at times when I would be at Gallaudet. No doubt, Dwight Benedict opened my old wounds. Dwight and Ted acted as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The bald faced truth is that they should held accountable.

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Even though it has happened 30 years ago, still, I am set up for extreme public shaming and harassment. I had been a good returning citizen more than 20 years and paid no more than $100,000 in counseling and worked very hard to change my life around and graduated with three degrees all with honors even though I had been experiencing thousands and thousands of times being humiliated in my life. I’ve dealt with hearing counselors who do not understand my journey as Deaf person. I realized it was total lie and waste of money and time. Until I found Deaf-centered counseling, I cried and….

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Did I deserve “scarlet letter” for the rest of my life? Am I allowed to become a productive member of society? I am really sick of people telling me to live in the past and live with the stigma. Horrible lies about me, making me look really bad and I lost almost everything. It’s really hard for me. I cry. I cry. I cry. I suffer more. I suffer more. I suffer more.

Dr. Pernessa Steele, author of “Stand Up to Stigma: How We Reject Fear and Shame” writes: “Stigma” is a simple two-syllable word, yet it carries the weight of negative and often unfair beliefs that we hold about those who are different from us. Stigmas lock people into stereotyped boxes and deny us all the right to be our authentic and whole selves.

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I already had been ostracized from Gallaudet community. Dwight made sure to do more harm than good, with my commitment to turn my life around. I lost my scholarship, I lost my dream job, I lost networking opportunities, I lost pretty much everything and I became the scapegoat on the campus. That is exactly the cruel and unusual punishment. That was the sign of death.

When I woke up on the floor that day, I cried. I still remember being carried out of the room on the emergency stretcher and saw people hand waving at me and I put both of my thumbs letting them know that I’m still strong. Then I was rushed into emergency surgery and carried to an intensive care unit (ICU). The television on right side was turned on—and the presidential election results were still pending.

The worst part was….I was still in extreme shock wondering how I survived from massive heart attack. The election results—did not finalize until 3 AM and became even more heart-broken that Trump was elected. The rises of hate crimes begun. Then I finally fell asleep for only three hours until the nurses woke me up and said, “Time for injections”—my first reaction when I woke up hoping it was only a dream. Only I find it was not a dream. I stayed in the hospital for ten long days. Longest stay in my life.

Do you all remember how you felt when you woke up on November 9th of 2016 morning?

Many people who walked around from Gallaudet University have caught up and suffered in the idea that Dwight thinks he is always right, and that the way Dwight acts is best. But he was wrong in Gallaudet University. What happened with the due process? Why I was not informed with required due process?

Due process means that Gallaudet University cannot give me a serious punishment, like suspension or expulsion, without first having followed fair procedures to determine if I am “bad news”. Fair procedure would include: telling me exactly what I was “bad news”, telling me exactly what the punishment will be, and giving me a chance to tell my side of the story before punishing me. If Gallaudet chooses to punish me, it must punish all others the same. I was never given a chance to do due process. I felt numb.

When I woke up from death, some people who are loyal to Dwight, told me to shut up and stay in silence. Right now Dwight is walking around freely with a smirk and will not apologize for his actions what he had done. It was the most incompetent decision Gallaudet University chooses to keep Dwight in his office. I was targeted by Dwight’s openly discriminatory policies and the discriminatory policies will be always remembered for abuse of power and corruption on the wrong side of professionalism.

For the last 365 days since my death, I wonder if I actually die, the truth would not be seen.

On November 8, 2016, in SAC 1011, the event, “Deaf in Prison Screening & Discussion” sponsored by Gallaudet ASL & Deaf Studies, the very same department I was part of which was very ironic, and the reason they sponsored this because Dirksen Bauman wanted to do this to cover his ass. Complete bullshit. I asked a question for the audience that will be always remembered for long time, “Why Gallaudet University promote FEAR targeting Deaf returning citizens?” and Dwight was in the same room standing in the back giving me a death stare and that was where I had massive heart attack. Dwight was walking down the aisle—slowly and a smirk. Cool, huh?

My death experience has made me stronger than ever. I recently learned that there has been some “talk” around Gallaudet campus that Dwight might retire early—well, there is no way he would walk away with it. My death does not give him full satisfaction and sit in the sun with a smirk. Will Dwight ever experience death for ten minutes and wake up and realize that he is asshole? It was all about personal attack against me as a motivation to new heights of fervor. Master Yoda said: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

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-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Beating the Online Bully: How To Take Action

 

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The Twitter account “Deaf Access to Justice” operated and moderated by a Deaf returning citizen, Maria Nicole Dollhopf has a strange message of her own—an “obsession” and that is not healthy. It is harmful. It does not mean she is qualified enough to make expert label about my life and claimed that I have “mental issues”. Is she qualified enough to be a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist? As cool Hollywood star, Will Smith, makes a strong message:

Never underestimate the pain of a person, because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Just some people are better at hiding it than others.”

Judging and labeling people indicate that we are not doing enough to protect the basic right to life enshrined in our Constitution. There is also the problem of stigma associated to mental issues, and there is not even enough serious attempt to recognize this issue.

To understand the full “hate” terminology, it is not going to be easy. With her hatred, goals were launched on a grand scale to rip into pieces. The chunk of anger very much visible, the civilization of hatred is more powerful, and the fundamental problem of the hatred also help to avoid guilty by destroying the evidence of my life and stop my success story by turning my life around. Is an obsession a form of mental issue? When a Deaf returning citizen attacks a Deaf returning citizen is the reason why it leads the path of ignorance.

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My life struggles are not a mental issue. It is a human struggle. It is a huge difference. Who started the “war” in the first place?

As I had written in older blog posts, the word, “war” is derived from the Old English, “wyrre” which means, “to bring into confusion“–and that is the problem that leads to a psychological process under-minding my truth. When a Deaf returning citizen personally attacks my Deaf friends and tells them not to be supportive of my character and my hard-working to change my life around.

Obsession brings into confusion often that triggers for a war. The extension of compassion, Maria has lacked in this area. Her practice of hate remains of the past and present, triggered by anger must be seen, written, and examined. Continuing to do personal attacks against my character shows the weakness on her part and add more fuel to stigma by posting mugshot of me and leaving it there to have me suffer humiliation and pain by using my full birth name. It does not have to work that way.

Mental issues addresses one of the critical missing links identified by thousands of health advocates. I strongly believe the human ingredient for people with mental issues can lead productive lives by getting rid of hate. The success will be the best tool for human compassion. Maria has no right to say that my mental issues needs to be verified and stay away and protect for the sake. Hate is not cool. My energy is forwarding towards positive steps instead of living in negative environment. The first step is awareness, stand up, and acknowledge constructive and beneficial to stop the cycle of hate.

I wish to leave in peace and harmony. Sure, mental issues for Deaf returning citizens may not enough adequate, Deaf community struggle for more Deaf-centered mental health professionals, although the system is not funded or resourced accordingly. I leave the thought of the day below.

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-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

 

Do you Support Transformative Healing?

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It takes the greatest amount of strength to overcome the world’s evil motto: Stigma.

Every day in the life of an American, while the life expectancy of the average American is almost 79 years, those who lack awareness to understand hate. Deaf returned citizens, in body, mind, and spirit would most likely have difficult life and expect shorter lives. Should we believe in necessity of the healing will allow them to live longer life—how does the transformative healing happen with Deaf returned citizens? They can become better people. Better wisdom. Better mentors. Better teachers.

We can make all the difference today in Deaf community by becoming part of collective family. Can we make their lives to change every day because of Deafhood networking like you? A good change is good! Reminding them to live in the past does not solve anything. Stigma is not the answer.

Bodies do heal, emotions are expected to lift, courage returns are best thing, and those Deaf returned citizens were once broken in body and spirit because whole, strong people. Trees are part of our soul-searching. They are the powerful tool to heal us! Appreciate the eyes of trees every day. Your contributions or support would be appreciated and make this possible.

 

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Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

My Letter for Graduate School

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My mother and my father were proud of me graduating that day! June 2011. 

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[It was written in 2011]

Gallaudet University
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.

Cordially,

Jason Tozier

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

The Stigma of a Deaf Returned Citizen

 

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12 years old kid. I do not even know what happiness meant after that.

I was just a stupid 12 years old kid. I made very poor choices. I came from a broken home. I did not have many friends. Yes, I am a returned citizen for 21 years and counting. When I was 28 years old, I decided to make major changes by enrolling at a local community college. So, I would change my life around and refused to be a career criminal.

I asked myself one night, if I did not change my life around, I would be a loser. My life is not over; Yet, I survived on $20-$40 a month for years and years. The stigma branded on my forehead where I had to walk through hatred and bullying in Deaf community. I wanted to prove myself and found higher learning/education that had saved me and gave me self-worth that makes me feel like a valuable person at least. I graduated with three university degrees with honors at the same time.

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I was 21 years old. That was when I began my Deaf returned citizen journey through painful times. 

I try to keep my life fiercely private, decides to break my silence and tell the bizarre background to the case. Fighting back tears, I write to give my statement over rumormongers of my life—and I am not doing this just because I wanted to be superhero. I want to stop the pain cycle repeated—in this society, it is senseless “destroying” of my soul for 30+ years.

I lock with my thoughts at this moment, should I say—the pathetic excuse for somebody to send me death threats and harassing who had been attempting to destroy my life from everything. I refuse to let someone limit my life struggles. I have been forced to live in their shadows, radicalizing in my own thinking is a lifetime struggle. The picture below was when I finally graduated from community college.

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I spent years and years pained in cave, if I say anything to friends I thought to be trusted, I assume would make its way concerning among them would only fault was not to resist truth, submitting to the sufferance of the cyber-bullying from Deaf people. I, Jason “JT” Tozier, with the power of truth conferred in me that I shall command my freedom to be seen.

My faults will be always judged by the failure of people with higher authority I was chosen by choice to trust with my life, I wish to present to you my defense in writing. The number of defamation has been recorded which has been made against me in the past and present, there shall be a cave of light that I choose to say that I refute the accusations through the words that reflect my conscience, in front of rightful justice. In the end, I had been left seriously wounded to prevent me from flung open the doors of truth.

From that day on, I have lived solely to exalt my mistakes and deserve a better life. We are all guilty, no matter what. Hiding the facts is often nothing more than the other face of madness. There is no justice without facts and with a role that has played without forgiveness in the criminal justice system.

Yet, today I still get stigmatized, no matter what how much hatred I get today and tomorrow. I am a returned citizen, so I do not need somebody to tell me to live by the labels. Please do not judge me on my past. Do not judge me on what you think I am. Please judge me on my achievements. I believe in second chances by rebuilding my life around and overcoming major stereotypes.

I am blessed to be an advocate, lecturer, and liaison that I will be always grateful for.

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

The Labeling and The Unintended Consequences

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Who cares if I have ADHD? Who cares if I have Asperger’s? Who cares if I have ADD? Who cares if I am a returned citizen? I deal with harshest labels you can imagine. Try to label with care. The main theme of the blog I will be presenting are hate speech, character assassination, and stigma. The consequences of those words will be discussed as well as possible strategies and solutions. Lastly, we all call for a change and make a difference.

I experienced hate speech recently.”Should someone with Asperger’s Syndrome should be allowed to make a representation in the society?” “Wait, he is a returned citizen. He should not be alive. He should be dead by now!” Labeling is dangerous and it can be deadly, too.

In Psychology, certain new diagnoses seem to become the label “Asperger’s” trendier. In the 1980s, suddenly a huge percentage of people labeled ADHD. In the 1990s, a huge group suddenly fit the expanded definition for bipolar. Now I am notching that people are stretching the definitions for Asperger’s in such a way that it could apply to almost anyone.

Who cares if I have Asperger’s? So what! Quite frankly, it is not their business anyway. It does not matter. I do not live by labels. The main symptom with Asperger’s is that people has trouble relating to other people and interacting socially. They also need a more rigid structure in their lives to feel comfortable. What if I have ADHD? So what!

I can interact successfully with almost anyone. I am confident and I can express myself clearly to my peers. As for structure, I find myself to be flexible. I do not seem dependent on a rigid routine. I “roll with the punches” as they say, and are confident in facing new challenges. I can be insensitive to other occasionally, but I am also passionate about my opinions and have trouble seeing other people’s perspectives BECAUSE I am so passionate.

Granted, there are plenty of days of bombastic and harsh attacks in the airwaves and throw hate speech to label my soul is not cool. Sure, every day I face adversity, stigma and harsh labels, stigma is not adversity-free. So, there has been a time in my life that I try to remember having a day that is actually a label-free.

Although, in SPITE of adversity, there will always be things to be thankful for, and to feel positive about. I mean, how much better is your life with people you are thankful for? My love of reading and absorption of knowledge and the knowledge that there are people who feel their lives are better for having met me. I battle with hate speech and hateful labels all the time.

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One of my favourite busts.

It does take time to forgive, but I do not forget what happened. They might not realize that they spew hate speech. To be sure, we all could be escaped from our collective journey without being bashed, and no one of us gets to be labeled. That’s less or more character assassination.

I am getting sick of being labeled and bullied by some Deaf leaders, too. I’ve been TRYING to change for better everyday! Yet, people repeat my old past, repeat, repeat, repeat. People could not even look into my eyes and understand that my soul has been stained by the blood of harshest oppressors and haters. Feel my pain. Can you?

I read a quote today from a book, Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” it was said by Benjamin Franklin who founded America’s first library. 

I grow tired of closed-minded people like those people. I grow tired of labels that use to marginalize and stigmatize who I am. Are we getting tired of stigmatization? Sure, I struggle for increased connection to defeat the oppression through labels. There are stages of traumatization that exists in the society.

Hate speech socially. Harm to someone’s group acceptance through labels, excluding someone from the event, ostracizing notes, and the list goes on. I’ve been excluded from higher learning and social networking. A friend of mine said to me the other day, “You know, you’re a good person. What they did to you is injustice. You are my friend.”

The hardest part was from my father whom we had a conversation through video relay service couple of days ago, he said to me, “Son, I am amazed how much strength you possess. You’re the strongest person I ever know. It’s you, my son.”

Anger is not the answer.

Additional link:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2016/08/29/people-of-the-eye-second-chance/

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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