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.

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Harming Deaf Community: Hate Crime Laws

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Hate Crime in Portland, Oregon is a serious issue. Portland has been a hot spot for hate crimes even though it is invisible just like that. Raised in greater Portland area for 37 years, and studied under world-class hate crime professor where he taught me how to be knowledge about prejudice, hate crimes and violent crimes. My work was and been focusing on Deaf people who were victimized by the hate crimes.

I was very much proud to play a crucial role in Oregon making sure Deaf people who were survivors or victims of hate crime are included in Oregon bias crime statute in 2011. It is one of my proudest life work ever. Thanks to Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes (OCAHC), I was grateful for its leadership.

Last August 2018, I attended a congressional teach-in on hate crimes and participated in the discussion where I asked the panel experts, including one who was my professor, a question that was critical enough for the society to see a sociological problem, for example, “Since the 1990s, when hate crimes began to be documented, there hasn’t been one documented incident against Deaf people, although they happen.” that can be found on C-SPAN website with closed captions. It was very important time to ask.

That inspired me to write a column called The Reality (and Invisibility) of Deaf-Targeted Hate Crimes in DEAF LIFE October 2018 issue and gave a lecture: Fighting the Fires of Hate: Deaf America in Crisis in the same month as well.

I got invited to be part of training how to combat hate crime sometime this year with well-known and well-respected organizations and hate crime experts which I am very excited and will bring my knowledge how to combat hate crimes against Deaf people. The biggest problem is that the laws lacks the most where they fail to protect Deaf people from hate crime are ultimately enforced by ignorance. Deaf people needs protection at all cost and stop the hearing privileges that the hate crime laws needs to be updated because for number one reason: Deaf people do not deserve hate.

Once the power is taken away from Deaf people, it makes Deaf people’s lives harder if it has not enforced in hate crime laws to protect them at all cost. Often misunderstood that the stigma about Deaf people are one of the greatest damage control. Hate crime laws should not criminalize Deaf people because of the stigma.

How do Deaf people ensure the public trust is enforced? There is no exit. Where is the sympathy for Deaf victims, survivors, and its families? The mainstream society inflicts harm, which, in turn, affects the Deaf community today and tomorrow.

Yet, Deaf people continue to suffer the cruel punishments because of their identity and practice the culture of fear in sound-oriented society. The violence needs to be stopped.

For lectures: please visit this website below.

https://jasontozier.net/

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

The Last 48 Hours: Deaf Community Marginalized?

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After I watched State of the Union by #45 in 2019 speech, I have to admit that it was a joke. I mean, come on, it would take someone to have a simple common sense to solve math problem in additional formula. Does Donald Trump understand the solution that would fix the sociological problem in the society?—and I am writing about the lack of Deaf sociological problems in America.

All of Trump’s speech tonight, think about how much the language had been showing—language hegemony in the power of hearing privileges, think about Deaf Studies or the people of the eye we live in for time being when we breathe or die. It is a life and death situation. It is amazing how the literature been going through trials of struggle and trying to betray the language of truth. Which was the smallest minority group of all?

DEAF COMMUNITY. The number 45, it was said to be in the mathematical literature that that number would shift major changes in people’s life. That makes sense. Do not let this new norm to rattle and crumble the Deaf community in lower numbers. When I watched #45’s speech, the key merit to recognize the beginning of literature that allows hearing privileges to hold the power, the hate crime is too bullshit to discuss and why we cannot walk away from this social problem and how can we discuss more about hate crime in our own community: Deaf community?

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The actual Issac Newton’s Drawing as a Kid.

The wall is a joke. Let’s discuss about the wall of Deaf community. The metaphor by one of my favorite mathematicians: Sir Isaac Newton: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Exactly. Where is the bridge between Deaf and hearing community? Too many walls! Why cannot hearing community get along with Deaf community when it should not build too many walls and ignore bridges that should have been prevented? For one, I have always believed in the bias against the Deaf. The Deaf bias has managed to weave itself a very haunting reputation that is extremely difficult to catch and comprehend. When it comes to American Sign Language (ASL), the bias would be laid on the table and then allow itself to be examined, thus becoming easily erased and eradicated.

In my most recent lecture, “Fighting the Fire of Hate: Deaf America in Crisis” last October 2018 held at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, it has transformed into a model of its own kind, rich with anecdotes and facts from all the Deaf, from all walks of life, and the laws that lacks the protection of Deaf people, has been missing the facts, and it has missing the most from two parts: ASL and counterpart English.

When we are glued to watch through television, it is so powerful that the trick of political language that matters you the most, challenging in the most of truth of all truth that the biases are often invisible against the Deaf. Where is the betterment of all the Deaf?

When Deaf people are heard around the world and the country, it goes by the ballots in the years and years ahead—and it needs your help. Is there a fundamental right for Deaf person to stand and hold democracy in America? Think about this one, after America, there is no place to go in this vast universe. Although Deaf community like myself, had experienced implicit prejudices and discrimination. America is still a great place to be and live.

The last 48 hours had been making Deaf community difficult to breathe and live with the consequence that had been marginalized, and neglected, the Super Bowl 2019 game: “Deaf, Dumb, and Blind” even if it was a lyric that hurts them the most—and less than five seconds of live coverage of Deaf person signing in ASL on national television, and the history of the State of the Union that always lack the discourses of Deaf Studies in people, literature, and history. All in thrice! We should remember that “Deaf” will be always unparalleled force in our politics. Action does show much the difference. Can we find the next generation of DEAF-CENTERED leaders in our movement?

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-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

Invisible Hand: Did Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia Experience Hate Crime?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Was it a hate crime what Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia experienced at Detroit Airport because of their state of being Deaf? Sexual orientation? That they are not white? Even though the gate agent is Black. It’s most likely the person who called police on Deaf couple is White. Who knows? The agent was mocking Deaf couple because…..you know.

Think about the consequences Deaf people face daily even though it’s invisible hate crime. For example, a Deaf male got attacked by two white Hearing men and stole their laptop because they knew he was Deaf. How? He was chatting with someone through American Sign Language (ASL) on the table outside of a coffee shop in Riverside, CA. Police doesn’t think it was a hate crime.

A Deaf lesbian couple in CA got severely beaten with baseball bat by someone—a hearing person who doesn’t like them as Deaf and hated sign language and as lovers. Hate crime? Nope! Why?

Seven days ago or a week ago in January 2019, a hearing gay couple in TX were severely beaten by baseball bat. The attacker was hearing. Why? Think about it. Hate crime? Yes! Why not?

Spring 2018. Two gay men who are American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in Washington, DC got attacked last April because of their sexual orientation. Hate crime? It was said to be possible.

See the point? Hearing people who experienced hate crime more—As for Deaf survivors of hate crime, “too bad and live with consequences” attitude.

I could go on more, but the whole point is there are many unreported hate crimes against Deaf people is a factor because there is not enough sensitivity training about the appreciation of Deaf lives. Hate crime is the most trivialized subject when it comes to target Deaf people. Do you agree that Deaf people have been trivialized along those times in our lives? Can hearing people dare to see in the eyes of innocent Deaf people that they are also the most marginalized group?

How could the society dare to tell Deaf people who experienced hate crime even though it’s not reported to go on with lives, as it never happened? It is because it is highly publicized culture of denial and culture of fear. Hate crime teaches the society to be liars, and allows to dehumanize innocent Deaf people.

We need to remind that when hearing people calls police on Deaf people is something—a dangerous framing that could be a new norm in the future. We need to watch out for that. A ‘hate crime’ is when crimes as in ‘action’ preventing truth, that often results the most is hostile and prejudiced in a manner when being targeted, for example, “DEAF”—is very difficult to challenge.

“How often are the perpetrators of hate-crimes discovered to be self-loathing? Valued individuals do not strike out against strangers.”—Harvey Fierstein

Do you agree that Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia experienced hate crime? Why or why not?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

Treatment of Suicidal Deaf People

 

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There is an important discussion about the surge of suicide rates in America. This morning when I woke up and discovered the most recent news about chef Anthony Bourdain who committed suicide in France. It was tragic, indeed. Less than 24 hours ago, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued alerting news about suicide: 30% percent across the nation since 1999.

I am focusing on Deaf Community. CDC showed a nationwide map of states showing which the highest suicide rates. Idaho, one of the highest suicide states, most recently, a Deaf couple—‘murder and suicide’; Depression is invisible stigma. I had my battle with suicide tendencies in the past even as Gallaudet graduate student few years ago. Mental health at Gallaudet University is major problem.

In 1988, I was in eighth grade, I remember getting the news on a small school bus and was informed that Greg, a Deaf friend of mine who rode on the same school bus with me, committed suicide and that was a major flashback for me. Greg was a phenomenal artist. It was not supposed to be that way.

Two Deaf persons committed suicide within last four years in Gallaudet community. It is profound. Last March 2018, a Deaf student at Illinois School for the Deaf committed suicide. Few years ago, a Deaf student in California committed suicide. I could go on more.

Last year, I wrote a post, Suicide is a Big Problem in Deaf Community https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/ has reflected many things. Labeling is powerful. Hate is a bigger problem. The mental health does impact Deaf community. The problem is that it is not enough discussed. Before everyone continue to rush to judgment and do their due diligence on the society. Each and every one of you needs to understand that when suicide rates in Deaf community is invisible now and then; the society has absolutely no interest in the truth.

They are after one thing: lack of knowledge. Suicide is a tragedy act. Deaf community should be not shunned. How does they teach the society when Deaf community should earn an earned opportunity—earned by knowledge? At any rate, America used to be the land of chances and Deaf community rarely believes in second chances as from walks of life dealing with their struggles.

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There are plenty of Deaf people struggling for counseling. Deaf community is not enough discussed in mental health community.

How can the society allow Deaf community to resume their own lives? This is a terrible and faulty narrative about Deaf community. The notion that Deaf community does not feel the pain is simply not a factual. To be sure, there is a huge impact on them. Sometimes, depending on situations, the most brutal ones imaginable.

But mental health community, for example, counseling can make a great leap of difference, and for those Deaf people who seek support and help, in fact, overcome adversity and labeling. Further, how long is long enough for Deaf community to suffer suicide awareness? We must remember that Deaf community is the gatekeepers to all knowledge regarding struggles and suicide awareness.

Stigma reinforces Deaf community. There is a direct line between struggle and help—a human error that would lead to suicides and that is where the society is ignorant about Deaf community. To accept the reality would be to acknowledge that suicide is nothing but a powerful statement, used by hearing privileges to divide Deaf community. It is simply baffling that Deaf community struggle to seek support system. Moreover, the mental crisis seems to be no longer the community accountability.

The only challenge for the crisis is that Deaf community must continue and support mental awareness of any kind is well discussed about suicide awareness and human responsibility.

Please visit Deaf Counseling Center:

www.deafcounseling.com

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/05/23/why-mental-health-awareness-month-is-important-for-deaf-community/

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

‘Sign Gene’: Blood, Guns, and Testosterone

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When you see the statue of Laurent Clerc on Gallaudet campus, it is the world’s most valuable and earthed symbols of Deaf community. It has ruined the image of Laurent Clerc. The roots of gun violence is not enough examined.

After watching the movie, “Sign Gene”, we the Deaf patrons appear uncomfortable with the gun violence. Co-producers of the movie are both are professors in Department of ASL/Deaf Studies at Gallaudet, the same leadership, the advancement of knowledge, has fallen under a cloud of compassion that it is also falls under a wrong agenda.

It blows my mind away and heart-broken to see this movie was showing so much violence and graphic. The movie was so graphic and violent—did Gallaudet administration watch the film before it was approved in the public eye? It continues to be seen as the problem rather than the challenge.

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We must continue to challenge against gun culture in America. Around 1 million people showed up in DC to support March for our Lives few months ago to stand up against gun violence. Gun violence is important to talk about with everyone. And because it is so important, we need to talk about it more.

This movie, “Sign Gene” has shown plenty of mental health stigmas. And that leads me to share this question I found recently. “What role does mental stigma play in the debate over gun violence and gun policy, specifically stigma?” questioned by Audrey Hamilton. Whose is responsible for this?

Seeing gun violence everyday in America is a critical social problem. Standing up against gun violence is an important of people’s overall health. Their mental health is an important as their physical health. Talking about gun violence is important to others. Gun violence is difficult to talk about. Talking about gun violence is important at every stage in people’s life. Gun violence is more common than you think. Gun violence is caused by trauma and violence.

A German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) wrote: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

But why would Department of ASL/Deaf Studies who sponsored the film and co-produced by two professors chose to carry the tradition of gun violence and help them to become what they are capable of carrying guns in the image of Deaf community?

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So does this mean the gun violence cannot be interpreted? Or does it mean that gun violence stories cannot be interpreted? What about victims and survivors of gun violence who share their stories are about but ignored in ASL? Knowledge is pain, and challenges the practice of gun violence as effective oppressors in the Deaf community.

It is important that we must never be ignorant in any way whatsoever. I seriously think the film would have done a lot better WITHOUT GUN VIOLENCE. The film should be more Deaf-centered superheroes, funny, witty, and inspiring.

Additional Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFDg_WycklI

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Dwight Benedict: Stop the Practice of Discrimination, Shaming, and Cruel Punishment