#GallaudetSolidarity: White Fragility?

#GallaudetSolidarity was a powerful event showing that Gallaudet University have serious problem.

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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.

 

 

 

Fear-Rejection Thoughts Is Not Love

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We do not need fear-rejecting thoughts in Deaf community. If bystanders cannot find anything to recognize bullying, then they have committed a crime. Suicide is a tragic response to bullying. The problem is that it is very rarely discussed in Deaf community.

I am writing about Deaf returning citizens. They could easily take their lives away. Would it be a criminal act if Deaf returning citizens take their own lives if they are severely bullied daily in same Deaf community they live and breathe in? Deaf community loves to bully and would make up rumors that make it look true. Can Deaf community accept the fact that the suicides are the evidence of BIGGER problems than being bullied?

The fear-rejecting about Deaf returning citizens is a huge problem. The bullies would cruelly exploit that social prejudice, and got away with it. There are three important factors that we all need to know and be aware about it.

Number One: Oppression

Number Two: Dehumanization

Number Three: Exploitation

Remember the book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire? He once wrote about dehumanization in 1981:

Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human….Th[e] struggle [for humanization] is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.”

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Deaf returning citizens have been subject of the oppressed. When bullies are not punished, did they also harm themselves that they intend to do? If a bully crosses the line between hate speech, invasion of privacy, or harassment, is it OK for the bully to harass Deaf returning citizens daily? There are many ways to address bullying, harassment, hate speech, death threats, and stalking.

In Deaf community, it is an international problem. Can we have conversation about the importance of educating love instead of hate? The importance of civility and respect would be more effective tool for Deaf community to heal.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Are Deaf People Being Certified to be Killed in the Public Trust?

Gallaudet University: Whoever Reserve the Right to Freedom

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As an ally for Deaf people of color, the last 48 hours has been mind-boggling where I had received e-mails and calls, I was even more surprised to see the bigger hidden agenda of institutional racism remains bigger problematic at Gallaudet University more than we really understand, why hide in the dark? Deaf people of color students would experience the first signs of racism after they were enrolled. I would like to acknowledge myself that I am a Deaf white man with lineage in Cherokee world. I believe in human equality.

Are the stories too familiar or too ignorant to admit it in the Deaf community? The leaders at Gallaudet University—will they acknowledge the last couple of years that the Deaf person of color has subjected to institutional racism? We ask ourselves to hold Gallaudet University accountable for ignoring strides to solve the problem too long.

For quite time, do we ever realize that Deaf people of color students been subjected to hostile environment on the campus? Why all of silence treatment about this? The information shows that they do not need a reason to worry and often sweep the rug are difficult to fathom. No way we should been absolved in easy steps. Yet, discriminatory practices on the campus proving that institutional racism is difficult to forget and move on.

Can we convince President Cordano to hire an outside Deaf consultant “with expertise in understanding institutional racism in society” to make the campus safer? Gallaudet University is not the problem. It is the central problem that whoever in charge is running Gallaudet University. Will we ever put ourselves on the front line to overthrow institutional racism and whenever we hold ourselves accountable? The clear path becomes the central of failure.

Deaf people of color I signed with the last 48 hours, they were alumni and alumnus experienced institutional racism before the day was over.

Racism is real. It is also lacks of awareness. When Gallaudet administration officials receive a complaint about institutional racism, did they take the discrimination complaints seriously enough? I guess we need to admit that institutional racism today is often unintentional. I feel like we are constantly remind ourselves what it is like to understand the fox guarding the hen house.

So, the last question of the post: Do we have a choice but to conclude that there was never institutional racism at all? In my final thoughts, Gallaudet University would improve better and start a fresh start and overthrow old thinking dilemma. Chief Tawonka quotes:

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So, it means for Gallaudet community to understand the freedom that applies to Deaf person of color shall be bound to hold free. We do not need more infighting, it gets too old and tired. We need to set policies stronger to stand up against language bigotry.

When we see the selection of Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Enagement, walking by College Hall everyday in the open air, we can overcome old school thinking. So, the way we can have healthy thinking. We do not need to become tired of this. It starts with us. Leaving Gallaudet community members out of the dialogue is a problem. Leaving institutional racism out of the dialogue is bigger problem.

-JT

 

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

How To Be a Better American

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America’s neighbor, Canada—someone from there left me a comment to tell me that I need to be a better American and leave Donald Trump alone. I’ve been bred and buttered in America since 1974. I’ve walked through school halls being constantly bullied by hearing peers everyday. I’ve been suspended several times just because I was standing up and protect myself from bullies. I was taught to follow American values—I’ve been breathing through thick air for 365 days a year for next 42 years.

Oh, I also remember growing up in schools telling me to respect American flag and yet I was mocked for being Deaf. That tells a lot, right? Oddly, I feel compelled to explain what an American flag is all about—today in current political climate under Trump, the flag is now seen as a taboo. When a person from Canada tells me that I need to be a ‘better American’.

What the person does not know that in 1970s, Trump and his father was constantly bully and discriminate Black people in several American cities when they were looking for a place to rent out for their human necessities as we all do to have a roof over our heads. They were profiled. The Department of Justice (DOJ) took them to the court for racial discrimination and the violation of Fair Housing Act. Was the person from Canada aware of this?

Oh, Trump has a huge list of history mocking Native Americans. In 1993, he was called out to testify front of congressional testimony and the true colors came out of Trump’s mouth when he said, “They don’t look like Indians to me and they don’t look like Indians to Indians.” Damn! That is a hate speech, folks! I’m part of Cherokee and I did not really appreciate what Trump said. Where did he learn that? His father. Hate is a learned behavior. You ever notice that Trump never talks about his mother? Tsk tsk. Wait, do not forget what Trump lied to the media that he was not aware of protestors at Standing Rock. That’s one damn lying sack of shit!

Back in 2013, I attended a conference at National Museum of the American Indian, Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports to fight against systematic racism. Is that not a better American?

For the last few days has been difficult for America to deal with Trump’s lies and he was the one who incited political violence. He is a rampant xenophobic, racist, misogynist and a very bad actor to cover up his lies. Now, that person from Canada tells me to be a better American. Guess what? I am—because I am fighting against all forms of hate, systematic racism, and we are witnessing increasing violence by angry racists who are targeting Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ people, minority communities and Deaf community as well. We are witnessing…invisible consequences. Seriously!

As a better American, it is my civic responsibility to inform Deaf community that we need to get Trump impeached, jailed, and out of the office for the highest treason and incite political violence. It is also all of our duties to put hate groups out of business, and of course, seeking justice for survivors of discrimination. As for the American flag we see everyday, old America was not built on faith, it was built on hate and violence and we do not need history repeating again. Trump is bringing old America back.

Hence, “America First”—that’s bullshit. My maternal and paternal great grandfathers were immigrants who fled from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany for safety and opportunity. They were granted immigration, and seek for better life for themselves and their families. My own families. Do not forget my Cherokee families, too.

I will not let Trump’s “politics” to corrupt my own American flag I was taught to follow American values. Back in 2007, as an undergraduate student signing up for Hate Crime and Bias course, that changed my life forever. A year later, I voted for Obama and was very proud to know that Obama was my president. The next day after Obama won the election, I remember showing up for a class, it was practically empty because everyone was partying so hard and cried for a change.

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That was the real America we are talking about because we were sick of systemic racism everyday and believed that it is change to erase hate because we have no place for hate anymore. When the white supremacists causing major violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, they wanted to “take America back”—OK, the real question, maybe make it a sociological question—take it back for what? From whom? Why? For what kind of purpose? I do not really understand this at all.  Trump does not represent American flag. No way!

By telling me that I need to be a better American and leave Trump alone does not sit well with me.

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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