Today (May 24) in 1951, racial segregation in Washington, D.C. restaurants ruled illegal. It became a big deal. The history in Deaf community, I am sure that there are stories by Deaf Black people who experienced racial segregation in D.C., even as Gallaudet students. The stories of Deaf Black Gallaudet students would deliver to the Deaf community, as to the rest of the world. It was the wave of racism made the weak weaker, and most of the strong weaker.
The reason I write this blog post is because I am an ally. I oppose the structure of racism, and that is where I follow W.E.B. DuBois philosophy, “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.”
I cannot fathom the idea of racial segregating Deaf Black people in DC, the home of Deaf Utopia, hence Gallaudet University. The term of “Utopia” is noun. I looked up the definition, “an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.”
Is Deaf community perfect? Is Gallaudet community perfect?
A while ago, in one of my previous posts, I explained the history of “ugly laws” that would target Deaf people. It actually existed. The last city to repeal ugly laws was in Chicago, 1974. When I took course called “Images of Disability People in Film and Literature” in 2010, my professor had instructed me to read a book called The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public, Susan M. Schweik.
I am sure that there were stories in nation’s capital where Deaf Black people would walk into restaurants and would get targeted, attacked, ridiculed, and ostracized between racial segregation and ugly laws makes it triple alienation and oppression against Deaf Black people. The meaning of alienation: “the state of experience of being isolated from a group or an activity to which one should belong or in which one should be involved.”
At the height of the culture wars in Deaf community, it is time to learn and respect Black Deaf community stories that would make things the consistent responsibility of life. Deaf Black people continue to be in the circle of language minority just like Deaf community goes through the phrase.
It would be nice if there were any surviving Deaf Black Gallaudet students who experienced racial segregation in restaurants would share stories. I have not read any books or articles that would share their experiences prior to 1951 or in this matter, the very day today when it became illegal, how would they react to the change of life?
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
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Do you think it is fair for hearing privileges to be in charge of Deaf film festival?
I am writing this blog post to respond to a concern and had made me to ask myself the eternal question on the meaning of higher learning—not higher learning as we know at Gallaudet University, but our own learning by not to keep any question back; To attain a clear consciousness of sight that sees without writing so as to comprehend it as a healthy discourse. Our Deaf minds, must see to be truly free from oppression.
This is something we all need to be aware of this. Gallaudet University recently announced an executive branch for Student Body Government (SBG)— First of all, I would like to use this idea to understand why it is perfect opportunity for Sociology majors. I had been buttered by the concept of Sociology to carry my civil duty long before I arrive in Gallaudet community as alumnus as well. One of the courses, Foundations of Sociology where I first learned about W.E.B. DuBois, an important sociologist of all time, ends up one of my favorite sociologists to read and study.
W.E.B. DuBois once quoted, “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others…. One ever feels this twoness, as American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body”
From the executive branch: Chief of Staff, Andre Simons, a hearing folk. SBG has been ‘Deaf-centered’ for Deaf students who come to Gallaudet for life growth through the lens of Deafhood. There are many Deaf students who are mainstreamed who might struggle through to make a difference in politics and it is the perfect opportunity for them to grow and learn. Mr. Simons might a child of Deaf parents, [CODA], some people said it is OK for him to be part of SBG because he has a “Deaf-heart”. Some people are not comfortable with the idea. CODA or not, Mr. Simons need to respect Deaf people first.
Hearing and CODA in same sentence, what would you call it? Is Mr. Simons using this twoness, as hearing and a CODA? Two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings in a hearing body and join SBG that is designed for Deaf people. SBG is also two-souls and thoughts, American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf and encouraging them to work for the intrinsic satisfaction of higher learning, a double-edged sword. In other words, within the SBG, higher learning is a central importance for DEAF students only.
People who are not comfortable with the idea of having hearing student in SBG’s executive branch merges to indicate that the Administration must change. There are two key items in the Gallaudet University Manual of Operations. 1) The student unit fee was distributed to various organizations and programs: SBG, Buff and Blue, Theatre, and others. 2) Dean of Student Affairs—Dwight Benedict is the students’ voice within the Administration.
Within the hearing student in SBG for the first time in history (to my knowledge), is it a fearful example of the damage wrecked by inbreeding leadership within the university administration? Outwardly, Gallaudet University gave no sign of the oppressive nature which would now appall the whole Deaf journey.
When I see the word, “CODA”–it has hearing privileges. Yes, they do. Even with “Deaf-heart”, will they ever really understand the fact Deaf people struggle with their own values or liberty and cannot easily reconcile with the real world? If a CODA sitting in the executive branch, it is showing a privilege to value his own individualism and self construct (academic performance) for himself and can only find self-destruct in attempting to grasp the elusive opportunities to escape oppressive judgement of Deaf peers who would curb his freedom.
SBG is often described as the heart of the Gallaudet University community-a central to the life of the university for Deaf people.
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.