I am a Deaf White Straight Male. I am an alumnus of Gallaudet University. As Gallaudet University is strongly white establishment system even today, the administration, majority of faculty and students are still predominately white. I am sharing my major concerns about Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) final three picks. I honestly think that Gallaudet University need to search again and pick the right people—there are plenty of qualified only Deaf People of Color candidates.
Focusing on Charity Reedy Warigon, a White Deaf privileged female who is a special assistant to the Vice President for Engagement at Gallaudet University. She is one of three finalists. As I am sure that Charity have an impressive resume that I will not deny that, but is she the right person?
Will she understand the “home” at Gallaudet University for people of color? Will she understand Deaf people of color’s power struggles in the white-establishment academy? Does Charity understand the character of Racism as it shapes intellectual life of the Deaf people of color?
Although Gallaudet University has a Racism long history to be performed within the Deaf community, it has yet to stop marketing itself and treating Deaf people of color as its consumers. It should develop and share much needed “diversity and inclusiveness” catchword, and hardly ever offered resolutions. Even hate crimes is the face of “dark crime figure” known as under the rug at Gallaudet. Yes, you read this right, diversity is also about recognizing hate crimes and hate speech. It is rarely talked about.
The position for CDO must be responsible for demonstrating accountability for diversity and effectively communicating the accomplishments, needs and value of Deaf people of color to the public and to the world. Why Gallaudet University thinks Deaf people of color in language and cultural oppression should be oppressed was my comprehension. Once someone is oppressed, he or she learns to become the oppressor.
The problem is that Charity is white. I also realized that she did not attend an important event last March 2017 at Gallaudet University: Islamophobia Within Deaf Community. This is also part of diversity as well. I remembered seeing Charity to show up for an event Beyond Inclusion hosted by Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) that it did not include Deaf people of color on the panel. It was more important for Charity to attend this event than attending Islamophobia Within Deaf Community.
Although it is not the first time what Charity had done before. She was only an American sitting on Canadian Hearing Society [CHS] board making best interests for Deaf Canadians when she is not a Canadian. I think what she did was very selfish move. I believe that it applies to Deaf Canadians only when they understand Canada better than an American who does not live there. Is that also a power trip, no? Would we really describe Charity as a “leader” for the position of CDO?
I think Charity knows better than that—and would make a wise decision to give CDO position to someone else who are qualified Deaf people of color. As in CDO search announcements via Gallaudet website, Charity may be “married to an African-American, she has exposure to the rich and diverse African cultures.” Still, it does not mean anything really. She will always have white privileges. Always. Even Deaf privileges that are often oppressed Deaf people of color. Ain’t that true or not?
Even though my Aunt Sue who is married to a Black male, I have strong exposure in Black cultures as I have many Black cousins, Aunts and family member. I still would not apply for CDO because I do not understand their experiences through pain and struggles. And I am a White Deaf man. I respect them first. That is a big difference.
Please, no hearing candidates that DOES NOT KNOW ASL either, too! Also, the CDO should be well-versed knowledge about LGBTA, Deaf returned citizens (which is the most marginalized and most oppressed group), ethnicity, socio-economic status, religious beliefs (for example, Islamphobia) and many others.
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
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Why not America toughen up hate speech laws like other countries?
See that picture above? MAX train. Powerful words. Emotional words. What happened on May 26, 2017 in Portland, Oregon intensified dramatically after the horrific hate crime event. Violence has grown exponentially—more like hate exponents targeting Muslim community. As of this writing, hate and murder have claimed two people that day—it has impacted my life even though I am living in District of Columbia, Portland was my home. My Pacific Northwest family roots are mostly in Portland.
The vast majority of shock and pain have been shared. The world witnessed the most violent single incident of hate-motivated violence so far in Portland, it is time for us to stop hate crime. Enough! It starts with us! Educate yourself and start stronger awareness!
This is also terrorism, an act of demonstrating the power in the eyes of white supremacists. Stop white privileges. White supremacy do not belong in Portland. Ignorance. Self-centered. No compassion. No cultural awareness.
As we cope with pain in a world that seems ever more dangerous and out of control, at the same time, white supremacists beam messages throughout the world that is attempting to demonize Muslims—carrying the new norm: Islamphobia. When I Signed up for Hate Crimes and Bias course ten years ago was one of my best decisions ever. After that, it is my civil duty to continue and educate my own community: Deaf community and how to stop hate crimes.
To my biggest surprise when I discovered that Oregon is now the national champion of higher hate and bias crimes than anyone in the United States TODAY! NO, I AM NOT KIDDING ABOUT THIS PART. It is important to remember that Oregon was founded as a “white haven” and the only state not to follow 14th Amendment of the Constitution until 1973! Reminder: I made an ASL VLOG few weeks ago called Oregon’s Great Racism Roots: A History Lesson. Link:
The 14th Amendment has been part of the Constitution since 1868. Three years after Lincoln’s death. Portland is the whitest city in America. There are couple of skinheads groups, hate groups, white supremacists living in the underground. I would be more than happy to provide the names of groups at no charge.
Why did we not see that it would come back and haunt Oregon again that is now known as the number one in reporting hate crimes anywhere. We failed. They are trying to take Oregon back as the original “white haven”—not very cool! Those same people who preach hate including Jeremy Joseph Christian who is now charged with hate crimes has made their names more painfully than perhaps any hate crime, even in Deaf community, too.
I will not support any kind of hate and stand together with Muslim community to denounce the hate. Portland do not need those haters. They do not belong there. Let’s give them the exile pass away from Oregon. Three people, two of them died and one of them got stabbed fighting hate.
In questioning hate crime what Jeremy Joseph Christian done, a majority of political favouritism supported by the white supremacists makes things even painful for my Pacific Northwest roots and go through stages of grief.
We do not need Trump’s White America. Jeremy Joseph Christian may put Portland on the map to gain attention to follow the lead, but we sure will empower peace trumps over hate. I’m one of them. White supremacists do not belong in my roots or Oregon in this matter.
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely coped in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
I am 42 years old male, my government skin is white, and a direct line with indigenous people in my family, I will copy and paste this powerful statement that today people still thinks Indigenous people are “people of color”:
A common phrase used to describe minority or underrepresented populations is “people of color.” American Indians are not, to quote Elizabeth Cook Lynn, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe and founding editor of Wicazo Sa (a leading journal in American Indian Studies), “people of color”. Cook-Lynn writes:
Native populations in America are not “ethnic” populations; they are not “minority” populations, neither immigrant nor tourist, nor “people of color.” They are the indigenous peoples of this continent. They are landlords, with very special political and cultural status in the realm of American identity and citizenship. Since 1924, they have possessed dual citizenship, tribal and U.S.; and are the only population that has not been required to deny their previous national citizenship in order to possess U.S. citizenship. They are known and documented as citizens by their tribal nations. (1)
After watching a Deaf white woman with privileges video to belittle Deaf people of color conference couple of days ago, I do not know what to say, more like tying knots in my stomach. This post might be bit long to read—and try my best to unpack my white privileges. When I was a college student at a local community college, I signed up for African American History as part of my degree requirement before transferring to a university. My majors were: English, Liberal Studies, and Sociology.
That day in 2005 when I entered into the classroom to learn and appreciate African American history, I reached a very low moment in my academic experience when the teacher turned out to be a white male and had no experience in teaching this subject. It was a very last minute notice by the History department and I was offended. That was where I decided to withdraw that course on the same day. I felt good about it—that was part of unpacking my white privileges.
Later I became a university student—I signed up for American Indian Literature that was taught by Indigenous professor. I signed up for Jewish Literature that was also taught by Jewish professor. Then I signed up for Advanced Topics in American Literature: The Harlem Renaissance taught by Black professor. If Deaf Studies is taught or run the department by a hearing person, what do you call it? Is that a cultural appropriation? What about disempowerment? Dirty politics will always get in the way.
The whole point is that it is appreciated by what it is called cultural appreciation to learn about another culture with respect and courtesy by their own experience through the trials of oppression. In 2010, I attended National Deaf People of Color Conference: Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying held in Portland, Oregon, it has popped my eyes even more coming from Deaf POC. They were the teachers of stories. I thank them for their experiences.
….What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society succeed in this, that society is about to perish.” [A Talk to Teachers]
What this means is, if we project that someone fail, they indeed might. But if we encourage and educate them, especially to take the occasional chance and challenge existing knowledge, we could truly advance as a society.
It is about education of People of Color. What I learned all these years not just the courses I took, but all the books I’ve read is that people of color has been stigmatized and never allow a Deaf white people with privileges to challenge Deaf people of color conference’s goals and missions on the basis of gender and race. Did it create an environment of paranoia? They already suffered as a result of extreme prejudice and stereotype.
This pertains to social problems because there is definitely a large gulf of misunderstanding between POC and whites that seems to pervade society to this day, and that is tragic if we are to share the earth’s resources and live and work together as a human race. When no one asks honest racial questions about it, generations of ignorance and hatred fill the spaces between different races. When we all make an extra effort to understand each other’s experience or at least learn to it, that is progress in filling these racial gaps between people.
If I may make friendly suggestions to read three those books just to start and understand:
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk
John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me
And two movies to watch: Dear White People: A Satire about Being a Black Face in a White Place and 13th: From Slave to Criminal With One Amendment.
Yes, I have more books to share, but I feel this is good enough for now. It is only beginning—time to unpack white privileges right there. Remember, Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying……Deaf People of Color comes FIRST—and try not to break up the hands, signs, and colors into white privileges. Make a good example.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.