#GallaudetSolidarity: White Fragility?

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

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Gallaudet University: The Continuing Significance of Racism

 

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There was a quote by a Black student at a historically white university, “Everything, everywhere I look, everywhere I turn, right, left, is white. It’s lily white, it’s painted with white. And it’s funny, because I was reading this article about how America is synonymous with white people. I mean, I’m sure when Europeans, or Asians or Africans for this matter, think of America, they think of white people, because white people are mainstream, white people are general. “White is right,” as my daddy tells me. White is right, at least they think it is. So, if you’re a black person trying to assert yourself, and express your culture, there’s something wrong with you, because to do that is to be diametrically opposed to everything this country stands for. And everything this country stands for is what is white.” 

Is Gallaudet a historically white university? Remember, Gallaudet University is a federally funded university through United States Congress, the founding fathers and its documents stand for democracy, liberty, and justice around the world. The United States Congress: Appropriations Committee gives Gallaudet University around $115 million, maybe little more than that—not enough money for awareness. What are the psychological consequences, if any, of an educational government like Gallaudet University and society discrimination against its Black Deaf students? There is not much information on the character and breadth of the discrimination faced by Black Deaf students on the campus.

There are PLENTY of stories that are not told—and that is where the administration is responsible for covering up lies, and do nothing. Ignorance is indeed bliss, as the administration tends to react more in fear than in education when it comes to Racism; however, the primary concern would be liability. Gallaudet does not want to face litigation and public scrutiny and make sure there is restricted access to Racism. On the one hand, certain strategies such as an community accountability or limiting truth access may be the balanced approach, addressing Racism and largely invalidates the concepts of community accountability, creates fear which gives great scrutiny to the Black Deaf students may hinder the efforts at minimizing Racism at great cost.

In a 1989 ABC News/Washington Post survey 37 percent of black respondents agreed that blacks generally face discrimination in getting a quality education. There is no question that Black Deaf students face discrimination in getting a quality education even in 1989 and now in 2015—no doubt. How does higher education influence Black Deaf students’ social and political distrust at Gallaudet? The administration denies access for the “easy way out” and least likely to cause dissention in the ranks. However, in failing to address Racism to begin with, there are a number of bad consequences, including the reputation of a closed-door policy, a rejection of Racism calling to admonish the racists, and the false sense of security of never addressing Racism, which will last only as long as a white racist is caught in the act.

Ultimately, Gallaudet University must make up its own responsibility as to the course of action to take. In the event Gallaudet wishes to develop a “restricted access” plan that is why the administration could not handle truth. In spite of educational laws banning discrimination, Gallaudet University remains bastions of Racism. In the late 1980s a report of the National Commission on Minority Participation in Education and American Life, One Third of a Nation, found a significant decline in black participation in higher education. (American Council on Education and the Education Commission of the States, One-Third of a Nation, Washington: The American Council on Education, 1988).

Given Black Deaf students’ discrimination experiences in almost every aspect of life, even at Gallaudet University, one might wonder why Black Deaf students would even trust at all.

Again, is Gallaudet a historically white university?

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-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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