Posts tagged ‘#endoneendall’

Call for Transparency: Communications

We should be able to communicate directly with our Board of Directors and especially our regional representatives. Our representatives need to be closer to the people and direct contact reminds them of who they serve and who entrusted them with their responsibilities in the first place. We need to have more transparent stakeholder participation.

Please communicate this with the NAD too that you agree you want to access your representatives directly.

I Sent This Following Message to the NAD via their Online Contact Form:

I demand that the contact information for our Board of Directors be made public. We deserve to be able to communicate directly with our Board of Directors. Our communications with the Board and our representatives should not be meditated through this medium (online contact form). I do not have faith that my messages are reaching my representatives on the Board. Given the lack of Transparency thus far, I do not have the confidence in Ms. Scoggins or individuals to meditate my communications with the Board. I am issuing a Call for Transparency and insisting that you make contact information available.

 

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Intracommunity Division and “Deaf Nazis”

I’m doing this because I care deeply for all my brethren. By brethren, I refer to all deaf, hard of hearing, and those who choose to identify as hearing impaired. I do not want to focus on “labels” because that veers into the territory of identity politics. Here’s a comment I saw earlier today…”I’m severely hard of hearing and all this deaf/hearing/asl competition over cultures and languages is really getting old. I’m tired of the Deafy Nazis..they can “Have” their culture.”

My heart breaks for people who see themselves as victims rather than as survivors of the existing systems of power, privilege, and oppression. This intracommunity division exists because some of us have internalized ideas from the dominant majority that we are objects to be “fixed,” that we are inherently bound for failure and limited lives, and that we are somehow lesser than others. So many have adopted the idea that the only way we can be “equal” is if we are normalized and assimilated into the majority- as in being able to communicate orally and achieve flawless English, at the expense of other aspects of our Selves.

This is not an experience unique to the deaf community. In other non-dominant population groups, we see similar processes of assimilation, internalized oppression, and intracommunity division. Some have so deeply internalized the message of the dominant majority that they turn on each other. A little snippet from another website:

“There are two ways that internalized oppression functions:

2. Internalized oppression occurs among members of the same cultural group. People in the same group believe (often unconsciously) the misinformation and stereotypes that society communicates about other members of their group. People turn the oppression on one another, instead of addressing larger problems in society. The results are that people treat one another in ways that are less than fully respectful. Often people from the same cultural group hurt, undermine, criticize, mistrust, fight with, or isolate themselves from one another.”

My message to those who feel they are marginalized by the “Deafy Nazis”: I see you as my brethren. I am fighting the fight for you too, not just those who are Deaf ASL-Users, but for all deaf and hard of hearing people who ultimately are affected by systematic audism and linguicism. I am determined to battle systems of oppression that has potential to limit our access to mainstream society and full citizenship. I am resisting systems of oppression that limits deaf children’s access to language, education, and ultimately economic opportunities. I am tired of seeing our language, our bodies, our culture being exploited for profit by colonizers. I am tired of seeing deaf children turn into bitter adults. I am saddened to see deaf adults not have a sense of belonging.  My resistance is centered on those systems of power, not against my fellow deaf/hard of hearing brethren. I may disagree with your positions or your politics. My intent is to educate and raise consciousness but I do not have any interest in excluding you from this community, this culture, or American Sign Language.

I see some people in our community attacking each other rather than focus on the systems of power, especially the medical-industrial complex and clueless education policy-makers, for putting us in the position where we do not have first-class citizenship.

I suspect that those who are referred to as the “Deaf Nazis” or the “deaf militants” are those who feel passionately about advancing the place of deaf people in mainstream society. I cannot speak for everyone else but I can speak for myself and those with whom I work. We are not rejecting those who are not fluent in ASL or do not buy into deaf culture nor making claims on ASL and deaf culture as being exclusively ours. We feel passionately that all deaf children should have full access to language and education, to be seen as whole beings beyond their ears, and to have access to a community of people who share the deaf experience and share the challenges of audism. We are not attacking you for the decisions that were made by medical professionals interested in curing/fixing you or turning a profit, by education policy makers who do not understand our unique needs and challenges, and by well-meaning parents who made difficult decisions based on what they were told was best. When we attack those systems, we are not attacking you, the byproducts of that system. There is not a separate “you” and “us.” This is about all of us regardless of identity politics.

I can understand why some deaf/hard of hearing people feel personally attacked when deaf activists agitate against oral education, cochlear implants, and so on.  We do not hold deaf/hard of hearing people responsible for decisions made by others when they were children. But we do hold deaf/hard of hearing people responsible for the decisions they make as adults. When consciousness has been raised, one can no longer avoid responsibility for the choices they make in being a victim or survivor, or their choice in victimizing their own brethren using the ideology of the systems in power.

What drives my passion? Here’s a little story I want to share with you excerpted from an older post.

I went to the Deaf Community Services center this afternoon for an employment-related interview. While in the waiting room, I watched a DCS produced video. This video asked the question: “why I love DCS.” The respondents were apparently selected at random, their responses unedited and unscripted.

At the end of this video, two little girls, about 8-10 years of age, appeared. One said, “DCS helps me get ready for school so that I can have a successful future.” Her friend responded, “heh, heh. If we can! Heh. Heh,” while shrugging.

Heartbreaking. Tragic. Illuminating.

I wonder. Does this little girl question her ability to be a successful adult because she is deaf and she has somehow internalized the idea that deaf adults are generally not successful? Is she, as a deaf pupil, told she will struggle because of literacy and linguistic acquisition?

Or is she, like the Dove commercial on television, one of the majority of girls who drop out of what they enjoy doing because they are insecure about themselves as girls growing into women? Is she, as a female pupil, told that she cannot succeed in the sciences and math because boys are simply better at those subjects?

Or is it all rolled into one as a deaf female? We cannot separate out precisely the moment, those experiences, those messages she received as a girl, as a deaf child, and as a deaf girl, that she had to question whether or not she would succeed. What disempowers this child? Her femalehood or her deafhood? How do those disempowerments nurture each other?

This illustrates why we cannot separate out the experience of being deaf from other facets of our existences.

This is why we must combat all forms of privilege and work for true equality for all. We cannot separate those threads out; we cannot empower an individual by empowering one aspect while neglecting to empower the whole.

The Video Clip can be found here. The pair appear at the end.

Call for Removal of Bobbie Beth Scoggins as President of the NAD

A Call for the Removal of Ms. Bobbie Beth Scoggins as President of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

Dear Board Members of the National Association of the Deaf,

I call upon the Board of the NAD to undertake a due process hearing in order to remove Ms. Scoggins from her position as President of the NAD.

One basis for my call for Ms. Scoggins’ removal falls under Article Four (4.14) of the Bylaws of the NAD which governs the Board of Directors. This states: “no member with a personal or financial interest of a material nature in the affairs of the Association shall be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors of the Association.”

The NAD has a close relationship with Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD), a long time major sponsor of the NAD and a significant sponsor of the 2012 NAD Conference. Ms. Scoggins is currently the Chief Operating Officer of CSD. CSD has a close relationship with Governor Daugaard of South Dakota. The relationship between Gov. Daugaard, CSD, and Ms. Scoggins’ position as an executive officer of CSD casts questions upon her objectivity.

The membership cannot be confident in her ability to remain wholly objective in meditating communications between the membership and the Board given her personal and financial stake in the matter as an employee of an organization that has a close political relationship with Governor Daugaard. The membership is not confident in her ability to remain objective in order to make decisions that puts the NAD and its membership first and foremost.

Gov. Daugaard is a divisive figure who serves the antithesis of the NAD’s core values and missions. One core mission of the NAD is to preserve schools for the deaf. Gov. Daugaard oversaw the closing of the South Dakota School for the Deaf. Gov. Daugaard has also acted in ways that exclude or narrow civil and human rights which is in contrast to the NAD’s core value of inclusion and diversity.

There is clearly a personal conflict of interest that may be and is interpreted as one of a material nature between Ms. Scoggins’ employ at CSD, its relationship with Gov. Daugaard in South Dakota, and her service as President of the NAD.

Furthermore, according to 4.13, elected members may be removed…”for other good and sufficient reason.” Ms. Scoggins has damaged the public’s trust in her by failing to give careful thought to the public image of the Association in the view of the public. By doing so, she has damaged the reputation of the Association and its standing amongst civil rights organizations. As President, she bears the penultimate responsibility for the selection of speakers and the public image of the organization among other responsibilities. She authorized the selection of a highly divisive political figure to present at the NAD conference without sensitivity to the diverse composition of the NAD membership or to understand the deeper nuances of the significance of giving a prominent platform to someone with Gov. Daugaard’s record on civil and human rights.

By overseeing and authorizing the selection of Gov. Daugaard, Ms. Scoggins has failed to honor and uphold the motion passed on diversity at the January 2012 NAD Board Meeting in Louisville, KY.

On the basis of the language of the diversity motion, Gov. Daugaard’s invitation works against the building and maintaining of a totally inclusive environment.  This invitation also works against expanding membership, participation, and leadership that reflect the diversity of the American deaf community. This invitation also clearly does not adhere to the highest standards of diversity and inclusiveness. This invitation demonstrates that the Board did not work closely with all affiliates to further this commitment. Ms. Scoggins, as President of the NAD, has a duty to uphold the motions passed by the Board.

I call for the immediate removal of Ms. Scoggins as a demonstration that the NAD is committed to honest, open, transparent leadership absent of conflicts of interest along with diversity and inclusion. There cannot be questions as to whether our President is serving her employer’s interests in regard to the Governor or the Association’s best interests. This must be addressed before the Conference and irreparable damage is done.

T. Robinson

The relevant bylaws:

§ 4.13 Removal from Office.

Elected and appointed Board members may be removed after due process hearing for failure to carry out their duties or for other good and sufficient reason by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors present and voting.

§ 4.14 Conflict of Interest.

No member with a personal or financial interest of a material nature in the affairs of the Association shall be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors of the Association.

The diversity motion in full which was motioned, seconded, and passed:

“The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) embraces diversity and inclusiveness as one of its core values in achieving its mission. We are committed to:

-encompassing a wide range of human abilities and perspectives that includes, but are not limited to language, culture, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, and socioeconomic status

-building and maintaining a totally inclusive environment where differences of opinions, beliefs, and values are sought, listened to, respected, and valued

-expanding membership, participation, and leadership that reflect the diversity of the American deaf community; and

-enhancing its policies and practices to adhere to the highest standards of diversity and inclusiveness, and to work closely with all affiliates to further this commitment.”

Address Racism in the NAD: My Letter to Affiliates

Dear Organization,

As an advocate for racial equality and inclusion, I am writing you to express my concerns about the National Association of the Deaf’s decision to invite Governor Dennis Daugaard to give a plenary presentation at the NAD Conference this summer in Louisville. Governor Daugaard’s legislative record includes the passage of legislation that impede or outright deny the civil and human rights of women, LGBTs, and people of color.
On March 12, 2012, Governor Daugaard signed an anti-Muslim bill, HB 1253 which reads, “No court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code. The reasons why this is unconstitutional may be found at this website. This should concern all of us for a number of reasons. First, although this bill is not overtly directed at Muslims, it was generated by Islamophobia in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Islamophobia should especially concern you as organizations that advocate for the rights and inclusion of deaf people of color. Although Islam is a widespread faith practiced by people from all walks of life, Islam has been racialized in popular discourse. Due to fearmongering and mass media portrayals, Islam is now closely associated with south/west Asian brown skinned people. Furthermore, mainstream Americans cast a suspicious eye toward Islam during the 1960s and 1970s when Islam emerged in the African-American Civil Rights movement as African-Americans sought to reclaim the religion of their ancestors. Mainstream Americans associated Islam with the radicalization of the African-American Civil Rights movement. Americans have long had discomfort with Islam, not only because of theological differences but because they have associated Islam with non-white populations. The relationship between Islamophobia and Racism cannot be denied.
Governor Daugaard also signed into law on March 5, 2012 anti-abortion measures that limited a woman’s access to health care and reproductive rights. Those attacks on reproductive rights are often intertwined with attacks on poor women and women of color, women who have disproportionately lesser access to health care as compared to their white counterparts.
As affiliates to the NAD that represent deaf people of color, I urge you to make a stand for inclusion, equality, civil rights, and admonish the NAD for providing a prominent platform to a legislator who has actively legislated to narrow civil and human rights.
Thank you,
Tavian Robinson