17 October 2006

An Appeal for True Social Justice and Civility

Date: Sun, 08 Oct 2006 00:38:48 -0400

Dear Ms. Kinzie,

During the naming of the Student Academic Center at GallaudetUniversity for Dr. I King Jordan, the program with speakers was
constantly interrupted.

On the 2nd level a white Deaf student held a cardboard black coffin with the words, "Social Justice" painted on it in white letters. An African American Deaf student stood to speak as part of the program. The student holding the coffin fingerspelled clearly and strongly " race card and tokenism" and pointed to him derisively as he stood on the podium below.

He was unaware ofwhat was going on behind him. He was part of the program. He was jeered as he gave his remarks. It took great courage for him to stand and deliver his speech. How can we have civil discussions if all people are not included valued and respected? Come my friends we need to sit down and talk peacefully. We have in common a commitment to social justice and in the spirit of inclusiveness isn't this the time for calm, reasonable dialog seeking reconciliation and ways to achieve our goal of social justice for all?

Jane Norman


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless you, Jane Norman, for continuing to be a moderate.

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the lastest thing from Jane Norman? I think this really sums up what is going on here. This needs to be read by all pass it on:

My colleagues,

In an effort to clear up any possible misunderstanding, I want to say I am recovering from a serious injury to my leg which took place during the Oct. 5th Washburn naming of the Linda K. Jordan Art Gallery.

I am a strong supporter of Gallaudet University and Jane Fernandes.
Make no mistake about that.

Being laid up for two weeks has given me the opportunity to think about everything thoroughly and clearly. If anything, my support for Dr. Jane Fernandes, President-Designate, is stronger than ever.

I cannot support any form of anarchy and destruction of individuals'
reputations or the blocking of access to education on campus. I cannot support mob rule and hatred. I cannot support the hypocrisy of people spouting social justice while intimidating and threatening those who stand in favor of the University, Dr. Fernandes, Dr. Jordan and the BoT.

The administration during one of the negotiation sessions agreed to an investigation of the search process only to have it yanked from under them.

The constant 2 demands are that Dr. Fernandes resign and that the BoT reopen the search process.

Dissenters have said over and over that they were not heard. Believe me, you've been heard. The fact is that the BoT did not agree with you. My belief is that you have been heard. It's just that you don't agree with the response you get, and then you come back with "we haven't been heard."

There have been numerous attempts to negotiate with the dissenters, yet each time as things seem to be moving in a positive direction, negotiation terms were pulled back by the protesters. They pulled back with additional requirements and claim they haven't been heard.

During DPN, I was part of the media team. The stakes then were honorable and just. DPN was a peaceful, civil and sensible approach to making a social change. The current protest is negative and conflicting, and the weight of the issues facing the deaf world is being placed on Gallaudet's shoulders--and on one individual in particular.

“Management by intimidation” is a term used loosely and widely by the dissenters. More accurately, this is a “protest by intimidation.” I see in the media gates being blocked, access to education denied, people being bashed, careers and life work threatened, children crying, international students worried about immigration regulations that restrict their time in the United States to complete their studies, and more.

My colleagues, stop. Think. We have amassed a huge strength of Deaf people and supporters. Take this support and rechannel this energy

? the FCC and closed captioning;
? health care for Deaf people;
? promoting ASL for all Deaf children throughout this nation and sign language for all Deaf children throughout the world; ? United Nations education and health care for all Deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind people of the world.

My colleagues, work with Dr. Jane Fernandes in a peaceful, positive, productive non-sabotaging manner. Think of Deaf children throughout the world. Turning against one of our own is not going to help us. She is one of us. Whether you deny it or not, the days of using the white deaf yardstick are long gone. It has been said that Gallaudet has serious issues with audism and racism. That is true. Few would deny it. To change this we must work together. And the truth is, there is no one more willing and ready to work with you on these crucial problems than Jane Fernandes and I.

We will benefit by working with all toward the common good of Gallaudet.

In speaking out, I have been called all kinds of names, threatened and injured. No wonder people who share my views are reluctant to do so in public. I do not blame them. Many of them have families, some are not tenured and cannot speak up because their colleagues and chairs are dissenters. For many, their careers are at stake. Others depend on merit increases and promotions from their department colleagues. There is indeed much at risk.

I challenge anyone to question my loyalty to Deaf culture, my respect and love for ASL, my devotion to Gallaudet. I first set foot on campus when I was 2 years old. I am a former International Typographical Union member and worked my way through school. My family, Deaf, is grassroots and I consider myself a grassroots Deaf person. We place great value on education. My father, at the age of 12, hitchhiked to enroll himself in a residential school for Deaf children. Many of us share similar stories and take pride in our hard-earned education.

You say you are committed to social justice. I challenge you to prove it. Let us be mature individuals and reasonable in working with everyone, including Dr. Jane Fernandes, toward making Gallaudet for all.

I look forward to regaining my full strength so I can stand by Dr. Jane Fernandes' side.

Thank you for reading this letter and allowing me to express my views.

God bless Gallaudet and peace to all,

Jane Norman, PhD
Professor, Communication Studies
Gallaudet University

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jane Norman, for your forthright statement. It appears fair and balanced and for myself, a hearing alumna (class of 1981), it makes more sense than many other things I have read.


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