A bell that rings true

While i am not a huge fan of AG Bell and co. because of all the harm, destruction and oppression that has resulted from the oral / aural ONLY onslaught – i do know of a bell that i appreciate.  Bell hooks – she is an Black feminist Buddhist scholar, activist, and community member.  She rocks.

Ella Mae Lentz’s discussion of bell hook’s book on Critical Thinking and Alison Aubrecht & Ryan Commerson’s mention of bell’s Teaching to Transgress book in their “Transgressing the Object”- new Butterfly Effect Series (text / video) has got me remembering the first bell hook’s book i ever read – Killing Rage:Ending Racism by bell hooks

i dont understand or agree with all she has written but lots and lots of her stuff leap off the page into my eyes, my heart, and my soul to say ahh THAT – that is what is going on, that is what is going down, that is comin’ a round.

And as like many other STRONG women – when i finally saw a video with her, i was like wow she is so soft spoken and cherry cherry looking.  It reminded me of when i first saw Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas who is a GREAT advocate and scholar re: multilingualism and mutliculturalism and biodiversity.  I saw Tove present at Gallaudet and her power point was filled to the brim with text stating clearly and boldly facts and truths about linguicism, language rights and human rights and how they are interconnected while she herself was quietly presenting these facts wrapped in a shawl with biofocials on and her hair up in a bun.  Too cute.  It was just such a contrast – these pow pow pow truths -and this wee woman singing them for all with eyes open to see.

Its very cool to see some folks who are so AWAKE, AWARE, and ACTIVE

Its also cool to see they are super sweet folks – not crazy fanatic extremists.

When folks see Susan Dupor, De’VIA artist famous for “The Family Dog,” or Dr. Betty G. Miller, Mother of De’VIA and famous for “Ameslan Prohibited,” or Dr. Paddy Ladd who introduced the concept and construct of Deafhood – they are like “THAT is Susan Dupor?  THAT is Betty G. Miller?  That is Paddy Ladd?”  Its like they were expecting someone in camouflage carrying an AKA when these folks r pacifists and sweethearts.  They are just truth seekers.  and for some folks that is mighty scary and threatening.

so since a new bell (rather than AG Bell)  is on me mind today – i thought id share a few of her quotes that ring true.  bold added by me and my pov under each.

When she references race and racism, you can substitute in Deaf and audism and/or sex and sexism, class and classism etc

From Killing Rage:Ending Racism by bell hooks

“We experience the world as infinitely less hostile to blackness than it actually is.  This shift happens particularly as we buy into liberal individualism and see our individual fate as black people in no way linked to the collective fate.  It is this link that sustains full awareness of the daily impact of racism on black people, particulary its hostile and brutal assualt.”  p. 17

i think she is talking about denial and the me, me, me generation folks.  If we acknowledge the oppression of Deaf folks, of Black folks, of GLBT folks, of Deaf Black GLBT folks …. etc then we r required to think of the greater good and doing good.  If we minimize, deny, ignore, scapegoat, displace etc oppression then we can just look to ourselves and not attempt collective solutions.

“Racial hatred is real.  And it is humanizing to be able to resist it with militant rage.”

i think she is saying – righteous anger is just, right and good.  Racial hatred is real.  Audism is real.  What makes us human and humane is resisting those hatreds and discriminatory practices and mindsets with a righteous anger.  This does NOT mean to act in violent means but rather to be firm with love and truths.  Remember she has studied Buddhism so she is not calling for violent action but rather righteous anger to take the form of peaceful resistance.

Forgetfulness and denial enable masses of privileged black people to live the “good life” without ever coming to terms with black rage.”  p. 17

this is why folks say “move on” and AG Bell says ” We should teach them to forget that they are deaf.”  Forget, deny, and close ur eyes.  Its a lullaby for the disenfranchised courtesy of the oppressors.  “Trust in me…” they sing as they slither

“Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that self-recovery is ultimately about learning to see clearly.  The political process of decolonization is also a way for us to learn to see clearly.  It is the way to freedom for both the colonized and the colonizer.” p. 18

Well, hello – this is where i be at – i have begun to see more and more clearly.  It is slow going sometimes and surely some times i no like what i see but i have found it to be very true that when we assert our somebodyness and reclaim our birth rights, it is freeing for the colonized and the colonizer.

“What does our rage at injustice mean if it can be silenced, erased by individual material comfort?  If aware black folks gladly trade in their critical political consciousness for opportunistic personal advancement then there is no place for rage and no hope that we can ever live to see the end of white supremacy.” p. 19

if folks will be so easily lead to buy into the system for personal gain – they will not experience any indignation at injustice and thus will not STAND up and if they have self-silenced to get along and get opportunities and get by then there is no hope for progress and equality.

“It is the telling our history that enables political self-recovery.” p. 47

this is why folks tell us to move on – they do not want us to discover, examine, share and celebrate our own history because they do not want political self-recovery.

“Black people still feel the terror, still associate it with whiteness, but are rarely able to articulate the varied ways we are terrorized because it is easy to silence by accusations of reverse racism or by suggesting that black folks who talk about the ways we are terrorized by whites are merely evoking victimization to demand special treatment.”  p. 47

this is why you will see many Deaf folks from all walks of life venting in safe circles but when in positions of power or amongst the folks that oppress they say little or nothing of the oppression and terror they have felt at the hands of the SYSTEMS – for fear of being accused of reverse audism or playing the victim card.  Don’t even get me started on horizontal violence.

Critically examining the association of whiteness as terror in the black imagination, deconstructing it, we both name racism’s impact and help to break its hold.  We decolonize our minds and our imaginations.”  P. 50

this is why Deaf artistic and literary expressions are so important – they speak truths.  They are our visual testimonies and shout outs and they allow our imaginations / creativity to not be colonized by fear and terror.

some day may we all ring a bell of truth – in doing so we bring ourselves and our commUNITY one step closer to equality, justice, and freedom

and now i have to figure out how to respond to our daughter’s inquiry – “hey, mom why arent u at occupy wallstreet”

gotta look into how i can act locally as i have definitely been thinking globally

oy – my bells being rung – time to STAND



3 thoughts on “A bell that rings true

  1. I LIKE that imagery of Kaa singing, “Trust in me!” And many thanks for these examples discussing colonization and resistance in another oppressed minority group.

  2. Aw Don –

    i was thinking aint nobody gonna pick up on that one smile

    and there u be.

    thank u kindly

    re: the examples – bell hooks is handy and dandy

    much peace


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