This past summer, Dr. Munch and several students had the opportunity to go on a study abroad trip to Ghana to take Biology 344. Along with this being a class, it was an experience for these students. They were able to help search for the sources of several diseases that have been affecting the people’s health drastically. The three main objectives to going on this trip were to improve Healthcare, economic wealth-fare, and the educational infrastructure.

During Wednesday’s class, we discussed the difficulties that millions of Ghanaians deal with on a daily basis and the perspectives that people have regarding Medical Voluntourism. Dr. Munch and Professor Kennison came in to serve as a source for our curiosity and interest in these topics. Read more

Justifying the Times

For the past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating if I should write a blog post about consent. I didn’t want to come across as disrespectful. As a forewarning, I don’t want to seem insensitive to anyone who has experienced abuse by discussing controversial current events and making my own interpretations/connections to the past. In no way am I trying intentionally to single anyone out, but I would like to explain the “both/and” connection I made about how people use the time period to justify their actions and excuse their immoral behavior.

Before I even make my “both/and” connection, I’d like for you to guess which statement came from a recently exposed situation and which statement came from a past event.

  1. “Things were simple then. Informed consent was unheard of. No one asked me what I was doing. It was a wonderful time.”
  2. “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

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A Thank You Note to Everett

When I finished Zulus, I was left confused and (unsurprisingly) disappointed. Like I mentioned in my last post, it is important for us to examine why the novels we read make us feel the way that we do. We can simply close the book and walk away from it, we can read something that we know may be more fulfilling, but little growth will come from doing that. Read more

be a man

This past week I attended Geneseo’s eighteenth annual cultural harmony week. I participated by attending the screening of a film entitled “The Mask You Live In.” I had previously watched this film in my gender and sexuality course I look last semester with Dr. Scott. Re-watching it gave me the ability to look at the film in a different light. I was able to look at it to notice and learn connections on what brings boys and men together as well as, what binds them. I also noticed what drives boys and men away from girls and women.

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Breaking the Hero and Villain Canons

In fiction, villains are often flattened into two-dimensional characters who do nothing but wreak havoc and cause evil. People often do not realize that not all villains or to put it more lightly, bad characters, are immediately recognizable at first glance. Personalities are complex; just like their roles and purposes, they’re not as clear as black and white. This was hard to understand as a kid who was [is] an avid fan of Scooby Doo, Totally Spies, and other similar, classic weekend cartoons. Every new episode features a different villain with which we are told little to nothing about except their evil scheme for the day and that we must focus on conquering this wicked being by the end of our twenty minutes. Read more

Not Everyone Can Be Martin Luther King Jr

A few years ago, during my freshman year in the African American literature course, Beth was showing a video and before she showed the video implored us as people not to take what was shown in the video and use them to harm someone else. I think her exact words were “ People show remarkable ingenuity in finding ways to hurt one another.” Those words struck me right in the gut, because they rang true. The scale of human destruction & ability to cause others pain always seems to be expanding. It seems inevitable. Read more

“Love” in Jazz

In my last post, I was thinking about the three categories of love that Dante splits Purgatory into: Misdirected Love, Deficient Love, and Excessive Love. I’ve been trying to compare this to how Morrison uses love in Jazz. So last night I became the human “control + F” and scanned through Jazz, trying to find every use of “love.” What I found was that the word love often was described with an adjective; and (get this!) in a book supposedly about “couple love,” according to Morrison’s forward, the word itself was used WAY more in the beginning of the novel. I haven’t quite figured out where I’d place that in terms of connections to how Dante uses love, but I figured I’d share the ways in which Morrison uses the word here:

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The Brown Girl’s Dilemma

Something woke up in me when I read the Contract and Social Change. Not an epiphany, but more of a moment of realization when I read the lines, “In Jamaica, with a different set of racial/color rules, I count as “brown” rather than “black,” since blackness isn’t determined by the “one drop rule” (any black ancestry makes you black) as it is here. So brown constitutes a recognized and relatively privileged social category of their own, intermediate between white and black.”

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Harold Washington and Being “Too Fair”

Something that really stood out to me in the podcast we listened to on Friday was the phrase “too fair.” It’s something I’ve been thinking about the past six days because how can anything or anyone be too fair. Too fair is what we should aim for, or least should be the goal on the horizon.  

I really liked how the people on the podcast kind of explained being “too fair.” To them Harold Washington was too fair as the mayor because, as the first African-American mayor of Chicago, he didn’t use his power baisley like literally all mayors beforehand did. Instead of giving projects to workers in the African-American community simply because he was apart of his community, he would give jobs to those he saw best fit for them. To me it’s funny that people get angry over situations like that because it’s what we’re, or at least I was, taught in school. The person who does the best should get the job. People’s bias amazes me that way, the fact people decide things based on anything other than that fact.  

I wish I had learned about Harold Washington before college. I feel like he should be someone we learn about in high school because for one I had no idea Chicago didn’t have an African-American mayor until the 80’s. The first time they mentioned that it really blew my mind. Thinking about it now after the fact it makes total sense. Seeing as how the civil rights movement took place through the 60’s, and change happens so goddamn slow in this country, that unfortunately it really makes sense that Chicago did not have an African-American mayor till the 80’s. And I hate that it makes sense to me, my least favorite thing about this country is the underlying racism that is always present and always has been present.  

Honestly, I think if I had learned about Harold Washington he would have been one of my hero’s. The more I learn about him the more he stands out and this is why admire him so much. In the simplest of terms he didn’t take any bullshit and really did what was right. He was “too fair” and was ridiculed for it but stuck to his guns anyway.  We could use more Harold Washington’s in the world, it’s men like him that inspire me to be better and be “too fair.”

Medical Voluntourism: Weighing the Good with the Bad

Before entering this course, and really even these past two weeks, I had little knowledge on what medical volunteering was. Also, I had no idea how many negatives people find in these medical mission trips. After diving into this subject in class, I haven’t come away with a clear decision on whether I think medical volunteerism is good or bad, but I’ve taken away thoughtful insight from both the articles assigned and group discussions.

In Scientific American’s article “Trouble with Medical Voluntourism”, a number of the negatives people find in this subject are talked on. It talks about students being underprepared and unaware of the necessary treatments for people in these countries. One example is found in the text when it reads “Mary violated obstetrics best practices, doing unnecessary episiotomies (cutting the skin between the vaginal opening and anus to make room for the baby’s head) and pulling breech babies (babies positioned bottom instead of head-first in the birth canal)”. This is an example where there is obviously great danger that can be caused through these medical missions.

In Rafia Zakaria’s article “white tourist’s burden”, a slightly different tone is found, and I tend to agree with this article more than Scientific American’s. It mentions how some people go on these medical assistance trips mostly to talk about it when they get home, rather than feeling a need to actual help the people in sed communities. In response to this, the author of this article believes that Medical Voluntourism is not a lost cause, and can actually be a very good thin, but it is currently a cause that can be improved on greatly. One thing that I learned from our guest speaker in class on Wednesday is that the people of the village they visit in Haiti are thankful to have American friends. I believe that when done properly, medical missions can be a very great thing. I connected what the guest speaker had said to a group conversation I had in class on Monday. Our group had come to a consensus that these people that are in the most severe of situations, do not care where their help comes from, they are just grateful to be receiving help. This is not true with all patients, but something such as a matter of life and death situation, indigenous people would be grateful to receive any help. Overall, I believe that while there are flaws in the system of medical tourism, there is also a lot of good that comes out of it, and a lot more can come if there are stricter rules and guidelines are enforced on people leaving for these trips.