Scientific?

“But whites ascribed black women’s sexual availability not to their powerlessness but to a key tenet of scientific racism: Blacks were unable to control their powerful sexual drives, which were frequently compared to those of rutting animals.”

This blog is mainly dedicated to the term, “scientific” racism. I have heard the words race and racism countless times in my lifetime and have argued and interpreted the meaning to those two words. I took an INTD course my first semester at Geneseo about racial identity and families and have had conversations concerning the term race. While reading Medical apartheid, I came across a new term that I never knew existed. Scientific racism. As a biology major and science enthusiast, science is the study of facts concerning the atoms, body, etc. The actual definition of science is,  “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws”. Truth? Fact?  What about racism is backed up and supported by science?

Encyclopedia.com defines and elaborates on scientific racism but it has been studied that race is not biological, therefore race has nothing to do with science. Racism is not and will never be backed up by science or any other subject.

The Unnamed Dead

Chapter five of Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid opens with a description of the disappearance of Casper Yeagin, whose body was donated to the Howard University Medical School for anatomical dissection (as later discovered by his niece). Yeagin had no personal possessions when admitted to the Howard University Hospital, causing him to be registered as John Doe. His John Doe tag resulted in no one stepping forward to claim his body post mortem. Washington refers to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 1968, allowing unidentified or unclaimed bodies to be donated to medical schools.  The idea that an unidentified body could be donated to a medical school is unfamiliar and surprising to me. While I understand this Act allows for a way to dispose of bodies without them going to “waste”, it led me back to Monday’s class discussion on the display of Fortune’s bones in a museum and if that is truly what Fortune would have wanted for his body. Read more

Rolling through “Southern Discomfort”

“I have heard that the Masters beat and scourge them most cruelly. But I have not seen anything of the kind, nor do I believe that it occurs very often. For the southern people as class are Noble minded kind  hearted people, as can be found in any country…”

I am appalled by the idea that there were people who thought of slaves in such an ignorant manner. It’s as if white people during that time were in denial of the fact that there were enslaved human beings that were treated brutally by the majority of the people that came from the same race and culture. The mentality that is depicted shows that white people thought that everything was fine because so much was completed for them. No matter how the slaves were treated, their lives were filled of contentment due to how well they were treated.

It’s like when we disregard the fact that there are people dying of hunger on a daily basis or other problems going on in the world. But, because we don’t see it or hear enough about it on the news. We continue to live upon our routine on a daily basis because compared to them we’re more than well off. We know its going on but then we start a ton of theories and trust issues, regarding how to donate and trusting certain websites. Sometimes its just people making excuses so that they can escape being a part of a real life issue.

Another analogy would be how a lot of minorities accept the fact that the majority of people that are incarcerated happen to be African American and Latino. We know and accept this statistic or phenomenon because many African American and Hispanic households are affected by this being such a popularly known conversation in certain communities.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/raceinc.html

I’d honestly even like to compare this to “To kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, where Atticus goes out of his way ( during the 1960s) to protect a black man who was accused of raping a farmers daughter that he worked for. Whether or not you know something is true, it’s your responsibility to cut the curiosity and attempt to find out whats actually happening if you care about social issues or injustices.

-Evelyn J Mendez

 

Demand Opportunities: Risks and Rewards

Today in class we experienced our first demand opportunity. Our discussion initially consisted of sharing our own interpretations of what we thought was being offered to us. Several people expressed concerns about our lack of having a demand available at this exact moment in class. Others offered the solution that we should have our first demand be the ability to ask for demands at any time. Although this demand seems simple, in a way it opens a lot of doors for the rest of the semester and changed the dynamic of the course in my opinion.

 

In saying this, I believe that the course has changed significantly after this discussion of demand opportunities because as a class we are now better at coming to a collective consensus among all thirty individuals. While we discussed our ability to request a demand, I started to think of this experience as something deeper than simply wanting to make changes to the syllabus. The exercise not only reaffirmed our ability to have a voice in what pertains to our English education, but also taught us how to properly and respectfully come to an agreement among a large group of students. It was interesting to see all of the different points that were brought up about some of the vague characteristics of the opportunity we were given and how the discussion ultimately gave everyone clarity about the situation at hand.

 

Moving forward in the course, I feel very confident that the individuals in this class will be able to effectively and respectfully offer suggestions for demand requests. One important point made was the importance of having an anonymous forum to allow to disagreements to demand suggestions because often times it can be awkward to disagree with a classmate’s idea. This way there is a way to voice your opinion without having to feel shy or uneasy if you have a very different feeling toward an expressed demand. Today I noticed a lot of potential among the individuals in this course to be able to come up with interesting ideas as well as keeping everyone’s opinions and thoughts on these demands a matter of importance.  

 

When Dr. McCoy re-entered the classroom after our discussion, she brought up a thought provoking question about the exercise. She asked us that if she was at risk by proposing demand opportunities to her students. Immediately, I thought the answer would be yes. By giving students the ability to make changes to her syllabus and critique matters of the course, it puts Dr. McCoy in a vulnerable position. She may not agree with the demand and might feel uncomfortable disagreeing with our propositions. Or she could potentially be offended if some students voice their criticism regarding aspects of her teaching style. Even though she still maintains the power to veto any demand request that we make for her, Dr. McCoy certainly did put herself in a unique position within the classroom to allow for demand opportunities during any time throughout the course. To reflect on these inferences, I do have faith in the other individuals in the class and myself to be mindful and respectful with the content and frequency of our demands.

Beauty is in the “eye”of the beholder.

In last Fridays class we analyzed the appearances of the word “eye” in Romeo and Juliet or its equivalent. I want to agree with Sandy’s analysis about how everyone in the novel is more concerned with how other characters look and how they will look together. For example (in my version) Act 1, line 85-88 Lady Capulet states “And what obscured in this fair volume lies; Find written in the margent of his eyes. This precious book of love, this unbound lover; To beautify him only lacks a cover”.  Lady Capulet begins her statement with how handsome Paris is, and then ends with how he is only lacking a wife and how much Juliet (and therefore her family) would gain from this union. It is not surprising that Juliet is so easily able to fall in love with the look of Romeo when considering the example that her parents set for finding and falling in love. One can see Juliet’s enactment of this cultural norm in her family from her lines ” I’ll look to like, and if looking liking move; But no more deep will I endart mine eye. Than your consent to make it fly.” (Act 1, lines 97-99). Basically stating that she would start looking for love but no other factor other than looking is mentioned in her search for love.

This may seem like a stretch, but Octavia’s novel Bloodchild  also has a theme of finding love through the methods in which ones cultural norms dictate. In the novel, Gan is struggling with complicated feelings for T’Gatoi who is of an alien species that is coexists and is codependent on the human race. Gan is clearly chosen to carry T’Gatoi’s babies from his birth and at first this can be seen as a forceful situation. But it becomes clear that it is Gan’s decision whether he wants to do this and whether he truly loves T’Gatoi. This novel is so often mistaken for Slavery, because we have not (obviously) grown up in a colony with another alien species we cannot understand the cultural norms present. But we can understand that in our society it is common for children (of same or opposite sex) to grow up together and to fall in love with each other. The idea that Gan loves T’Gatoi then isn’t so unusual then when imagined within the confines of our own cultural values. Similar to how Juliet falls in love upon first sight because her Mother taught her love is through sight, so to does Gan fall in love with T’Gatoi because that is what his culture taught him.

Revisiting Visual Schemas and Parable of the Sower

Earlier this evening, I was browsing The Rumpus and found a comic book review by Kevin Thomas of Butler’s Parable of the Sower:

Most of the class hasn’t read Parable of the Sower (and it’s not on the syllabus) but Thomas’ illustrations strikes me as a powerful reminder of a book I found deeply moving. I’m interested in the way he constructs the plot of the novel –from an introduction to Lauren Olamina to the establishment of Earthseed–as a visual schema, imbued by his own commentary. Obviously, his 9-panel comic only scratches the surface of a demanding and complex book (to use Beth’s phrase, Butler is not a gratuitous author), but he illuminates some important aspects of the novel, most notably the comment that “its [the novel’s dystopia] causes and effects are sadly plausible.” Thomas is correct:  I find myself thinking of the troubling, chaotic America Butler evokes in Parable at least three times a week. This is particularly true during weeks like these, where we are again confronted with a devastating intersection of environmental havoc and political instability.

Read more

Being Skeptical of Medical Professionals

“The tragedy of illness at present is that it delivers you helplessly into the hands of a profession which you deeply mistrust”- George Bernard Shaw

In the science departments at Geneseo you will often here the professors telling you to always be skeptic as a scientist. I thought I generally understood what they meant, that you should always question data numbers and ask “why”. Following my reading the introduction of Medical Apartheid this quote sparked an important question to me, should you be skeptic towards medical professionals and what is the difference between being skeptical and mistrusting them? Read more

A Medical First Week at Geneseo

When I decided to take this class, I knew that I wanted to gain something from this course, but I did not know how immediately the ideas brought up in class would start to connect with me. When I woke up on Monday morning, just one days into my junior year of college, I had immediate tooth pain. It was the kind of pain that keeps you up for hours at night as you switch from applying hot water for fifteen minutes to applying ice for fifteen minutes just to keep yourself busy so you don’t lose your mind or your patience. After two days of this I knew it was time to drive myself to one of the four dentists in Geneseo and found out it was a root canal Read more

Butler, Bloodchild, and Botflies

Hello all!

*** I will attach links to websites at the end of the post with botfly-related images***

After reading Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”, I decided to do some more research on one of the inspirations behind the story…botflies.

With regards to these somewhat terrifying insects, Butler states, “In particular, I was worried about the botfly- an insect with, what seemed to me then, horror movie habits.” After doing some more research of my own, I see now why she refers to these pests as having “horror movie habits”.

Introducing The Botfly:

  • found in Central and South America
  • 12-18mm long
  • “bumblebee appearance”
  • eggs transported through blood-feeding insects or injected staight into host (ew!)
  • eggs hatch when there is a temp. change ( ex. the intake of blood from an insect)
  • Cattle & dogs are common hosts
  • larvae cause D. hominis myiasis (skin lesions) in humans
  • treatment in humans involves a simple surgical procedureOne aspect of the botfly that is the most prominent in Butler’s work is the egg laying/larvae process. In the story, we can see this with Bram Lomas and his condition. Much like the hosts of the botfly, Lomas was infected. When T’ Gatoi cuts into Lomas’ body, she finds several “grubs” infested in his skin, eating away at his flesh. Furthermore, T’ Gatoi places several parasitic worms from Lomas into the belly of an achti so that they can burrow and grow. Similarly, botflies lay their eggs in hosts so that they can grow and thrive.

    Like Butler, writing about these insects did make them seem more interesting (but for me they are still terrifying!

Sources:

https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/glossary/terms/botfly

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/flies/human_bot_fly.htm