Implied Consent

A couple weeks ago, I finally took my 5-hour pre-licensing course with a suitemate of mine in Fairport, NY. Now, spending 5 hours of your Sunday afternoon learning the rules of the road instead of doing your homework or essentially anything else is tedious in nature. My only solace was watching my suitemate, a Long Island native, scrunch her face up in confusion whenever someone mentioned Ayrault Road or gave any reference to passive driving. However, some productivity did arise from this class (aside from the certificate)–we learned the rules of “implied consent”.

Continue reading “Implied Consent”

Empathy: Oankali Do More Than Walk in Your Shoes

This past Thursday I attended a discussion on empathy and literature, led by Dr. Ken Asher. The discussion was terribly interesting, and I could not help but draw some mental connections between the discussion and the content of our course. Cassie happens to discuss empathy in her last post (with a nod to Sami), which makes me feel more confident about the relevance of this post.

Continue reading “Empathy: Oankali Do More Than Walk in Your Shoes”

My Medical Voluntourism “Dilemma”

In class, we discussed different aspects of medical voluntourism and how certain elements can be detrimental towards low-income countries. Recently, I attended a GOLD workshop revolving around planning service trips and I made a “both/and” connection. It’s great to see young people eager to help communities in need; however, such organizations lack the sensitivity needed to actually make a positive difference in a foreign nation. Continue reading “My Medical Voluntourism “Dilemma””

The Importance of Perspective Taking in Literature

In our smaller group discussions last class, Sami brought up this really interesting phenomenon where individuals are more likely to be empathetic and sympathetic in their everyday life if they are avid readers. According to Sami, because most readers are putting themselves into the mindsets of the characters in novel, they are better skilled at that in real interactions. Reading novels allows a person to walk in anther’s shoes, understand events from another’s perspective, and empathize with characters. This really got me thinking about the regime of the visual. I question whether a reader is more likely to empathize with characters because it is their own visualization of said characters. For example, has anyone ever been frustrated with a film adaptation of a book because its not how YOU imagined how the character would look and act like. I think Octavia Butler tricks us with this very human tendency. Many other classmates Continue reading “The Importance of Perspective Taking in Literature”

Reflection on Trip to African Burial National Monument

In three different blog posts I will try to breakdown the similarities between Zone One in the treatment of capturing slaves, the medical issues slaves faced due to hard laborious work and how even in death, slaves were not able to find closure.

Over Thanksgiving break I ventured down to the African Burial Ground National Monument with my mother to get a glimpse of this historic site. Unfortunately, the outdoor portion of monument itself we discussed in class was closed off for the winter season and additionally had scaffolding around it, making it almost impossible to see any anything. However, we were able to venture inside to the museum portion of the park which allowed for us to get an amazing and very thorough understanding of what life was like for enslaved Africans in early New York City. After having continually learned this semester about the role race has played in our countries past and after having read Zone One, I felt that this opportunity to visit the monument was one I had to experience as a New Yorker and as a student of our class.

One thing that the museum conveys immediately is the rich history of slavery in NYC and how critical of a role it played in helping to build the city. My mom worked down on Wall Street for close to two decades and I have spent an extensive amount of time down in the area so we thought we knew the area but surprisingly, we had never heard of the monument until Dr. McCoy brought it up in class and I relayed this to my Mom. Upon our visit, what we came to realize was that neither of us truly understood how instrumental slave labor was in creating the area and iconic parts of such as Wall Street and Broadway. To build the city, slaves were forced into working conditions that involved hard laborious work that “started when the sun rose and didn’t end until the sun would set.” This extensive and hard work was shown by researchers who examined excavated remains during the 1992 excavation. Researchers were able to assert how physically demanding this work was after examining remains that showed “evidence of extreme effort in both male and female remains.” The side effect of this type of work resulted in the early onset of multiple medical issues that pained, disfigured and or debilitated slaves. As we learned in Medical Apartheid and as described in the museum, issues such as these would rarely be properly treated and unfortunately lead to many dying early from these issues after suffering a life of torture.

Continue reading “Reflection on Trip to African Burial National Monument”

Only As Strong As The Weakest Link

As students, our knowledge is restrained and sometimes even limited by the structure set in educational institutions. Essentially, the basic foundation for the power structure in educational institutions is that the more knowledge you have, the more authority you own. In this system, epistemophilia and epistemophobia work hand in hand in the authorities of such institutions. On one hand, they crave more knowledge in order to gain more power. On the other hand, a fear of those “under” them expanding their intelligence is developed. In other words, an inferiority complex is found in the system. Of course, not every institution has this environment but, to me, it is usually seen in primary and secondary schools, where this philia often turns into an addiction of being in control of the youth’s education. Continue reading “Only As Strong As The Weakest Link”

The Time my Friend’s HIPAA Rights Were Violated

(The following post is not affiliated with SUNY Geneseo, but rather a school far, far away)

Dodging stray chairs, I meandered my way across the cafe caressing two steaming cups of coffee. It was a frigid, but sunny November day back home in Buffalo, and I was glad to visit my friend. Approaching the table, she shuffled her abundance of papers and made room for our warm drinks. Carefully, I placed the our drinks down onto the tiny wooden table making sure not to ruin her hours of school work. After a moment of adjusting, our conversation began as usual; I complained about college, she complained about graduate school. It was good to be home.

Our playful and lighthearted venting session regarding school continued until the conversation took a slight turn. My friend began to tell me something that made me immediately think about this course. She adjusted her black, thick-rimmed glasses with her index finger as she explained: Her HIPAA rights were violated. Again. Continue reading “The Time my Friend’s HIPAA Rights Were Violated”


As the semester boils down and our class tries to organize the multiple confused, frustrated, complexities hidden beneath the myriad of emotions that Butler’s work allows us to experience, I feel almost obligated to enter a state of deep reflection. The constant questions that I have for Butler- “Was Blake just as bad as Eli or worse? Does It matter?” “What do you think about autonomy?” “WHERE IS AKIN?!” – seem to dissipate and for all that is left with is the story of Octavia Butler—her texts, her stories yet deeply interwoven in each word is a truth she wishes to reveal about our humanity. There are hundreds of revelations that a reader can encounter through Butler’s fiction, or there could be one. I’d like to share my mine.


Finding Justice Without Death

In Zone One, there is death written into every page. One death in particular from Zone One has really stuck in my mind — Gary’s death. His death is vivid and violent, and it seems to mark when Zone One falls. I have been pondering an important question: does Gary (and the other characters we have read about in our other novels) “deserve” to die?

Continue reading “Finding Justice Without Death”