noticing racism and taking note of it

The course epigraph is quite powerful because it seems to be asking us, humanity, to think about issues that haunt our society. Since the beginning of our nation’s history, the injustices that have been weaponized against minority groups is unsettling. However, the courage of so many people to fight oppression is grounded in the fact that they did notice the ugly society around them. It’s more than just being aware of issues, anyone can see with their eyes. The challenge for us is to help others notice.

Most Americans have a decent knowledge of social injustices that African-Americans have faced since the first perilous journey of the transatlantic slave trade. Even today, unnerving videos of police brutality glares at us through iPhone screens. Prior to this class, I had a knowledge of African American history that was good…or so I thought. After reading Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid, I realized that I had only just begun to notice the much darker truth about Black suffering in American history. Like the construction workers at the Medical College of Georgia, who discovered nearly ten thousand bones of former patients, I have just begun to discover the chilling bones of our inherently racist medical world. Like it or not, it is our job to notice the history of African-American medical treatment and (hopefully) encourage others to notice. 

Standards for what is considered racist have changed considerably over the years. Many doctors of the past believed that skin color was an indication of inferiority. They didn’t think twice about the humiliation of public display and invasion of privacy that allowed for medical dissection. Famed psychiatrist, Dr. Benjamin Rush, is known for his belief in “Negritude.” This held that black skin was a form of leprosy. Unlike the other doctors in Medical Apartheid, Washington asserts that his intentions were not racist. In fact, he was an active player in the abolition movement. His goal was to “cure” supposed diseases that made one’s skin color dark. By providing Black people with a treatment that lightens their complexion, then racism would no longer be an issue. Although Rush’s patients may not have consented to treatment and his approach still seems problematic, there was a legitimate effort to look at racism through a much different lens than others in his society.

This idea of separate black physiology was believed by scientists or doctors during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Granted, their views on race are much different than ours, but it was a step in the right direction. Another key player in helping society to notice racism was abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He spoke on the issue of scientists using unattractive Black people to compare against attractive White individuals. Beauty is a highly subjective term but Douglass was most likely using conventional beauty as a standard measurement. He drives this point home by claiming, “The importance of this criticism may not be apparent to all-to the black man it is very apparent.” (94) This quote shows that digging into social issues is an arduous task, but one that affects the lives of so many. Minority groups face oppression every day, so these issues are just a fact of life to them. When something becomes so commonplace, however, the necessary change is often neglected. 

Realizing that we have a conscious effort to be (or not to be) accepting of racial differences is something that all Americans must come to terms with. Simply knowing isn’t enough. The insight gained from various stories of African-American allows us to spread it into the majority. A “silent majority” is not nearly as disturbing as a blind majority. Anyone can speak what’s on their minds, but not all can observe the long-lasting effects. As the struggle for equality raged on through the years, the few that helped others to notice should be recognized. The single-story of an oppressive master takes up too much room on the stage while the valiant efforts of the few are shoved backstage. Maybe one of us can take the center stage someday and help others to notice what we notice.

Noticing Racism

The course epigraph, “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice,” as stated by Dionne Brand, illustrates the importance of actively engaging with and questioning ideas that society has typically accepted as truths. One prominent example, that is both historical and relevant in contemporary times, is the concept of race. This division of human populations into subcategories by their outward physical characteristics has been a heavily studied subject in anthropological and ostensibly scientific research for centuries. Despite the obsession with race among people in general, and intellectuals in particular, race has no scientific basis and is merely a social construct. It has been created by certain groups, historically Europeans and those of European descent, to justify their enslavement and mistreatment of other humans.

With the development of Social Darwinism, race began to be perceived by whites as being grounded in scientific evidence. Thus, in the field of medicine, American physicians strove to use science to confirm their preconceived notions of African Americans as being physically and intellectually inferior to whites. By employing the authority of medical science to buttress their racism against blacks, white doctors believed they could argue African Americans were deserving of their subordinate position in society and use them as targets of experimentation. Hence, noticing the fictional nature of the idea of race and realizing the necessity of showing others its falsehood is a social responsibility of paramount importance.

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Repetition in Fortune’s Bones

Early on in the course I noticed that Doctor McCoy emphasized something key to pay attention to while reading the course material. That key thing is the reviving of once-dead things, or the refusal to let already dead things remain dead. In other words, the creation of a repetition. The idea of repetition is most clearly shown in Fortune’s Bones, and supported in many parts of the early chapters of Medical Apartheid. In looking at Fortune’s Bones, we can create a timeline of Fortune’s life, death, and afterlife, as given to us by the book.

He and his family lived in the late 1700s, slaves to a Dr. Porter, for whom he worked the land, caring for animals and planting crops. He later died in 1798. Porter “preserved Fortune’s skeleton to further the study of human anatomy,” rather than having him buried. “He had two sons who were also doctors. They could learn from the skeleton, too.” Fortune’s bones were examined by Dr. Porter, who would later die in 1803. The bones would stay with the family; “Porter children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren used it to learn the names of the bones.”

The name “Larry” was written on the skull, and “Fortune’s name was forgotten for nearly a century.” The skeleton was lost, and eventually “discovered by a crew of workers.” After yet more time passed, “in 1993 Sally Porter Law McGlannan gave the bones to the Mattatuck Museum. [Where they were] to be assembled for display.” They were displayed there for decades, and “many stories were invented about the skeleton.” Pages 21 and 23 of Fortune’s Bones share people’s interactions with the bones, in 1800, 1870, 1890, 1907, and 1960. Finally, the book ends with an afterword that briefly discusses the, as of the publishing of the book, ongoing discussion of whether or not to display Fortune’s bones.

From this very brief biography, it is plain to see the many repetitions going on here. At the beginning of one’s life, one is typically given a name, but in Fortune’s case he was born, named, died, re-named, and his true name was forgotten for a century until discovered again. The bones would be studied by Dr. Porter, and then passed on to his children to be studied, or otherwise played with as in the case of the children playing with the skull in the attic. From the other things we’ve read and seen in this class, particularly the idea that many people were needlessly experimented on, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that the medical experimentation on Fortune’s bones was probably also a form of play, a morbid satiating of curiosity.

Over time, the skeleton was lost until it was re-discovered, and once again the bones were given from someone to someone else; first from Dr. Porter to his children, and then from one of his children to the Mattatuck Museum. Indeed, Fortune was essentially owned by a great many people; Porter, his family, and the museum, and was never been allowed to be at rest. The bones were placed on display in the museum, once again allowing all who pass by to see Fortune, as if he were really still living in the world.

While the bones were on display in the museum, “many stories were invented about the skeleton.” Again, the repetition is plain. As you continue to act and interact with other people to any degree, a history is created. In Fortune’s case, he made history during his life, and was then forced to have a lengthy history long after his death. Finally, the discussion at the Mattatuck Museum regarding whether or not to display Fortune’s Bones is, at the end of the book, a matter of current debate.

The many repetitions shown in Fortune’s Bones seems to be a common theme found in other texts we’ve read in class, particularly Medical Apartheid. The fifth chapter of Medical Apartheid, The Restless Dead, discusses grave robbing, particularly of blacks. In it, corpses are dug up and forced to be objects of use by those with the power and will to do so. The morbidity of it all is perhaps best exemplified on page 136 of Medical Apartheid: “posing for professional portraits in anatomy laboratories with remains of dissected cadavers became an important professional ritual for medical students. . . Before 1920, the students were nearly always white and the cadavers often black. Images of African Americans who were lynched and dissected were treated alike in several telling ways. The dead bodies were often horribly mutilated: Body parts are excised and missing, and they are burned, castrated, or fresh wounds are visible. The bodies were also posed in undignified attitudes that accentuated whites’ dominance over them: The lynched were shown handcuffed, bound, hanging, gagged, and tied to stakes…” and so on for another half of a paragraph.

The epigraph for this course is “my job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice.” When paying attention to the repetitions in the course material it’s difficult not to notice the atrocities committed, or lack of dignity given for other human beings, and it’s difficult not to notice that the authors of these works, such as Fortune’s Bones and Medical Apartheid, believe that other people can notice these things, too.

Noticing and Fixing

From the readings and discussions in class this quote has gotten me thinking about a variety of issues. The first one that comes to mind is the way people covered up the wrongdoings of the doctors and professors. People were very quick to turn a blind eye to any and all injustices they noticed. This extended to the exploitation of dead black bodies in medical schools to the exploitation of living black bodies in zoos and in circuses. While these injustices were noticed by others,  such as abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and James McCune Smith, M.D, only a small portion of those who saw the truth spoke out. This allowed these things to continue on for years to come.

By noticing the wrongs of both the past and of those of the present we are able to right them. When one is made aware of how so many people refused to acknowledge the suffering of a whole community of people, we need to take notice and make sure those around us notice as well. Raising awareness for these issues helps other people notice them as well, and the more people who notice the more voices there will be to challenge what are believed to be “acceptable treatment”. Bringing more people’s attention to the racist nature of these treatments and practices can prevent creating doctors like George Pray, who begin medical school with more humanistic views of the bodies he dissected, yet lost those views because people refused to notice the racist teachings within medical schools. In “Medical Apartheid” by Harriet A. Washington, she exposes all of these injustices and the voices that helped kept people from noticing what was happening. This lead to black iatrophobia to the words of Washington, meaning “the fear of medicine” (pg.21). This fear of medicine is due to the abuse African Americans were subjected to. Black iatrophobia has existed since before the mid-nineteenth century.

My hope in life is to be a psychologist, someone working in a part of the medical community. To do this I have to notice and help my future coworkers notice, anything that prevents people from seeking care. “Mental ailments are destroying blacks, as well: Black women suffer the highest rates of stress and major depression in the nation and suicide rates soared 200 percent among young black men within just twenty years.” (Washington, pg.5) How can I help these people if I refuse to notice the things that scare them away from the help I offer? When I notice, I can get my coworkers to notice. Together we can acknowledge the past and make a healthier environment for African Americans. To help them, we must notice the errors of the past and make sure we right them. To help people we must help make the abuses of the past clear and therefore make it clear we are doing all we can to help keep them from repeating themselves.

As someone who wants to dedicate my life to helping others with their mental issues, it’s my job to understand generational trauma. The experimentation and exploitation of African Americans has spanned generations, from slavery to the 21st century. Because this trauma is more likely to be swept under the rug and ignored, there is no way to heal from it. How could Jamie Gaines and Sarah Cox heal knowing their sister’s body had been stolen? How could Frances Oglesby heal knowing her mother’s remains were still not at rest? How can Bessie Wilborn rest if her bones still remain a spectacle? Until the medical community works to understand the trauma their predecessors inflicted on African Americans the generational trauma will continue and its effects will remain.   As someone who cares deeply about the health and welfare of others, to allow this to remain is to willingly allow others to hurt. And that is something no one in the medical field should allow. To notice current abuses, and to acknowledge past ones, creates a safer environment for African Americans as well as other at risk communities. 

Delving into the Truth on Today’s Social Constructs: Race, Consent, and Prejudice

By Ashley Boccio

When we look at ourselves and each other, whether we like to admit it or not, we tend to categorize and create groups based on image. For example, when you first meet an individual you may notice if they are blonde, brunette, or ginger. A harmless observation, yet this recognition of difference almost always goes beyond just hair color. Delving into the concept of “race”, a human made ideology not based in biology, we often use stereotypes to unfairly group individuals and make initial judgements on their character. Throughout history, various groups have been persecuted, exploited, enslaved, and ridiculed based solely on race. With this unfair judgement there comes an unwarranted justification for horrific acts without consent or reason. This conversation opens up the platform to the question: how can we learn from our mistakes and atrocities of the past to better ourselves as a society in the future? Although the past may be grim, it is important to dive into the truth on what really happened in order to better understand today’s social dynamic and how if affects our progress today. My personal goal for this course is to learn about and discuss these overarching ideas of consent, race, and prejudice, so I am able to recognize their place in modern society.

To channel our discussion, we can begin with looking at the medical field, and it’s history with the social constructs of race and consent. In Harriet Washington’s book, “Medical Apartheid”, she fearlessly exploits the medical field for their atrocities with involuntary medical experimentation on African Americans. This forced experimentation had gone largely undiscussed for decades and was avoided by almost all in the profession. In reading her work, it is evident as to why a majority of African Americans today have an innate fear and distrust for the medical field; often referred to as “iatrophobia”. In Washington’s initial introduction, a line that truly stuck out to me occurred between her and a colleague. In this conversation her coworkers states: “Girl, black people don’t get organs; they give organs.” A statement that sent chills down my spine, helping me to recognize the gut-wrenching fear and stigma that has followed an entire profession. It is evident that there is a large disconnect based in fear between medicine and an entire group of people. A sad truth, as the medical field can be used as a force of good and healing, and should not be feared in modern society. Even Washington makes it entirely clear that she herself is an admirer of the medical field and the profession, stating that she remains to have full faith in the field and its ability to change and progress for the better: “I am an admirer of medicine, and when not working alongside physicians in hospitals, I have spent decades profiling, describing, and analyzing medical advances and the remarkable people who have made them.” However, despite her love for the field, Washington strongly believes that the stories of these abused individuals need to be heard in order to prevent anything of such horrific scale from reoccurring in the future, even if it means exploiting various medical studies of the past. In doing so it is her goal to break down the barriers between African Americans and the American health-care system in order to benefit both parties in the future. Washington’s take on breaking down the dark under shadow of racism in the medical field is pertinent to the larger discussions being brought in under this courses epigraph.

Book cover to Harriet Washington’s exploitation

In conversation about consent it is impossible not to look at Washington’s exploitation of the infamous “Tuskegee Syphilis Study” of 1932. The study is known for its barbaric practice and experimentation on young African American woman used to gain further information in the gynecological field. These women against their will were subject to surgeries that mutilated their bodies and caused them excruciating pain, all in the name of medical research. Due solely to their race, these individuals were pushed down in society, and never given opportunities to educate themselves or have a fighting chance at being able to escape studies of this nature; their bodies repeatedly subject to tests without their consent, or knowledge of what was going to be done to them. Even in today’s society, it remains a prevalent issue as to what women can and can’t do with their bodies. Consent, and lack of it, has been a large overarching theme throughout history, and it is clear that its discussion is essential to recognizing and breaking down its negative effects on society today.

Cartoon Displayed in the Newspaper regarding the Tuskegee medical studies

Why is it that in our past we have allowed different groups of people to be subject to such horrendous treatment just based on a construct that we ourselves have created? And how can we possibly learn from this? In this course I hope to find the answers to these questions as we read different sources and discuss these difficult subjects. In Geraldine Heng’s book “The Invention of Race in the Middle Ages” he states, “So tenacious has been scientific racism’s account of race, with its entrenchment of high modernist racism…”. A great conclusion to our discussion as it en-captures the hard truth that racism, lack of consent, and prejudice have been the under-belly of our society for thousands of years. It is essential that we can recognize its darkness in order to remove it from our modern dialect and practice. When looking at today’s society it is important to frame our thinking as Washington has in her book. Although there are several horrors, in these horrors there are lessons to be learned. And that’s where I believe this course’s heart lies: in delving into the grit in order to understand how to work towards a brighter future. We can’t expect to change for the better as a society if we do not even know everything we need to re-evaluate and change. 

Silenced Stories: Unveiling the Enabler

I have always hoped to one day work as a health professional, and this course is opening my eyes to the weight this field of work carries. In particular, I cannot stop thinking about the connection that has been crafted between medical advancement and exploitation of human beings. I wonder, how did this link grow so strong? What enabled this correspondence to continue for such a profound duration throughout our nation’s history without being detected or ceased?

Within the text Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington, lays an exquisite yet horrific insight to what our nation’s medical history consists of. A passage that particularly caught my interest was the case regarding Bessie Wilborn (Washington 134). Washington describes how Wilborn died around 1950 and that she had Paget’s disease, an illness that results in the breakdown of one’s bones (134). Wilborn’s body was autopsied by Dr. Peter B. Wright and her skeleton was then used in a pathology laboratory at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) for many years to come (Washington 135). Wilborn’s skeleton was first shown at one of Dr. Wright’s meetings as Washington states, “…he displayed at that year’s winter meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in New York City. Her bizarrely arresting bony cage won Wright a medal for originality” (135). The daughter of Bessie Wilborn, Frances Oglesby, attempted to receive justice for her mother’s remains in a court case against the MCG in 2003.

I wondered how Wilborn’s situation was even possible. How could her bones be practically stolen from herself and her family and used in a medical college without anyone asking where they came from? I further examined Wilborn’s case and discovered the court ruling of 2003, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia v. Oglesby. The MCG offered to return Wilborn’s remains to Oglesby and her family and pay for the burial arrangements, but on the condition that Oglesby would rid her claims against them. Oglesby declined and in the end, did not win her case, as the court determined too much time had passed since the incident for her claims to be validated by law. Wilborn’s remains were to stay with the MCG unless Oglesby was to work out another arrangement outside of the legal system. The court suggested she return to the MCG’s prior offer. I then googled “Bessie Wilborn Medical College of Georgia”, and the sheer lack of results was alarming. Only three results actually pertained to what I searched for. This left a pit in my stomach as all I could think about was that her story is still practically hidden to this day.

In this course so far, (Literature, Medicine and Racism), I have been rapidly exposed to shocking realities of the medical world I did not yet know existed. The texts we have been reading have pushed me into a realm where I question the medical field and its motives. One example of this being Wilborn’s case in Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington. My intentions of reiterating Wilborn’s situation and unveiling what our medical system’s history consists are to leave others with the same questions I cannot stop thinking of myself. Where does the authority and secrecy for unethical medical operations stem from, and how do we increase transparency for those that have been victimized? I also hope this blog post compels others to dive into silenced stories like those of Wilborn and Oglesby whose exploitation was kept in the dark.

Knowledge and the Ability to Notice

Dionne Brand once said, “My job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice.” The ability to notice involves observation and understanding.  “To notice” seems like a simple task but is a difficult skill that can be strengthened. For example, one day it was pointed out to me that one of my best friends used the word “like” very often. Even though I had never noticed this trait before, everyday thereafter I noticed and was frustrated by the overuse of that conversation filler.  I believe that this same approach can be used to help eliminate racism. If everyone could be educated on atrocities that have occurred in the past they are far more likely to realize similar situations and avoid them in the future.  Everyone is responsible to educate him or herself and notice acts of racism so that they can begin to combat it.

I believe that the skill of noticing is paramount in changing societal views on race. If we as students, and ambassadors of change, can understand the formation and origins of race, we can begin to affect positive change.  Geraldine Heng wrote in her book The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, “…race is a structural relationship for the articulation and management of human differences, rather than substantive content”.  Human differences are evident, but the foundations of race as we know it were set in place to elevate some and reduce others. Now that race has been defined as a structural relationship, observers can begin to identify acts of racism. Once acts are identified as racist to the general public, actual informed action can take place to prevent it. As a member of a group of people that experiences little discrimination, not all acts of racism were obvious to me. By learning more about racist acts in the past, I have gained a new ability to notice the numerous acts of racism that occur everyday without being noticed by ignorant bystanders.  Knowledge is a tool that is paramount in importance in terms of combating bigotry.

My prior belief of medical professionals is that they are some of the most knowledgeable, caring and selfless people in today’s society.  Harriet A. Washington has shaken my assumption in her book Medical Apartheid. It was a shock to me that doctors, in our not so distant past, treated African-American patients with such negligence. Washington tells of a story where a doctor “decided to amputate the leg of a fifteen-year-old slave girl without making any other attempts to treat the relatively minor injury”.  Previous to embarking on this journey I would have taken a doctors decision to be irreproachable. However, this act was willingly malicious to a poor girl who happened to be born with a darker shade of skin and it opened my eyes to the racism present among people devoted to healing.  This education has allowed me to be more cautious of those I believed to be antiracist, and notice racism in the future.

I fear that without proper knowledge of past atrocities in the medical field, new medical professionals are unequipped to notice discriminatory acts. Dr. Lisa Cooper of John Hopkins University School of Medicine conducted a study that showed that nearly two thirds of doctors exhibited unconscious racial bias. These doctors lack the ability to notice their own discriminatory acts against certain races. I do not believe that the majority of doctors see themselves as racist but are subjected to the effects of racist professionals in the past. I believe that is should be every physician’s own responsibility to educate himself or herself in order to notice that they are providing preferential care. The racism demonstrated by the doctors in the study may be unconscious but through education they can begin to “…notice that you can notice” as Dionne Brand has put it.

I enrolled in Literature, Medicine and Racism because it was a topic that was previously foreign to me. As a student applying into the medical field, I have not been informed on the racist past.  I have been educated to think about physicians as scientists who pursue knowledge in order to better aid humanity. Of course, this has not always been true. In order to become a physician who combats racism instead of perpetuates the system of racist traditions I must become educated on the immoral history of the field. A philosopher named George Santayana, has explained that “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. This quote inspires me to learn as much as I possibly can about the shortcomings of the profession that I am soon to enter, so I gain the ability to notice every act of racism and do everything in power to correct those actions. I vow to become more informed to strengthen my ability to notice and enlighten others that they to have the ability to notice.

Heng and I Notice, Will You?

The definition of notice is “ the fact of observing or paying attention to something.”While reading “The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages: Inventions/Reinventions” by Geraldine Heng, I’ve used this ability to absorb all she has to offer in this powerful text. While reading this work, one can immediately grasp the many historical instances of race profiling from the 1200’s. Jews and muslims were to be set apart apart from Christians by dress, or Jews were to wear badges to be able to be identified amongst a crowd of people. Her definition of race pertains to the lasting impacts our “pre modern” acts of racism have left on today’s society without ignoring the events of the past. The events that occurred in a time where no definition of race was present doesn’t exclude them from pertaining to the definition that we have today. They were “legal” acts of violence and could be considered a form of terrorism by more modern standards. Heng talks about how race merges with a kind of hierarchy system that includes class, gender, and sexuality. It is no longer epidermal, it morphed into a bigger monster that is even harder to unravel and beat down.

Race has become a type of, as Heng puts it, “empty vacuum” that can change figure in every instance engulfing other ways of categorizing people and raising the white privilege pedestal influenced by all ranges of past pressures and occasions in history. There is no singular point in time where the origin of race emerged and that contributes to it’s successful succession through time. One instance in recent history, the 9/11 attacks of the twin towers of New York City, Muslims were further alienated as an inferior “race” following this day. This shows the development of an ethnoracial categorization, one made out of ignorance and fear. This category can be compared to others present in today’s society such as “Middle Easterners” and “Arabs.” These labels simply group very different people into one large group that continues to culturalize race and its definition. Muslims reside in a range of, in Heng’s terms, “ethno-races” and national origins that after the 9/11 attacks, have been put together into one people. In the 1200’s “pre modern” times, Muslims were ostracized and grouped with the Jews. This formed the foundation of where we validated them being a homogeneous group once more after the attacks. Heng argues that people must recognize the medieval past and that it will always exist as a basis for modern acts of racism, even though the vocabulary didn’t exist.

A quote from Dionne Brand, written down in Professor Beth McCoy’s notes reads, “My job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice.” Although many would think in the previous analysis that a lot was noticed during this close read, most would neglect to notice what Heng has noticed as well. The key to gaining the most from any interaction you have with a text, is you must notice each other. Although the ability to meet Geraldine Heng as a student reader of her work is slim to none, one must notice her notice on a deeper level. What stood out was this quote, “Current masks of race are now overwhelmingly cultural.” The obvious meaning of this is where race and culture mesh and force otherwise unlikely people into a single inferior group. While coming back to this quote in my notes I “noticed” the word mask in a different light than previously before. After gaining all of Heng’s knowledge by the end of this paper the word mask spoke volumes. It embodied everything in the paper in one single word. This interwoven beast called race that we as people have created is all based on each other’s “masks.” Superficial characteristics have shaped the entire dynamic of race as we know it today. All people are born the same with the same innocence, ready to start life, and then you are given your “mask.” One that decides how you will be treated and viewed before you’ve had the chance to create your own. Black is damned, white is saved. Black as cowards and white as brave, the hero. Until we learn to delve beneath the mask made of skin color, culture, sexuality, and experience and realize underneath we are all the same, history will continue to repeat itself.           

Pseudoscience and Medicine: The Spread of False Information via Public Forums

When I first enrolled in a class called Literature, Medicine, and Racism, I fully expected to be shocked by the material and situations we would encounter. I quickly found that I was not wrong in this assumption, and upon reading the introduction of Medical Apartheid, I was already taken aback at the nature of the novel. When reading about scenes of experimental, non consensual surgeries being performed it is very easy to get caught up in graphic imagery of the situation and fail to notice the forces that caused it in the first place. Therefore, it should be noted that the epigraph for this class is: “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice.” – Dionne Brand. I began to remind myself of this statement prior to reading passages in order to challenge myself to examine them more closely. Upon doing this, I have been able to note many subtleties in the readings that could easily be overlooked.  I hope to use this newfound insight in the rest of the readings and discussions that we will encounter this semester.

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