“So, have you been tested?”

One day in class, I made a link between this course and my Intro to Sociology lecture. On this day in particular we were discussing chapter 7 of Medical Apartheid. Chapter 7 discusses the Tuskegee Syphilis Study that ran from 1932 to 1972. This study is notorious for their racist and unethical practices. While it’s not directly correlated to the conversation in my sociology class, it initiated a rush of thoughts and ideas that were important to discuss.

In my sociology course, we are discussing the effect of social class, race, and gender and the role they play within regards to HIV/AIDS. More specifically, we are discussing those effects on lower income African American communities, homosexual relationships, and women. In a piece of writing by Celeste Watkins-Hayes, she discusses the effect of living in a low-income neighborhood. Watkins-Hayes specifically shows how these low-income communities are often less likely to have access to treatment for HIV, which results in a higher transmission rate. Infection rates skyrocket in these communities and offer an explanation for why, “groups that have been socially or economically marginalized are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection.” 

Along with my connection between classes, my memory sparked with ideas connected to an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Law and Order: SVU has been my favorite show for years, and I have seen almost every episode. An episode titled, “Quickie”, follows the story of a man, Peter Butler, who engages in sexual relations with women from a social media app, but never discloses that he is HIV positive. The entirety of the episode follows the victims murder and discussing if the squad could potentially put Butler away for not disclosing his HIV status. Unfortunately, there are no direct laws that hand out consequences for this circumstance, besides a charge of assault. This episode references the case of the State of Texas vs. Philippe Padieu. The plot almost follows the same rhythm with Philippe Padieu, a man who knowingly has contracted HIV and begins engaging in sexual contact with countless women, without their consent. A jury convicted Padieu of assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced for more than 70 years. Something else to consider is Padieu had a prior conviction that effected this trial, if he hadn’t would his sentence have been shorter? Would justice have been served for the six women he exposed HIV to?

“In 2010, women represented one in four people living with HIV,” since then the rate has remained continuous and women are at the forefront of having HIV. Women can be considered an oppressed group in society, and the effects this labeling has are shown. Often, women reach towards prostitution as an easy gateway to gain protection, money, and employment. Bodies are exploited just to attain necessities to fulfill basic needs. Sex workers, in particular, experience exponentially higher HIV transmission rates due to the inconsistent use of condoms and the high number of partners they engage with. Women, usually younger women, are looked at to be more vulnerable and could potentially be less likely to be vocal about condom use by their partners. If sexual education was more prominent during their schooling or overall more accessible, a percentage of women would be more verbal about consenting.

            Throughout middle and high school, sex education was rarely spoken about unless you were in a health class. For myself in particular, I can’t remember a single time, besides health class, that sex education was mentioned. I believe this topic is important and I wish I had been exposed more regularly to something that affected the population. All I remember hearing is, “Abstinence is key,” yet I believe the opposite. Instead of teaching young adults to not engage in any sexual activity, you should be teaching them how to avoid and be aware of STDs/STIs and ways to prevent pregnancy. Being aware of the simple, yet powerful question, “Have you been tested?” could offer countless outcomes. Referring to the article by Watkins-Hayes, she speaks about how low-income, specifically African American communities, are not exposed to sexual education classes as much as a middle-class community would be. I grew up in a middle to lower class area, if that was all I was taught, I can’t begin to imagine the education other communities were offered. All in all, “HIV transmission can be prevented, why do an estimated 50,000 new infections occur annually in the United States?”

Evolution, Insecurity, & Bureaucracy

In the novel, Zone One, Colson Whitehead confronts readers with uncommonly employed language and references. Many of the words and allusions Whitehead confronts readers with are “esoteric” in nature— or “intended or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge of interest”. Of the many allusions presented in the text, I personally took interest in the ones referencing evolution. The book’s protagonist, Mark Spitz, is extremely introspective and through his experience working to secure “Zone One” during a zombie apocalypse, his internal narrative references both evolution and the daily struggles survivors face. These instances of past and present struggles for survival are juxtaposed with Mark’s notice of the prevailing intricacies of bureaucracy present amid the world’s destruction. This contrast serves to forge a connection between the current state of social organization in our own society, and the infinite struggles this system imposes on individuals. 

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The Unknown

Have you ever thought about all the hidden things in the world? All the things that happen behind closed doors? Whether it is with the government, families, parents, or even doctors. There is so much stuff that happens in our world that you and I do not even know about. It raises so many questions for me and makes me really dive deep into my thoughts. Are there things that people hide from me? Are there things hidden from all of the public? I hope these things are making you feel the same way I am feeling. Thinking about this makes me question everything. Why are there things that are hidden from me? Can I not handle the truth?

In all the books we have been reading and especially in Medical Apartheid there are so many cases of people being treated and tested on without them knowing of what is actually going on. There are so many secrets in the medical world which is very morally wrong in my opinion and I think most people would also have this same opinion. Imagine being pregnant and going into the doctors to deliver your baby. You are going in trusting these doctors with your life and the life of your baby as well. You are expecting them to deliver your baby and do whatever they can do to keep both you and the baby safe. That is what you are expecting, you are not expecting them to do things to your body without your consent or knowledge. However, you go and deliver your baby and the doctors secretly tie your tubes. Can you imagine being sterilized without even knowing? I’m sure you are now thinking something along the lines of “oh that doesn’t happen now that kind of stuff only happened years ago.” But you are wrong. There have been cases of this kind of stuff still happening in recent years. In 2013, there were dozens of female inmates in California that had been illegally sterilized. Forced sterilization is still a problem in the world today. Today women are told that their immigration, housing, and other benefits for their status in our country will be taken away unless they get this procedure done. However, they are told that this procedure can be reversed. Sterilization abuse in our world today is horrifying. While reading these articles I feel absolutely horrible for these women and cannot imagine how these doctors do this to women without feeling anything? Do they not feel terrible for these choices?

Just so you completely understand this with me, in 2007 the United States gave the government the right to sterilize “unwilling and unwitting people” which they classified as poor, unwed, and mentally disabled women, children and men. North Carolina sterilized over 7,600 people in a 40-year period. Our own government decided and made rules on who should and should not be able to have babies. They decided poor people should not be allowed to have babies and they forced that on people. Where I grew up the people were not exactly upper class, and I can’t imagine the government and the doctors sterilizing people I know just because they were classified as “poor”. What gives our government the right to decide such things? And even worse what gives doctors the right to do whatever they want without people knowing?

Thinking about this sort of makes me feel like I am having an existential crisis. If you do not know what an existential crisis is, Wikipedia defines it as “a moment at which an individual questions if their life has meaning, purpose, or value.” Are we as individuals more than just a number? Or more than just a test subject? Reading more about how doctors have treated people makes me feel like we are exactly that, just a number. What is the meaning of each of our lives if we do not even make our own decisions for our bodies? Throughout years of history, doctors secretly made decisions for people and treat these people like they are not even human. How can humans treat other humans like this? If secret things like this are still going on even today, then we have not fixed anything. People are still just test subjects. If there are secret things happening in our government that we do not know about then yet again we are just a number, and someone else is making the decisions for us. Just like our own government deciding who would be sterilized. We, as the people did not have a choice. The higher up people decided for everyone as if we were just their test subjects.

Before something was mentioned in class about having a fear of doctors, I had never really thought about it. I knew people were scared to go to the doctor because of things like shots and sickness. I never thought about someone being so scared of doctors that they cannot even bring themselves to go to the doctor. Fear of doctors is called iatrophobia. Sure, some people are scared of blood and needles but maybe some people have this fear because they have read about all the corruption in the medical world. Maybe they are scared to go to the hospital to have a baby because they don’t trust the doctor to do what they are supposed to.

For me, reading and learning about all these secretive things that have happened in the medical world make me not trust doctors. How am I supposed to trust doctors when they have such a bad reputation? How can anyone trust these people? How can I trust anyone? It is really hard to figure out how to live your life in peace and trusting people when there is such a horrible reputation of people not respecting our bodies. No one should have to walk through life being scared of people. I shouldn’t have to go to the doctor and worry or think about someone taking advantage of my body. I shouldn’t have to worry about my doctor not asking for my consent. But we do, we have to worry about these things because of the doctors who apparently had no moral standards and did not care even a little about their patients. I find it so unbelievably scary that I cannot go to a doctor and just be able to fully trust them. The world is extremely corrupt and like I said it scares me and I do not know how to deal with it. If in the back of my mind I always have these thoughts of not trusting people, is this really a healthy way to live? How do I balance these things so that I don’t live my whole life in fear? I do not know how to answer my own question which is also horrifying. I want to live my life without fearing everything. So, how do I do this?

Digging Up The Garden

Recently having read about the conditions which lead to 7,000 bodies found buried beneath University Of Mississippi Medical Center formed a connection in my mind. The connection was between the project underway to excavate these corpses and lay them to rest in a proper burial rather than their mass grave and why it is important to do so. In my last post, I wrote about the ways in which the amazing life saving medical sciences we enjoy today are based on horrible and immoral practices. This idea was solidified when I got to thinking and drawing connections between other things I have experienced in my education. Seeing Steve A Prince’s Urban Garden exhibit was a profoundly impactful experience and a formative moment in my life when I visited it. Though I didn’t fully understand the significance of what I was going through at the time, I realize now that the artwork prompted me to think deeply on injustice in the past and present. Namely, through the focus of its namesake metaphor, the metaphor of a garden.

In Zulus, a deep scar left in the earth can be seen from when a cataclysmic war had taken place. That mark was inflicted by people doing what they thought was right without regard for others. Unlike war, not all horrible things lead to a scorched and scarred Earth. Some horrible things result in a “garden”. Though a garden may be pretty on the surface, it is important to dig deeper. This is true of many similar marks we can observe in our world. A garden can be found wherever people have worked towards a goal and in the process have been willing overlook Human suffering this because of what they desire. The promise of something beautiful and wonderful justified in their minds the horrific and ugly means to that end. The garden is a metaphor for how we in modern civilization have benefited and continue to benefit from exploitation and harm. This is true whether what is being discussed is the practice of slavery and the infrastructure it built, the medical practices which keep us alive, or the ways in which the mentally ill have been kept hidden away in asylums. Where a garden we all enjoy sits, there are countless bodies fertilizing it beneath. The ways those before us have gone wring in pursuit of their “garden” should serve as a warning. We must be cautious to never make the same mistakes as our predecessors when creating gardens of our own.

Without care and compassion, men are not gardeners but beasts. Rather than growing something beautiful for the future on a foundation of love and kindness, they violently rake and carve out that foundation of misery with apathy towards what is right. The promise of a garden is what caused men of science to act like beasts when they used harmful experimentation on human beings to further their research. The promise of a garden caused wealthy men to act like beasts when they enslaved their fellow men and used their bodies for back breaking labors. The promise of a garden caused men of medicine to act like beasts when they cast aside their Hippocratic oaths in pursuit of new treatments at the expense of their patients. Like beasts, they were ignorant of the marks their claws leave in the earth, the scars they inflict for all future generations to see and feel.

Oftentimes, discussions on history of wrongdoings are dismissed with the claim that someone is wasting time by digging up the past. However, by not digging up the past, we ignore a crucial step in the process for manifesting changes in our society. We should all pursue our passions, but passion unchecked can do as much harm as good. Making a lasting difference for the better of the world we live in requires us to understand the right and the wrong way to build and move forward. Only in this way can the gardens we build be something future generations can be proud of.

middle school braces

When I was in middle school, I got braces. Just like most of my friends in my Catholic, private middle school did. They hurt, and they were a pain to take care of, and I hated the appointments. I loved that I got to choose new colors for the rubber bands every time I went in. But what I remember most about my experience with braces was that they were a privilege.

I am the daughter of a single mom. Every appointment, every adjustment, every time I entered the orthodontist’s office, I was aware of just how expensive this endeavor was. For my friends, braces were just an annoyance, a part of growing up. For me, they were a bill near impossible to pay. 

I have bad teeth in my genes. My dad’s first dental appointment was late into his thirties. He is still incredibly afraid of the dentist. I have been aware from a young age that dental work was a lot more than just a mundane, irritating part of life. Straightening my teeth was both a privilege and a health necessity — anatomically, my teeth were bad enough that if they weren’t fixed they would end up permanently damaging my jaw. However, the braces felt necessary for reasons other than that, too. Cosmetically, I had a huge gap between my two front teeth. I had crooked bottom teeth and an underbite. My smile was far from up to society’s standards. And my mom struggled to pay off the bill to fix that. 

In class, we discussed the idea that teeth serve as an indicator of one’s social status. We read two articles that supported this. First, we read an article from The Washington Post called “The Painful Truth About Teeth” that talked about an event that was hosted in Maryland where dentists volunteered to fix people’s teeth for free. Hundreds of people were lined up in the bitter cold, and more people than could be served waited copious amounts of time, some ten or more hours, just to be told they had to come back the next day because there was not enough time left in the day for them to be helped. 

The fact that the need was so high for this service is a sign that dental care is not accessible for those in the United States, particularly those who are not well off financially. Even with decent or good insurance, dental care is often not covered. As Dr. McCoy mentioned in class, sometimes dental care is regarded as a luxury, but often it is a basic healthcare need, particularly with issues like a tooth abscess, for example, which can be life-threatening. This distinction is not at the discretion of the patient, but rather, at the discretion of insurance companies who are profiting off of people instead of helping them.

In my group last class, we talked about the books we have read for this course throughout the semester. Adrianna posed a question: which of these novels do you see as possibly coming true? We discussed the idea that we felt that aspects of all of the novels coming true were sadly completely feasible. And although we are not living in a post-apocalyptic world, it is easy to see that there are sometimes there are elements of all of these novels that connect to our reality, both historically and currently.

Inequality and Social Hierarchies

Inequality is something in our world that does not seem to ever go away. It has always been there, and I really do not see it going away anytime soon. Even in a fiction book or movie there is always this problem of inequality. There is always a hierarchy in the world even in these made up stories. Where did this mindset come from? Why do people think they have to be better than someone else or higher up than someone else?

In Zone One the world is a wreck. Sweepers, a civilian task force, are going through and trying to rid the world of skels. Skels, are zombie like people who spread this disease through biting or scratching others. The sweepers are getting rid of the rest of the stragglers that the marines failed to get rid of. The books setting is in New York City in a place they call zone one. The main military headquarters are in Buffalo, NY. This is where the main military sends out orders. The main goal for the teams is to get rid of all the stragglers in zone one so that they can start rebuilding this part of the city. 

During our small group discussion someone asked the question so do you think in the book they would be able to rebuild without there being inequality and hierarchies. Is it possible for there to be some type of perfect world where everyone is equal? I believe the answer is no. Even if they could somehow rebuild the world there already is a hierarchy. There are people calling all the shots and making the decisions already. You can tell that the sweepers are at the bottom of the military hierarchy because they are just going through cleaning up whatever the marines had left behind.

 I think the buffalo headquarters represents returning to the civilian life they knew before. In this world disaster they already established a hierarchical system. I am assuming this was one of the first things they did. They created a system to try and fix the world. It’s human nature to create a hierarchy. I don’t think that will ever go away. I think it is somewhere in all of us to place ourselves somewhere among the people and some people become leaders and make their way to the top while others end up at the bottom not being able to do much at all.

An example in our world today is when there are natural disasters, the first people to get out are the rich or more wealthy people. If you have money to leave, then you leave before whatever disaster it is hits. People with less money usually don’t have the means to leave. If they don’t have the money to go somewhere else, then they have no other choice but to stay. I feel like on the news you always see all these people staying and everyone sort of thinks “What are they crazy? Why would they want to stay there?”. However, I don’t think a lot of people think about how these people don’t have the money to leave. They are stuck because of their place in the social hierarchy of the world. In an article I was reading called What the Camp Fire Revealed by Annie Lowrey, she said “Leaving itself sometimes imposes a significant cost—gas, missed work, hotel rooms—that the wealthier can bear but that the poor might not be able to. Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, when many lower-income families were waiting on first-of-the-month checks to pay their bills. Many could not afford to get out. In later surveys, respondents explained that “the hurricane came at the wrong time, we were waiting for our payday” and that “money was hard to come by.” So, if you think the poor didn’t have enough money to leave during a natural do you think they have enough money to rebuild? The answer is no. Of course, there are always people who donate things and try to help but in these low-income places it takes so long for them to rebuild and by the time they get it rebuilt, they get hit again by another disaster. Poverty rates climb while all this is happening, and it really just seems to be getting worse and worse. Another part to this whole thing is that the lower-income countries are more likely to climate change and therefore leading to more natural disasters. 

What I read was that most of the government funding after natural disasters ends up helping the wealthier people instead of the low-income people. How is it fair that the people who have more money to begin with get the help while the poor people who had no choice but to stay there risking their own lives do not get enough help rebuilding. People end up homeless while the rich get their home rebuilt. Why would we not give as much help to the people who are more helpless? This question really leads me back to all the inequality in our world. Why do the rich get more help than the people who really need it?

There is always a hierarchy and there is always inequality because for some reason people think they are somehow more important than someone else. We are all humans. What makes you better than me? Just because you have more money than someone else does that mean you are more important than them? I really think that inequality and hierarchies are very screwed up, but I do not think there will ever be a world without it. There is just no possible way to not have it. Like I said before, I think it is somewhere in all of us. It’s just human nature and I don’t believe that it could drastically change.

Here is a link to the article I was reading, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/why-natural-disasters-are-worse-poor/580846/

The History of Zombies

In class this Monday, Dr. Beth talked about how there are two paths that one could go down when talking about zombies: either the pop culture path (which has many branches of its own and it continues to grow) or the historical path, which is rooted in Haitian culture going back to the 17th Century.

In the past, I have heard about how there was a deeper history to zombies than just appearing in American movies and TV shows, but I had never known much about it. Considering how zombies (or skeles) are a large part of the plot of Zone One by Colson Whitehead, I thought it would be a good idea for me to learn about where the concept and myth of zombies came from. Though I personally have never had much of a fascination (or even vague interest) with zombies and the culture surrounding zombies in entertainment, I still think learning more of the history of this now incredibly popular subgenre of horror would be beneficial to me and my understanding of the literature.

As explained by Mike Mariani in “The Tragic, Forgotten History of Zombies”, an article for The Atlantic, there is so much more to the history of zombies than what movies, television, and other forms of entertainment would suggest. Mariani claims that the origins of zombies are rooted in folklore from those who were enslaved in Haiti from 1625 to about 1800. The enslaved individuals were originally from Africa, and when they arrived in Haiti, they were treated with a complete lack of humanity as a result of the slavery of the time. It was at this time that the ideas of the undead became a subject that had immense importance to the enslaved people in Haiti. Many of these people believed that the only way they could ever be free was if they died. However, if they were to kill themselves, they would “be condemned to skulk the Hispaniola plantations for eternity, an undead slave at once denied their own bodies and yet trapped inside them—a soulless zombie.” Essentially, they believed that if they were to kill themselves, they would lose all hopes of freedom, and be permanently trapped in their body as a slave, turning into what we all know as a “zombie” today. The initial concept of the zombie was a clear demonstration of how much these individuals suffered both physically and mentally, as they were fearful of the afterlife in the hypothetical event where the pain and suffering endured during slavery didn’t end for individuals with their death.

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Respect for the Dead

In Colson Whitehead’s novel Zone One, the story follows Mark Spitz and his fellow “sweepers”. Being a “sweeper” involves leaving the safety of the camp and ridding a designated area of Zone One of zombies. The primary target of the volunteer sweepers were zombies known as “stragglers”. Stragglers are a form of zombie that is not outwardly aggressive and present a reduced risk to the remaining unaffected. Stragglers are thought to be “mistakes” as the Lieutenant puts it. These zombies are stuck in a task or in a location that had some significance to them during their life and posed no threat except the slight possibility of infecting others. Whitehead describes stragglers as regular people that when infected become trapped in a moment after being infected. He describes the straggler existence as “…winnowed to this discrete and external moment.” Stragglers are a small percentage of the zombie population that do not attack humans. In essence, stragglers are like humans that paralyzed in shock. The zombies and the healthy are regular people that are only separated by the fact that some are infected and others are not.

Mark Spitz and the other sweepers are tasked with simply putting a bullet in the head of any straggler they find and place the body in a body bag. I, along with Mark Spitz,  have some apprehension about the treatment of the stragglers. When Mark, Gary, and Kaitlyn find a straggler bent over a copy machine, Mark instinctively asks the group “What if we let him stay?… He’s not hurting anyone.” His indication of unease caused a similar feeling for me. What if the infection can be cured? The Lieutenant explains to Mark that there are Nobel prize winners working on a cure. In my opinion, because the stragglers do not present a clear danger and have the potential to be cured, they should be kept alive until their affliction is completely understood. They may still be, at least partially, human.  However, I understand the panic associated with keeping these zombies alive because the knowledge of the plague is not yet completely understood. Mark explains fearing the unknown by saying “The plague doesn’t let you in on the rules; they weren’t printed inside the box.”

This idea reminded me of something that I had overlooked while reading. That even if stragglers weren’t curable, they still were once human, as were the skels. The sweepers treat the remains of the infected with indifference. It was common practice for sweepers to simply place a body into a bag and throw it from a window to the street. The practice was only halted because it created a mess and a possible source of infection, not because they were defiling the remains of someone formerly human. The Disposal unit disposes of bodies by the use of a machine called “The Coakley”  which is capable of converting almost all of the infected remains into smoke and ash. The lack of humane treatment of the remains is clear in the speech of one of the disposal technicians Annie, “Usually we like to stuff as many as we can in there before we fire it.” The cremation of the remains is conducted without any sort of care and respect for the dead. All of these zombies, through no fault of their own, were infected by a plague. Does the mere fact that they were infected prevent their remains from receiving the same respect as the remains of healthy humans? There are many cultures and religions that call for certain treatments of the dead, and none of them involve being shot out of an incinerator as ash by the handful. Ashes of the dead cover New York City. It is important to note that the characters in the novel would have no way of knowing what post-mortem rituals that the infected desire. However, I believe that the healthy should at least attempt to treat the remains of the dead with respect because they too were once fellow humans.

The mass disposal present in Whitehead’s novel is parallel to actual historic events of maltreatments of corpses. Nina Golgowski, of the HuffPost, reports that approximately 7,000 bodies were located under the University of Mississippi Medical Campus. This land was home to the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum 80 years prior to the mass grave’s discovery. Like in Zone One, these remains were disposed of in an efficient, though careless, way that was not in agreement with the post-mortem wishes of the deceased. Many descendants of the inhabitants of the asylum wish for the bodies to be exhumed and identified in order to learn about their family lineage and finally determine what happened to their ancestors. I believe that this needed to occur for a greater reason. The insane asylum inhabitants were never given a proper burial. The Social Life of DNA, by Alondra Nelson, describes events after the discovery of a mass African-American burial site in 1991. Hundreds of African-American slaves that lived during the 1600s were buried underneath what is now lower Manhattan. In an effort to determine genetic information on the inhabitants of the ground, the bodies were exhumed. However, the researchers failed to treat these remains with respect as well. The exhumation was conducted with “…little consideration given to the conservation of the remains.” Their remains were treated as if they were less than human in life.  It is noble to want to identify the dead in order to give their families closure about their ancestors, but the bodies themselves are worthy of respect. Like in Zone One, the infected were discriminated against after their demise. These are all human remains and deserve to be treated with the respect that they warrant as recently deceased human beings. Whether or not the remains belong to former slaves, those considered mentally insane or people who have been infected, they deserve proper burials or cremations. After all, our last acts as humans are to be put to rest.

The Literal and Figurative Meanings of Teeth in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One and Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan’s Washington Post Article

In Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, teeth are frequently discussed. In a literal sense, teeth serve as the weapon of the undead, known as skels, and thus act as the greatest source of fear among survivors. The living also possess teeth, yet the bony structures in their jaws have a more symbolic value that those of the skels. While Whitehead describes undead teeth in a literal manner to convey the physical danger that they pose to survivors, the teeth of living humans represent their socioeconomic status both in memories of pre-apocalyptic American society and even to an extent during the catastrophe. The socially constructed American hierarchy that ranks people according to the quality of their teeth is not limited to Zone One. Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan’s Washington Post article “The Painful Truth about Teeth” indicates that it is a pervasive phenomenon in the present-day United States. Teeth themselves are not incredibly significant, but they are commonly used as visible measures of socioeconomic status. This is due to the expensiveness of dental care that working-class people can rarely afford. Nevertheless, similar to Zone One’s division of the meaning of teeth into literal and figurative levels, the Washington Post article does not suggest that teeth only have symbolic importance. Rather, there are also severe health consequences associated with lacking access to dental care. Therefore, there is an analogous divide between the literal and figurative depictions of teeth in the Washington Post article and Zone One. Although teeth are denoted differently in the two works, their role as a symbol of socioeconomic status is similar in both texts.

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Personal Experiences with Ethical International Health Practices

When I saw a publication by Irmgard Bauer titled “More Harm Than Good? The Questionable Ethics of Medical Volunteering and International Student Placements” posted on Canvas, I was both interested (and a bit apprehensive, as I will explain) about the information I was going to be reading. From as far back as I can remember, my desire to be a physician was synonymous with participating in some sort of international medicine program upon earning my MD; the information Bauer presented could not be more pertinent and timely to my endeavors, as I recently traveled to Perú and participated in a student health training program which strongly affirmed my desire to work as a physician and pursue international health. I read the publication with a strong obligation to be informed on current issues that might exist within international medicine. I also read it with some degree of apprehension, thinking that it was possible I would learn that I had unknowingly participated in well-meaning but detrimental practices. Bauer’s work identified a wide array of problems that need to be addressed in international health initiatives, and as I read I compared the examples listed in Bauer’s publication to my real-life experiences and observations during my program. I was also somewhat relieved to find that some programs, like the one I participated in, have already acknowledged and taken steps in order to avoid these issues. In my post I hope to both highlight what these problems are and demonstrate possible solutions that I saw during my own experience.

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