Value

After writing my last blog post and re-reading some things in the book Zulus by Percival Everett, I started remembering all the things in this book that I found extremely interesting. We read this book towards the beginning of the semester, so I sort of forgot about it until now. Going back and looking at this book I started thinking about the word “Value”. The definition of value as a noun by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the monetary worth of something” and the definition of this same word as a verb is “to consider or rate highly”. What I was thinking about is the value of a human. Do humans really value other humans? In the books and articles that we have read it really does not seem like we do. Especially in the medical world because we have read about so much discrimination and racism. Why do we not value each other’s lives? 

In the book Zulus on page 105 it says “Everything around her was skin, like bark on a tree and she was not adipose, but meristem tissue. She was life and they should beg her forgiveness.” And then later down on this page Body-woman Rima was talking to her and she said to Alice “you are a vehicle and nothing more”. This woman is here tearing down Alice and saying that she is only a “vehicle” and her life has no meaning other than to reproduce. Alice is trying to stay positive and says she is meristem tissue. Adipose tissue is a fatty tissue that stores energy in the form of fat and cushions and insulates the body. Meristem tissue is found where growth takes place and it gives rise to similar cells. Alice is trying to say that she is not just some fatty tissue that does almost nothing. She is the tissue that is special and can reproduce. Her life has meaning. She is trying to value her life while the rebels are not valuing her at all. They just want to use her body. Like Body-woman Rima said, she is a vehicle that they can use, and they do not think she is anything more than that. No one values her as a human and throughout the whole book everyone is tearing her down. However, she knows she has value.

In Zone One by Colson Whitehead, once the disease had infected a person then they no longer had any value. Once a person is infected, they are bound to be killed. They cannot be saved after they are infected. Something in this book that I did find very interesting is when Mark sort of creates a story for the stragglers before he has to get rid of them. He tries to give these people value. They once were normal people with normal jobs, and they should have all had value. But once they were infected, they were as good as dead and their lives meant absolutely nothing because they were dangerous. This is a bit different than Alice in Zulus because they have no choice but to try and rid the world of these zombies. While for Alice they chose not to value her as a person. 

In an article I read called Grave Robbing, Black Cemeteries, and the American Medical School by Allison C. Meier, it talks about students in medical schools who stole the bodies of African Americans to use for dissections. These cemeteries were often not protected because most of the people buried in these cemeteries were poor and usually African American. The bodies of African Americans, like it said in the article, “were involuntarily used in medicine”. African Americans all throughout medical history have been treated like test subjects instead of humans. The families of these people thought their loved ones were still buried in those graves and little did they know, their loved one was actually lying on a medical table in some college being cut up into pieces. 

Humans do not value other humans. I will never understand this. We are all humans and just because someone doesn’t look like your standards or is overweight, or even black does not mean they should be put down. An African American has a family just like everyone else and works to make a living just like anyone else. They are human and they deserve to be valued. Doctors seem to have a very bad history of not respecting people. Men, women, and even children. Doctors think they can test on whoever they want without consent. These doctors do not seem to think about anyone but themselves. Everyone should understand the worth of another human and think highly of them. Everyone has value and we should not let terrible people ruin our value. I think a huge problem in our world is not valuing each other. We all need to understand that we are all equal and each one of us has value. Everyone needs to be a little more like Mark and try to understand someone else’s life.



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