“My job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice.” Our course epigraph really brings out the theme of this course. When I read this quotation, it reminded me a lot of what our class time consists of. Even if we don’t realize it, we are all constantly noticing and observing different things whether that be in our readings, or class discussions. When we all come together to discuss anything we have observed, we are collectively understanding other pieces of information that someone else has noticed that perhaps you did not, and that exemplifies the “notice that you can notice” in our course epigraph.
Based on what we have done so far in class, the course epigraph gets me thinking about just really understanding the perspectives of others. It is very important to understand different perspectives of your peers when it comes to this class because it can help you to understand something in a different fashion and can give you some new approaches to take when working with certain material. For example, I never really realized how racism and medicine would be able to tie into each other, but after reading some of Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington and having class discussions about the reading, it gave me more insight about how these two topics can relate to one another. One quote from the introduction of the book that stood out to me is “In fact, researchers who exploit African Americans were the norm for much of our nation’s history, when black patients were commonly regarded as fit subjects for nonconsensual, nontherapeutic research.” (Washington 13). This quote alone gives a perfect illustration of how medicine had certain impacts on racism which is something I had never realized or thought about beforehand.
Another book we read together in class is Fortunes Bones by Marilyn Nelson. We would all collectively read the book in parts, and then all discuss our own perspectives about what we had just read which again directly relates to our course epigraph. “Fortune was born; he died.” (Nelson 13). Although this specific quote is extremely short, we were able to discuss our thoughts and what we thought the meaning behind it was. It does come off as a very direct quote, but you can get so much more out of it when really thinking about it and discussing it with your peers. We focused on the use of the semicolon and how it affected the sentence. The use of the semicolon was essentially a “summary” regarding Fortune’s life without the actual synopsis of his life events. I personally took it as almost a disregard for Fortune’s life as the only parts that were highlighted in this sentence was his birth and death. We all got the different ideas and views of one another, which is us “noticing that you can notice.” It really is fascinating to be able to take a sentence as short as that one, and be able to hear all different interpretations of why we think it was put that way.
As we continue to read Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington, something I would like to continue to learn about and figure out via this course is really how these issues were “solved” over time. As far as racism goes, America is clearly not 100% out of racist habits and thoughts, but there has been a significant amount of progress made throughout time. I would like to learn more about how this progress is made. When were significant changes starting to be noticed? What individuals had large impacts on these changes? I would like to figure out when this turning point in history was, and how we got to the point we are at today. Reading about these atrocities that would occur has made me even more curious about how we have evolved, and that is something I would like to learn more about through this course.
This course has been truly fascinating so far. I really enjoy hearing the perspectives and views of others when working on the material as it opens up new viewpoints that can be beneficial to our work. Our course epigraph, “My job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice” truly sets the tone of this course. It is all about discussing your own opinions while actively and respectfully listening to my peers’ opinions and perspectives. I am looking forward to continuing this course and learning more through readings, discussions, and writing.