A Wound That Cannot Heal

In class last week, Professor McCoy asked the question, “what does it mean when you have a wound that cannot heal.” This question interested me particularly in regards to people who have gone through unique situations and obstacles in life, which very few can relate to. PTSD is something that is seen throughout Morrison’s Home. After returning from war, Frank seems to have lost his meaning for life. In describing his hometown he says Continue reading “A Wound That Cannot Heal”

Grappling with Clay’s Ark

Leading into reading this novel, I was internally struggling with how I was going to get through this class. I am not a fan of science fiction, and the syllabus felt overwhelming, especially when considering the entire class was centered around science fiction novels. However, since the first chapters (Past 1, etc.) I have been extremely interested in the narratives that Butler has created.

I have found myself becoming immersed in the reading, and not wanting to put it down after I had finished the sections assigned for each class. I often found myself conflicted with the ideas of how I felt I should have been feeling based off of the things we discussed in class, such as the concepts of consent and humanity. In a way, I often found myself being disturbed because I was more comfortable with the super-natural beings in the enclave who often defied the laws of consent and “ruined” so many peoples’ lives and I found myself annoyed and uncomfortable with other characters such as Blake. Why am I finding myself being more accepting of these characters that are so destructive in their ways and wishing those who are victims of these people to disappear? I am interested in the ways that Butler’s future novels that we read will lead me to conflicting feelings once again.

My first impressions of this class were clearly wrong, and I’m happy to have found another English class that leads me to think about class discussions and the themes in the books we read long after I have left the class. It also doesn’t hurt that I look forward to reading in between classes.

When Harlem Was In Vogue chapter 1 thoughts

I may as well start with the disclaimer that I read this chapter mainly for content, seeing some connections to Jazz and Purgatorio; I think it’s safe to say that mentions of the Great Migrations naturally make my brain think to the concept of movement in both Dante and Morrison’s works. Besides that, however, I can’t say that I have any concrete connections– then again it’s only chapter 1. Continue reading “When Harlem Was In Vogue chapter 1 thoughts”

Scientific?

“But whites ascribed black women’s sexual availability not to their powerlessness but to a key tenet of scientific racism: Blacks were unable to control their powerful sexual drives, which were frequently compared to those of rutting animals.”

This blog is mainly dedicated to the term, “scientific” racism. I have heard the words race and racism countless times in my lifetime and have argued and interpreted the meaning to those two words. I took an INTD course my first semester at Geneseo about racial identity and families and have had conversations concerning the term race. While reading Medical apartheid, I came across a new term that I never knew existed. Scientific racism. As a biology major and science enthusiast, science is the study of facts concerning the atoms, body, etc. The actual definition of science is,  “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws”. Truth? Fact?  What about racism is backed up and supported by science?

Encyclopedia.com defines and elaborates on scientific racism but it has been studied that race is not biological, therefore race has nothing to do with science. Racism is not and will never be backed up by science or any other subject.

Visual Schemas and Parable of the Sower

Earlier this evening, I was browsing The Rumpus and found a comic book review by Kevin Thomas of Butler’s Parable of the Sower:

HORN! REVIEWS: Parable of the Sower

Most of the class hasn’t read Parable of the Sower (and it’s not on the syllabus) but Thomas’ illustrations strikes me as a powerful reminder of a book I found deeply moving. I’m interested in the way he constructs the plot of the novel –from an introduction to Lauren Olamina to the establishment of Earthseed–as a visual schema, imbued by his own commentary. Obviously, his 9-panel comic only scratches the surface of a demanding and complex book (to use Beth’s phrase, Butler is not a gratuitous author), but he illuminates some important aspects of the novel, most notably the comment that “its [the novel’s dystopia] causes and effects are sadly plausible.” Thomas is correct:  I find myself thinking of the troubling, chaotic America Butler evokes in Parable at least three times a week. This is particularly true during weeks like these, where we are again confronted with a devastating intersection of environmental havoc and political instability.

Continue reading “Visual Schemas and Parable of the Sower”

Parable of the Talents

I know that the semester is over, but I figured this would be an easy way to share this–

I started reading Parable of the Talents today, the sequel to Parable of the Sower, and most of the action is set in 2032. I found this on page 20, and was shocked to find a “catchphrase” that all of us have been exposed to in the media lately:

“Help us to make America great again.” It comes up at least once more in the novel too.

So I just wanted you all to remember what we individually said we could do after taking this class. I think we’ve got to commit to doing them, and this seems evidence enough to me. (PS the book is good! Sorry to make this a weird post– Happy summer!)

 

Looking Back and Moving Forward

For the purposes of this post, I split my writing into three sections:  Paternal Power, Jaws, and Ghosts.  These sections function largely as organizing principles, and are by no means the exclusive focus, or outside source discussed, in each section.  I conclude with a brief discussion of how I would add The Devil in Silver to a course’s curriculum.

Continue reading “Looking Back and Moving Forward”

Bank of America v. The City of Miami

I realize that classes are already over, but very quickly I want to share a piece of news I came across that relates rather deeply to the course. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Miami’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo and Bank of America. The suit alleges that the banks’  predatory lending practices violated the Fair Housing Act and targeted African American/Latino communities through subprime mortgages. You can read about the case and the Supreme Court’s decision in the following sources:

Cities Can Sue Big Banks Over Effects of Discriminatory Practices (NPR)

Bank of America Corp. v. The City of Miami (Supreme Court’s published decision)

Supreme Court Rules Miami Can Sue Over Predatory Lending (NYT)

There are certainly other media sources covering the case as well, but I felt these might be a good starting point to obtain a brief overview.  At any rate, from my cursory research the decision strikes me as a small victory for proponents of fair housing and lending practices (good news is hard to come by these days).

Many thanks to Alpha and Beth for facilitating a meaningful and compelling class this semester.

Thank You

As we wrap up the semester, our academics and work and lives start to boil over. I am finding solace in our final “Second Line” paper; I am looking forward to my own rebirth and stability after finals. I’m taking an opportunity to squeeze in a “thank you” to everyone in the course as we close up (especially if you are still reading the blog) and I wish you all to find courage and peace during this intense month and academic year; our peers (Alpha and Dr. McKoy included), discussions, readings, and this blog have been inspiring, humbling, and relevant.

Thanks, and happy finals!

In Reaction to Schenwar’s “Hurt People Hurt People”

Taking inspiration from Schenwar’s section “Hurt People Hurt People” from Locked Down, Locked Out, I started to think about the cycle of violence we see in Butler’s Parable. When I think of violence being the performance of waste it makes me think that violence is a cause and a consequence of something being allowed to literally deteriorate or waste away. In Parable, we see things deteriorating everywhere. Homes, communities, local and federal government, families, infrastructure, even lines between right and wrong seem to blur together as society seems to waste away.

Keeping this in mind, I want to touch on the people in Parable who are affected by the violence they encounter on a day to day basis. As Schenwar points out, there is an unceasing and cyclical history of people committing violence and harm to others if they themselves have been victims of violence and harm. This is evident when we see how the poor interact with each other in Parable— the poor steal from the poor, but only because they’ve a) been stolen from before, b) have no other options, c) have never had any other options or d) all of the above. This leads to entire communities abusing and harming one another. Resentment and mistrust builds, and things seem to turn into anarchy.

I’ve been thinking about this throughout my entire reading of Parable. That’s why when Lauren thinks. “I wonder what a badge is, other than a license to steal.” I stopped reading and thought for a moment. From Lauren’s perspective, police are already in a position of power over her. Why would they need to steal from the already poor, deteriorating communities they are supposed to be protecting? Do they really have as much power as Lauren and the readers perceive? Really, what’s their damage? Is it just the mere fact that they have power over another that causes them to harm others? Or is there more to it? I don’t mean to play Devil’s Advocate (or maybe I do), but how are we sure that there isn’t violence affecting them as well?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, nor am I sure if it’s valid to really spend time asking them. But! I do think it’s valuable to look at from Schenwar’s point of view when considering the vast majority of people who are supposed “perpetrators” are also victims of violence themselves. (I also want to point out that when I’m talking about police I’m talking about the police in Parable, not real life. Although once again, maybe the lines between the two aren’t as clear as I’m perceiving!) Thoughts?