1619: Medical Apartheid

C. Travis Webb

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ module_class=”main-content” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ background_color=”#000033″ border_width_top=”2px” border_color_top=”#ffffff” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”-23px||” custom_padding=”54px|0px||0px|false|false”][et_pb_row custom_padding=”0|0px|0|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ text_font=”||||||||” text_text_color=”#ffffff” header_font=”||||||||” header_4_font=”Georgia|300|||||||” header_4_text_align=”center” header_4_text_color=”#ffffff” header_4_font_size=”16px” header_4_letter_spacing=”1px”]

0095   |   October 28, 2019

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ header_font=”Cormorant Garamond|600|||||||” header_text_align=”center” header_text_color=”#ffffff” header_font_size=”40px” header_font_size_phone=”35px” header_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” header_line_height=”1.3em”]

1619:
Medical Apartheid

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_audio audio=”http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/701144692-theamericanage-1619-medical-apartheid.mp3″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″ custom_margin=”20px||0px” custom_padding=”20px||” custom_css_audio_buttons__hover_enabled=”on”][/et_pb_audio][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ text_font=”Nunito Sans||||||||” text_text_color=”#ffffff” text_font_size=”22px” text_font_size_phone=”20px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.5em” text_orientation=”center” max_width=”85%” module_alignment=”center”]

The history of racism in medical care is not surprising, but the impact it continues to have on contemporary medical treatments is shocking. How do unscientific racial biases continue to distort evidence based medicine?

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ fullwidth=”on” disabled_on=”off|off|off” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ background_color=”#000033″ max_width_phone=”100%” max_width_last_edited=”on|desktop” custom_margin=”-6vw|||” custom_padding=”10px||20vw”][et_pb_fullwidth_menu menu_id=”233″ fullwidth_menu=”off” active_link_color=”#ffffff” dropdown_menu_bg_color=”#000033″ dropdown_menu_line_color=”#000033″ dropdown_menu_text_color=”#ffffff” mobile_menu_text_color=”#ffffff” module_class=”navigation” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ menu_font=”Georgia|300|||||||” menu_text_color=”#ffffff” menu_font_size=”16px” menu_letter_spacing=”1px” background_color=”#000033″ border_width_top=”1px” border_color_top=”#ffffff” border_width_bottom=”1px” border_color_bottom=”#ffffff” text_orientation=”center” max_width=”50%” max_width_phone=”40%” max_width_last_edited=”on|phone” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”40px|||” custom_margin_phone=”0px||” custom_margin_last_edited=”on|desktop” custom_padding=”||25px|” custom_padding_phone=”||0px” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|desktop” custom_css_menu_link=”display: inline;||margin-left: 12.5px;||margin-right: 12.5px;||padding-right: 12.5px;||padding-left: 12.5px;||”][/et_pb_fullwidth_menu][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″ custom_padding=”54px|0px|0|0px|false|false”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.19.15″ module_alignment=”center”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_image src=”https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.199/b79.f8b.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Episode-0095-1619-Medical-Apartheid.jpg” align=”center” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ custom_margin=”-23vw||” custom_margin_tablet=”-27vw|||” custom_margin_phone=”-35vw||” custom_margin_last_edited=”on|phone” custom_padding=”30px||”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″ custom_padding=”0|0px|54px|0px|false|false”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.0.48″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ text_font=”Nunito Sans||||||||” text_font_size=”16px” text_line_height=”1.8em”]

C.T. WEBB: 00:20 [music] Good afternoon, good morning, or good evening, and welcome to the American Age Podcast. This is C. Travis Webb, editor of the American Age. And I am speaking to you from southern California where it is pretty sunny. Pretty warm for autumn.
S. FULLWOOD: 00:32 Oh. So folks, I’m just in a bit of a daze right now. This is Steven G. Fullwood. I’m the co-founder of the Nomadic Archivists Project. I think I’m in Harlem, but I really might be in Andromeda or maybe hanging around the Orion’s Belt right now, so. And it’s kind of cold up here. Real cold.
S. RODNEY: 00:51 At least he in the sky with diamonds. I’m Seph Rodney, and I’m a senior editor at Hyperallergic, and I’ve just written a book which was produced in May of this year. The Personalization of the Museum Visit is its title. And I’m in the south Bronx, and the light’s starting to fade. And that’s slightly distressing to me.
C.T. WEBB: 01:16 It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there?
S. RODNEY: 01:18 No. But it’s coming.
C.T. WEBB: 01:19 Yeah. This is to remind our listeners that we practice a form of what we like to call intellectual intimacy, giving each other the space and time to figure out things out loud and together. And a reminder that our co-host Sarah Bond is not with us again this week, so. Because of personal and professional responsibilities that keep her away, so. But we will be very happy to have her back soon. And we’re continuing our conversation around the 1619 Project. I think we kind of talked informally maybe one, two more episodes after this. So this and then maybe do a summation episode after that. And today we’re going to talk about what Steven had coined– or not coined, but characterized from other readings that he has done on the topic, medical apartheid, so. Which is the ways in which race as a social category has influenced the kind of medicine that we practice and the kind of treatments that doctors offer. Certainly historically, which is probably not surprising to anyone that doctors in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, even 20th century treated non-whites and whites differently, but that that process and the legacy of that process has continued into the 21st century. So we’re going to ground it in one of the essays in particular, so. But I’ve talked a lot, so Seph or Steven, do you guys want to introduce us to the essay and the topic and we can go from there?
S. FULLWOOD: 02:45 So Linda Villarosa writes about it from the perspective of the myths that sort of envelop the body, and have since slavery, to the doctors that performed experiments on black people, because– one was Dr. Thomas Hamilton who was obsessed with proving the physiological differences between black and white people. He wasn’t the only one. It was a number of doctors that were– I’m not sure what the impulse was, or the why, right. I don’t understand why. But these kinds of [inaudible] experiments, along with the Tuskegee experiment where several– I think 65 black men were injected with syphilis without them knowing it. And it was a study that a lot of these men ended up dying, or getting really sick, and so forth. So when I read this piece by Linda Villarosa, it hit me personally, but also generally with me personally, but also with literature. So I’m going to say me, and then I’m going to go back to the literature later on. But me personally, I had a doctor, an MD– a very nice guy. Let me just start out by saying that. I don’t know why I need to say it. But that I introduced to him a friend of mine to this particular doctor, and she went to him several times complaining about a pain that she had. And I remember that when I would go to the doctor and he and I would talk about things, sometimes we’d end up just talking about Malcom X. And this was a Jewish guy who realized that one day that, “Malcom X was not such a bad guy,” is what he said. So this Jewish doctor saw my friend, a woman, and after a few– she came back to me I think after maybe seeing him for the third time, and she goes, “He told me that maybe there’s a pain in my past life that I need to work out. So I need to go to a past like regressionist, or whoever handles that kind of thing.” And it struck me as being interesting–
C.T. WEBB: 04:52 This is a medical doctor?
S. FULLWOOD: 04:53 This is a medical doctor. And so I had two responses to that. The first response was, “I’m this woo-woo guy. Come talk to me. I’m the woo-woo guy,” right. And then the other part of it was his inability to maybe see that she had a pain that he couldn’t address, so it was just, “Past life regression. Go try that.” And she said that she felt like he was bothered by her– I mean that she bothered him. And it made me think about his age, it made me think about who he’s used to seeing, and then the kind of way that– I mean if I could interpret it this way, he seemed– when he and I would talk and I’d tell him I had a pain or whatever, “Oh, it’s probably just this. It’s probably just that.” And I remember thinking of this character as, “I don’t really know about this, and I’m not really all that interested in trying to figure out. So we’ll take some blood or whatever, I’ll do my usual stuff, and then I’ll just say, ‘get more sleep, don’t eat sugar, blah, blah, blah.'” Which, in all fairness, could be some of the thing. But I also felt at different times when I would go to him that my pain wasn’t recognized by him, whether it was physical or emotional, right. And so reading this piece, it made me think about why my father doesn’t go to the doctor. Not why, but because when I talked to him in the past about it, he would say things like, “You know man, a friend of mine went to a doctor once, and he went in there and he was perfect. He was just tip-top of health. And he comes out and the doctor told him he was going to to this, and he needed to do that, he had this, or whatever.” And I told my father, “The man was probably sick.” That’s the first thing. So that’s not an indication of why you don’t need to go to the doctor. But then it occurred to me that there was a much larger history of a man who was born at home in Louisiana. When he moved to Arkansas as a kid, that was whatever the capital of Arkansas is, white people only went to the hospital. Everyone else was [inaudible] at home.
C.T. WEBB: 06:55 Little Rock. I’m sorry. Little Rock.
S. FULLWOOD: 06:57 Right. Little Rock, Arkansas. And so there were moments where I started to sort of piece together this idea of, “Doctors are not our friends.” And going back to the Linda Villarosa piece, as well as this other piece, it makes me think a lot about how the quality– that racism has permeated almost every aspect of American Culture. Whether it’s economics, whether it’s what we just talked about last in terms of the production of sugar, the plantations– all of this stuff. It feels very–
S. RODNEY: 07:32 Diet. Public Health.
S. FULLWOOD: 07:33 Yeah, it’s very into the fabric of who we think we are. But also, those experiences that we have with those professionals. What do we do with that, right? How do I tell my father– I told my father, “I recently got myself a colonoscopy and I’m cool and all that, whatever.” And I don’t have the same fear he did. Or the fears that I– over the years where he’s able to talk about it– he doesn’t speak very directly, you just pick up here and there. He’s not interested in going to no doctor. That man will die at home. That’s what the thing is. And so I think that he’s a very, along with my friend who went to see my doctor who–
C.T. WEBB: 08:15 Who is not seeing that doctor anymore, right. So, I mean, yeah.
S. FULLWOOD: 08:20 Neither of us are. But that suspicion, because there’s a history obviously. And these are just small histories right here with the 1619, but it was pretty– it hit home.
S. RODNEY: 08:33 So I want to say a couple other things if I may, too. And it occurred to me to say this before, and maybe I’m going to say this every second or third podcast, because we always– not always. We often end up here. And I’m not sure this is clear to our listeners, all our listeners, what we mean when we use this phrase. When we say the black body, we’re talking about a kind of theoretical construct, right. So we’re not talking about Steven’s black body, or my black body, but we’re saying the black body in general, in that it is– male or female, or trans. It is a body that exists as kind of an idea, right, in people’s heads, right. Just to be clear with people about that.
C.T. WEBB: 09:21 But a lens through which particular black bodies then get read.
S. RODNEY: 09:25 Right. So the Jewish doctor that Steven had a professional relationship with, he had an idea of what constitutes a black body. So he had difficulty– or we’re surmising, at least, that he had difficulty seeing your pain and recognizing it and recognizing it as valid.
S. FULLWOOD: 09:45 Hold your thought just one second. I apologize. I don’t want to be innocent in this project here– in this scenario. Meaning that there could have– a host of things could have been in the room, right, in addition to that. It could have been me, it could have been a number of other things. But because it’s coming through my lens, I just want to give space to that. That’s it.
S. RODNEY: 10:03 Yeah, absolutely. And that’s– no, no, no. Not at all. That’s very fair. So want to bring attention to the piece written by Yaa– I’m not sure how to pronounce her last name. Gyasi? G-Y-A-S-I, in the 1619 magazine. She uses a word, and I had to look this up. And oddly enough, it’s not in my phone’s app. The word she used is iatrobia. Sorry, iatrophobia. Iatrophobia, I think. It’s not in my dictionary, but the closest word is iatrogenic, which turns out to be related to illness caused by medical examination or treatment. So what this tells me is that, and she’s relating– in her piece, Gyasi relates her fear around her son playing in a public park and picking up something that– a used tampon, and kind of freaking her out about what the medical options might be if her son fell sick. Realizing that in New York, black women are 12 times more likely to die in child birth as white women. Looking at this sort of statistical landscape and this sort of practical landscape around her, and thinking, “What are my chances for my survival and my child’s survival,” kind of thing. So it freaked her out. And so she used this word. And that word, I think, is sort of at the heart of what you’re talking about in that there is a fear among black people because our pain isn’t recognized. Because our bodies aren’t necessarily seen as valid, that we will catch something in treatment. We actually go to, say, for a check-up or to take care of an issue, but then literally get worse. And when I read– I want to add the Tuskegee syphilis experiments to this. I’ve heard about this since I was probably a teenager, but I finally read something about it today and the thing really almost brought me to tears. I was really horrified that we would treat human beings like this. And Gyasi sums up what happened to these men in this way. She writes, “The 600 men who were enrolled in the Tuskegee study were told they’d get free medical care. Instead, from 1932 to 1972, researchers watched as the men developed lesions in their mouths and genitals, watched as their lymph nodes swelled and their hair fell out, watched as the disease moved into its final stage leaving the men blind and demented, leading them to die. All this when they knew a simple penicillin shot would cure them. All this because they wanted to see what would happen.” Now, I want to be clear to everyone as well, I looked up the story in a couple of different places, with PETA being one of them. And penicillin wasn’t always the option available. That became available later. The study started in 1932, people had figured out– the medical community had figured out by 1947 that penicillin would cure, or prevent the– yeah, would cure it essentially–
C.T. WEBB: 13:29 Early stage.
S. RODNEY: 13:30 Yeah. Early stage syphilis infection. So there is that fear that she talks about. That fear has valid roots.
C.T. WEBB: 13:39 So it’s hard for me to jump in on all this because you guys brought up so many meaty things to sort of chew through. One, I think fear of the medical care is probably not just racially localized, in that there are people that– sort of that sort of denial. “If I don’t acknowledge that it’s there then it’s not there.” Kind of the ostrich, head in the sand approach. Which I don’t doubt that that– I mean, that doesn’t fully describe what you’re talking about. And there are two things that struck me about the Villarosa essay, and one of them is quite paradoxical, which is that– so the social constructions arise, right. So the invention of white people and then thereby the invention of black people, and then sort of the historical emergence of ethnicities. Sort of Japanese are different than Koreans, and are different than Chinese, etc. And then whatever the prevailing ideology and sort of knowledge system epistemology at that time then goes about trying to justify these historical or sometimes arbitrary partitions. These human partitions that are socially constructed. But we can’t imagine, we can’t– who we are as social primates can’t settle on the arbitrary nature of our divisions. That’s not enough. There must be a deeper metaphysical justification for why you are different from me. Why I can treat you differently than I treat the people in my tribe. Because otherwise, it just doesn’t add up. Because we want– the impulse to treat people equitably is also a part of our species. And so once science gets on the scene, you begin to see cultures trying to gen up scientific justifications for the largely bullshit social constructions. And so you get these awful medical experiments by the Japanese on the Chinese in Nanjing. You get these awful medical experiments by the Nazis on the Jews. You get these obviously terrible, awful Euro-American experiments on African Americans. And so it’s a manifestation of what in other instances is a noble human impulse, right. We can’t actually deal with the manifest inequality, so we look for ways to justify the inequality. We have to justify it to ourselves and the ways that that lingers in the current medical establishment that Villarosa’s essay specifically draws on. Which is the spirometer, which is this way to measure lung capacity, right. And so in the spirometer, as Villarosa spells out– and I did some reading around this because I was really curious like, “Hasn’t anyone looked at this and studied this?” So let me set it up for– in the spirometer, there’s a question that goes to the algorithm that determines what your lung capacity is around your ethnicity. And the doctor or the person that’s doing the testing is supposed to ascribe an ethnicity before the test is administered, either by “eyeballing it” or by asking the person. So the doctor says–
S. FULLWOOD: 17:15 Why is that even necessary. That’s so weird.
C.T. WEBB: 17:17 So, well, here’s the thing. Okay, let me get to that. Let me get to it. So obviously, originally it was necessary because of these bullshit racialized sciences around, “Black people don’t have the same lung capacity as white people, so they need to be slaves so that they’ll live.” This is actually one of the justifications for slavery which is of course mind blowing.
S. RODNEY: 17:36 Outdoor labor, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 17:37 Yeah. Right, right. Right. So but you ask this question, and then when you put the racial type in, it skews the results so that you get– it skews what’s normal, right. So let’s say in our– I’m giving an arbitrary number. So let’s say the number is 10 for full, healthy lung capacity, and you as a black man scored an 8. It would adjust for that and say, “Oh, actually it’s a 10. Because you’re black, your lung capacity is different,” right. Now that’s an arbitrary number, the spirometer picks out something else. But just for the purposes of illustration, so. But here’s the thing. It’s been studied. So people have studied– there have been studies in United States and in Europe which has much different standards around lung capacities, and it– now, just pause before you want to jump in, because there is a second stage to what I’m about to explain. That there do appear to be differences based on racial type in lung capacity. But here’s the thing, in the studies that have done it that have shown that linkage, they have not controlled for socioeconomic status. So when you do control for socioeconomic status, apparently there was a south African study that did, it disappears. It’s not there. So what is being encoded in this medical device is poverty. That’s what’s being concealed. This spirometer is concealing the history of inequality and poverty by– and of course unbeknownst to the people that are doing it, but it– well, okay. I’m saying the people that are conducting the test, right. So it conceals that the discrepancy isn’t that Seph’s lung capacity is naturally different than my lung capacity. What is conceals is that it is more likely that black Americans live in impoverished conditions which hamper their cardiovascular development over white people in the United States. And so it turns that into a racial category. It essentializes what is a historical product.
S. RODNEY: 20:03 And it also naturalizes–
C.T. WEBB: 20:05 Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Thank you, naturalizes it. Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Yeah, yeah.
S. RODNEY: 20:05 –what are socioeconomic differences. Right, right. Right. Yeah, okay.
C.T. WEBB: 20:11 Yeah, it’s a great– I mean, it’s a great, as in mind blowing essay. Not great as in– obviously this is a terrible thing that– and but I didn’t– and I looked around, there isn’t a great deal of urgency around correcting for this. I guess a number of medical associations essentially advocate for this adjustment in healthy lung capacities. African American’s are like 15% less, and Asian American’s are like 7 or 8 or 6, or something like that. I don’t know. Which, I mean, no one can see my face. I just don’t even– I don’t understand. I don’t understand.
S. FULLWOOD: 21:01 What is the, “I don’t understand?” Because I know what my understand is in, but I want to know for the sake of our listeners.
C.T. WEBB: 21:07 What I don’t understand is this, is I do believe in general in the institutions of science and scientific inquiry. And I do believe that scientists bring their own biases to the table, but that they do their best to lay those biases at the alter of truth. Sort of scientific truth. And something that is so manifestly clearly a social construction, that there has not been more movement within the scientific community, specifically the medical scientific community, to eradicate and eliminate this bias. So I still find it– yeah. I still find it, perhaps naively, but I still find it just– I’m still surprised by it.
S. FULLWOOD: 22:10 But you should be surprised by it because it’s insane. I just want to point that out. People should not be like, “Oh, that’s racism. There you go.” No. No. Absolutely not. We cannot not allow ourselves– the very thing we’re talking about here– so we’re talking about medical apartheid. We’re talking about all these different things. And then we’re also saying that black people distrust doctors, or distrust the institution. And then they’re getting sicker in some cases, right. Because they won’t go to the doctor and they won’t get something checked-out that could have been okay at one point, but that manifests itself. So we should be outraged. We should continuously be outraged. And we can’t be outraged all the time, because it’s just not convenient. But it needs to always be brought out. And I don’t want to be surprised. I mean, for convenience sake, I don’t want to go, like I said, “It’s racism.” But I wanted you to say it out loud why you felt like it was important, because I think that we need to illustrate and kind of relate to each other in better ways around these issues. Because they’re confusing to me. They’re confusing. Why on Earth would this mother fucking device still be in play? Why would these standards be in play?
C.T. WEBB: 23:26 Yeah. Yeah.
S. RODNEY: 23:28 I completely agree with that. I think it’s really important that we all– and by we all I mean not just Travis, Steven and I, but everyone within the sound of my voice. That we all respond with shock when we hear things like this, because they are shocking. I think it’s appropriate for us to feel, “What, how is that still possible?” As opposed to saying, “Oh, yeah, yeah. There you go. Those old racists.” That I never want to get to the point in my life where that’s my response to things. And now, this is kind of a rough analogy, but the poem by William Carlos Williams is coming to mind. I probably talked about this poem with you Travis, but I don’t think that I’ve ever shared this with you Steven. It’s a poem that I really love because it’s a great example of a tight lyrical poem. And it’s the act– and I think it’s like five or six lines. And it begins, “There were the roses in the rain, don’t cut them I pleaded. ‘But they won’t last,’ she said. But they’re so beautiful right where they are. ‘We were all beautiful,’ she said, and cut them and gave them to me in my hand.” And I love that because those are the sort of differing world views we are talking about, right. The person who says with sensitivity, with surprise, here’s this thing that is happening in the world that I did not notice, “Oh my God, what is that? What is that? No, no, no. Just leave it right where– let me contemplate it. Let it be a thing that I can–” in this case it’s something beautiful, or let it be something I can enjoy. And there’s another person who’s like, “It’s not that great. I’ve seen these before.” And will cut them and place that shit in your hand. As if to say, “Here you go, be on your way–“
C.T. WEBB: 25:43 “You’re welcome.”
S. RODNEY: 25:44 Yeah. Yeah. “You’re welcome.” Right. “That’s how the world is honey, so scoot along.” And I don’t want to ever be that old woman. I never want to be that woman.
C.T. WEBB: 25:58 Yeah. I mean, the other part of me– so I get whoever– it’s very difficult to change institutional practices, right. I mean, it takes a tremendous amount of energy and will and focus–
S. RODNEY: 26:15 And will.
C.T. WEBB: 26:16 –to change things that have been in place. You get money, interest in it, and then you get just– you sort of just pure, human stubbornness involved in it.
S. RODNEY: 26:25 Yeah. “Why should we change the way we’ve been doing this for how many every years?”
C.T. WEBB: 26:30 Yeah. Yeah. And I think the thing that I find most, sort of troubling, about that essay and this problem in particular is it makes me sometimes despair at our ability to clean up our historical mess. It makes me like– so we have this podcast, and you and I have– and you and I– I’m sorry, the three of us “you’s” and I have these conversations, and Sarah joins us sometimes, and I talk to my wife, and I come across people and I have these earnest conversations about what I think is a pernicious and bullshit category around how we parse people. And there’s lots of other people like me and you that feel the same way about race and have the same conversations, and have been having these conversations for maybe close to 100 years now? Maybe not quite, but not too far from that. And yet here we are.
S. RODNEY: 27:47 Here we are.
C.T. WEBB: 27:48 This device that is probably in every medical office within 20 miles of where all of us live. Is baked in with an algorithm that parses us by a category that is just made up. It just– fuck. What do you do? What do you do with that? What do you do with that? I don’t–
S. FULLWOOD: 28:17 You stay the course and you continue to spread the gospel about the fucking nonsense that it is. That’s what you do. You take a break, you get something to drink, you make love, but you resolutely remain human in these spaces to tell these kinds of stories. That’s what I think. And like you, I don’t want to– and I hate that I interrupted you because I wanted to keep that sensitive space wide, and I didn’t want to cut that off, but it was– I just want that urgency. My intent is, as a human, feels like there’s always something to be done and something to rectify. And there’s something to make beautiful and something to recognize as beautiful. And there’s spaces to make. And the busy hands of someone who’s worried about, like you, “How do you change these things? Change is so slow, it needs to happen.” It’s like the Nina Simone song. It’s like Mississippi Goddamn. It’s like, “How much time do you need to change?” But if people have these things in their offices– early on I gave you the side eye when you was like, “These people don’t know.” And I’m thinking, “I don’t know after a while how much we can say folks are innocent.” Not everybody of course. But I’m just thinking about, “Somebody fucking read a journal. Somebody read this shit doesn’t work. Why in the fuck is this still happening?” And so I understand the complicity. I don’t know if the word’s [inaudible], but complicity in not knowing. And then the other people feel like, “This is,” like you said, “it’s just a part of things. It’s just what we do.” It’s like, “Okay, heliocentric.” Where the world doesn’t revolve around the– I mean, the universe doesn’t revolve around us, we revolve around the sun. And people were killed for that kind of thing. Just saying, whatever. I just feel like a cause for celebration is to keep your eyes open and your heart open, right. And that’s what drove me to interrupt you, and I apologize for that Travis. But it’s just what we need.
C.T. WEBB: 30:13 No, no, no. [inaudible].
S. RODNEY: 30:16 So I have a question for both of you. In looking this up– rather, reading these pieces and preparing myself to talk about this today, I read about the J. Marion Sims statute that was removed recently from Central–
C.T. WEBB: 30:34 From Central Park, yeah.
S. RODNEY: 30:35 From Central Park in Harlem and moved to Green-Wood Cemetery. And we talked last episode about how it’s really important to engage in kind of reflection that is not nostalgic. That doesn’t white-wash history, but just really embeds our self into the nitty-gritty of it. The Muck and they Myer of history. Do you think ultimately that removing the statue to Green-Wood Cemetery is a way for us to do that kind of gritty reflection? Or does it shade toward the nostalgia? Because we’re not melting it down, we’re not destroying the stature. We’re just moving it from its place of prominence. How do you think that that– how do you think that that– where do you think that that ends up being?
C.T. WEBB: 31:30 So for me, I’ve actually thought about not that particular statue, but I’ve thought about– obviously, because removing statues is very much in the historical ether right now. We move a lot of them, or there’s a lot of protests around them. I feel like engaging with the act of removing a statue and the debate around it and all the rest of it, I feel like that is productive. And I feel like that’s healthy, and I feel like that has the potential to elevate people’s historical consciousness about how we got to where we are. I am more undecided on the actual efficacy of the thing being moved. I just don’t know– I don’t know what kind of effect statues and things like that have on people that pass them by. It’s just an open space for me. I don’t know what I think about it either way.
S. FULLWOOD: 32:24 Well, yeah. Like you Travis, I don’t know how– so I think what I’ve read and what I’ve thought about when people are removing confederate statues and this sort of thing, you remove the thing and the thing becomes the actual things that’s not removed. So it’s symbolic in a way. The symbolic-ness of moving something doesn’t do it for me. Like you, if there’s engagement around it, a public discussion, some kind of thing that just not moving something somewhere else, no. There’s something about that that feels–
C.T. WEBB: 33:05 Half-assed?
S. FULLWOOD: 33:06 Half-assed, but also full-assed for an American kind of consciousness.
C.T. WEBB: 33:14 Yeah. Yeah.
S. RODNEY: 33:13 Right. Right. Right. And just for our listeners benefit, J. Marion Sims was called the father of modern gynecology. The reason that the statue was removed, ultimately, that lots of people were staging protests because in the course of becoming the doctor that he was eventually known to be, he had experimented on black women. I think black women who were enslaved. And had done so without anesthesia. So basically had compromised these women’s health and safety and put them under tremendous pain in the name of–
C.T. WEBB: 34:05 Scientific inquiry.
S. RODNEY: 34:06 Forwarding medical knowledge. In his own stature. So that’s why the statue was removed. And yeah, it’s hard. Part of me thinks that the best solution actually would have been to cut the head off, and leave the statue there. And then add a plaque. Yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 34:28 Yeah. I mean, we’re coming up on time. But I mean, I wanted to say, around that in, is it– oh geese, the–
S. RODNEY: 34:38 Is it Port-au-Prince Haiti? Yeah. They cut the head off Josephine.
C.T. WEBB: 34:41 So I wasn’t actually going to mention that one. The concentration camp that was just outside of Berlin–
S. RODNEY: 34:50 It’s in Martinique. Sorry. Yeah, go ahead.
C.T. WEBB: 34:52 The Holocaust nihilists, Neo-Nazis, burned one of the barracks in the camp reconstruction. And the German government left if burned as a reminder that those forces are not gone. So something symbolic like sort of cutting off– I mean, these kind of things can have really powerful– symbolic gestures are not without power and value is all I’m saying, so.
S. RODNEY: 35:22 Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. And if you left that figure headless, that, I think, would resonate with lots of folks.
C.T. WEBB: 35:32 Yeah, yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yes it would, yeah. So alright my friends, another great conversation. At least for me. And I–
S. FULLWOOD: 35:44 But not for me, I was tired. You guys are just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. [inaudible].
S. RODNEY: 35:50 Goddamn.
C.T. WEBB: 35:52 That’s so funny that you– I appreciate that. I actually meant that it was a pleasure to speak to both of you, so. And I’ll talk to you guys next week. [music]
S. RODNEY: 36:04 Okay, take care.
C.T. WEBB: 36:05 Bye.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ text_font=”||||||||” header_font=”Cormorant Garamond|600|||||||” header_text_align=”center” header_text_color=”#000000″ header_font_size=”40px” header_font_size_phone=”35px” header_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” border_width_top=”1px” border_color_top=”#000033″ border_width_bottom=”1px” border_color_bottom=”#000033″ max_width=”40%” module_alignment=”center” custom_padding=”8px||”]

References

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row disabled_on=”off|off|off” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ locked=”off”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ max_width=”50%” module_alignment=”center” link_option_url=”https://www.amazon.com/James-Baldwin/e/B000APVA9U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1549293361&sr=8-1-spons” locked=”off”]

**No references for Podcast 0095**

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”27px|0px|27px|0px|false|false” disabled_on=”on|on|on” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ locked=”off” disabled=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Date” _builder_version=”3.19.15″ text_font=”|700||on|||||” text_text_color=”#8b96a1″ text_letter_spacing=”1px” max_width=”50%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”||10px|” animation_direction=”left” locked=”off”]

First referenced at 11:55

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.15″ max_width=”50%” module_alignment=”center” link_option_url=”https://www.amazon.com/James-Baldwin/e/B000APVA9U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1549293361&sr=8-1-spons” locked=”off”]Toni Morrison

“Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of several novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), and Love. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize. She is the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University.” Amazon[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.15″][et_pb_divider divider_style=”outset” divider_position=”center” divider_weight=”2px” _builder_version=”3.19.15″][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This