Friday, March 28, 2008
Thing is, I want to "do" something with them--I don't want to eat them plain. There's about a pint and, while I know how to make from-scratch strawberry shortcake, I don't want that (I'd need to buy more strawberries anyway).
Thursday, March 27, 2008
They also liked discussing student movements in the 60s--no surprise there--especially SNCC and the SSOC. They had a big debate over SNCC's politics--particularly the expulsion of white members and the conflict between men and women. One of my students asked if I thought Stokely Carmichael's positions on the role of women and white involvement in the movement led to SNCC's demise.
So, in the last few weeks, I've finally gotten the participation I longed for.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
A review of cancer screening studies shows that white women who are obese are less likely than healthy weight women to get the recommended screenings for breast and cervical cancer, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health.Let's, for a moment, ignore the disappearing of women who are not black or white and the curious "healthy weight women" remark, shall we? Within this study, women who are labeled obese are less likely to get pap smears and mammograms. When asked why, Sarah S. Cohen, lead author of the article, replied, "Our review doesn’t tell us why larger women are not getting screened as frequently for these cancers. It only reveals the trend."
The trend was not seen as consistently among black women; however there were fewer high quality studies that examined black women separately.
I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions. Maybe it's because doctors make us feel similar to the little things that crawl out when you turn a rock over? (Until you get the stern "Shame on you, fat girl, you might die tomorrow!" lecture, you haven't experienced a doctor's visit!). Maybe because we're taught to hate our bodies and the idea of getting naked in front of anyone is terrifying? Maybe, deep down, given the fact that we're taught fat is bad from, oh, say, the womb, we might believe being ill is our just due for being fat?
Zan says what so many of us feel here:
I hate seeing new doctors. There's always the hesitation, the worry -- is this doctor going to take me seriously? Is she going to believe me when I describe my symptoms? Or is she going to dismiss it all because I'm a fat girl? Is she going to try to sell me on weight loss as the cure-all for my ailments -- which she doesn't even believe exist anyway.And a couple of years ago, I talked about my experiences:
I went to doctors for four years before I was initially diagnosed with Fibromylgia, then with Lupus. They all told me, to the man (and funnily enough, they were all men), that I was just stressed and overweight. If I learned how to relax and lost some weight, why all my pain would just disappear!
And so, I have a great fear of being dismissed and reduced to my weight when I see a new doctor.
My PCP in my late 20s was a brusque woman who was absolutely appalled by my "choice" to be fat. I went to her for over a year, feeling that I deserved her insults, hoping they would spur me to do something. Some of the most memorable:So many times, for me, going to the doctor has been like getting every negative message ever aimed at me for being fat condensed (and sharpened) into a 15-minute block. It's overwhelming, shaming, draining.
(When having me stand and stretch) "Stand with your feet together. Well, as close as you can get them."
(When I went to her crying with back pain) "You should really consider getting your breast size reduced. If you lose weight. As far as the pain, I'm not going to treat the symptoms if you won't remedy the underlying cause."
(During a routine check-up) "Your knees and back are going to be gone in a decade.
(During a painful Pap smear) "I'm sorry, but I have to press harder and really search for (whatever the hell she was looking for) in a woman your size.
Only after talking to some friends, who looked at me as if I was crazy when I talked about my experiences, did I realize I didn't have to take that treatment, that maybe every complaint I had was not an outgrowth of my being big. I mean, I went to the ER after the back fiasco and found out I had pulled a muscle and I'd never had a painful Pap before. I could be hurt or sick in a way unrelated to my size. That was amazing.
The latest incident involved an ER visit with a seemingly nice doctor who apparently decided I was a moron:
"What's bothering you?"
"Abdomen and lower back hurt badly. Really bad nausea. My doctor can't see me til Wednesday."
"Does it hurt when press here? Here? Can you jump? Does that hurt? Can you bend? Does that hurt? Has it gotten any better? Are you sure it's your abdomen and back? Do you think you could be pregnant?"
I answered each question patiently. Then he asks:"Have you eaten?"
"Because of the nausea."
"What about it?"
"If I eat, I'll throw up. If I throw up, I can't stop."
"Oh. Well, are you hungry?"
"Okay. Would you like someone to bring you something to eat?"
"Fine. Are you sure you're not just hungry? Have you eaten anything?"
Five minutes of this until he decides that, despite the fact that I'm fat, maybe, just maybe, I'm not currently interested in food. Eventual diagnosis: bladder infection.
And it's why I hate going to the doctor's.
Friday, March 21, 2008
And just in time for Easter, here are her bunny slippers.
And no you may not have any kisses cuz this auntie steals all her sugar!
*Dang, dates on digital cameras don't automatically set themselves, huh?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
And I want to say, stop fronting.
once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and... on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.Stop that. He did not throw her under a damned bus. He did not disown her or say he doesn't love her. He refused to uphold her wrong.
And for all the people alleging that Obama must be racist because of Rev. Wright's comments and Michelle Obama's remark about only being recently proud of this country... Stop fronting. Please stop acting like you have no idea why some African Americans might be a bit critical of this country, why the rose-colored glasses don't quite fit many of us. And I won't discuss how being patriotic might not mean hiding behind blind, "my country is the greatest thing evar" nationalism, but actually wanting the people of your country to strive to be better, to be fair and just. When your country veers off that track, then some analysis and criticism might be in order. Not necessarily like Rev. Wright's...
And oh my God, the sheer hypocrisy of some conservatives trying to exploit "racial gaffes?" Many of whom are part of a party that pretends their southern strategy, anti-immigrant stance, and use of "code words" have nothing to do with race?
I rode with African Americans, walked down the street past midnight in an area that wasn't near safe, with African Americans walking beside me and behind me. I'm a whitey white Scots-Irish broad and I was never afraid of an African American coming towards me, and never once crossed the streetwith
Can you imagine if Hillary Clinton said someone was a "typical black person?"sort of defeats your purpose. (Please see above).
I am still stuck in the college life. Granted, I won't sleep well into tomorrow afternoon (I wake my son up at 6:15), but I definitely am a night person. I developed that habit as an undergraduate and haven't shaken it. It fits, in a way, with my life-as-a-mama--I usually don't even attempt to work in the evenings until The Kid is in bed.
I still do my best writing in or around my bed (I preferred my bed to my desk in my dorm) and I'm still a horrible procrastinator. And I teach and hold most office hours on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, so it really is reminiscent of yesteryear.
It's not that this is at all a big deal necessarily, but it does create a gulf between my friends and me. Our lives are out of balance. We schedule time together on the weekends, true, but I really prefer spending Friday nights lazing around and Saturdays doing some sort of work. On the other hand, if I have late-night cravings in the middle of the week, I can't call them to go to a neighboring town to get something to eat like I used to. Combine that with the fact that I was "in school" for years and years and I don't feel "grown up" in the same way that they are.
One example, living in a small town means that everyone knows when and where I work. You would not believe how many times I've heard, "Oh you work two days a week? I need that job!" My explanations about working from home and prepping for class and (finally) beginning revisions are ignored. The implication is that I don't have a "real" job--even my mom comes in on Mondays and Wednesdays and makes little comments if I haven't cleaned the house or done some task she thinks I should have time to do. When she asks, "What did you do today?" my skin crawls.
I knew my life was going to be different from most of my friends' and relatives'. And while these are only minor observations, I'm starting to realize how much.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A Georgia father [Eddie Harrington] who allegedly kidnapped his three children earlier this month has killed himself and the toddlers, authorities confirmed to ABC News.Please keep their mother, Agena Battle, in your thoughts and prayers. I can't even imagine her suffering.
The bodies were found in a rural industrial park area outside Columbus, Ga., where the family lived.
Here is my sister's reaction to the engaging, informative, riveting presentation.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Everyone in her family looks well-dressed and well-behaved.Well-behaved? I'm thinking about that one in so many senses:
1) So nice clothes are indicative of conformity to approved standards of behavior?
2) Does the caption-writer think they were trained, like dogs, in appropriate behavior?
3) Does the well-behavedness of white people get commented upon?
4) Damn, do we really act out that much that we have to be patted on our heads when we appear "well-behaved?"
The second line of the caption?
Michelle is a great mother, even while working to get a president elected.Reinforcing for us, once again, that being a great mother is typically incompatible with any other type of work. Competent and efficient working mothers? That's an anomaly, apparently.
It (almost) boggles the mind.
*Actually, it looks like this image from another angle.
For example this southern/labor historian's heart jumped when she read Dr. King's analysis of the wages of whiteness:
The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it.And an encapsulated critique of the U.S. as warmonger:
And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."
God didn't call America to do what she's doing in the world now. God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation.And a wonderful sentiment , one that I think shapes the spirituality of people like my mom and Quaker Dave, one that I'm working and struggling to live by:
And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. Recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.... (I)t means that everybody can be great.... You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.
"A Garage Chalky Aunt," it replied, creating a nifty anagram of my real name!
My son and my nephew have decided they want to blog. And as I want to encourage any writing from them, I've begun the set-up process.
They also want myspace pages, but I'm a bit wary of that (they're nine and seven).
And, Lord, they get on the computer and google things!! They actually use that phrase.
You know, people tell you all the time that you'll look back and wonder where the time has gone. I really, really do.
Monday, March 17, 2008
When I was a sophomore in high school, I visited the Alamo. I fell, hook, line, and sinker, for the romanticized, heroic version of the story that was presented to me. I mean, I cried y'all!! And I was totally enthralled with the history of the place, could imagine the siege, and (what I believed to be) the mixed feelings of hopelessness and determination.
Then, my junior year, I went off to the Louisiana School, and got a somewhat more nuanced picture of the Alamo. "Sucker!" I called myself for accepting "one side" blindly. I promised to be more sophisticated and skeptical in the future.
Our history trip that year was a "civil rights" tour of the South. We traveled to Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to see some historic sites. My best friend and I had whipped ourselves into a frenzy thinking about going through Mississippi. I know someone from Louisiana probably shouldn't be casting stones, but even here, we are taught the idea that Mississippi is a world apart, unlike anywhere else when it comes to race relations and the determination to preserve white supremacy. Would we have to stay overnight in Mississippi? we wanted to know. Because, if so, our parents were so going to nix that trip.
We didn't spend the night in Mississippi. And we went to Montgomery and Atlanta, and I loved it. It was the sort of experience that affirmed for me that we, black people, had a history, stories and lives and triumphs, an existence.
An aside: You know the kind of history many of us get? We didn't exist until 1619. Then we were enslaved and there was a beneficent Emancipator and a white people's war that saved us! For about a century, we didn't do much and then there was the Civil Rights Movement which two or three Important. Black. People. led. And then we sort of faded from history again--except for the idea of the monolithic black community that is a hotbed of social ills and the cause of many of "teh problems." If you ever wonder why a people internalize racism, try living with that model.
So, a year later, armed with my new skepticism and the developing connection that I felt with black people across time and space (nurtured by the fact that I began to read "black history" books like crazy after that 11th grade trip), I went on my senior class history trip to Vicksburg. And there, I got the story of the 1863 siege that "tragically" ended on the Fourth of July. Our tour guide played on our sympathies by talking about how the (white) people of Vicksburg took to living in caves and eating rats and such and how the Fourth of July wouldn't be celebrated there until World War II because of the memory of defeat.
And I remember mumbling to my black classmates, who were falling under her spell much as I had done in San Antonio, "So? Do you know what slaves had to eat? And not celebrating the Fourth was just stupid."
I was proud. I was smug. I was rescuing them from the pitfalls of one-sidedness. I genuinely felt no sympathy.
Years later, I realized that that was simply the opposite extreme from my Alamo-reaction. And I don't believe it was quite right, either. To this day, I don't really have any sympathy, but I feel like I should.
I think those trips--learning about the grassroots movements of the civil rights era, about the plight of civilians in Vicksburg--sparked within me an interest in the history of "regular" people and definitely an interest in social history.
More importantly, they taught me that history wasn't about static facts and dates. Some of my students love to say, "History doesn't change." Yes, it does, I say, because interpretations, foci, points of view, do.
Now, if I could just convince disinterested 18 and 19 year olds of that...
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The salad I ate for dinner is in the middle of my chest. Neither the prescription (Prevacid) nor the OTC (Tums) is working.
I suppose I shall just retire for this night. And yes I know I won't sleep well, even with my head elevated, as long as that damned lettuce et. al, won't move.
*Okay, other stuff will work, but I have to take, like, four or five and my "godmother," the nurse, is convinced that I'm going to destroy my liver.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I live in an area of the South that was largely biracial--(non-Hispanic) black and white--and racially stratified for most of the 20th century. But, in the early 21st century, things, at least on the surface, are changing. The geographic boundaries that separated the "black" and "white" sections of town are increasingly disregarded. Poultry processing plants and timber industries have attracted a number of Latino residents to the area. And we have our first black mayor.
There is the problem of white flight--there are fewer than ten white students at the local school, though the town is still about one-third white. Still, it's changed significantly since I was growing up here.
Yesterday, my younger cousin was at our house visiting my son and nephew. At some point, he was ready to go so that he could play basketball at the gym of First Baptist Church. I was a bit surprised as First Baptist is a "white" church. The only church with a predominantly white congregation in my town that routinely reaches out to the whole community* is Pisgah Baptist. My son and nephew asked to go and my dad said no. When they walked out the door, he told me the reason he said no was, "I don't see how they can justify letting the black kids have just one night."
"What?" I asked. He repeated it. I asked for more details and he explained. The gym is open five nights a week. White children can go two nights, Latino children can go two nights, and black children get Thursday night.
"What?" I mean, that's all I could say. "Is that what people do or did the church people say that?" I asked my dad. Again, he repeated the breakdown. "No, Daddy. Did they say that?"
And my dad, who's a deacon at my church, finally confirmed that, yes, they said that. They extended the invitation to our church officers that way. And our pastor politely declined.
I'm still saying "what?" What makes the people at First Baptist think this is okay? Because I really believe they think they're being generous. What makes them think our kids can't play together? And why, as I've told this story over and over to (black) people in the last 24 hours, has the response still been, "Why do our kids get only one night?"
Apparently, we've become so accustomed to the division that it's like second nature.
*Which is not to imply that the black churches here do conduct community-wide outreach programs. The churches, at least, have changed little.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
WHEREAS, all citizens of _________ Parish and Louisiana should study the War between the States, as we study all wars, so that we may understand the events which led to the war and... continue to learn from the past and live together peaceably and avoid future conflicts...Now, it would seem to me that if we were going to understand the "events which led to the war," looking at more than one side would be helpful. Maybe a Civil War History Month? (I can't believe they said the War between the States!!!)
THEREFORE, we, the Police Jury of _________ Parish, do hereby proclaim April 2008 as:
CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH
The proclamation..., well, proclaims "that we can all learn from the lessons of history and thereby be in better positions to preserve these ideals for posterity."
What ideals??? I swear, the first thing that popped in my mind is that this was a statement, a la Trent Lott on Strom Thurmond.
Now, I haven't made up my mind exactly what I'm going to do celebrate Confederate History Month, seeing as how I'm a historian and all, but I have some ideas.
Despite my perturbed-ness, my dad suggests it might be a good idea. What people can learn from Confederate History Month, he says, "Is the stuff we won't stand for anymore."
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Eddie Harrington sent a letter to his father telling him that he intends to kill the children. It is urgent that these kids are found NOW. The most likely way that will happen is someone driving, someone working at a gas station, or restaurant, or hotel/motel will recognize the description of the car and look in and see Harrington and the children and call 911. That is why it is so imperative that this information be spread far and wide to give the most people possible the chance to recognize what is going on and get help for these children immediately. I am asking anyone who reads this to post about these missing kids on their blogs including the description of the car. Please DO IT! These are just little babies and they need our help to be found and returned unharmed to their mother.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
elle and snow...
You might be surprised. Does snow insulate or something? Cuz I swear it didn't feel all that cold after it snowed--not nearly as cold as it had been before.
Today, I actually have some news, though. I have two job offers. And though I know I am fortunate to be in this position, my stomach is in knots at the thought of making the "wrong" choice. I've thought about it, listed pros and cons, consulted ex-committee members, and even prayed.
And I just don't know. Similar offers, I'd be back out of Louisiana (and I am ready to go).
In even better news, spring break is next week. And I NEED it!
Monday, March 10, 2008
23-month-old twins Agena and Aliyah Battle, and 3-year-old Sedrick Harrington have been reported missing from Columbus, Georgia since March 5, 2008 . Their suspected kidnapper is their father, 28-year-old Eddie Harrington:
According to the mother, Eddie Harrington, her fiancée and the father of her children, may have taken the children because he thought that it would make her happy. At the time he left, Eddie was probably depressed and was not taking his medication. There is a picture of Eddie on the NCMEC with braids but it’s not the most accurate. Eddie is bald and wears glasses. Eddie is also described as a 28 year old black male, standing at 5 feet 9 inches and weighting 195 pounds.
Sedrick Harrington, one of the missing children, is three years old and has a birthmark on his right arm. Her mother told me that he has a speech problem but is a very bright and imaginative little boy. She said that when he was bored, he would grab a book, look at the pictures and make his own story out of it. Agena and Aliyah Battle, the 1 year old twins who always fight with each other but cannot go to bed without each other, do not have any known birthmarks but they do respond to their names.
When Eddie left, he was driving a dark green 2002 Chevrolet Impala with a cracked windshield and an Indiana license plate with the number 93-L4740.
Authorities are still trying to track down their whereabouts. The group of four hasn’t been discovered for five days. The mother has issued another plea today for people to keep looking out for Harrington and the three children.“Agena and Aliyah has on a pink shirt with white sleeves and pink plaid pants. One of the girls has on all white K-Swiss sneakers and the other has on pink, white, purple, Nike sneakers.
“Eddie has on a black T-shirt with black pants and brown and white sneakers; he also is wearing his glasses.
“I’m not sure what Sedrick has on, but I do know he has on his Spider-Man play sneakers. Sedrick also has a greenish color to his right arm from birth.
“Please air this stating that they are still missing. I have not eaten or slept well since they’ve been gone. I need them home. I am crying for your help. I have tried to do my daily routine but I cannot function well with out them.”
The police are requesting help and tips.Authorities issued an AMBER Alert. They believe [Eddie Harrington] could be headed right for Kentuckiana.“We’ve done a follow up investigation and determined he has contacts in Tennessee, Florida and of course, he is from Indianapolis, Indiana,” says Lt. Mark Starling with the Columbus, Georgia Police Department.Harrington has Indiana license plates, number 93-L4740 on his 2002 dark green Chevy Impala. It also has a cracked windshield.“If the vehicle passes, you grab the cell phone. Call 911. Let us know. Alert us to it. That way we can respond with units on the interstate or on county roads. Wherever the vehicle was seen and try and get it stopped,” says ISP Trooper Phil D’Angelo of the Sellersburg post.
If you see a dark green 2002 Chevrolet Impala with a cracked windshield and an Indiana license plate with the number 93-L4740, please call the Columbus, GA Police Department at 706-653-3400. Any tips on this case are appreciated.