I read the article “The Civil War Doctor Who Proved Phantom Limb Pain Was Real” by Alicia Puglionesi. It was really interesting to me, because my major and career is in healthcare. Apparently, it was safer to just perform limb amputations, so there were a lot of veterans with amputated limbs (the article says three minutes!!) before and after the Civil War. The article follows Dr. Mitchell, who sought to treat veterans for phantom limb pain and the struggles he faced in trying to do so, especially since doctors at the time believed what they had physical evidence of, and nerve pain is not something so easily ‘seen’. I though this article was very interesting, and it seemed to tie in well with what we’re learning about now. Also, I was wondering if Louisa May Alcott who wrote about phantom limb pain was related to the Alcott in the novel we are reading for class. Both rely heavily on religion it seems, so I’d be interested to know!
I have to rant about this a little bit, mostly because I am going into the (and currently am in) the healthcare field. The reading, for those who did it, details illnesses that are unique to negros, which includes the want/need to run away. I think this is ridiculous, and it just goes to show how FAR people were willing to go to justify that what they were doing was good and right. Cognitive dissonance is the psychology term used to describe anything that we find unpleasant. Say you don’t like broccoli. But you have to eat it every day. Eventually, because you are so upset about having to eat broccoli your brain will tell you hey, actually, you love broccoli! I think the same applies to slavery. There is NO WAY that people really, truly believed they were being humane. I think that they knew it was wrong, but were selfish, and the dissonance led them to believe anything that might possibly make what they were doing ok in their minds. Not that that’s any excuse, but to think that wanting to run away from slavery was an illness is absurd!
This is going to be extremely opinionated, so please beware. Never have I ever been so irritated that I had to put a book down and stop reading. The amount of loathing that I have for the state of Georgia is unreal. I would say that I can’t believe that the human race could conceive such bigotry and idiocy but that would be a lie. The treatment of the Native Americans in the early 1800’s defied common sense. I have no idea where the idea that Europeans were ‘civilized’ came from, but I have high suspicions that the attitude had something to do with the fact that Europe was compromised of primarily monarchies. Such self-important attitudes and feelings of superiority are to me, horrible, and probably American citizen’s way of trying to mirror the importance of monarchy after escaping it. Georgians acted like children: spoiled children. And they were never punished for it. Every sentence I read in this book I just go more and more insane. We criticize our government now, but look what it was doing in the 1800’s! The novel even mentions that THE MAJORITY of Americans did not support removal (even if their reasons were skewed). Why is it that the government can proceed with things that the people don’t want? How is that a democracy? It drives me crazy (then, and now!) that the majority is not represented at all within our government.
Several states have adopted ‘Indigenous People’s Day’ in place of Columbus Day in an attempt to celebrate Native American contributions over the violent atrocities of Columbus, according to the article I read. I think this is a great idea, as far as school needing to teach more about Native American peoples, but I don’t think that it has to overshadow Columbus Day. Why not both?
Yes, it is common knowledge that Columbus and his colonists committed atrocities against the Native Americans, but that IS our past. Of course it’s not something to celebrate, but it is our founding. Why can’t we recognize our violent past and pay homage to the native peoples at the same time? I don’t think that attempts to hide our vicious past and honor the victims does much except help us forget the things that we as a nation are ashamed of. It’s important to remember where we’ve come from, and how we’ve changed. On that note, I do believe that indigenous people should be a larger part of American history curriculum, just as I believe that Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day could be one in the same.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the tearing down of confederate statues. While my ideas on the issues have changed a bit, what is happening now I find completely unacceptable and disrespectful. Apparently, activists are now raiding cemeteries and defacing statues on graves of confederate soldiers. I find this appalling, disrespectful to the families of these soldiers and the soldiers themselves. I don’t think that this is acceptable in any fashion, but a thought occurred to me that stumped me. At what point does a grave stop being a grave or historical landmark and begin to be acceptable for archaeologists the like to explore? What makes it okay to remove grave goods and put them into museums? I don’t think that violence is the answer by any means, and I do think that what the activists are doing now is going too far, but they aren’t doing any more or less than humans have been doing for centuries.
I was really excited to find this article: “Want To Eat Like A Colonist? Ask This Virginia Chef”. I am a huge foodie, so it was awesome to find out what kinds of things colonists ate. Apparently bread and stew were the primary staples of a colonist’s diet. More interesting than what the colonists ate, though, it the fact that a period style bakery does exist in Virginia. Having been to Williamsburg on a field trip as a child, I’m pretty bummed out that I missed out on that experience. I can now, however, sit back happily at home with a beer and know that the colonists and I shared something in common. I really recommend reading this article to all my classmates, because it was so cool! I know one thing is for sure… if I were a colonist, I’d starve! The equipment they had to work with sounds miserable to operate, and I’m pretty hard-pressed to make that long journey between my freezer and microwave as is.
A recurring theme that I see in media about slavery (and rightfully so), is the separation of family and loved ones. Having read Frederick Douglass’s narrative, it was interesting to compare to the movie Django. Douglass mentions that slave families were separated basically at birth, probably to avoid attachments, but also tells how his mother would walk miles after performing hard labor just to lay down with him for a short while before he would fall asleep. The common theme that I keep seeing is love, and the bonds that tie people together. In Django, the main character (for whom the movie is named) is also looking for his loved one: his wife.
Django and his wife, both slaves, are heart-wrenchingly separated, something that seemed to happen far too often during this time. Frederick Douglass also mentioned that slaves who got into trouble were sent ‘South’. By the end of the movie, Django has reunited with his wife, though he was unable to run away with her discreetly like he’d hoped, and is instead thwarted by the perceptive plantation owner. To me, it was interesting to see a mainstream film mirror something like Frederick Douglass’s narrative in certain aspects, and it really solidified the atrocity of slavery, especially in separating families and loved ones.