'Something the Lord Made'

On Friday, a local peace organization hosted a screening of Something the Lord Made, the story of Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), his experience working in the field of experimental surgery, and his pioneering work in cardiac surgery.

The movie shows Thomas's experiences as the target of White-supremacist capitalist patriarchy while he is working under Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman), first at Vanderbilt University and later at Johns Hopkins University. While not an explicit part of the film, the oppression Thomas experiences is linked with that of the dogs who Thomas and Blalock use in their research.

Health as Wealth

On July 19, Breeze Harper, founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on connecting our diet to social justice in a talk titled, "Race, Class, Food and You!" [based on her book chapter "Decolonizing the Diet: A bell hooks approach to Nutritional Liberation for 'At Risk' Youths".]

The challenge, Harper noted, is that "America's concept of wealth and success is monetary and material based, and not rooted in the wealth of a healthy mind, body and soul." And while many people are concerned with healthy eating, Harper explained that the consequences of unhealthy eating habits for middle- and upper-income white youth "are far less life threatening than that of low-income Black and Latino boys who collectively practice junk food consumption and are already 'at risk' in achieving a healthier life." (Read more...)

Amusing Oppression?

I came across this disturbing video today called "Spiders On Drugs." It was posted on a blog under the heading "Laughing at Spiders."

My initial reaction was horror at what I thought was perhaps an actual video involving drug experiments on spiders. How could someone think giving drugs to spiders is funny? On more than one occasion I've sat in awe quietly watching spiders just like these build their beautiful webs.

Then I caught on that it wasn't a real experiment. But it made no difference to me that it was actually a "joke." In fact, that someone had intentionally set out to make vivisection into a joke is just as bad.

As the video went on it became offensive on a whole new level. Not only was the video speciesist and anti-nonhuman animals, but it took on wholly racist overtones. (Read more...)