What: Remembering Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey: The Mothers of Modern Gynecology by Kevin Lessmiller
From: NPR – Hidden Brain Podcast
The Hidden Brain podcast has been a fascinating segment on NPR. Each story has been intruguing and thought provockind, and last week’s offering did not disappoint.
There are three statues in the United States honoring Dr. James Marion Sims, a 19th-century physician dubbed the father of modern gynecology. Invisible in his shadow are the enslaved women whom he experimented on. Today, they are unknown and unnamed except for three: Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey. This week, we talk with historian Vanessa Gamble and poet Bettina Judd as we grapple with the troubling history of medical experimentation on African Americans.
I have to give fair warning, that is is a frightening listen. It focuses on Dr. James Marion Sims, a man considered as the father of gynecology. But, it it is not the happy go-lucky biography you would expect. Dr. Sims’ major findings are based on experiments he conducted on slaves.
This story is an excellent example of narrative voices in history. In the mainstream history and medical books Sims is lauded as a medical hero, but the voices of the women he experimented on have gone mostly unheard.
Listen to the full story below or check out the story on NPR here:
What: Banned Books Week 2016 Theme, Diversity by Dianna Dilworth
This week it was announced that the theme for Banned Books Week” will be DIVERSITY. Banned Books Week is held every year and encourages readers to fight against censorship by reading books that have been banned.
According to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, more than half of all banned books are by authors of color or reflect issues of diversity. This year’s Banned Books Week global event will celebrate banned literature and will also deal with why diverse books are disproportionately challenged.
“It’s alarming to see so many diverse voices facing censorship,” stated Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition. “2016’s Banned Books Week is an important moment for communities to join together in affirming the value of diverse ideas and multiple viewpoints. By shining a light on how these ideas are censored, we hope to encourage opportunities to create engagement and understanding within our communities, and to emphasize the fundamental importance of the freedom to read.”
This year the week is from September 25 through October 1st 2016. The LA Times wrote a more extensive piece on the event. You can read that article here.
What: Chiwetel Ejiofor on diversity: It’s good for society, good for films and good for business, too by Bob Strauss
The #OscarsSoWhite conversation is happening. It just is. And it needs to be an active conversation.. Movies are being whitewashed and the few films that are being released featuring diverse characters are being ignored from an awards stand point.
People can argue that movies like Furious 7 have proven diversely cast movies can be a commercial success – because duh. But there is something to be said about the awarding bodies/guilds recognizing that films with diverse casts should be awarded. This isn’t an instance of these movies being poorly acted, edited or directed. Many of these films that have been given huge critical acclaim have been ignored.
The Daily News published an interview with actor Chiwetel Ejiofor this week, and Ejiofor articulates the issue perfectly:
“It’s really important to carry on a really strong narrative about diversity, and how we can continue to better the societies we live in,” says the British actor, whose new release features a variety of African-American, Anglo, Asian, Latino and Russian-Jewish characters. “It’s good for our industry, it’s good for media, it’s good for the society itself if we all have a very deep and complex understanding of each other.
“I don’t think there really is another opinion,” adds Ejiofor, who appeared in “The Martian,” “Secret in Their Eyes” and “Z for Zachariah” last year and will play the villainous Baron Mordo in Marvel’s upcoming “Doctor Strange” movie. “I haven’t heard the opinion that is, like, ‘Oh, no, less diversity is really important.’ There’s no intellectual position that comes out of that that is, like, of the other persuasion. I’ve not heard a single person talk about that. So yeah, I think we all agree.
“Diversity is massively important, it makes for better films. I, as anybody else, have loved cinema all of my life. Yes, I also am aware that in the context of that, the majority of the stories have been from the perspective of white men. That’s complicated, ultimately, because there’s only so much of that information you can receive before you hunger to see a movie like ‘Carol,’ to understand the world from maybe somebody else’s perspective. If you can see something from ‘North By Northwest’ to ‘Back to the Future’ and understand the white male perspective in all of its categories, great! But I do hunger for a different understanding of cinema, of different people’s perspectives, different people’s writing, diversity in the issues of the language of cinema that we all embrace.
You can read the full interview here.
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”