23 July 2008


notes from call to hotline: pt also mentioned that some people around her (specifically, an older 'spanish' woman), suggested she take a lot of aspirin + boil beer to induce her abortion.

14 July 2008

monday morning depressing cases

clinic writes: patient has had 12 live births but only 4 children now living; husband is incarcerated.

clinic writes: patient's teen daughter is pregnant and she is divorcing her husband, will help her daughter raise the baby, cannot afford her own pregnancy due to becoming divorced soon.

7/15 RA called to check on appointment process, found out that pt is going to "keep the baby. We couldn't afford [the procedure], so we feel it's god's doing."


03 July 2008

more snips

But it is seeming to me that race (together with racism and race privilege) is apparently constructed as something inescapable. And it makes sense that it would be, since such a construction would best serve those served by race and racism. Of course race and racism are impossible to escape; of course a white person is always in a sticky web of privilege that permits only acts which reinforce ("reinscribe") racism. This just means that some exit must be forced. That will require conceptual creativity, and perhaps conceptual violence.
Marilyn Frye, "White Woman Feminist", 1992. it's quite brief and you may as well read the whole thing.

Once I became aware of the privilege afforded to me by white racial classification, the question that came immediately to mind was, How ought I to act with respect to white privilege? This section is presented as a philosophical narrative on this question and summarizes how I've gradually come to understand privilege as a resource rather than as a dilemma.

My initial, admittedly unreflective response to white privilege was to explore ways of dissociating myself from whiteness and thus from the privileges that acompany it. If privilege is generated by injustice, I reasoned, I should consciously seek out ways of divesting myself of white privilege. After all, I didn't ask for these privileges; I was just born into a social/political system structured to benefit persons who appear to be white people. If these privileges are made possible by oppression, then I don't want them; I want to divest myself of them. But suppose divesting is impossible. Well, maybe there are responsible ways of using white privilege that do not perpetuate the institutionalized racism I want to demolish. Or, maybe all white privilege is by defition so toxic that it poisons everything with which it comes into contact. Or, perhaps there are varieties of white privilege I can use safely.
Alison Bailey, "Despising an Identity They Taught Me to Claim*" in Whiteness: Feminist Philosophical Reflections (ed. Chris Cuomo and Kim Hall), 1999.

(*this is a play on a 1980 title by Michelle Cliff, Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Claim. I have not read that one.)
that collection also has a couple of other things i really want to post and think about, essays that complicate the idea of race with the possibility of "being" a race you don't "look like" and vice-versa. what is misrepresentation? what is authentic? for that matter, what is authenticity? there don't seem to be any stable answers. i'll try and get those posted later, but i want to share such a big chunk of them that it's no longer really excerpts and more like outright stealing.


They were doing men’s work in the field while raising two families—theirs and their masters. This may not be the ideal definition of feminism, but black women were doing more work than white men and white women combined, and they were doing it while being black.

Carol Chehade, Big Little White Lies: Our Attempt to White-Out America, 2001.

[After 9/11,] many in my Arab American community are surprised when we are treated un-White. We figured that if we played by the racial rules of this country, we would be bypassed in receiving some of the bigotry that Blacks routinely receive.

I am less disappointed in how my ethnic group has been signaled out [sic] and more disappointed in how we have been pathetically courting the very White privilege that has the power to decide which group will be signaled out. We need to be completely honest as Arab Americans and ask ourselves whether or not we have been models of anti-racism.

Our temporary exile from Whiteness should serve as a wake-up call as to whether we want to be re-instated into a racial hierarchy that wields so much unearned power.

Carol Chehade, Arabs and the Racial Lessons of 9/11, 2002.

(but she also says some things like "If Black Africans instead Arabs had brought terrorism to our shores, there would have been a race war in this country." this i find hard to wrap my head around. but you know what? so much has changed since 2000 that i can't really remember what it was like for anti-arab sentiment not to be a major and expected current. maybe she's right.)

(and on a bitchier, syntactical note, she also says: "If we are to be positive additions to the United States, then we have to strengthen what makes us weak, and one of the biggest things that weaken us as a nation is racism." it is too snarky of me to say something like really? we have to strengthen racism?, but i just did.)

anyway, just stuff i found interesting. the first reading led me to the second, and that latter stuff is certainly food for thought in my endless attempt to work out where i stand when it comes to race. for example, i find it interesting that someone close to me who is very, let's say, US-oriented for lack of a better phrase likes to tell me don't kid yourself, you're not white, and on the other hand someone close to me who shares my perspective on most cross-cultural and third-world issues likes to say, don't kid yourself, you are white.

02 July 2008

entering notes while on the phone

pt states: "the man who's supposed to be helping me out, it's so difficult with him right now. He keeps saying things like he's gonna beat the hell out of me, beat the baby out of me, it's just so hard right now."

ETA: at 7pm, pt's fifth phone call- "i am so thankful for you all. i don't know you, but i love you." i didn't write that in my database notes, but it will be nice to remember it later.

i have had one long-ass day.

ETAx2 (1:40am): one really long-ass day.

01 July 2008

morning case review

6/28/08: Patient was raped and cannot get outside assistance from family or friends because they are anti.

sigh. what kind of world is this.

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