My First Trimester at Professional School

I love school. I love learning. I love listening to professors. I love discussions. I love homework. I love studying. And I love seeing results reflect my effort. Starting at Palmer College of Chiropractic has been my dream since I was eight years old. I’ve always had the dream of helping others, but through natural medicine was the way I wished to do so.

Although I love being at Palmer, it has not been an easy road. During my first year of college, at DePaul University, the fall following my high school graduation in May 2018 I took a full-load my last two quarters at DePaul along with an additional two online courses at Illinois Valley Community College. This was very challenging for me. I was in seven classes at a time and I constantly had work to do. What kept me motivated? I knew that this was what I had to do to reach my goal…besides I loved all of the classes I was in and I learned a lot of material that was of much benefit to me.

As I arrived for my first day of class at Palmer, I knew that I was about to embark on a four year journey that would consist of heavy struggles, stressful tears, and endless smiles of achievement. As I am currently in the undergraduate program at Palmer until July 2020, I have had light course work in comparison with what is to come. I know that as I begin the doctorate program in July 2020 that I will be in a whole new world and have an entirely different level of responsibility on my shoulders, but even this first trimester has been different than all of my years of schooling.

The environment at this school is wonderful, but it took a little while to get adjusted to. Being 19 years old at a professional school where the average age is 26 is more rewarding than it is not. I have definitely felt myself mature and grow stronger focus during these past three months, and I am grateful for that. Sometimes it is difficult when I see videos and pictures of close friends at their college homecoming football games, constant Greek life events, dorm shenanigans, and the mountainous supply of food from the dining hall. I realize it was my choice to cut my time at a four-year college down to one year and I have no regret with that choice, but sometimes it all really does stress me out. I find myself surrounded by like-minded individuals that are decades older than me and some that are just half a decade. I think that there is maybe one other student that I have met that is under 20 years old. It makes me feel out of place sometimes, but this school has been nothing but welcoming. Regardless of whatever emotion is running through my body, I know that this is all for something great and that all of the stress will be worth it and that is what pushes me to keep on keeping on.

I’ve dedicated myself completely to myself and to my schooling and it has been good for me. I used to fear missing out with my friends at home while I was at DePaul and I was constantly visiting because I didn’t want to be forgotten, but since I have been at Palmer things have changed. I miss my friends and family and I miss being home, but I know that they’re still here no matter what. I find myself feeling a since of home here and I have started to find great comfort in my own company. Spending weeks by yourself, day and night, is healing for the soul and I don’t fear being alone anymore. I look forward to coming back to my apartment after class to make note-cards, study for my next exam, or just watch a few episodes of a favorite show. As the trimester ends and as my grades are in a very strong place, I look back at the trimester and I am pleased. I had many nights full of crying and feeling broken for various reasons, and overcoming those feelings with no one around me was difficult, but necessary for my growth. I worry less because I know that most things are not worth my energy and most things do not matter that much. I developed a great study ethic and uncovered a form of determination that I never knew I had. This first trimester has changed my life and has molded me into a stronger person in ways that extend much further than my life as a scholar.

There is a long road that lies ahead of me, but I know that I am equipped with the grit and resilience to get past anything that comes my way. And let me tell you, with absolute confidence, that you are too. Go out and chase your dreams right now, because there really is no time like the present. We aren’t too young to start turning our hopes and dreams into reality. You are capable of greatness, all you need to do is believe that you are and it will come.

Differences in the Experience with Slavery for Men and Women

*Facts based off of information in my personal notes from my HST 247 African American History class that I took at DePaul University in 2019.

Slavery in the United States was racist, there is simply no denying that fact; however, as if enslaving human beings based off the color of one’s skin was not inhumane and unjust enough, slave owners sought to invoke treacherous punishments on slaves based off their genders. Slavery was aimed to make the enslaved feel that blackness was a shameful quality, but the minds behind slavery were darker than just racism. The gendering of slavery intertwined with the blatant racism created an intersection filled with hate, pain, suffering, and pure ignorance of morality. Both women and men endured separate, yet also the same, hells in a world where their voices were silenced.

 Women faced certain challenges that men did not see as often because of the objectification that the women faced from the slave owners. The literature piece, Ar’n’t I a Woman?, addresses several problems that women faced, and most of these problems stemmed from socially constructed archetypes that were developed. One of these archetypes was that of “Jezebel” (White 29). This archetype was made so that black women would be viewed as promiscuous, intensely sexual beings. The origination of this image was produced when the whites first encountered black women in Africa (White 29). Not only did this stand as a negative label, the Jezebel archetype had direct influence on the African American women’s lives. Since society viewed black women as overly sexual beings, when women were raped by slave owners, the rape was excused (White 32). Black women were thought to have no purity, whereas white women were pure women who deserved complete respect. An escaped slave, Christopher Nichols, recalled that a master that he had would take women and throw them over a bench and rape that woman in front of everyone (White 33). The men would not show any mercy and overpower any woman that he wanted to. The men would whip the women and rape them in front of their mothers and fathers and if the women resisted, further punishment was had (White 35).

The sexual objectification of women was an experience that many women faced, and slave owners would use the sexuality of women in an advantageous way. Slave owners would rape women in order to increase the number of slaves on the plantation, because the children would take the status of the women. One instance in history was the case of Celia. Celia was a young girl who suffered from intense sexual abuse from her owner. Eventually Celia grew tired of the treatment she faced from her owner and killed him. This case was brought to court and the rape was recognized, but it was not found illegal because the court felt that Celia, as a black woman, had no purity to be taken away. Celia fit into the Jezebel archetype and the actions that were proceeded in court supported the archetype. Even though Jezebel was promiscuous and sexy, she was not worthy of the same life as a white woman. Jezebel may not have been whipped and put to field work, but she was living a horrid reality that was filled with rape, hate, oppression, and violence.

While some women were being shamed for sexuality, other women were having their sexuality taken away. It was the socially constructed archetype of the “Mammy” that did this (White 46). The Mammy archetype represented a loving and caring black woman that had no interest in any sexual activity. This woman cared heavily for the slave owners’ children but was still viewed as a slave. This Mammy was held to high expectations and was relied on to perform several tasks, in good time, regardless of any constraints. Mammy was the prized house-slave and was seen to be worthy and reliable (White 47). Susan Eppes, a slave owner, would converse with her Mammy every day and viewed her Mammy as a sort of children’s keeper (White 47). Mammy was thought to be very well respected, which in turn, made some believe that maybe slavery was not as bad as it seemed. No matter how much respect a slave owner could have for a slave, that person was still supporting the brutal system of slavery. Even though Mammy was this woman who could do it all, her value when compared to a white woman was nonexistent. Mammy was capable and did work efficiently, but Mammy was still not viewed to be as worthy as a white woman and was nonetheless property of the slave owners. The women who faced this label were made to think that the “respect” received from the owners was a good way to live and that they were lucky to be out of the field and away from the lashes of the whip.

While women were being sexualized by the slave owners, men were facing unimaginable punishments. Men felt that they were powerless because the whites would take sexual advantage of their wives, daughters, and mothers, but the men could not do anything to stop the terror (Black 100). In the African culture, a man is expected to care for his family, but under slavery this notion was nonexistent. Henry Bibb wrote a slave narrative and spoke on the several brutalities that he suffered. He, and other enslaved men, felt that a man had a right to his wife and a right to his children, but the slave owners stripped black men of those rights (Black 111). This narrative was completely honest, and he was up front with everything that he felt and experienced. He said that, “I must be a slave for life—suffer under the lash or die.” (Black 103). This was the reality for several slaves, especially those following the first-generation slaves. When a slave was born into slavery, the only life that was known was one of oppression, hate, and pain—there seemed to be no way out, except for death. Bibb suffered intense violence during his time at the Whitfield Plantation, especially when he had a failed attempt to escape. He recalled in his narrative that, “My clothing was ripped off and I was compelled to lie on the ground…four stakes were driven in the ground, to which my hands and feet were tied (Black 105).” He was then lashed from head to foot repeatedly, almost to death. Bibbs was unable to work for several days and was separated from his family for the rest of his time on the plantation. Bibbs held back the rage to retaliate, because fighting back meant death and he refused to face death (Black 106). This is what made male slaves feel emasculated and powerless, they had to be brutally abused in front of their peers and family, but there was nothing that could be done to stop it. His pride was stripped off him and beaten away with each lash and flog that he faced.

Sometimes slaves would fight back, such as the actions of Solomon Northup. Unlike Bibbs, Northup was born a free man and was captured and brought into slavery. This ignited a different type of anger within that Bibbs did not have. Northup brought a lot of insight to the truth of how brutal slavery was. He recalled that, “Twenty-five [lashes] are deemed a mere brush, inflicted, for instance…when a branch is broken in the field… (Black 108).” This recollection goes to show that slaves—men for the most part—would face brutal punishments even for the slightest of mistakes, like a broken branch. Even no mistakes could lead to punishment if the slave owner felt like it. The day that Northup decided to fight back and stand up to his slave owner, is a day that he regrets. He pushed his slave owner down, seized his whip, and struck him repeatedly (Black 109). The reason that he regrets this is because he knew that severe punishment would come, in fact, his slave owner attempted to hang him, but decided to stop so that Northup could live a life of increased fear and more pain.

This is only a pebble in an entire mountain of history. I encourage everyone to read history from certified, credible sources and to deepen your knowledge on subjects that weren’t taught enough in secondary school, or high school. This concerns all histories and subjects, not just that of the United States and slavery. History is very important and much of the present can be explained by history. Education is a gift and knowledge is power.

Texts Used:

Dismantling Black Manhood: Daniel P. Black

Out of the House of Bondage-The Transformation of the Plantation Household: Thavolia Glymph

Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South: Deborah Gray White

           

Being Biracial

New Years Eve, 2008

I am very proud to be a woman of a mixed ethnic background, or as many would say, biracial. I find myself struggling to choose the term that is most “politically correct,” because race itself, such as: black and white, is a social construction. As a society, we have racialized ourselves, and I’m not sure how that can be undone. For the sake of this blog, I will use the term biracial, white, and black because I find no offense to those terms. Also, I must say that I understand there are endless combinations that could make one biracial, but this is my experience as being a woman with Irish, Italian, and Northern Africa heritage.

May I also add that this is in no way me complaining about being biracial and the things that I deal with, I am simply giving personal insight on what it is like to be a person of mixed race. I feel that it is important to know peoples struggles because then you can understand them more. I can guarantee that there are several others with a similar ethnic background that have experienced and felt similar things than I have. So, please, store this information in your mind and take it into consideration in your daily life.

Christmas Eve, 2018

Honestly. Being biracial can be so confusing at times and all the terminology makes it even worse. “Black” has been used to refer to those of African descent, but it also refers to anyone with a dark skin tone. But then I am also a light skin because I am a “lighter black.” But I am also white because when asked of the race I am when I fill out papers that do not have the ‘more than one race’s’ option, I select ‘black/African American’ and ‘white.’ I have had people tell me that I am not black enough to call myself black, but also people laugh at me when I say that I am white. It is almost like you can never win sometimes. Then there is also the fact that although I am white, I do not experience white privilege; however, since I am “light skin,” I know that I do experience light-skin privilege at times. It really is just like you’re stuck in the middle.

Probably one of the most frustrating things is the way that much of society looks at my family. I could not count on both of my hands the amount of disapproving and dirty looks that we have gotten from people in public. For some reason, in 2019, there are still people who think that “colors should not mix,” but let me tell you something, the world is not a fucking washing machine. I guess that these moments have made me love myself more and have pushed me to be proud of who I am. Sometimes, when I am feeling strong enough, I just take the negative energy and hate from others and use it to fuel my soul in hopes of some of my positive energy getting shared with those showing me the hate. Something else that I have had to deal with is hate from both sides of my ancestry. I have had dirty words and painful insults said to me from both those who identify as white and dark-skinned black people. I would have to say that it hurts more coming from the latter because what they don’t know is that I have experienced some of the discrimination that they have. That is something I never understood. Every group in this world that has been discriminated against at a large, social level should never show hate towards one another because we are all in the same damn boat and if we don’t band together and overcome, that damn boat is going to sink.

Palmer Campus Visit, 2018

If there is one thing that I would like to leave you with is that it doesn’t matter where someone came from or what they look like. If you love someone, then love them—and you should love everyone because at the end of the day we are all living this same confusing-ass life and we are more alike than we will ever be different. Appreciate and love all the beautiful diversity around you because one day, when your life ends, you want to be able to look back and think, “I was a person of love.”