Trailblazing Women You May Not Know (But Should): Ellen Ochoa
Each week, the Lean In tumblr will spotlight women who made a lasting mark on the world — yet didn’t always end up in the history books. This week we celebrate Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.
Ellen Ochoa was 11 when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Years later, she would become the first Latina to head into space — but she would never have believed that at the time. There were no female astronauts when she was growing up; at the University of San Diego, where she attended college, a professor told her to steer clear of engineering because the classes would be too difficult. "I never considered being an astronaut as an option because when I was growing up there were no female astronauts," she said.
Free accessDOI: 10.1080/00309230.2010.547511 Roland Sintos Colomaa*
This article examines the colonial encounters of gender, race and sexuality in the United States and the Philippines in the early 1900s. It traces the anxieties over US men’s moral degeneracy and the representation of Filipinas as libidinal temptations, which mobilised US women’s active participation in colonial biopolitics and governmentality. It contends that white women as imperial feminists asserted their principled crusade and superiority over white men and brown women by becoming bearers of racialised heteronormative traditions and feminine respectability and becoming barriers to inter‐racial sexual relations. White women focused on the white male domains of military and government and on the colonial education of brown women. Ultimately, the article supplements the Spivakian claim that “white men are saving brown women from brown men”, which has become the quintessential narrative of colonial justification and redemption, with “white women are saving white men and brown women from each other”. Drawing on government, newspaper and school documents, the article engages feminist discussions on the role of women in empire and education.
Southern California Basketmakers
We are delighted to share some images of southern California basket makers and their baskets. These women were from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Indians and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. We are also sharing a page from a report describing different forms of Diegueño baskets. These documents were created in the mid-1930s as interest in Indian Arts & Crafts was increasing within the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we would like to share just some of the remarkable pieces of Native American history of tribes in southern California and Arizona. All of these records come from our holdings of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (RG 75).
Genome Of 24,000-Year-Old Siberian Boy Reveals ‘Something Strange’ About Native Americans’ Origin
North America’s family tree just grew a few more branches. According to new analysis of ancient DNA from a 4-year-old Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago, Native Americans’ ancestors partly came from a population of early humans related to Europeans. This sheds new light on the origin of Native Americans, who scientists previously believed predominantly came from East Asia.
Immigrants have long been an integral part of New York City. With more than 3 million foreign-born residents and over 40,000 international students- more than any other metro area- New York City has been called the “most immigrant-friendly city in the world.”
Read this month’s Economic Snapshot and learn how New York City is a hub for foreign talent.
Photo credit: e_chaya, Flickr
Day 19 of White History Month: Medical Racism
The United States (along with other countries in the Western world) has a history of medical racism. The general population is unaware of the history of medical racism, and white health professionals are as well. John M. Hoberman of UT-Austin says that medical schools do not teach students about the history of medical racism, nor do they give them proper diversity training. Many Americans of color have grown to distrust medical professionals, and many white Americans attribute this to paranoia rather than their knowledge of historical and contemporary medical mistreatment.
Medical racism has often benefitted white Americans disproportionately while simultaneously harming Americans of color, as well as people of color outside of the United States. White Americans benefit from medical advances, while individual people of color were harmed, and in some cases, large groups of people of color have been harmed. From trying to “better” the race, to making scientific advances, white people have used and disregarded the rights people of color for their own benefit. Medical racism shows the lack of value ascribed to the bodies and lives of people of color.
The eugenics movement in the United States became very popular and manifested itself in many different ways. Anti-miscegenation laws, birth control, sterilization, forced abortions, forced pregnancies (of white women), and the promotion of higher birth rates for neurotypical white women. Eugenics policies were first instituted in the United States. Laws that advocated the sterilization of those with mental illnesses were in effect in the early 1900s, and soon spread to other countries.
Eugenics movements advocated for the eradication of those with mental illness, those who were homosexual, “promiscuous”, and most of all, those who were outside of the “Nordic” or “Aryan” race. Eugenics was advocated for by many famous white Westerners, including world leaders such as Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge.
While eugenics was highly unpopular after the Holocaust, the eugenics tradition of the United States actually provided the background for Nazi Medicine. While most people are aware to some extent what the horrors of Nazi medicine entailed, few people are aware of the American eugenics tradition that inspired it. Eugenics societies promoted “fit families” and “better babies” through awards at contests, but they also promoted harmful legislation barring immigrants and sterilizing “undesirable” people.
Controlling Reproductive Rights of Women of Color
Due to the eugenics movement, thousands of Black women were sterilized. In North Carolina, 7600 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1974, 85% of them women and girls, and a disproportionate number of them people of color (39% in the 1940s, 60% in the 1960s while making up only 25% of the population). The program that allowed for their sterilization was not eliminated fully until 2003. Black women were also sterilized without their consent in other states.
Puerto Rican Women
The United States has held Puerto Rico as a territory since 1898. As a solution to Puerto Rican economic problems, the US government felt that reducing the population of the Puerto Rican government would help. The US sterilized over one-third of Puerto Rican women, many uneducated and working class, between the 1930s and 1970s. Most of these women did not understand the procedure and did not know that it would render them sterile.
Additionally, the US used Puerto Rican women to test out birth control pills in the 1950s. These women were not informed that the pills were experimental - only that they would prevent pregnancy. They were not informed of the possible side effects ranging from nausea to possible death - three women died during the birth control pill trials. Women who reported side effects had their concerns dismissed by researchers.
Native American Women
Native American women who used the Indian Health Services were subject to numerous violations of their rights, particularly their reproductive rights. Some women who underwent procedures such as appendectomies would also have hysterectomies performed on them without their consent. At least 25 percent (and as high as 50 percent) of Native American women of reproductive age who used Indian Health Services were sterilized without their consent or after coercion. Largely white male doctors would use Native American women as “practice” for performing gynecological procedures on white women.
Tuskegee Experiment and Guatemala STD Experiment
In 1932, the Tuskegee Institute worked with the United States government to perform a study on a group of Black men with syphillis. The men were recruited to the study with promises of free meals, transportation to the clinic, medical exams and even treatment for minor medical concerns. The study lasted 40 years and involved the participation of over 600 Black men. This sounded like a good arrangement in theory, but researchers did not hold up their end of the bargain. By 1947, penicillin was widely used as treatment for syphillis. The researchers neglected to inform the men involved in the study in addition to refusing to treat the men.
As a result of the Tuskegee Experiment, nearly a hundred men died, and hundreds of partners and children were infected with the disease as well. Not only was this a breach of research ethics, as the participants did not give informed consent and were not treated for their ailment. The men and their families won a $9 million class action lawsuit in 1973, but this of course was not enough to make up for the damage that was done.
Similarly, the same researcher who uncovered the Tuskegee Syphillis experiment, Susan Reverby, discovered that a similar situation occured in Guatemala. The US Public Health Service and Pan American Sanitary Bureau worked with the Guatemalan government to do research on 1300 Guatemalans that involved intentionally exposing them to STDs.
The experiment involved many who are considered disposable in society - sex workers, mental patients, prisoners, and soldiers. Only 700 of these people were treated, and during the study 83 people died. Some of the most disturbing incidents during the study involved injecting epilepsy patients in the back of the head with syphillis, as well as the infection of a terminal illness patient with gonnorhea (she died six months later). The Guatemalans in the study also did not give informed consent.
Henrietta Lacks (1920 - 1951) was a Black woman who went to Johns Hopkins Hospital to be examined for serious medical concerns. After a biopsy was performed, she was diagnosed with and subsequently treated for cancer. While she was being treated, healthy and cancerous cells were removed from her cervix without her consent. She died in 1951, but the cells stolen from her body continued to be used. Though she died poor and was buried without a gravestone, her cells were used for many medical tests. From routine tests for human sensitivity to substances to the development of the Polio vaccine, her cells were used for medical advances. Her family only learned about the removal of her cells in the 1970s, and she is largely unknown despite the contributions to science she had made.
Current medical racism
Distrust of medical health professionals, along with racist attitudes probably contribute to medical health disparities. Racially linked anxiety disorders have been linked to racism at the hands of white people. A significant number of Black women report racism and sexism contributing to their stress and to stress-linked overeating.
Stressful life circumstances are reasons for hypertension and many mental health ailments. Working and middle class Black women who report multiple forms of discrimination are more likely to have high blood pressure than those who report fewer incidents. Black Americans who are more confrontational about racism are less likely to have elevated blood pressure than those who stay silent, which can be attributed to the effects of suppressed hostility.
Today, doctors still exhibit subconscious racist attitudes. A study in the American Journal of Public Health (March 2012) showed that a full two-thirds of the doctors in the sample were racially biased. White and Asian health professionals showed anti-Black bias, but Black health professionals showed no bias.
Doctors are more likely to speak more slowly to Black patients, extend their visits, and to lecture and talk down to them. This shows that the doctors are paternalistic and don’t care about respecting their patients or asking for their input
Additionally, white doctors are prone to giving worse care to patients of color, regardless of their income. People of color are less likely to get the diagnoses and treatment that they need, for everything ranging from heart disease medication, HIV treatment, and dialysis. Black women are the least likely to receive the pain medication that they need. Mental health professionals are less likely to diagnose people of color with an appropriate diagnosis because of their race.
A portrait of an African American woman in Victorian fashion. My guess is that this photograph was taken sometime in the 1860s when necklines rose and the bustle was more noticeable. Fashion historians have also observed that skirt fronts flattened out (also drawing more attention to the bustle) from the 1850s to the 1860s.There’s no information about the woman but from the photograph, we can speculate that she’s quite privileged relative to other African American women in this period (the Civil War era). Her dress and fan (a symbol of leisure) as well as the fact of the portrait itself are all indications that she was well-off - again, in relation to most other African American women.Addendum: OF ANOTHER FASHION readers demonstrate, once again, the brilliance of social media and collaborative knowledge production. Thank you all for pointing me to the Harper Collection at Florida Memory Project where this photograph (and so many more) are archived. In addition to learning about the photographer, Alvan S. Harper, I learned that the photograph was taken after the 1880s and the dresses and accessories were likely borrowed from Harper’s studio.
Loïs Mailou Jones (1905-1998) painting in her Paris studio in 1937 or 1938 as her cat hangs out on her shoulder. Born in Boston, her mother, Carolyn Dorinda Jones was a hat designer and a beautician, and her father, Thomas Vreeland Jones, was an office building superintendent before becoming a lawyer at age forty. Ms. Jones was encouraged by both parents to pursue art and she graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1927. After studying art at Harvard and Columbia, she established the art department at Palmer Memorial Institute, the black preparatory school founded by Charlotte Hawkins Brown in Sedalia, North Carolina. Ms. Jones then moved on to Howard University in 1930 and remained there until 1977. Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
"Black Wall Street, the name fittingly given to one of the most affluent all-Black communities in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious Whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving Black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering – a model community destroyed and a major African-American economic movement resoundingly defused.
The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful businesses lost. Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes and even a bus system. As could have been expected, the impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in consort with ranking city officials and many other sympathizers.
The best description of Black Wall Street, or Little Africa as it was also known, would be to compare it to a mini Beverly Hills. It was the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900s, and it proved that African Americans could create a successful infrastructure. That’s what Black Wall Street was all about.
The dollar circulated 36 to 100 times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Now a dollar leaves the Black community in 15 minutes. As for resources, there were Ph.D.s residing in Little Africa, Black attorneys and doctors. One doctor was Dr. Berry, who owned the bus system. His average income was $500 a day, hefty pocket change in 1910…”