August Wilson wrote 10 plays chronicling Black life in the 20th century. His favorite, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, is set in 1911 in a boarding house in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The play’s title comes from “Joe Turner’s Blues,” written in 1915 by W. C. Handy. That song refers to a man named Joe Turney, the brother of Peter Turney, who was the governor of Tennessee from 1893 to 1897. Joe Turney transported Black prisoners, chained in a coffle, along the roads from Memphis to the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville. While en route, he handed over some of the convicts, for a commission, to white farmers. The prisoners he leased to the farmers worked for years in a system of convict leasing — slavery by another name.
How does living in a consumer society at war with basic human needs affect our minds and, ultimately, our bodies? In his new book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture, Dr. Gabor Maté and his son Daniel argue that our culture’s standards of normalcy are destructive to the health of human beings. In a society where profit and personal attainment are the highest values, traumas abound, and everyday people are left to endure their pain and shame in silence. The consequence of this dark ethic, Dr. Maté illustrates, plays out on our bodies, severely damaging our psyches, and pushing us towards individual and social self-annihilation. Dr. Gabor Maté joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss his new book.
On a clear night in February 2016, a group gathered in downtown Oakland for a candlelight vigil. The attendants were dressed in black; one wore a t-shirt that read “The Black Woman is God.” At the vigil, held in honor of the survivors of human trafficking, people spoke about the trauma held in Black women’s bodies. Six miles away, girls strode in stick-thin heels on a strip of International Boulevard in East Oakland known as “the walk” or “the blade,” where hundreds of teenage girls are trafficked each year. Though sex trafficking happens across the country, Oakland has been identified since the early 2000s as a hub for the exploitation of girls; that exploitation is especially visible on the strip. But the vigil called attention to a fact that’s less widely discussed—Black girls are far and away the most common victims.
Native Americans don’t just live on reservations, we live in cities, and we live internationally. I grew up in the Silicon Valley of California. I was born in the city and have lived here my whole life, as an “Urban Native.” My grandfather moved to California from Mohawk territory in the 1950s after he served in Korea, and we have all lived in Sunnyvale ever since. The challenges I grew up around were different from my Oyaté (family) out on the reservations. It is easier to lose our sense of culture living among so many established settler communities.
As we head into what may be the most chaotic election in our lifetime, many people on all sides of the political aisle are reeling from anxiety and responding from a place of panic. With many of us on the left organizing for mass mobilizations and actions in the post-election season, we must make sure that we are doing so from a grounded place to ensure that we are not adding more panic to the world. To ensure this, we have to have some understanding of how panic and trauma work in our own bodies, and then see what we can learn from that about how trauma is working in our collective body...
By Claire Bushey for Crain - From 61st and Cottage Grove, above still-leafless trees, you can see the complex where University of Chicago Medicine will house its future trauma center. It didn't exist when Damian Turner was shot at the corner almost six years ago. The random victim of someone else's vendetta, the 18-year-old was hit shortly after midnight on Aug. 15, 2010, just three blocks south of U of C's medical campus. He struggled to his sister's apartment, his back bleeding, and collapsed in front of his young nieces and nephews. A neighbor called 911.