‘We Were the Undeserving Throngs’

From Chronicle Review:

Being a Black Academic in America

In the wake of the scandal, The Chronicle Review asked graduate students, junior professors, and senior scholars what it’s like to be an African-American academic today.

“The first thing I learned at college was that as a black student I had ruined college for everyone else.”  Read more here.

I’ll be back in a future post to talk about my experiences from grad school in New England to mid-career at an HBCU in the midst of many micro and macro aggressions along the way.

Comment and discuss below.

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“Pathways to Equity through UDC” #UDCFirebirds #pathwayspossible #UDC1851

Go  listen and  join the conversation about UDC!

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/at-the-edge-thinkculture/2019/10/18/pathways-to-equity-in-higher-education-humanities-and-more-equalfundingudc

Pathways to Equity in Higher Education: Humanities and More #equalfundingudc

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Dr. Aparajita De and President Ronald Mason

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Chenequa Holland

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Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin, 2/2020

Statera Fiducia

Gravitas, Pietas, Veritas, Severitas, Virtus, Dignitas

earth space cosmos

Retrieving Erotic Power: Part One

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My healthiest romantic relationships as an adult have been with three different people, one of them being a woman, none of them producing children or involving legal marriage, all three of them not being monogamous (I am good with monog or poly), and one of them being live in with a woman).

Commonality when it came to sex?

None of them forced sex on me, and that includes oral sex. I do not engage in receiving oral sex as a practice, and if I do oral sex, it tends to be with men. Rape does some really fucked up things to a mind, but so does physical and emotional abuse, and that happened at school and at home.  Black folk love to talk about strict households building up moral character in their children, but it also sets them up to be preyed upon by scavengers looking for tenderized flesh accustomed to casual cruelty and exploitation.

The man who raped me shortly after I turned 18 at Clark College forced oral sex on me before forcing his penis in me–twice. I was a virgin, but it does not matter–even if I’d fucked a football team before that asshole did what he did, he was wrong.  By the time I was 18 the damage to my mental health was set in–and sexual predators look at emotionally and physically abused people as perfect victims who are the most likely to not report, which is exactly why I did not report what was done to me after it happened.

I do not see all men as rapists, and I do not see all women as incapable of rape. I do not see myself as a victim–I am a survivor. Part of healing what’s wrong with my brain is getting to those pieces of my life that keep playing like old records in my head and affecting my decision-making and physical health, including my blood pressure and stress levels.

I’ve tolerated my own decision to maintain a celibate, lonely life for about 14 years, save for two encounters with two different male friends 9 years ago. I have no regrets about not marrying because I do not believe that the options that were presented to me were healthy–and I refuse to conform to social pressure.

Non-conformity to monogamous heteronormative coupling and being out as bi, poly-monog, leather, has been freeing and healing in so many ways, as being pro-consent. That last word consent is the most important piece.

Why?

Because it has been my experience that many if not most hetero men do not know the meaning of consent.

A poem is coming.

But first, a revelation as I heal and recover more personal power…

Soundcheck.

Most of my adult life I allowed people to tell me what my boundaries, needs, and spaces are or should be, what or who I should allow close to me, how I should react–mostly at my expense, emotionally and otherwise.

Black women are pressured into participating in our own gaslighting for the good of the collective, and those of us who question this way of thinking are perceived as troublesome or at the least hostile. When silence prevails, boundaries, needs, and spaces are not respected or met.

I wanted to break that cycle. It is one of the biggest reasons why I am, once again, back into therapy.

I am speaking of when communication is not happening, when consent and respecting boundaries, needs, and spaces are not being discussed or negotiated with regard to gaining and developing emotional access and intimacy.

As Black women we have the right to negotiate our own boundaries, as well as our own needs and spaces despite living in an environment that privileges men, particularly men with race and social class privilege.

Further, consent is not just about sexual contact.  In fact, it has less to do with sex, and more to do with one person treating another person as being more than something to consume and discard.

Consent means mutually respecting boundaries, needs, and spaces when it comes to gaining and developing emotional access and intimacy. It is also about people speaking up and speaking in a manner that is honest and free of passive-aggressive diction.

Finally, it is also about respecting each other’s humanity through communicating.

In short, do not assume I have or have not given consent.

Ask me. Discuss it. Negotiate consent as a reasonable person.

Ask questions and engage in discussion. Challenge assumptions, and engage in discussions about mutual and different boundaries, needs, and spaces.

I refuse to play into others’ assumptions about me or other human beings, so please provide that same opportunity to me and others.

Communication is key in building respect and trust, and so is practicing consent.

I cannot call you trustworthy or one who respects my worth as a human being without the mutual praxis of consent and communication because without that structure there is confusion and more often than not emotional and spiritual injury.   It cannot be forced or shaped out of obligation or tradition or expectation, and it certainly cannot be bought.

 

Soundcheck: getting better and healing old injuries

 

A poem is coming.
But first, a revelation as I heal and  recover more personal power…

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Soundcheck.
Most of my adult life I allowed people to tell me what my boundaries, needs, and spaces are or should be, what or who I should allow close to me, how I should react–mostly at my expense, emotionally and otherwise.
Black women are pressured into participating in our own gaslighting for the good of the collective, and those of us who question this way of thinking are perceived as troublesome or at the least hostile.  When silence prevails, boundaries, needs, and spaces are not respected or met.
I wanted to break that cycle.   It is one of the biggest reasons why I am, once again, back into therapy.
I am speaking of when communication is not happening, when consent and respecting boundaries, needs, and spaces are not being discussed or negotiated with regard to gaining and developing emotional access and intimacy.
As Black women we have the right to negotiate our own boundaries, as well as our own needs and spaces despite living in an environment that privileges men, particularly men with race and social class privilege.
Further, consent is not just about sexual contact, and  I am not talking about sex in this brief discussion.
Consent means mutually respecting boundaries, needs, and spaces when it comes to gaining and developing emotional access and intimacy.  It is also about people speaking up and speaking in a manner that is honest and free of passive-aggressive diction.
Finally, it is also about respecting each other’s humanity through communicating.
In short, do not assume I have or have not given consent.
Ask me.  Discuss it.  Negotiate consent as a reasonable person.
Ask questions and engage in discussion.  Challenge assumptions, and engage in discussions about mutual and different boundaries, needs, and spaces.
I refuse to play into others’ assumptions about me or other human beings, so please provide that same opportunity to me and others.
Communication is key in building respect and trust, and so is practicing consent.
Hear my voice.
IMG_8722 Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin

 

…thinking of an anthology on desire and being different abled…

Join us in this conversation and contribute to what will be an anthology series, podcasts, seminar series! A CFP is coming!

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Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin

Takes a certain edge and drive to turn a health event like a grand mal seizure into a conversation about age, ability, and erotic desire.  Turn on your vibrator and start writing.

Under the Hood: Gums, Teeth, Vaginas, and Blood

Every once in a while, I like to get a check-up, see if everything’s working under the hood, especially as the year begins to wind down a bit, and especially since Mercury Retrograde is about to arrive on Samhain aka Halloween.

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Samhain

I usually don’t anticipate emergencies or crises in my everyday personal life, but I work in a high-stress environment with constant contact with the public, plus my research, teaching, and committee work tends to put me over the top in terms of stress levels and workload.  There’s something I have been missing lately:

Rest.

This blog has become a part of my workload.

Visiting the doctor should relax me, but as a Black woman, the white coat syndrome always pops up for me, regardless of the reason for my medical visit.  What should relax me actually makes me even more anxious than dealing with my job.

You get the idea.

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I usually do my doc visits around this time of year, and this time I decided to see my psychologist, my dentist, and my gynecologist within a two week period, which usually leads to the other things–followups for more dental work, mammograms, colon checks, etc.

At age 53 I am beginning to realize that my blood pressure isn’t as reliable as I thought it was, and chances are high that I’m going to have to make even more changes than the weight loss I accomplished this year.

One change involves me becoming much more informed about drug interaction and spacing out medical appointments a bit more generously.

Here’s a couple takeaways for you since you’ve taken the time to read my post today.

When you go to the dentist, do make sure (if you are having work requiring gum anesthesia) that you

  • 1) remind your dentist if you have hypertension; and
  • 2) do a frequent check of your blood pressure for about 12-24 hours after the procedure.

Could save your life, and keep you from stroking out or having a cardiac arrest.

Why?

Because until last Thursday, I had no idea that Novocain could cause me to have stroke-ready/cardiac arrest-ready blood pressure.

Where was I?

At the gynecologist waiting for my pelvic exam and pap smear, which ultimately did not happen because my blood pressure was off the charts.  I got as close as being stark naked, save for my socks, but no stirrups or breast exam that day. That’s right–she would not do the exam because my blood pressure was too high.

After having them do my blood and urine tests–which I insisted on because otherwise that whole day out in suburbia would have been a waste–I spent two hours sitting in ER having more tests done before going home and having to monitor my blood pressure.

We are fully in the shadow of Mercury Retrograde, and last week was the beginning of me having to alter my whole way of thinking about my blood pressure and my health overall.   As I get through the rest of fall semester and plan out my podcast episodes, I will need to plan for real resting points.

Everything else besides my blood pressure checked out well for me.  I am healthy, sane, well-balanced in my thinking, which is great for me, and even a relief that my attention to my blood pressure will help me learn how to not allow my work environment to harm my well-being or take me from my sense of grace.

Take your medicine on schedule (I do!), and stay informed — save your own life.

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Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin