worth a 1,000 words.

Posted: September 24, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

Joseph Dumit’s text is not only in depth but also clearly underlines the argument of what is “normal”, “sick”, and the “them” and “us” perspective through brain images (computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) and chemical testing. The entire meaning of his work was to establish an argument of removing the “prejudiced, stylized representations of correlation” within the courtroom through means of physically viewing the human brain (or subject’s brain). He goes as far to use the cliché, being highly appropriate, that a “picture is worth a thousand words.”   

 Although my topic is rather difficult to relate to this particular piece, I think if we look at the visual component of segregation we can really understand the overarching theme of prejudice not solely being a preconceived notion that is not based on reason, experience, or rationale.

 There is a huge blanketing stigma of FSW that has really been difficult and unsuccessfully tarnished.  Even within the medical field many FSW (Andhra Pradesh, India) have stated that “some of the doctors, when we approach them for treatment, if they know that we are [kothis] they don’t touch us and go away from us ordering the [security staff] to send us out.” Others have even stated that stigmatization is so severe that the feel great amounts of grief and guilt. One example was from a FSW who said she felt sad from the discrimination and wondered why she had to do sex work and as a result she felt like dying. What is it about the labeling of an individual that allows humans to treat Them in such a way, to further the divide of equality and human rights?

Voices of FSW: Stigma, discrimination and violence amongst female sex workers and men who have sex with men in Andhra Pradesh, India

 Referring back to Dumit’s text it is as though he is taking Them (those with instability and often mental illness) and using brain scans to show even more so that the Them are not like Us. Although he is attempting to remove race from the situation by using PET and CT scans in courtrooms, it is nonetheless bringing more attention to the fact that we even need to do so, that we must take all aspects away from personalizing an individual to reduce them to a black and white image of their brain—only highlighted to show physical discrepancies.

Dumit, J. 1999. “Objective Brains, Prejudicial Images.” Science in Context. 12:173-201


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