“Do you know who I am?” He asked.
No, I’m not sure, sorry. Who are you? I answered.
“Young Lady, I am the first black man to get his PhD at the University of Delaware!”
“OH!? Well, that’s cool! What did you get your doctorate in?”
“Sociology and slave reproduction studies… I did my dissertation on slave owners creating lineage with their female slaves. Say, what’s your major?”
“My major is Philosophy.”
“Well, all-be-darned! That was my minor. Let me tell you something, and listen up, because I am going to ask you a question about it at the end of this ride.”
“Slave owners back in the day used to produce children with their female slaves. Now, people be wanting to say that they not related and that they only black children. But why would a slave owner call the children he has with his slaves only black people? Why they calling black people who were born, in this decade, in the USA, African Americans? It doesn’t make any sense, unless there’s something we are missing about the collapse of slavery. You see their were two eras of slavery, not just one as they’d like us to think. Look up domestic slavery, and you’ll see! Do you understand all this, Miss Philosophy Major?”
“Yeah, I think I’m getting it. The slave owners have two sets of children, but they consider the one side not to be related to the others because they’re black? Well.. hm.. the only reason, I could imagine, that black people born in the US are referred to as African Americans is because their ancestors came from Africa? I’m not sure, but I definitely don’t think I agree with it now that you mention it…”
“No quite, but you’re getting close. Let me ask you a question– if a slave owner and his female slave have children, and if the owner also has children with his wife, what does that make the children of both the women?”
“Well, I would say it makes them step-brothers and step-sisters.”
“Wrong. Their brothers and sisters. No step about em’. I have three mothers to my four kids, and my son wanted to say they were step brothers and sisters and I had to knock him upside his head!”
“You know this kind of reminds me of the story of Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells.”
“I haven’t heard of it, tell me more.”
“Well this woman, Henrietta Lacks, back in the 1950’s maybe, had a very vicious form of cervical cancer. During the time Johns Hopkins Medical Center was segregated and since she was black, she wasn’t able to get the same treatment as the others. However, they harvested, grew, reproduced and sold her cells without her or her families knowledge. Even to this day, the family has gotten no compensation for the good that her cells have done for the world. But in the book I read about it, the author was saying how Henrietta would talk about the slave owners having children with the slaves, but they wouldn’t recognize them as part of the family because they were black. It kept them in poverty, too.”
“Wow. I never heard that story. You’re gonna have to right that down for me. Listen here, I wrote some books. They’re usually 15 dollars each, but since you’re a passenger and a philosophy major, I’m gonna give you my card and you can email me. I’ll send you pdf. copies for free. Then you can read em’ and send me some mail about what stood out to you.”
“Wow, I would love to, thank you so much!”
“Sure, no problem. I’m gonna’ come around and open the door for you because there’s a child lock on it.”
And that was the last I saw of Gerald. What an interesting man.
I went to look him up after the ride… and I found some Rate my Professor reviews online for George Washington University. He had a total of four reviews and they were pretty awful, well no, literally they said awful. Look below:
- Rating: Awful
absolutely ridiculous. all you needed to do was copy and memorize terms, but i didn’t learn sociology. He made up his own definitions because he didn’t agree with the ones in the book, and his definitions made no sense. his favorite thing was dynamic expression of the body; never ask a question because he will talk in circles and never answer you.
OK. So one bad review, I get it, but the man seemed pretty interesting to me. I could see him being the type of professor to teach what he wants the students to learn about real life situations rather than via a textbook. So maybe he lectured on the real world and just gave out answers because he wanted to go against the system?
2. Rating: Awful
The worst class on the face of the earth. Easy A, but not worth the GPA boost. You will learn nothing. In fact, it will make you stupider. He will destroy your will to live.
Ha. Uh, what is up with this review? I think it’s getting way too emotional.
3. Rating: Awful
This class was a waste of time. All he does is preach about racial inequalities… I learned abs. nothing about sociology. Most of your grade is based on copying key terms straight out of the textbook and about 3 tests on which he tells you all the answers ahead of time. Very easy A, but will make you upset that you’re paying for such nonsense.
See my response to review 1. Also, isn’t this what a 101 class mainly is? I mean I get that he could’ve made the class way more interesting, maybe had the students do a project? But also, if you have someone with those kinds of views and that much experience, take advantage of it.
4. Rating: Awful
Hes oppionated, hes liberal, hes old, and hes been judged by the color o’ his skin since he and MLK fought the good fight all those decades ago. Hes a great professor, not in a learning sense but in an amusing, almost endearing sense. Also, important to note that during our midterm, he hid behind the podium and ate a quiznos sub.
This review made my entire day. Just having met the man, before reading this, I can totally imagine it. How wonderful. He literally gave noooo F***s. You go, Gerald.
Looking at reviews of GW itself, I found that all were about the same high star ratings. This review in particular sums up about all of em’:
This is a school where everybody has a passion, which means you can meet plenty of interesting people, most of whom are quite friendly. This isn’t an elite school, so academics are what you make of them. Going to office hours and asking for extra credit will add to your experience and you’ll learn a lot. To my surprise, I love GW.
Hm. Maybe Dr. G, just wasn’t GW suited? Whatever, I found him to be extremely interesting!
Putting the reviews aside, I am certainly going to email Dr. G., get a copy of his books and let him & you all know what I learned from them.
On to the schooling part of this ride: Domestic Slavery.
If any of you know anything about this, please inform us. I have been doing some research on it before Dr. G sends me his books, but I can’t find much information from reputable sources.
I am figuring it is something along the lines of indentured servants in the way that people become slaves to their skin color and level of wealth. So, in the example with Henrietta Lacks’s family, they were in poverty, thus slaves to a system that marginalized them.
Let’s learn something about the places we live. Don’t turn a blind eye to it.
This post is not the last you’ll hear on the topic.