"How much do you believe our history informs people's beliefs and behavior today? What information in this module stood out to you or impacted you the most?"
I think history definitely informs people's beliefs and behavior today, maybe both for good and for ill. I think that some of the ways "history" works on/in us are invisible, such that things seem or feel "natural" when they are in fact the (predictable?) result of particular events and conditions and circumstances. Like, for example, how many Americans today seem to imagine certain immigrants as "diseased" or "unsanitary" and possibly "infectious" should be no surprise given what I learned about in the Bath Riot film -- I had never heard of that particular history before, and the later connections with Zyklon-B and DDT are just horrifying. That the current occupant of the White House so easily summons and stokes racial hatred (whether for kneeling during the anthem, or the whole anti-Chinese/anti-Asian bigotry he invokes relative to COVID-19) should not be shocking considering our history and our continuing investments in the structures that benefit from such ideology.
I am also thinking generally about how ideas of labor and property and economics (okay, capitalism!) are so deeply intertwined with white supremacist/racist ideologies that I find it hard to understand how to dismantle one without dismantling the other. As a white person who benefits daily (often invisibly, to myself) from these structures, I find myself facing a feeling of not wanting to lose what I "have." Thinking back, though, to the colonialism, enslavement, and genocide on which this country/these structures have been built, the carnage of that, what is it, really, that I think I "have" (or "own?") and what am I going to do with that?
Much (not all!) of this history and these ideas in the module were familiar to me, but I wanted to say that in addition to the Bath Riot, I had also never heard/learned before about Dr. Sims, and was surprised to learn that race trumps class when it comes to the neighborhoods/communities harmed by environmental racism. I am interested in learning more about Environmental Racism, especially as connected to ideas about property/prosperity/"progress."