Faculty Sponsor

Barrett Bowlin


This paper will trace how homeopathy operates along the color line of the 1950s and 1960s among African American communities. I will chronicle observations about these communities that produce distrust of modern medicine through Toni Morrison’s Home. Specifically, I will provide background of medical maltreatment through Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid, which maps the medical experimentation of African Americans throughout United States history. Then, I will focus on women who treat Cee in Home, who rely on homeopathy and condemn hospitals and drug therapy. I will define Morrison’s term, “loving mean,” and how this type of language operates in the clash of homeopathy and allopathy among the black community. I will use Michel Foucault’s discourse on the objectivity of the patient and, in contrast, how “loving mean” is subjective—the opposite of Foucault’s “medical gaze.” Homeopathy is not necessarily better than modern medicine, but it was the solution derived from unrelenting racism, pathologization, and sexualization of the black female body through eugenics. I will argue that self-preservation and the dark history of medical experimentation produced homeopathic values among the black community and distanced African Americans from embracing modern medicine. I will conclude by discussing continued systemic racism in hospitals and allopathy.