My Favorite Bit this week was about why some words are reserved for specific groups of people. To explain why white people should not use the n-word, Ta-Nehisi Coates notes that it is widely accepted in society that certain words are for certain people and situations; he points to the fact that while his wife calls him “honey” he wouldn’t appreciate if strangers used the same nickname. This neatly transitions into a conversation about how white supremacy breeds a culture of white entitlement which blinds some white people from recognizing why they shouldn’t be able to use language reserved for non-white groups.
On the topic of white supremacy Edwin Lindo details the history of the Star Spangled Banner and the overt racism of the author, Francis Scott Key, which is on full display in the second verse of the song.
Sexual assault continues to dominate the news, particularly the way men abuse their economic power to gain sexual favors undermining the opportunity for enthusiastic consent. One way to strengthen legal protections against sexual assault is through ”yes means yes” laws requiring affirmative consent for sexual contact; if you need to ask permission to borrow someone’s car it seems reasonable to have the same standard for touching another person’s body. This is a lesson that needs to be actively and explicitly taught to boys and young men who are often not taught appropriate romantic and sexual communication skills nor how to handle rejection. On the other end of the age spectrum it is important to talk to the sexists we love to help them identify behaviors that might be affecting the people around them.
When discussing police violence in the United States, there is often a presumption that the primary job of a police officer is to protect themselves and their colleagues; this is contradictory the police mantra to “serve and protect.” Choosing to become a police officer is a brave decision and it means accepting the inherent risk involved in the job.
As the world’s lone superpower in decline, the United States continues to wage wars around the world both public and covert. The public face of American power rests on military might and extravagant expense, like the doomsday plane that transports the Secretary of Defense and is equipped to manage nuclear war without the need to land. The covert wars are led by the CIA, which has seen an uptick in agents killed during the line of duty.
Scientists continue to unlock the secrets of the world from plants that send alarm signals through parasitic vines to the underlying structure of cells in the eye that is a contributing factor to dyslexia.
Education is often promoted as a panacea for poverty which, in reality, serves as an excuse for failing to directly alleviate poverty while using unequal educational opportunities to entrench and exacerbate the real root of the problem. This is similar to the tech industry’s promotion of coding in schools which serves to increase the supply of tech employees and drive down wages in the industry.
Finishing off your week in review is a photo collection of ancient trees from around the world.
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Have a great rest of your week!