The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?
It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.
Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.
Trameka Brown-Berry was looking over her 4th-grade son Jerome's homework when her jaw hit the floor.
"Give 3 'good' reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons," the prompt began.
You read that right. Good reasons ... FOR SLAVERY.
Lest anyone think there's no way a school would actually give an assignment like this, Brown-Berry posted photo proof to Facebook.
In the section reserved for "good reasons," (again, for slavery), Jerome wrote, "I feel there is no good reason for slavery thats why I did not write."
Yep. That about covers it.
The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?
The assignment was real. In the year 2018. Unbelievable.
The shockingly offensive assignment deserved to be thrown in the trash. But young Jerome dutifully filled it out anyway.
His response was pretty much perfect.
We're a country founded on freedom of speech and debating ideas, which often leads us into situations where "both sides" are represented. But it can only go so far.
There's no meaningful dialogue to be had about the perceived merits of stripping human beings of their basic living rights. No one is required to make an effort to "understand the other side," when the other side is bigoted and hateful.
In a follow-up post, Brown-Berry writes that the school has since apologized for the assignment and committed to offering better diversity and sensitivity training for its teachers.
But what's done is done, and the incident illuminates the remarkable racial inequalities that still exist in our country. After all, Brown-Berry told the Chicago Tribune, "You wouldn't ask someone to list three good reasons for rape or three good reasons for the Holocaust."
At the very end of the assignment, Jerome brought it home with a bang: "I am proud to be black because we are strong and brave ... "
Good for Jerome for shutting down the thoughtless assignment with strength and amazing eloquence.
This article originally appeared on 01.12.18
- A teacher had her 8th graders write 'funny' captions under slavery-era photos. Seriously, WTF. ›
- Classroom slide listing pros and cons of slavery is horrific - Upworthy ›
- Voice recordings of people who were enslaved offer incredible first-person accounts of U.S. history - Upworthy ›
- 'Drapetomania' was coined to explain why slaves ran away - Upworthy ›
They both had childhood dogs named Toy. They both married women named Linda, got divorced, then remarried women named Betty. And that's not even where the uncanny similarities end.
Sometimes stories comes along that seem too far-fetched or remarkable to be real. The entire Ripley's Believe it or Not? franchise is built on such stories, the ones that defy logic and reason and yet have been proven to be true.
One of those stories has recently resurfaced and it has us all scrunching our brows and questioning how it could possibly be: The tale of two twins named Jim.
According to People, Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were identical twins born in 1940 to a 15-year-old mother, but they were separated and put up for adoption a few weeks later. The fact that their respective adoptive parents named them both James (and called them Jim for short) would be a weird enough coincidence by itself, but that's only the beginning of the uncanny parallels in their lives.
As kids, both Jims were good at math and woodworking, but struggled with spelling. Both initially went into similar careers, one as a security guard and one as a deputy sheriff. Such similarities could be explained by the men sharing the same DNA, but there are far more specific parallels that are simply unexplainable.
They both had a beloved childhood dog named Toy and a brother named Larry. They both married women named Linda, got divorced, then got remarried to women named Betty. It's hard to see how these coincidences even fit into the nature vs. nurture question at all. It's just too strange.
But there's more.
Both men had identical smoking and drinking habits, both were habitual nail biters, and both started getting a distinct kind of tension headache at age 18. They both drove a Chevrolet and vacationed at the same beach in Florida, despite living in Ohio.
They even both named their sons the same name with just one letter difference—James Alan and James Allan.
The Jims first met in 1979 when they were 39 years old, after one of them decided to pursue finding the other through the court system. Their unique story caught the attention of researchers at the University of Minnesota, who were studying genetic influence on humans by analyzing twins who had been reared apart.
One of those researchers, Dr. Thomas Bouchard Jr., found the twins' similarities as jaw-dropping as the rest of us.
“If someone else brought this material to me and said: ‘This is what I've got,’ I'd say I didn't believe it,” he said, according to the New York Times. “The probability of two people independently being given the same name is not that rare. But when you start to compound the coincidences, they become highly unlikely very quickly. In fact, I'm flabbergasted by some of the similarities.”
The Jim twins were even invited to The Johnny Carson Show, which you can see here:
Having identical twins raised separately was an ideal case study, considering the ever popular nature vs. nurture question, but the bizarre similarities between the two Jims even baffled the experts. Personality traits, shared interests and the like can be chocked up to genetics to some degree. But marrying women with the same name, not once, but twice? Where's the genetic explanation for that?
Of course, there were some differences between the two men as well. They styled their hair differently, one was more of a talker while the other was more of a writer, and one of them got married a third time to a woman named Sandy. Still, those differences hardly make up for the similarities. (Seriously, a dog named Toy?)
The Jim twins helped contribute to modern genetic research in a unique way in that they lived during a fairly narrow window of time in which genetics was being studied in earnest and in which adoption agencies would break up sets of identical twins for adoption (which is no longer the case). But they also remind us that there are mysteries in this world that science can't even begin to try to solve.
Hopefully, people will keep trying, though, because we definitely need an explanation for the Linda-then-Betty marriage thing.
"Concerts need to be at a reasonable hour like 5pm."
Listen, everyone complains. Sure, we like to pretend it's just boomers that reach a certain age and start daydreaming about telling kids to get off their lawns. But the truth of the matter is, maybe some of the seemingly nonsensical complaints are valid because it appears that convenience has become inconvenient in the most obnoxious way possible.
Kevin Fredricks, a comedian and TikTok creator uploaded a video answering a tweet that asked, "what is the most boomer complaint you have." Fredricks must've been waiting for someone to ask this question because he had an entire list of complaints but honestly, if you're over 30 you'll probably be nodding along.
He comes in strong with a particular disdain for QR code menus. Save the trees and all that jazz but there's something about holding a menu in your hand that helps you choose the same thing you always order so much better. Flipping the menu over is key in making food choices while dining out. Seriously, not everything has to be digital.
"Also, the TV's too loud. Matter of fact, everything's too loud. The TV, the music, turn everything down a few notches," Fredricks declares.
But the comedian wasn't done, in fact, he was just getting started and so were the people in his comments. You'd think with it being a large platform that there would be some ridiculous complaints, but they're surprisingly very valid and applicable across generations.
"Concerts need to be at a reasonable hour like 5. 9PM is too late," one person writes.
"PUT DVD PLAYERS BACK IN LAPTOPS," another shouts because why do they still sell DVDs but there's no where to play them? Do they still make DVD players or is everyone using the ones from 2005?
"Yes, I'm tired of dark shows! Between How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM) and Game of Thrones (GoT). Baby, 33 and I can't see. Turn on the light," one woman says.
"I hate walking in to the grocery store cause the music is so da*mn loud. Like am I picking up some food or going to a d*mn rave," a commenter complains.
Whats your biggest boomer complaint?
It's true, it's all too much. Between not being able to see shows because they're so dark, to having to subscribe to 75 different streaming services and headlights so bright you can see a party on Jupiter, we're all shaking our fists at the sky. Maybe if enough people complain, we'll at least get the streaming services to pay the light bill so we can see what's happening on the TV.
Now, we have Gen Alpha teenagers.
Once you finally discover what Gen Zers mean when they exclaim “Slay!” every third sentence, Gen Alpha has arrived to make you feel even older. Gen Alpha is the official title for those born between 2010 and 2023, and the most senior have just become teenagers.
In a new TikTok video seen over 5.4 million times, Nicole Pellegrino, a Millennial-aged director of TikTok strategy for a media company, attempts to communicate with her Gen Alpha sister Simone, and bestie, using slang that she has no idea is “out.”
"I can't say, like, 'That's a slay'?" Pellegrino asks.
"It's not even funny how 'out' slay is," Simone replies.
WARNING: Video has adult language.
Why did noone tell me slay is out #genalpha #genalphatok #genalphaslang
In the video, Pellegrino is most confused by the term GYAT (which not everyone agrees is an acronym). "What on Earth is a GYAT? A yacht?" Pellegrino asked. The Gen Alpha girls couldn’t believe that she had no idea what the acronym meant.
According to the girls, GYAT is a way to compliment someone who has a nice butt. It stands for Girl Your A** Is Thick. "If you have a BBL or if your butt shakes when you walk, that's when you would yell GYAT at somebody,” Simone clarified.
The language lesson caught many older people off guard who weren’t ready for another generation to crop up and confuse them. "I’m still trying to learn all the Gen Z slang and now there’s Gen Alpha slang too. Man, I am so old!" Jwoo991 wrote in the comments. "Why are Gen Alpha like fully formed beings? I thought they were still babies," India added.
Replying to @hollymadison Gen Alpha’s out here using Siri to write essays 😹 #genalpha #genalphaslang
Seriously, are we being Punk’d?!
By now most everyone has heard of the Mandela effect where collectively a large group of people believe something that wasn't true. Some of the most famous ones are the Berenstein Bears actually being the Berenstain Bears and Jiffy peanut butter really being Jif peanut butter.
The reason it's called the Mandela effect is due to the widespread collective "memory" of the famous South African activist Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. He never died in prison, he was released and continued his activism until his death in 2013 but that's not how people remember it.
Over the past few years the Mandela effect of "Shazaam," a movie starring the comedian Sinbad that actually never existed. Sinbad exists but not the movie that many 90s kids fully remember watching never did. There is no evidence of the existence of this movie and even the star of the movie denies he starred in the non-existent film.
But people who grew up in the 90s insist it did, some even believing Sinbad's denial to be a joke or a conspiracy that includes the government stripping the globe of the VHS tapes. Other people accept that the movie didn't exist but don't fully believe it because of the distinct memories they have of watching it as a child. So how is it possible that hundreds of thousands of people between the ages of 35 and 45 remember details of this movie?
There are some theories that make sense but the best one comes from Sinbad himself when he too was trying to figure out why people so firmly believe they saw him in "Shazaam." Sinbad's best guess is that he hosted an all night movie marathon wearing a turban dressed like Sinbad, the sailor. This was during the same time frame as the movie "Kazaam" starring basketball legend Shaquille O'neal, who played a genie. So the theory is that our brains mushed the two together, which would explain why people are spelling Shazaam with two As.
Another theory proposed by a Reddit user is that people are remembering Sinbad playing in a movie called "Aliens for Breakfast" which has a very similar storyline as "Kazaam." Both movies came out around the same time so if you piece those two movies together and throw in that Sinbad was in fact wearing a turban around the same time frame, it's the perfect recipe for a false collective memory.
It also doesn't help that in 2017, Sinbad collaborated with College Humor to pull the ultimate April Fool's prank–creating a scene from "Shazaam." People briefly felt vindicated before the joke was revealed but due to the internet being forever, the fake scene is still available, which has people using it as proof the movie existed, disregarding that no other evidence supports the claim.
The argument of the existence of this false memory just won't go away and recently popped back up sending the internet back into a meltdown.
"I watched the movie!! I know it happened I can even remember certain scenes lol," one person writes.
"I don't care what anyone says I KNOW HE WAS THE FIRST SHAZAAM #Sinbad. I can vividly remember watching him play SHAZAAM," a commenter declares.
"The thing that doesn't make sense to me is how do we all have the same false memory. It can't be explained," someone inquires.
By the way, there is no movie from the 90s called Shazaam but there is a movie by the same name minus an "a" that was released in 2019 with a different actor and different premise. But that won't stop people being fully committed to believing Sinbad once played a genie and is simply playing a long running prank on a whole demographic of people.
The age-old method isn't as fair and practical as we originally thought.
Settling things by coin toss has been around for centuries. The ancient Romans called it “‘Heads or Ships.” Britains of the Middle Ages knew it as “Cross or Pile.” Throughout history, this game of chance was believed to be a fair, unbiased way to settle a dispute, choose which team goes first in a sports game and make decisions.
And the thought behind this makes sense. After all, there are only two sides to a coin, making the odds for each outcome an even 50/50. It doesn’t get more even than that.However, a team of scientists, led by former magician and American mathematician Persi Diaconis, have discovered that this age-old method isn’t as evenly split as we believed. And there's even a way to slightly cheat the odds to your advantage.
Diaconis made a name for himself by studying (and debunking) randomness, one of his more famous feats being determining how many times a deck of cards must be shuffled in order to truly mix up the deck. Even as a teenager, he exposed how casino scammers would shave their dice to improve their chances against customers.
When it comes to coin games, Diaconis has long argued that while it’s “pretty close to fair,” it’s definitely not 50/50. Especially when a little wobble is introduced into the toss, which increases the chance that the coin will land on the same side it started.
A group of scientists set out to test Diaconis' findings and their study, currently in preprint, revealed that coins did indeed land on the same side they were tossed from around 51 percent of the time.
“According to the [Diaconis] model, precession causes the coin to spend more time in the air with the initial side facing up,” they wrote. “Consequently, the coin has a higher chance of landing on the same side as it started (i.e., ‘same-side bias’).”
If you bet a dollar on the outcome of a coin toss 1000 times, knowing the starting position of the coin toss would earn you 19$ on average. This is more than the casino advantage for 6deck blackjack against an optimal player (5$) but less than that for single-zero roulette (27$).— František Bartoš (@BartosFra) October 9, 2023
The study recorded 350,757 coin flips, carried out by 48 people using 46 different currencies. In the end, there turned out to be a 50.8 percent chance of the coin showing up the same side it was tossed from.
They also found that some tossers showed a strong same-side bias while others had none at all, indicating that coin tosses may come down to the tosser, ever so slightly.
While this might not seem like a huge margin, the advantage becomes clear when you put into a betting scenario. "If you bet a dollar on the outcome of a coin toss (i.e., paying 1 dollar to enter, and winning either 0 or 2 dollars depending on the outcome) and repeat the bet 1,000 times, knowing the starting position of the coin toss would earn you 19 dollars on average,” the team explained.
"This is more than the casino advantage for 6 deck blackjack against an optimal-strategy player, where the casino would make 5 dollars on a comparable bet, but less than the casino advantage for single-zero roulette, where the casino would make 27 dollars on average."
You could also use physics to your advantage, not just probability. Diaconis also proved that the head side of a coin is a tiny bit heavier than its tails counterpart, causing it to land on tails more often. Especially when it comes to Lincoln Memorial pennies.
So next time you are fighting with a loved one over whose turn it is to do the dishes, you can still settle it with a coin toss. Just conceal the starting position first. Or take a peak a use this hard earned knowledge. No judgement.