+

Like all great literary works these days, "Santa's Husband" started out as a joke on Twitter.

The year was 2016, and racists were responding ridiculously over the fact that for four days, one of the Santas at the Mall of America would be *gasp* black. Responding to the outrage on Twitter, "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" writer Daniel Kibblesmith joked that he and his wife, author Jennifer Ashley Wright, will teach their future children that Santa is black ... and gay (just for good measure).

Illustrator AP Quach saw the tweet, pitched Kibblesmith on it as a children's book, and almost a year later, "Santa's Husband" is available for purchase in bookstores near you. The book itself tells the story of the home life of Santa (who, again, is black) and his husband (who is white, but often gets mistaken for Santa when he goes to help his husband out at mall appearances).


[rebelmouse-image 19477248 dam="1" original_size="750x1250" caption="Here it is! The Twitter thread that started it all. Image from Twitter." expand=1]Here it is! The Twitter thread that started it all. Image from Twitter.

What began as a way to troll the Megyn Kellys of the world has become a really cute book with a pretty dedicated fanbase.

Sure, it still made some people pretty angry — like the person on Twitter who was upset that "[Tim Allen] did NOT OK this book" and they demanded that Kibblesmith "leave Santa ALONE," or another person who wanted to know, "Where is the respect for tradition? The ideology of gender is going to [sic] far!"

If you ask Kibblesmith about it, however, he'll tell you that there have been some pretty heartwarming and positive reactions as well.

Kibblesmith and Quach. Images courtesy of Daniel Kibblesmith.

In an email, Kibblesmith recounts one of the more heartwarming receptions the book received on video from a two-mom household and their toddler walking through a Target. "Looking at a coffee mug shaped like a traditional white Santa Claus, they ask [their daughter], 'Who's this?' and she says, 'It's Santa's husband!'" he writes.

"We also got an incredibly kind note from the chef and author Michael Twitty, who is black, gay, Jewish, and has a white partner," continues Kibblesmith. "They're gifting the book to his partner's one-year-old nephew this year, and it's inspiring that this child will grow up with a much bigger view of the world and the people in it."

The only thing better than milk and cookies is sharing them with the one you love. Illustration by AP Quach.

The goal of the book was to go beyond just trolling for angry responses, Kibblesmith stresses. The book could have easily been "a dashed-off, one-joke reaction to someone else's knee-jerk reaction," but he really wanted to write something that put a little happiness into the world, to add positive value, and to craft something heartfelt and sentimental.

"Our book stands alone as a complete, funny, heartwarming Christmas story, totally agnostic of any specific 'War on Christmas' talking points, and I think that's what makes it work."

Just like regular couples, Mr. and Mr. Claus have their fair share of arguments. Illustration by AP Quach.

In a way, "Santa's Husband" helps highlight the best parts of Christmas and all other December celebrations.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, or something else entirely, the end of the year is a great time to reflect on who we are, what our values are, and what we can do to bring joy to friends and loved ones in the new year. Maybe "Santa's Husband" isn't your thing, and that's totally cool. For some people, however — such as the joyful girl with her moms in Target — this book gives them a sense of warmth and joy.

Isn't that what the holidays are really all about?

People can order "Santa's Husband" from Harper Collins. For more information, follow @Kibblesmith on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less