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A quick and easy guide to the differences between Skittles and refugees.

Donald Trump Jr. posted a meme comparing refugees to Skittles. There's more to it than you may think.

On Sept. 19, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. posted a picture of a bowl of skittles that sent the Internet spiraling.

Some people looked at the image and saw Syrian refugees. Others looked at the meme and were like, "Wait, what? Those are clearly a bowl of fruit-flavored candy."

And, look, I get it! To the untrained eye it is a hard distinction to make. On the surface, Skittles and Syrian refugees seem like they have so much in common.

Don't worry. I'm here to help. Here's a quick primer on how to tell the two apart:

These are Skittles, a bite-sized, chewy, fruit-flavored candy.

Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images.

These are refugees, actual human beings fleeing conflict and persecution.

Syrian Kurdish people at the border between Syria and Turkey. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

These are Skittles, which come a variety of flavors, including original, tropical, sour, and wild berry.

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

These are refugees. Over half of the world's estimated 21.3 million refugees are under the age of 18.

A Syrian Kurdish woman and her daughter near the Syria border at the southeastern town of Suruc. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

These are Skittles, a brand with nearly 24 million Facebook fans.

A portrait of NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and his family, made out of delicious Skittles. Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.

These are refugees. Before being admitted to the U.S., refugees undergo an extensive vetting process that can last months.

A Kurdish refugee woman in a camp in Suruc. Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images.

These are Skittles. They debuted in the U.K. back in 1974. Five years later, they made their way to the U.S.

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.

This is a refugee. The odds of an American dying in an act of terrorism committed by a refugee are actually just 1 in 3.64 billion a year.

On the flip side, the odds of an American dying in an act of terrorism committed by a U.S. citizen are 1 in 20 million.

A child from Turkey is kept warm after arriving on a raft to the island of Lesbos. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

These are Skittles. Since 1994, their slogan has been "Taste the rainbow."

Photo by iStock.

These are refugees. They're coming to America for safety, even though anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased as much as 78% over the past year in the U.S., the highest rate since the aftermath of 9/11. Just under half of U.S.-bound refugees are Muslim.

Syrian refugees and community leaders join together for a #RefugeesWelcome Thanksgiving. Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for MoveOn.org.

These are Skittles. Since 2009, they've been vegan.

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.

This is a refugee. Politicized, anti-refugee speech has gotten so out of hand that the UN is addressing that very issue this week.

A Syrian woman after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Gevgelija. Photo by Robert Atansovski/AFP/Getty Images.

How'd you do? Could you tell them all apart?

Seriously, though, there's a big problem with Trump Jr.'s meme and the imagery it evoked. It's about far more than comparing real human people to fruit-flavored candy.

This type of "it only takes one" mentality is designed to create fear of the unknown in readers (and, perhaps more importantly, in voters). It also has a really horrific origin involving Nazis.

Luckily, there are things we can do about this political propaganda. Namely, we can resist these politicized attempts to make us feel afraid of what we don't know.

Empathy is sometimes all we have in this world. It's what connects a man in Des Moines to a woman in Aleppo; it's what brings together a child from Boise and a teen from Kabul. It's what makes us human, and it's why we need to fight back against the forces that try to strip that humanity from us.

Stay strong, fight the urge to give in to shameless fear-mongering, and above all, stay empathetic.

And if you ever find yourself struggling to tell the difference between refugees and Skittles again, the good people at Mars came up with a handy, easy-to-remember tip to tell them apart:

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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Katie Peters shared a day in the life of pandemic teaching and pleaded for teachers to be given grace.

Teachers are heroes under normal circumstances. During a pandemic that has upended life as we know it, they are honest-to-goodness, bona fide superheroes.

The juggling of school and COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging, creating friction between officials, administrators, teachers, unions, parents and the public at large. Everyone has different opinions about what should and shouldn't be done, which sometimes conflict with what can and cannot be done and don't always line up with what is and isn't being done, and the result is that everyone is just … done.

And as is usually the case with education-related controversies, teachers are taking the brunt of it. Their calls for safe school policies have been met with claims that kids aren't at risk of severe COVID, as if teachers' health and well-being are expendable. Parents' frustrations with remote or hybrid learning are taken out on the teachers who are constantly scrambling to adjust to ever-changing circumstances that make everything about teaching more complicated.

Superheroes, seriously.

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This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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