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Erykah Badu missed the mark on some recent tweets. Here's what we can all learn.

Here's why Badu's comments blame the victim, not the assaulter.

Erykah Badu is known for being an amazing performer and outspoken artist.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for All Def Digital.


However, the singer recently shared a series of concerning tweets about sexual assault in response to a story about school uniforms.

Badu’s discussion of male and female sexuality was sparked by an Auckland school instructing female students to lengthen their skirts so male teachers wouldn’t be distracted. Many were understandably outraged.

In a disappointing series of tweets, Badu told more than 17,000 Twitter followers why she supports lengthening school uniform skirts to make young girls less distracting to their male peers.





To which the internet was like:

GIF from "How to Get Away with Murder."

Badu's words reinforce a dangerous line of thinking, particularly for black women.

A 1998 study found that 7% of girls surveyed in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. Another study from Black Women's Blueprint found that 60% of black girls reported having experienced sexual assault before reaching the age of 18. According to the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) for every black woman who reports her rape, at least 15 remain silent.

Those numbers are disturbing, and those facts only become worse when women are told they are responsible for preventing their own assaults, rapes, and even murders.


"[U] have yet to explain how longer skirts would protect and not subject young women to the sexism of society," one person tweeted at her. To which Badu did acknowledge that men should be held accountable for managing their own reactions and behavior.



However, even with Badu’s acknowledgement of men's responsibility here, her tacit approval of a plan that asks girls to take equal responsibility for preventing themselves from being preyed on by men — adult men — is still problematic.

Her words reinforce the idea that girls are responsible for whether or not a man preys on them.

Protesters demand change on perceptions of rape and sexual assault. Image via iStock.

Like so many other women — and especially black women — I grew up with warnings to "be careful around men" and "not to wear certain things" as early on as childhood. These men that we were supposed to be wary of could be any men — from a man we encountered in the waiting room at the doctor's office or on the street waiting for a bus to even men in our own families.

The idea that revealing clothing makes a person more likely to be sexually assaulted is a myth that has been repeatedly debunked. While these points of caution are certainly well-intentioned, cautionary tales from parents trying to protect their children, telling girls to cover up so men aren’t tempted only serves to assert power to the claim that adult men are uncontrollable humans.

We validate the idea that a male desire for young girls is just a fact of nature, and by doing so, we don't just put girls in danger — we reduce boys and men to thoughtless, unrestrained beings with no free will.

When Badu tweets that it is “in his nature” for a heterosexual man to be attracted to a young woman in a short skirt, she gives power to dangerous men.

She justifies the actions of people like accused killer James Dixon, who admitted to brutally and fatally beating Islan Nettles earlier this year because of what she was wearing and the fact that she was transgender.

She implies that María José Coni and Marina Menegazzo, two young women traveling in South America who were murdered by two men who gave them a place to stay, asked for their deaths.

It implies that Anita Hill, who was sexually harassed by her boss, then-SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas, must have been at fault somehow, not the other way around — and that her account of what happened was invalid.

Actress Kerry Washington and professor of law at Brandeis University Anita Hill. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.

It suggests that the 11-year-old Texas child who was gang raped by 18 men is to blame because she was wearing makeup, not because those young men targeted her.

It implies that these women and girls would be better off taking precautions to ensure they do not become victims — as if their attackers wouldn't find other victims instead — rather than teaching men and boys they are responsible for their own behavior.

This line of thinking tells women around the world who have been assaulted in bars and clubs, churches and businesses, schools and homes, places of danger and places of comfort, that their rapes may be justified if the conditions are right to tempt a man. We invalidate and mock their experiences when we assert that their lives and their ability to say "no" really don't matter when a man’s “natural instincts” are involved.

In the past, Badu has used her artistic platform to call out misogyny in the hip-hop industry, which makes these tweets all the more confounding.

She has also spoken out many times about the unfair criminal justice system. To use her same voice and platform to blame young girls — school-age girls — for being distracting to their male classmates and adult male teachers who supposedly are incapable of retraining themselves against such temptation is dangerous.

Seeing these tweets from her — tweets that reinforce a misogynistic culture — is extremely disappointing and completely uncharacteristic of the typically badass, woke, and talented artist.

So, no, Ms. Badu. Let’s stop telling girls to dress differently. Instead, the next time a school decides to ask all female students to dress a certain way so as not to distract their adult male teachers (who, surely, are capable of exerting self-control) or male classmates, let’s remember why treating female bodies like they’re to blame for the actions of men is a slippery slope no one wants to fall down. Doing that is much more effective in the long run.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Pop Culture

TikTok star's surprising method for finding good Chinese food is blowing people's minds

Yelp can be a helpful tool for scoping out food joints, but maybe not in the way you think.

Photo by Debbie Tea on Unsplash

Different cultures view service differently.

Content creator Freddy Wong has a brilliantly easy way to find authentic Chinese food.

As he reveals in a mega viral video that’s racked up 9.4 million views on TikTok and 7.7 million views on Twitter, the trick (assuming you live in a major metropolitan area) is to “go on Yelp and look for restaurants with 3.5 stars, and exactly 3.5 stars." Not 3. Not 4. 3.5.

He then backs up his argument with some pretty undeniable photo evidence.

First, he pulls up an image of a Yelp page from P.F. Chang’s. With only 2.5 stars, one can tell the food is “obviously bad.” Alternatively, Din Tai Fung—a globally recognized Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant—has four stars.

Sounds good right? Wrong. In this case, “too many stars” means that “too many white people like it,” indicating that the restaurant is being judged on service rather than food quality. According to Wong, if “the service is too good, the food is not as good as it could be.”

He then pulls up the Yelp page for a couple of local Chinese restaurants, both of which have 3.5 stars. The waiters at these establishments might “not pay attention to you,” he admits, adding that they might even be “rude.” But, Wong attests, “it’s going to taste better.”

@rocketjump

Why I only go to Chinese restaurants with 3.5 star ratings

♬ original sound - RocketJump

"The dumplings here are better [than Din Tai Fung's]. I've been here," he says of the 3.5 star Shanghai Dumpling House. Considering his Twitter profile boasts a “James Beard Award winning KBBQ Gourmand'' title, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about.

So, why is this 3.5 rule the “sweet spot”? As Wong explains, it all comes down to different “cultural expectations.”

“In Asia, they’re not as proactive. They’re not going to come up to you, they’re not going to just proactively give you refills, you need to flag down the waiter,” he says, noting the different interpretations of service.

"People on Yelp are insufferable,” he continues, arguing that “they're dinging all these restaurants because the service is bad,” but the food is so good that it balances out the bad service. Hence, a 3.5-star rating. His reasoning is arguably sound—people do often give absurdly scathing reviews that in no way accurately reflect a restaurant’s food quality.

“A good Yelp review doesn’t mean it’s a good restaurant — it simply means the restaurant is good at doing things that won’t hurt their online rating,” Wong said in an interview with Today, adding that “highly rated Yelp restaurants are often those with counter service and limited menus, minimizing potential negative interaction with staff.”

He also added the caveat, “I don’t have anything against those places, but I think people who only eat at the ‘highest rated’ restaurants on online review sites are only eating at the most boring restaurants.”

A ton of people in the comments seem to back Wong’s theory.

best chinese food

100% accurate, some say

TikTok

Plus, the theory seems to not be limited to just Chinese restaurants, further implying that maybe there’s more of a cultural misunderstanding, rather than any real lack of quality.

thai food near me

No drink refills but the food is fire.

TikTok

yelp reviews, yelp

2.8 is the new 5

TikTok

One of the gifts that our modern world provides is the opportunity to truly experience and appreciate other cultures. Since food is easily one of the most accessible (and enjoyable) ways to do that, perhaps we should prioritize seeking authenticity, rather than rely on a flawed and superficial rating system.

As Wong told Today, “I hope it encourages people to go out and eat more food from not only Chinese restaurants, but restaurants representing the whole world of cultural cuisines.”

Education

How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.

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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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