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Have you heard of 'white fragility'? Here's a fake PSA to hilariously explain it.

Can you read this whole article without feeling a little defensive? I think you can.

Have you heard of 'white fragility'? Here's a fake PSA to hilariously explain it.

This satirical video from AJ+ called "How to Protect White People's Feelings in the Workplace" is hilarious — but, if you're white, it might make you feel uncomfortable.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm white. What about you? Do you find it hilarious? Let's talk after you watch it.

Did watching this video make you feel defensive? If so, there's a reason for that.

Don't panic. I want to explain something to you, white person to white person.


That little grumble in your gut that makes you feel uncomfortable when I bring up racism? There's a term for that. The term for that feeling might also make you feel uncomfortable or defensive. But it's just a term. It's called "white fragility." It's what happens when a white person prioritizes how it feels to be called racist over how a person of color might feel experiencing racism.

To be clear, it doesn't mean you're fragile, but if hearing that term makes you feel like closing this browser window or rolling your eyes, you might be experiencing it. The good news is, there's a pretty simple solution to feeling this way.

When you feel yourself getting defensive, tell that feeling to take a seat and try just listening to what's being said.

Unlike people of color, who are often confronted with conversations about race and have their interactions in the world affected by their skin color, white people aren't ever really forced to talk about race and racism unless they have to — usually after they've said something insensitive or, dare I say, racist, even if we didn't mean to come across that way.

Don't feel the need to rebut their argument; just think on it.

So if you do feel yourself getting defensive, try to imagine how the other person is feeling.

Think about all the hoops people who aren't white have to jump through in their head before they try to talk to a white person about things like race. If a coworker who is a person of color isn't reassuring enough when telling their white coworker to stop touching their hair, their white coworker might feel bad and think they're being called racist. Which many white people feel is the worst thing they can be called. But, it's not the same as experiencing racism, and, frankly, people of color shouldn't have be afraid to keep it real with us.

We as white people shouldn't take it personally when someone explains things to us. You're smarter than that. I believe in you! Grown-up conversations and challenging ideas are super fun!

When you feel yourself getting defensive, you could try researching the issue before responding.

If you watched the video above and felt the urge to be defensive, maybe it's time to take a step back. Don't be the white people in this COMPLETELY SATIRICAL video. Learn. Adapt. If you do, those conversations might improve in the future, which is the whole point of talking about them anyway. We can't fix it if we don't talk about it.

The next time you say to yourself, "This person of color friend speaking to me is making me confront uncomfortable ideas," I highly recommend you do three things.

  1. Stop talking like a after-school special robot in your head. No one talks like that. You'll thank me later.
  2. Resist the urge to get defensive and rebut what said person is saying. Just take it in, process it, go google about it and learn.
  3. If you think they are being divisive because they ask you to consider their perspective about racism, then you need to ask yourself, "When my mechanic says my car is broken, is he making it worse by telling me about it?" Answer that rhetorical question and repeat step 2.

Now could you maybe also share or tweet this with people and urge them not to be defensive? Because it's hilarious. And horrible. Please?

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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