Meet the new Iron Man, a badass black female teen prodigy.

The cover of Marvel's upcoming "Invincible Iron Man" comic contains a bold 21st-century update for the iconic character.

Photo by Marvel.


According to Marvel, Tony Stark will be stepping down as Iron Man — at least temporarily.

Robert Downey Jr. with an Iron Man suit. Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/Getty Images.

Assuming the role in his place? A black female teen prodigy named Riri Williams.

Photo by Marvel.

According to a Time report, Williams' skills make her a natural fit for the role.

"Riri is a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15. She comes to the attention of Tony when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm."

Marvel has taken steps to increase the diversity of its characters in the past several years.

Previous nonwhite characters to take over as tent-pole superheroes include Spider-Man Miles Morales, whose arc began in 2011, and Sam Wilson's Captain America.

The diversification extends to gender as well: Marvel increased its number of female leads from zero in 2012 to 16 in 2015. Kamala Khan, the first Muslim-American Ms. Marvel, was introduced in 2013.

Needless to say, the announcement was met with much rejoicing!



But with the news came calls for more inclusion behind the scenes, as well.

Jamie Broadnax, who hosts the "Black Girl Nerds" podcast, was enthusiastic about the announcement.

"I think it's great. I cannot stress that enough. I think that Marvel is doing excellent work, even in the cinematic world," Broadnax told Upworthy.

Nevertheless, she believes the industry has fallen short when it comes to opening doors to creators of color — and black women in particular.

"I think it's important that black people are allowed to write black stories," she said. "I'm not saying that it should be exclusive to us, but I think that we should have those opportunities."


She cited Regine Sawyer ("The Rippers," "Eating Vampires"), Mildred Lewis ("Agents of the Realm"), and Nilah Magruder ("M.F.K.") — talented writers and illustrators who would be assets to publishers like Marvel, especially as they introduce more characters of color.

"They're out there. It's just that for some reason, they seem to get missed when these opportunities come by," Broadnax said.

In the meantime, the Riri Williams "Iron Man" is an overdue acknowledgement of the obvious:

Practically speaking, you don't need to be any particular race or gender in order to fly around in a red-and-gold mechanical suit.

Though it helps to have some cool poses handy. Photo by GabboT/Flickr.

And in a universe where mutants move objects with their minds, alien raccoons hang out with giant trees, and gods mingle with mortal men, the notion that superheroes have to look the way they always did is ... dubious at best.

Here's hoping that in the future, character choices like this will be met not with a big announcement but with a shrug.

If comic-book writers' rooms start to look more like what's on the page, we might just get there sooner than expected.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture