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american culture, american food, things americans love

A delicious corn dog with mustard and ketchup.

A group of self-described “non-Americans” shared the quintessential American things they wish they could do and it’s a great reminder of some of the endearing aspects of American culture that far too many of us take for granted.

At a time when America is plagued by political divisions, it’s refreshing to remember that we all share a unique culture that others appreciate.

The responses were prompted by Reddit user gaping__hole, who asked the online forum, “Non-Americans of Reddit: what is an American thing you have always wanted to try?” The most compelling thing about the responses is they didn’t center around the advantages afforded by the country’s commitment to freedom and individuality. Instead, they focused on the day-to-day experiences that the average American enjoys.


The “non-Americans of Reddit” seemed to be really interested in sampling America’s unique culinary contributions such as fair food or things that are deep-fried. They appreciated the lifestyle that Americans in small towns and middle-class neighborhoods enjoy.

They also wanted to take advantage of America’s size, whether that’s the diverse topography or the idea that one can change their life by moving a few hundred miles away.

Personally, the responses gave me a renewed appreciation for the small comforts that we enjoy as Americans whether that’s chowing down on a corn dog or watching a yellow school bus roll down the street full of happy kids.

Here are 19 of the “American things” that non-Americans have always “wanted to try.”

1.

"To visit a diner like in the movies. In the middle of the night, it’s raining and just a few people there with great music from a jukebox." — TotalAd6225

2. 

"Can I interest you in our lord and savior Waffle House?" — ShadowDV

3. 

"Ride a yellow school bus even if I'm too old. Growing up I always loved seeing them on TV." — infiresemo

4. 

"A friend of mine from Indonesia said, 'the food chewer in the sink.' Garbage disposal." — Mnemonic22

5. 

"Being able to start a whole new life 'elsewhere' without having to leave my country and going through an arduous immigration process." — Gmtfoegy

Gatvolkak added:

"It really is a country where you can get up, move 3 hours away and completely reinvent yourself. The only thing that follows you is your credit score."

6. 

"Deep fried foods at a state fair. I'm from Scotland and we love to deep fry everything and I wanna know if it's just as good or better." — fenrislfr

7. 


"Trick or treating at Halloween." — IvanaHug

8. 

"Proper tailgating before a ball game, the kind where there's ribs and stuff." — SpiraltoNowehere

9. 

"7/11 slurpees." — Elford12

10. 

"Corndogs, I don't understand what it is but I want to try it." — AFowlWaterfowl

11. 

"A friend of mine from China took a vacation to the US. He landed in Chicago, rented a car and drove down Route 66 until he could peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon, then drove back. Where he's from, a road trip isn't even a thing." — Henri_Dupont

12. 

"Chicken and waffles." — Wide-Flower3494

13.

"It's impossible, but the small town/suburban middle-class American childhood experience from the '80s (think 'ET' or 'Stranger Things' or 'Goonies,' minus the spooky fantasy stuff). What you guy's say about Blockbuster nights nostalgia, the shopping malls. Growing up in Latin America at that time, we had a few glimpses of that lifestyle in some movies and it was fascinating, dreamlike." steak_tartare

14. 

"I want to understand baseball. Man that sport looks boring, but a lot of movies are made about it I just wanna figure out how the game is played." — shweyzy02

15.

"Using the word 'ya'll' in general conversation." — Devlin_McGregor

16. 

"French woman I used to hang out with needed instructions on how to eat a chili dog. Blew her mind. Steamed and toasted bun, all-beef natural casing hot dog from a local farm, homemade chili, raw and finely chopped onions, and a bunch of Colby-jack cheese. She had seen pictures and wanted to try it, so I took her to this place run by a Vietnam vet who had wanted to own a chili dog stand since he was in the war. That was his life goal. Not get married, raise a family. But survive the war and open a chili dog stand. He finally made it after decades of biding his time, and all that passion went into the perfectly executed chili dog." — DeepStateofAffairs

17. 

"White Castle. Specifically that big box of white castle sliders. (I want to try it because of Harold and Kumar)." — Camus-Albert

18. 

"I've always wanted to go to a 'real' haunted house with actors during the Halloween season. Or those scary corn mazes with actors, etc." — tadpolecrusader

19. 

"Beer pong." — manserct

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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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.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

via GIPHY

Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

via GIPHY


No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

via GIPHY

The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

via GIPHY

Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

Giphy

Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

Giphy

Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.