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Woman calls police on a black man in Central Park who asked her to put her dog on a leash

Yet another video of yet another white woman calling the police on yet another black person is making the rounds, and by now we should all be able to sing along to the familiar tune. It's like the worst song ever written but it's played so often you can't get it out of your head.

Intro: White woman ignores a rule everyone is asked to follow.

Verse 1: White woman gets angry when a black person points out that the rule actually does apply to her.

Verse 2: White woman gets aggressive when the black person starts gathering video evidence of her response.

Bridge: White woman demands that the black person stop gathering evidence—or else.

Chorus: White woman calls the police, turns on the waterworks and claims that the black person calmly filming her tirade is, in fact, threatening her life.


This week's video shows Amy Cooper, a white woman who had her dog off-leash in an area of Central Park that required a leash, calling the police on Christian Cooper (no relation), a black birdwatcher who told her she needed to put her dog on a leash. The video is striking, from the man having to repeatedly tell the woman, "Please step away from me" as she approached to the hysteria in her voice as she told the police—repeatedly—that "an African-American man" was threatening her life.

Christian Cooper wrote in a post her shared on Facebook with video of part of the encounter:

"Central Park this morning: This woman's dog is tearing through the plantings in the Ramble.

ME: Ma'am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there.
HER: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise.
ME: All you have to do is take him to the other side of the drive, outside the Ramble, and you can let him run off leash all you want.
HER: It's too dangerous.
ME: Look, if you're going to do what you want, I'm going to do what I want, but you're not going to like it.
HER: What's that?
ME (to the dog): Come here, puppy!
HER: He won't come to you.
ME: We'll see about that...

I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence. I didn't even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.

HER: DON'T YOU TOUCH MY DOG!!!!!

That's when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn..."

There's so much that we could dissect about this story, but it's not like we haven't see this before. Predictably, there has been huge public outcry over the incident. Predictably, Amy Cooper issued an apology, telling CNN, "I'm not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way." Predictably, some white folks have expressed more concerned over the woman's treatment of her dog than they were over her putting a black man's life in danger.

I have no doubt that this woman doesn't think she's racist. Most white folks don't think we are. The only white people who openly acknowledge our own racism are blatant white supremacists and those who recognize that racism is woven into our social DNA. And doing something racist, then immediately saying "I'm not a racist"—as if the identity of being a racist or not is the issue and not the fact that your actions were undeniably racist—is, again, a predictable pattern.

That's going to keep happening until enough white Americans acknowledge that racism lives in all of us. We are citizens of a country founded during the heyday of the transatlantic slave trade, a country whose most celebrated history is completely inseparable from the enslavement of black people, a country whose bloodiest war was fought over whether or not white people had the right to own people based on the color of their skin. We can't change that history, but we have to acknowledge how that foundation—and the centuries of systematic oppression of black people in America that followed—have impacted us and continue to impact us.

Hell, even the fact that this white woman and this black man share the same last name hearkens to the disturbing possibility that they might have historical ties to one another, as it was common for black Americans to take the last names of the people who enslaved them.

I've seen people attempting to defend this woman, saying she simply acted out of fear. But the way she says, "I'm going to tell them that an African-American man is threatening my life," is chilling. It indicates that she knew that telling the police his race would have a specific effect. She used the image of a black man threatening the life of a white woman as a weapon against a man who politely asked her to stop approaching him and who simply wanted her to put her damn dog on a leash, per the park's rules.

What's most telling is the dichotomy between the fear this woman purposely portrayed on her phone call and the actual power she is wielding as she does it. Angry at being called out for breaking the rules and being filmed for her reaction, she used her white woman privilege to make a phone call to the police as if they were her personal customer service line, flipping from aggression to victimhood at the drop of a hat, knowing that her side of the story was more likely to be believed than his—even with video evidence to the contrary being collected in real-time. This is everyday racism in action.

And from all appearances, Christian Cooper just wanted to be able to birdwatch without an unleashed dog mucking things up. He told CNN that he would accept Amy Cooper's apology: "If it's genuine and if she plans on keeping her dog on a leash in the Ramble going forward, then we have no issues with each other." But an apology doesn't go nearly far enough here, in my opinion.

As with all viral videos dealing with racism, I hope we all learn something from seeing this play out. I hope my fellow white Americans are able to see how egregious her behavior was, how the racism that festers beneath the surface of the white American subconscious reared its head to display its power here, how saying "I'm not a racist" is just a string of meaningless words that don't belong in an apology for racist actions. I hope people can see the pattern as predictable at this point—a truth that has been shared by black thought leaders over and over again but keeps falling on deaf ears. I hope people who see all of this seek out anti-racism resources to educate themselves. (This Google doc is a good place to start).

I hope that we realize how well we actually know the song at this point, and get so sick of it that we start singing an entirely new tune.

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.

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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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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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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.”