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People who are still living today played horribly racist games at carnivals and kids’ camps

This article includes racially offensive terminology and imagery in a historical context.

Black History Month was established to encourage Americans to dive into history that has long been overlooked. From black champions of civil rights, to black inventors and innovators, to black musicians and mathematicians, we learn about people whose accomplishments haven't always been celebrated. From slavery to Jim Crow laws to mass incarceration, we also learn how our country's legal and justice system practices have systematically oppressed black Americans for centuries.


But sometimes slice of overlooked history hits us so forcefully we have a hard time believing we'd never heard of it—or if it's even true.

Posts have been circulating on social media showing an old, black-and-white photo of kids playing a game called "Hit the N****r Baby," where they throw baseballs at black people's heads for fun. Such carnival games, also known as "African Dodger," "Hit the Negro," or "Hit the Coon," were still played as late as the 1950s.

Jim Crow Museum/YouTube

Snopes says that the "Hit the N****r Baby" photo came from a 1942 YMCA brochure for Camp Minikani, a children's summer camp in Wisconsin. So not only was this game played, but it was acceptable enough to have been included in a freaking camp brochure.

It's so jarring and appalling to most modern sensibilities, it's hard to fathom how such blatant racism was ever the norm—but it was. And it wasn't even that long ago. My own mother was alive when these games were played, and her mother is still living. Two generations of my own family lived when "Hit the N****r Baby" was a considered cute carnival game. And not just in the South, which we know aired its racism out in the open, but all the way up in Wisconsin. That blows my mind.

The Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University goes into disturbing detail about how these these games were played and the dehumanization of the people used as targets. A video on YouTube shows how black Americans were used as targets of violence for white people's entertainment for decades. (Please be advised that the video includes racially offensive terms and imagery.)

www.youtube.com

This is reason 234,007 why when white folks try to claim that the oppression of black people in America was sooooo long ago, I have to shake my head and blink a few times. Blatant, proud white supremacy was normal for the vast majority of American history—especially in the southern U.S., but not exclusively. People act as if, when slavery was abolished, all the proud white supremacy that fueled it just magically dissipated—but clearly that wasn't the case or we wouldn't have ended up with Jim Crow laws. And it's not like when Jim Crow laws were eliminated a century after slavery ended, all the proud white supremacy that fueled those just magically disappeared. A sweeping change of laws is not the same as a sweeping change of heart.

There are inevitably going to be some "get over it" folks who will complain about this history being brought up, as if it's better to just forget what happened in the past. That's quite convenient for the people who aren't directly and negatively impacted by the history of white supremacy, and quite unfair to the people who are.

Assuming most of us find the content of this video appalling, we have come pretty far in just a generation or two, so that's a somewhat silver lining. But at the same time, the FBI has warned about white supremacist terrorism, and "white nationalism" has become a politically palatable label for far too many people. Citing FBI statistics, New York Magazine's Intelligencer states, "hate-crime violence hit a 16-year high in 2018 with the black, Jewish, Latino, and transgender communities being targeted more than ever."

Clearly we still have more work to do toward eliminating white supremacy, internalizing racial equality, and establishing true racial justice. Hopefully seeing this heinous, relatively recent chapter of our history will lead to recognition of the racism that has been prevalent since our founding, as well as a reckoning of the injustices that the U.S. has still not atoned for.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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True

You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


www.youtube.com

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

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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