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'Sweet' viral video of weightlifter's teammates taking out beads is why the CROWN Act is needed

'Sweet' viral video of weightlifter's teammates taking out beads is why the CROWN Act is needed

Viral videos come and go. The best ones warm your heart and leave you smiling and feeling like your faith in humanity is restored. That’s what many people felt as they watched the video of a weightlifter for Bruce High School in Mississippi, whose teammates and competitors helped remove her hair beads so she could qualify to lift. The powerlifting competition was a state championship, and after the lifter finished her first lift squat, a judge informed her coach them that she could not compete in the next lift with beads in her hair, according to Holly Preston Wilkes, who shared the story to her Facebook page.

The action of the girls watching this unfold is heartwarming. These fellow weightlifters didn’t hesitate to jump in and help the soon-to-be disqualified student when they saw her begin to take her beads out of her hair. Eventually there were so many hands in her head that she had to stop helping, and in the end all of the beads were out before she took the platform for her next lift. When reading the viral post, which now has more than 34,000 shares, it appears the weightlifter was singled out due to a rule about “jewelry etc.” but beads are not jewelry. Beads actually serve a functional purpose outside of some beauty aesthetic.


It’s no secret that the majority of Black people have a different hair texture than other ethnicities, and even within the Black community hair texture can vary from person to person. Hair textures within the same family can also differ, just like any other feature, and for the majority of Black people, our hair defies gravity. Little Black girls grew up wearing ballies, barrettes and beads on the ends of their hair, and others misunderstood their use, assuming they served one purpose, to be pretty. In fact, the use of these items helps weigh the hair down so it doesn’t stick up, which can be seen as unkempt by societal standards (thankfully this is quickly changing with more people embracing their natural hair).

This is why the video that was viewed as a sweet moment serves as a troubling reminder to some Black people. Our hair is somehow inappropriate, even when it’s neatly placed in a protective hairstyle as this weightlifter’s hair was styled. As the video plays, the high schooler’s braids begin to slowly raise as the beads are removed from the ends. There’s no clip showing the end result, but it’s obvious that the beads are there for more than decorative purposes. If there was concern about the hair possibly being in the eyes of the competing weightlifter, then a borrowed headband or ponytail holder would have sufficed. The idea that she was singled out due to a questionable rule that would deem beads in the hair as jewelry simply prove why the CROWN Act is needed.

Representation of different cultures is needed when sweeping rules are made for sports, workplaces and other areas, because no small group of people can know what is culturally significant of all cultures. We can’t grow unless we ask questions and listen to people that may look different than us. This is especially true when we are writing laws and rules that are to be applied generally without cultural considerations that may not align with what was written. The passing of the CROWN Act will help eliminate rules that may be unintentionally harmful to Black people, who are simply attempting to care for their hair in a way that is not only pleasing to their own eye, but protected from damage.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

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There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

During the time it took for the unsuspecting mother to dig for loose change, the "stranded" stranger, Zach, introduced himself and asked if the duo were from Philly. Once they said they were from the area, he then inquired if they were Eagles fans...the football team, not the birds. "You ever been to an Eagles game?" Zach asked.

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Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

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In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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Community

Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.