A group of five young women gathered with world leaders at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos the third week in January to discuss the urgency of the climate crisis. The five climate change activists sat together on a TIME panel, sharing their thoughts and answering questions. But if you just saw the altered photo shared by the Associated Press, you'd think there were only four of them—and that they were all white.
If you were to imagine a typical firefighter, chances are you'd picture a white man in firefighting gear—and there's a good reason for that. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 96% of career firefighters in the U.S. are male and 82% are white. Firefighting has long been a white male dominated field for various reasons—but in some places that's starting to shift.
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Every year around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, social media feeds get flooded with memes bearing Dr. King's face and words—snapshots of the man with a snippet of his message, wrapped neatly in a square package, easily digested by the masses.
We get bombarded by the "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" quote we all know and love. We get hit with "darkness cannot drive out darkness" memes that keep us feeling cozy in our comfort zones. We see "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear," over and over, and nod our heads in placid agreement. People of all stripes share MLK quotes that give us all the warm fuzzies, and we think, "Wow, what an amazing, peaceful, universally beloved man."
Sometimes you hear a story that's so absurd that your first response is, "No freaking way." Then you read more details, realize that the absurd thing actually did happen, and alternate between outright outrage and a resigned "Well, of course."
I've lost count of how many times that scenario has played out in recent years. It's pretty much daily at this point. I feel like every media outlet should have a WTF section. Good times, fellow humans.
So, in today's WTF news, a middle school teacher at J.W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, NY allegedly handed out historical slavery-era photographs and asked her eighth grade students to caption them. She then implored students to make the captions "funny" because she didn't want to be bored.