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.
"I visited Schoenbrunn zoo in Vienna whilst on a mini-break with my partner and son. We nipped in to see the orangutans at the end of our day who were happily playing in the enclosure, so I went to the window for a closer look and sat down by the window so my lb could see the orangutan who was roughly 5/6ft away. She then got up, carried a piece of cloth to the window and sat down with me. She looked directly into my eyes then placed her hand up as if to touch my son. I was in awe of this beautiful creature already."
"My son wanted feeding and as it was quiet I fed him whilst I sat there. The way the orangutan reacted took my breath away she kept looking at me, then my son then back again," she continued. "She sat with me for approximately half an hour, kept stroking the glass and lay down next to me as if to support and protect me.
I had to share this because my mind was blown. We may be a species apart but breastfeeding connected us today in a once in a lifetime moment that will stay with me forever. I'm also incredibly lucky that my partner caught all of this on video 💕"
The Facebook page added a story about a gorilla being taught to breastfeed by women from La Leche League, an organization dedicated to supporting breastfeeders:
"Did you know that women from La Leche League once taught a mother gorilla to breastfeed? The Mamma gorilla had been born and raised in captivity and didn't know what to do with her firstborn, and her baby sadly died. When she next became pregnant, breastfeeding women volunteered to sit beside the gorilla's enclosure and breastfeed their babies, showing the gorilla what to do. When the gorilla gave birth, a volunteer came over and breastfed her baby, showing Mamma gorilla what to do, step by step. Mamma gorilla watched, and then copied, and went on to successfully feed her baby"
The story has been shared more than 37,000 times, with many commenters stating how beautiful and moving it was. Others, while appreciating the beauty of the animal encounter, expressed sadness at seeing such a creature in captivity. As with practically every post about animals in zoos, debate broke out over whether or not zoos are helpful or harmful to the animals they house.
And like most debates, people's opinions fall along a broad spectrum. Some feel that zoos are the best way for people to learn about animals first-hand, which leads them to care more about protecting them in the wild. Some acknowledge that captivity isn't ideal, but that many animals die individually or go extinct as species without the work they do. Some feel that it's always wrong to keep an animal in captivity, no matter what. Even animal experts don't agree on this front.
And not all zoos are created equal. Many zoos have moved more toward a rehabilitation and conservation model, and there's no question that many animals who have been raised in captivity would not survive if they were suddenly released into the wild. There's also the issue of whether trying to limit natural breeding in captivity falls under the ethical treatment of animals, as breeding is a natural animal instinct. And what about the animals that have gone extinct in the wild and can only be found in zoos? There are a million questions with a million unclear answers when it comes to zoos.
However there is one thing most can agree on. Whether or not you think zoos are helpful or harmful, necessary or not, they largely exist today because of human activity mucking with nature. The same nature that compels this creature to connect with a human mother, despite her unnatural surroundings. The same nature that humans are destroying to get palm oil for our cookies and soaps, leading orangutans to the brink of extinction. The same nature that we are all responsible for protecting.
Whether we find this story sweet or sad or something in between, the reality for orangutans in the wild is worth our attention. Visit www.theorangutanproject.org/ to learn more about how to help.
All language has a history.
This article originally appeared on 02.04.19
As much as we'd like to pretend every phrase we utter is a lone star suspended in the space of our own genius, all language has a history. Unfortunately, given humanity's aptitude for treating each other like shit, etymology is fraught with reminders of our very racist world.
Knowledge is power, and the way we use and contextualize our words can make a huge difference in the atmospheres we create.
According to Meriam-Webster's dictionary definition, a thug is "a violent criminal." Obviously, this definition leaves the word open to define people of all ethnicities.
However, given the frequent ways this word has been used to describe Black Lives Matter protesters, the 17-year-old murder victim Trayvon Martin, and sadly, almost every black victim of police brutality — there is an undeniable racial charge to the word.
When you consider the people who are called thugs — groups of black protesters, victims of racist violence, teenagers minding their own business, and flip the racial element, you'd be hard-pressed to find examples of white people being called thugs in earnest by the media (or really by anyone).
let me get this straight. Marshawn Lynch is "thug" because he doesn't talk enough, & Richard Sherman is a "thug" because he talks too much?— Coach Ray Hubbard (@Coach Ray Hubbard) 1422371279
Several prominent activists and black writers have written about the phenomenon of thug replacing the n-word in modern culture. In a popular press conference back in 2014, the Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman explained his feelings about the word.
"The reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's an accepted way of calling somebody the N-word now. It's like everybody else said the N-word and then they say 'thug' and that's fine. It kind of takes me aback and it's kind of disappointing because they know," Sherman said.
If a 1400 SAT score and a degree from Stanford makes you a "thug" then I want my kids to be thugs. @RSherman_25pic.twitter.com/MWuWWPNSWh— Bipartisan Sports (@Bipartisan Sports) 1440294552
If you're talking about an actual criminal, there are so many descriptive words to invoke besides "thug." Given its current use as a negative, racially-coded word, avoiding its use seems like an easy and obvious move.
2. Grandfather Clause
When most of us hear the term "grandfather clause" we just think of the generalized description: a person or entity that is allowed to continue operating over now expired rules. But the literal meaning reveals the "grandfather clause" was a racist post-Reconstruction political strategy.
This is the historical definition, according to Encyclopedia Britannica:
"Grandfather clause, statutory or constitutional device enacted by seven Southern states between 1895 and 1910 to deny suffrage to African Americans. It provided that those who had enjoyed the right to vote prior to 1866 or 1867, or their lineal descendants, would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. Because the former slaves had not been granted the franchise until the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, those clauses worked effectively to exclude black people from the vote but assured the franchise to many impoverished and illiterate whites."
In modern speak, this basically meant the Grandfather Clause let white people off the hook for new voting requirements because their ancestors were already registered voters. Meanwhile, black people were required to fill out impossible literacy tests and pay exorbitant poll taxes to vote. This in turn, meant many black people were unable to vote, while white people weren't held to the same standard.
3. Gypsy or "Gyp"
The word "Gypsy" was (and is) a racial slur referring to the Roma people. The Roma people are descendants of Northern India who, due to severe marginalization and threats of violence by others, lived a nomadic lifestyle of forced migration for centuries.
During a fraught history, Roma people were taken as slaves in Romania and were targeted for genocide by the Nazis.
The word "Gypsy" is a slang word perpetuating stereotypes of Roma people as "thieves, rowdies, dirty, immoral, con-men, asocials, and work-shy" according to the Council of Europe.
In a similar vein, the term "Gyp" or "getting gypped" means to cheat or get conned, and many connect this meaning as another racist extension of Gypsy.
4. No Can Do
The saying \u201cno can do\u201d and \u201clong time no see\u201d came from Westerners mocking Chinese immigrants https://twitter.com/trashyewest/status/995768305003610112\u00a0\u2026— Justin Beauchamp (@Justin Beauchamp) 1526397713
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the very common phrase "no can do" was originally made popular as a way to make fun of Chinese immigrants.
"The widespread use of the phrase in English today has obscured its origin: what might seem like folksy, abbreviated version of I can’t do it is actually an imitation of Chinese Pidgin English. The phrase dates from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries, an era when Western attitudes towards the Chinese were markedly racist."
5. Sold Down The River
"The phrase 'sold down the river' came from Louisville, Kentucky, where the enslaved were traded in one of the largest slave markets of the 19th century."https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/02/louisville-confronts-its-redlining-past-and-present/517125/?utm_source=twb\u00a0\u2026— Pedro da Costa (@Pedro da Costa) 1524505436
Upon first hearing, many people associate the phrase "sold down the river" with the notion of being betrayed, lied to, or otherwise screwed over. While these definitions all technically apply to the origin, the root of this phrase is much more bleak.
According to a report from NPR, being "sold down the river" was a literal reference to slavery, and the families that were torn apart in the south.
"River" was a literal reference to the Mississippi or Ohio rivers. For much of the first half of the 19th century, Louisville, Ky., was one of the largest slave-trading marketplaces in the country. Slaves would be taken to Louisville to be "sold down the river" and transported to the cotton plantations in states further south.
This heavy connotation sadly makes sense, but also makes casual use of the phrase feel way more cringe-inducing.
6. Welfare Queen
The GOP argument on Obamacare has more than a whiff of Reagan-era racial "welfare queen" politics ---> http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/a-brutal-translation-of-the-disincentive-to-work-20140206\u00a0\u2026— Ron Fournier (@Ron Fournier) 1391695820
The term "welfare queen" was first popularized by Ronald Reagan's 1976 presidential campaign in which he repeatedly painted a picture of a Cadillac-driving welfare queen.
This straw woman in Reagan's campaign served as a racially-charged exaggeration of one minor case of real welfare fraud used to pedal his platform for welfare reform.
Needless to say, the term has sadly lived on as a racially-charged vehicle used to undermine the importance of welfare programs, while peddling gross stereotypes about black women.
On top of all the other offenses, this stereotype is of course ignoring the fact that poor white Americans receive the most welfare out of any economically-disadvantaged demographic.
7. Shuck And Jive
Obama's Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies http://fb.me/1m3q5c2IR— Sarah Palin (@Sarah Palin) 1351093162
The term shuck and jive is both common and very obviously rooted in the language of slavery.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the phrase shuck and jive refers to:
"The fact that black slaves sang and shouted gleefully during corn-shucking season, and this behavior, along with lying and teasing, became a part of the protective and evasive behavior normally adopted towards white people in ' traditional' race relations."
Likewise, the modern usage of this phrase refers to pandering, selling out, or instances in which black people go along with racist white people's wishes. Again, not a phrase to be thrown around lightly.
8. Long Time No See
The very commonly used greeting "long time no see" first became popular as a way to make fun of Native Americans. The phrase was used as a way to mock a traditional greeting exchanged between Native Americans.
This is the official definition, according to the Oxford Dictionary:
"Long Time No See was originally meant as a humorous interpretation of a Native American greeting, used after a prolonged separation. The current earliest citation recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) comes from W.F. Drannan’s book Thirty-one Years on Plains (1901): ‘When we rode up to him [sc. an American Indian] he said: ‘Good mornin. Long time no see you’."
The act of committing genocide is not limited to human lives, but also translates to a normalized cultural violence. Deconstructing, mocking, and erasing someone's language contributes to this pattern of colonialism.
9. The Peanut Gallery
Did you know the phrase 'peanut gallery' has racist origins?\n\nIt was the cheapest and worst part of the theater, and the only option for Black attendees. No one wanted to sit in the peanut gallery and today, no one wants to hear from the peanut gallery. #RewriteBHM #BHMpic.twitter.com/vwHHHWLeVP— Nat'l Urban League (@Nat'l Urban League) 1518542600
Most modern uses of the term "the peanut gallery" is in reference to a group of people who needlessly criticize or mocking another person. However, the historical roots of this term are much more racist and painful.
Originally, this term referred to the balconies in segregated theaters where black people were forced to sit. The nickname "peanut" was given due to the fact that peanuts were introduced to America at the same time as the slave trade. Because of this, there was a connection drawn between black people and peanuts.
MINORITIES MUST STAND UP TO ABUSE:\nKneeling to protest at games is tasteful yet effective. But white owners and racists think blacks are too uppity. \n"Uppity\nWord used by racist old white Southerners to refer to any black person who looks them in the eye." --URBAN DICTIONARYpic.twitter.com/CrRQJqTyTl— LJ Rochelle (@LJ Rochelle) 1527193180
As of now, the word "uppity" is often used as a synonym for "stuck up" or "pretentious" or "conceited." But the roots of the word are far more specific and racist.
The word Uppity was first used by Southerners to refer to slaves who did not fall into line, or acted as if they "didn't know their place."
So, basically, any black person who overtly stood up to racism. Given the heaviness of this origin, it seems best to leave this word at home when looking to describe a pretentious acquaintance.
Sadly, given our ugly history, there are many more words and phrases I could add to this list. In the meantime, hopefully this list is helpful for navigating the racism innate in our language.
The article was originally published by our partners at someecards and was written by Bronwyn Isacc.
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.
Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.
"The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius."
"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."
The tablet predates Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who has long been regarded as the father of trigonometry. Mansfield's colleague, Norman Widberger, added:
"Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years. It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."
"A treasure trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us."
People were understandably excited by the news.
Some mathematicians actually think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we do trigonometry today.
Babylonian tablet Plimpton 322 will make studying maths easier, mathematician says http://ab.co/2vuEzuL\u00a0 | @abcnewspic.twitter.com/U10wQ7ZA42— ABC Australia (@ABC Australia) 1503644411
"With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trig. (with) clear advantages over our own."\n@n_wildberger: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/24/mathematical-secrets-of-ancient-tablet-unlocked-after-nearly-a-century-of-study\u00a0\u2026\n#TOK— Roo Stenning (@Roo Stenning) 1503658186
Of course, there were the haters...
Find someone who loves you as much as this guy dislikes a hypothesis about Babylonian math: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/ancient-babylonian-tablet-may-contain-first-evidence-trigonometry\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/c5yO8LmjhE— Miles Brundage (@Miles Brundage) 1503605001
But all in all, Twitter users were pretty impressed with the Babylonians' skills.
And we're over here trying to figure out how to do trig with our TI-83s... man I love it when the ancients show what real intelligence is.— Kenny Hayse (@Kenny Hayse) 1503633184
Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry exciting!