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May the 4th Be With You

Let’s call last week my Spring Break! Now back to it. Also, I know the title is overused and you probably saw it everywhere today. But I don’t care. It still makes me smile, so I used it.

Slavery in Modern Day

“For 23 years, Bobby Paul Edwards, who owned the J&J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina, enslaved John Christopher Smith, an intellectually disabled Black man who Edwards beat and forced to work long hours for literally no pay. Smith worked 18 hours a day, six days a week and was forced to live in a “cockroach-infested” apartment behind the business. Whenever Smith’s family came looking for him, Edwards would lock Smith in the kitchen freezer or in another room so that his family couldn’t find him. Once, when Smith tried to escape he was caught and “hit in the head with a frying pan, burned with hot tongs, beaten with belt-buckles and called the n-word repeatedly.”

Edwards was finally caught in 2019 and pled guilty to one count of forced labor and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Smith was awarded $273,000 in unpaid wages and overtime compensation until the Court of Appeals doubled the amount to $546,000. The Root: Black Man Who Was Forced to Work Without Pay by White Boss Should Get $546,000 in Compensation, Court Rules Simply put, this is insane. The fact that his family didn’t take him from this man is baffling.

Caitlyn’s Mix-Match

Caitlyn Jenner on transgender girls competing in girls sports: “”This is a question of fairness. That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school,” said Jenner, a Republican who is one of the most high-profile transgender Americans in public life. “It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” She did not answer a follow-up question from the reporter about whether that view delegitimizes the identity of children who transition and now identify as girls.” CNN: Jenner opposes transgender girls participating in girls’ sports She is being asked these questions because she announced a challenge to California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the state’s possible recall election this year. Additionally, five states (Alabama, South Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia)  have passed legislation or imposed executive orders to limit transgender youth from participating in school sports or receiving certain medical treatment. I find Jenner’s position interesting but not surprising. Jenner from her privileged position has oftentimes been out of touch with the LGBTQ community and has received a lot of criticism since her transition. I think it’s the rich Republican thing she can’t overcome or see past. 

Trump’s Face

“Facebook’s Oversight Board, an independent and international panel that was created and funded by the social network, plans to announce on Wednesday whether former President Donald J. Trump will be able to return to the platform that has been a critical megaphone for him and his tens of millions of followers. Trump was indefinitely locked out of Facebook on Jan. 7 after he used his social media accounts to incite a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol a day earlier.”New York Times: Facebook Panel Will Say This Week if Trump’s Account Will Be Restored Facebook’s approach to political speech has been inconsistent. In October 2019, Zuckerberg declared the company would not fact check political speech and said that even lies by politicians deserved a place on the social network because it was in the public’s interest to hear all ideas by political leaders. But the company concluded that Trump’s lies on Jan. 6 were different because they incited violence and threatened the peaceful transition of power in elections. My issue is that it took more than one day of posts to incite a riot. So they can’t have it both ways. It sucks for Facebook but they can’t just make a stand on some political lies and not others. And I am in no way advocating for them to just let everything fly. They need to be more consistent though.

Middle Child “Syndrome

“At the start of the 20th century, Alfred Adler introduced the birth-order effect into the domain of personality psychology. According to Adler, the eldest identifies most with the adults in his environment and therefore develops both a greater sense of responsibility and more neuroses. The youngest has the greatest chance of being spoiled and is also, often, more creative. All children in the middle are emotionally more stable and independent: they’re the peacemakers, used to sharing from the start.”

“The end of 2015 saw the publication of two studies in which the methodological shortcomings of previous birth-order research (unrepresentative sample sets, incorrect inferences) were largely obviated. In one of these studies, two U.S. psychologists found associations between birth order and personality, but besides being so tiny as to be “statistically significant but meaningless,” as one of the researchers formulated it, they also partially ran counter to those predicted by the prevailing theories. For instance, firstborn children in this data set might be a little more cautious, but they were also less neurotic than later-born children. The other study looked for associations between personality and birth order in data from the United States, Britain and Germany and researchers found no relationship between a person’s place in the family and any personality trait whatsoever. Of course, all the circumstances in which a child comes into the world—whether they’re born male or female, in war or peace, into relative poverty or exorbitant wealth—end up making a person who they are. But the birth-order effect seems to particularly enthuse and preoccupy us. One of the reasons belief in the birth-order effect is so persistent, they suggest, is because it’s so easily confused with age. Pretty much everyone can see with their own eyes that older children behave differently from younger children. And there’s a good chance that a first child, when compared with a second child, will appear more cautious and anxious. It’s just that this difference probably has more to do with age than with birth order.” Time: Does Birth Order Really Determine Personality? Here’s What the Research Says Not sure I buy into the whole birth order thing. But either way it is fun to consider, as I am a first born.

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