Bearded doctors are more hygienic than clean shaven ones

Beardless doctors might kill you!

In this study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, they swabbed the faces of 408 hospital staff with and without facial hair…

The beardless group were more than three times as likely to be harbouring a species known as methicillin-resistant staph aureus on their freshly shaven cheeks. MRSA is a particularly common and troublesome source of hospital-acquired infections because it is resistant to so many of our current antibiotics. [link]

Anil Dash reminds us that he is a “magnanimous motherfucker”

Anil Dash responds to yet another case where people were thrown off a plane largely for being brown and talks about his own experience as a frequent flier dealing with paranoia and racial hostility from his fellow passengers:

You have to think about what these people are saying when they scrutinize me, or every other brown person, in an airport security line. They’re clearly saying: I think you would kill me, and you, and all the people on this plane, including the children. Now, they never quite have the temerity to say it out loud. Instead, they just exchange that meaningful nod with the TSA agent, hoping to get me pulled out for a secondary screening.

And honestly, I’m pretty good-natured about it. I fly at least once a month, and they’re all round trips, so let’s call it maybe 26 flights a year—one every other week. Now imagine, if every other week a stranger said, “I think you intend to kill children.” Could you laugh it off three times in a row? Four? Eight? Because if you have the extraordinary patience to be able to ignore it, or laugh along, or quietly acquiesce to letting strangers indicate to your face that they think you’re secretly a duplicitous, lying, child murderer in waiting, then you’ll just be asked to do it again on your next flight. [link]

We still have a long way to go in terms of the depiction of black women in video games

As Sidney Fussell explains so well in BoingBoing:

Color has meaning. And without people of color involved in the designing process, games are routinely unaware of these meanings. For Black women, this problem arises in a very specific way. DePass used the phrase ‘fantasy-black’ to describe the “not too black” design trope in games. As DePass notes, women in gaming designed to read as “Black” frequently have blue or green eyes, straightened or silver hair, or lightened or red-tinted skin… So while all women in games are subject to staid metrics of desirability, black women have their blackness negotiated in a way that assumes blackness itself is undesirable. (Conversely, black men in games are almost uniformly depicted as having very dark skin—their color is ostensibly measured according to metrics of threat and physicality.) [link]

Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.
But in the main, I feel like a brown bag of miscellany propped against a wall. Against a wall in company with other bags, white, red and yellow. Pour out the contents, and there is discovered a jumble of small things priceless and worthless.”

  — Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”

Claudia Rankine: The daily strain of knowing you can be killed for simply being black

I asked another friend what it’s like being the mother of a black son. “The condition of black life is one of mourning,” she said bluntly. For her, mourning lived in real time inside her and her son’s reality: At any moment she might lose her reason for living. Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad about black suffering, there really is no mode of empathy that can replicate the daily strain of knowing that as a black person you can be killed for simply being black: no hands in your pockets, no playing music, no sudden movements, no driving your car, no walking at night, no walking in the day, no turning onto this street, no entering this building, no standing your ground, no standing here, no standing there, no talking back, no playing with toy guns, no living while black. [link]

Lumumba was assassinated 55 years ago, yesterday

Yesterday was the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba

They begin their story on June 30, 1960, with independence day in Léopoldville, the new country’s capital. There, King Baudouin—bedecked in white and countless medals—showed himself oblivious to the scarring legacy of his nation’s unconscionable rule in the Congo. Instead, lecturing one last time to his subjects, he “dripped with imperial condescension,” admonishing the assembled Africans that their independence “ ‘crowned the work that the genius of Leopold, a champion of civilization,’ had initiated.”

It was then Lumumba’s turn to address the assembly of dignitaries. Renowned for his oratory, he electrified the room. Lumumba’s opening salvo left no space for equivocation: “We are proud of this struggle of tears, of fire, and of blood that . . . put an end to the humiliating slavery that force imposed upon us. . . . We have known ironies, insults, blows that we have endured morning, noon and evening, just because we are negroes. . . . Together . . . we are going to show the world what the black man can do when he works in freedom.” With the interrupting applause of African compatriots propelling it forward, Lumumba’s diatribe visibly withered the Belgian monarch. The famous West Indian poet Aimé Césaire would soon presciently muse whether or not the sky would fall in “because a nigger has dared, in the world’s face, to curse out a king.” [link]

lumumba

You’re better off skinny and out of shape than fit and fat

This is the time when everybody rushes to the gym, for first six weeks of the year. Something important to think about:

Men who weighed in in the normal range, regardless of their fitness level, appeared to have a lower risk of death as compared to those who were obese but fit (in the highest quarter of aerobic fitness).  Even more striking: the beneficial effect of high aerobic fitness appeared to be reduced with increased obesity. In fact, those at the most extreme in terms of obesity did not see a benefit at all from aerobic fitness. [link]

A black parent asks white parents to talk to their kids about race so they can understand and combat racism

We talk to our son about safety issues. We talk to him about being respectful of police (and anyone in authority), about keeping his hands where they are visible, about not wearing his hood up over his face or sneaking through the neighbor’s backyard during hide-and-seek or when taking a shortcut home from school. We are doing what we can to find this bizarre balance of helping him be proud of who he is and helping him understand that not everybody is going to see him the way we see him. Some people are going to see him as a “thug” before they ever know his name, his story, his gifts and talents. But here’s the thing– as much as we can try to protect him and teach him to protect himself, there may come a time when your child will be involved. As the parents of the white friend of my black son, I need you to be talking to your child about racism. I need you to be talking about the assumptions other people might make about my son. I need you to talk to your child about what they would do if they saw injustice happening. [link]

Dressing “respectably”

When I was in school and dressed “black,” my mentor at the time would say, “Don’t make that a habit. People might think you’re up to no good.” Remarkably, my mentor never told me that I looked like I was ready to steal millions of dollars or evade paying taxes when I wore a suit to school (on the several occasions I did). There’s a difference between telling a black student his attire is violating dress codes versus telling him that, because his attire violates dress codes, he’s less worthy of respect and human decency. [link]