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Quickies: Eugenics Awards, Weird Beliefs About Women’s Bodies, and the Queer Black Queen of Blues

  • Here Are the Medals Given to Eugenically Healthy Humans in the 1920s – “Entrants supplied blood and urine samples, had their height and weight measured, took an IQ test, and answered a battery of questions about their daily habits, medical history, and social behavior. After all these tests had been taken and results logged, each family member received a letter grade.”
  • What happened when I talked about what others ignore — racism in medicine – “Silence in the face of injustice not only kills any space for productive conversations, but also allows cancerous ideas to grow. Inclusion is not passive; it needs to be actively practiced. And the medical profession needs to uphold this principle by training us to do just that.”
  • Black Rage, Black Silence and Sexual Violence – “As youth and adults across the nation observe Denim Day, the Peace Over Violence organization’s annual campaign for sexual assault awareness month, what often drops out of public discourse is how racist, sexist and hetero-normative gender norms demonize black women and girls as improper sexual assault victims.” From Alex.
  • Weird Beliefs About Women’s Bodies – Most of these involve magical powers.
  • The joke was that Obama wasn’t joking – “The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has become a strange event. It is, ostensibly, an evening when the president and the press can come together to share a few lighthearted laughs. But it’s evolved into a recital of brutal truths — albeit one neither side ever really admits happened.”
  • The First Woman To Put Her Face On Packaging Got Trolled Like Crazy – “When Pinkham first put herself on a bottle of her bestselling Vegetable Concoction, men sent her hate mail, harping on her haircut and her ‘cast-iron smile.’ Journalists mixed her up with other famous women. College choirs made fun of her in song. All because she dared to put her portrait on a label.”
  • Why Did Vitamins Disappear From Non-GMO Breakfast Cereal? – “This mini-controversy never got much attention. Recently, though, as we interviewed scientists who are using genetically altered yeast and bacteria to make nutrients and flavors, we recalled the strange case of the vanishing vitamins. We wondered: Do GMO microbes make vitamins, too? Is that why they can’t be used in non-GMO cereals?”
  • The Queer Black Woman Who Reinvented The Blues – “Ma Rainey spent decades touring the country, inspired generations of imitators, and knocked the roof off any space she performed in. She also wore diamond tiaras, recorded nearly a hundred records, and threw at least one illegal queer orgy. She was, in the words of historian Robert Philipson, ‘one of the first black divas in history.’ “

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  1. This has been one of those occasions when a connection you’d never seen before suddenly becomes obvious. When I was at high school, we learned a comic song about Lilly the Pink’s Medicinal Compound. Now I find out that Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound was a thing when the song was written.

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