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This Week in Freudenfreude: Buzz Off

You may have heard that the United States has sometimes had a wee problem with racism. And one of the ways that manifests today is in a certain paranoia, among some white people, that Black people are up to no good much/most/all of the time.

Consider, for example, the police report filed against Bobbi Wilson, who is Black and lives in Caldwell, NJ. That is in an area affected by lanternflies, an invasive species that wreaks havoc on local plants. The state agricultural department asked citizens to help fight off the insects, and so Wilson devised a pesticide of her own making, and went to war. A neighbor called 911 to file a complaint against a "Black woman walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees." A drive-by pesticiding, perhaps? Oh, and by the way, Wilson is 6 years old.

Needless to say, that neighbor really needs to sit and think about what she's done. In the interim, however, the Yale School of Public Health learned what had happened, and decided to do something about it. They asked Wilson to donate her collection of lanternflies, which was then mounted and put on display in the university's Peabody Museum. And Yale also held a ceremony at which Wilson was presented with an award recognizing her efforts as a young scientist.

So, it's a story with a sad middle, but a pretty happy ending. Frankly, if Yale is smart, they'll just admit Wilson to the Class of '38 right now. (Z)

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