exactly that

Or not so much.

I remember loving the days in elementary school when we would get our Weekly Readers.  They usually covered really cool things and broke it down in to easily digestible amounts for young minds while getting them interested in world events and science, all while reading!

I was thrilled when The Kid brought one home.  She was all excited about the class discussion on “Great Ideas”, aka, inventions.

Glancing through it I started to notice something…

First they feature Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway.

Then Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, for bluejeans.

Also featured were Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith, who apparently perfected the Crayola Crayon.

Notice anything?

If you said “Hey!  Those are all white dudes!” you receive 5,000 arbitrary “you rock” points.

Oh, wait!  They actually included a woman.  Ruth Wakefield.  You know what famous thing she invented?

Chocolate chip cookies.

Seriously, were there no women who made scientific breakthroughs that aren’t tied to wimmin bein’ in the kitchen?  Not to discount what Wakefield did, b/c I love a good chocolate chip cookie, but come on, Weekly Reader.  I don’t think it is too far of a stretch to say that you should have maybe tried a little harder, and maybe included another woman’s famous invention along side it, unless you are in the business of telling little girls that their kitchen skills will be their most famous accomplishment.  Why not just hold up Eve as the inventor of childbirth?

So, 5,000 more arbitrary “you rock” points to anyone who guesses the next problem.

Yup, not one invention by a Person of Color, let alone anything by a Woman of Color.

In a diverse society it would behoove someone to maybe take note that there are a variety of people who should be exemplified as great inventors.  And that diversity should represent the fact that there are overlaps and intersections there too.

I did a quick search on Google and Wikipedia, and I came up w/ a few Women and WoC inventors.

Patricia Bath for a method of removing cataract lenses.

Margaret Night invented a machine that folds and glues paper bags making the bottoms nice and square.

Our troops should appreciate Stephanie Kwolek, she invented kevlar.

Wang An, who holds many patents, the first of which is for a pulse transfer controlling device, which made magnetic core memory possible.


Feel free to list your favorite Woman and WoC inventors and their inventions.

ETA:  Upon reflection I realized that in my hurry to finish this article, I left PoC out.  Feel free to discuss PoC inventors you are fond of.  I should note that the next Weekly Reader that came home had a feature about George Washington Carver for Black History Month.  My original intent was to be as inclusive as possible, and I would like to acknowledge that oversight.


Comments on: "Weekly Reader understands diversity…" (3)

  1. Mary Anderson, a woman from Alabama, invented the wiper blade.

    Liquid paper, or white-out, was invented by Bessie Nesmith in 1951.

  2. You almost lost me until you brought up Stephanie Kwolek. Now that’s a bombsmack woman! Rock on.


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