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Black Beekeepers Are Transforming Detroit’s Vacant Lots into Bee Farms (2018) (huffingtonpost.com)
160 points by rmason 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 107 comments
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Detroit is an interesting case of how a shrinking city becomes useful for some investors.

IIRC, I was looking up the prices of various lots, and many homes were $1000! Now, I don't live anywhere close to Detroit, but the idea of spending maybe $10,000 to $100,000 for dozens or even hundreds of houses is interesting.

Developing for humans may be a problem: Hundreds-of-thousands of people have left Detroit, leaving the city in the state that it is in today. But the houses and infrastructure (roads, water, electricity) may be useful for some niches, even in a "ghost town" situation (Or perhaps: more of a "ghost suburb" situation. Neighborhoods with shrinking populations will naturally have weaker schools, causing more people to leave, causing taxes to go up on the remaining people, causing more people to leave, etc. etc. Its a bad death-spiral effect).

I think I recall an article about how one writers group was buying up neighborhoods to station writers-circles, effectively creating a community of writers imported from around the country to one location, so that the writer-circle can leverage each other as an author support group.

I haven't heard of this Bee Farm thing, but I would have expected that sort of thing to be better in a more rural community.

In any case: redeveloping all of that land and making it useful (as opposed to broken down neighborhoods with crumbling infrastructure) is a big question for Detroit... and investors / businessmen. There's probably a lot of opportunity there.


Many of the homes came with a caveat that you have to bring it up to code. The home was only a $1,000 but the renovation costs were 10s of thousands.

You also become responsible for any unpaid property taxes, because they are attached to the property rather than to the person who owned it when the debt was incurred.

what the hell

That's why they are so cheap.

Shitty that an accountant policy is hurting a city.

Not sure if it's still the case but you could by adjacent vacant lots for $100.

That is still the case, but only if you own a home on the lot adjacent to the vacant lot.

From my understanding, there's also a caveat that you have to live in the home. Or have a tenant or something similar. I think it has (had?) something to do with preventing outside speculators from holding properties while the structures become (further) dilapidated and/or collapse.

> I haven't heard of this Bee Farm thing, but I would have expected that sort of thing to be better in a more rural community.

Well, first, bee colonies have been shown to be more productive in urban environments than in rural environments.

Secondly, there are acres and acres of open green land where Detroit used to be. It's unusable for brownfield development or cash cropping because of soil contamination, but could conceivably be used for pasturage or bee foraging. I image any problems have more to do with rent-seeking politics than technical issues.


> I haven't heard of this Bee Farm thing, but I would have expected that sort of thing to be better in a more rural community. Rural areas are often green deserts.

I’m not so sure. Suburbia where I am has a lot of plants, and abandoned sections likely have even more. That’s a shelter from weather and a food source.

My suburban hives averaged way more than industry averages (65kgs each) and they are suburban. Good beekeeping wasn’t why.


Similar situation to Berlin after the fall of the wall.

What happened here was that new college grads, artists, punks, and people generally looking for a cheap place to live moved into unrenovated apartments...

And now it's a tech hub and haven of cheap living ;)


Which is now only "cheap" for the tech crowd & well-heeled foreigners.

Meanwhile in Berlin, concerns that excessive urban beekeeping might be putting too much competetive pressure on wild bee species made minor national news. (probably not so much because the situation is actually dramatic but more because the story is both surprising and confirming of "clueless Berlin hipster sustainability" stereotypes)

Did not find a good source in English, just a German article: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/kritik-an-bienenkaesten-a... and a terrible translation thereof: https://www.archysport.com/2019/05/criticism-of-bee-boxes-on...


Came here to post similar. I don't think there are enough and/or large scale studies already, but there are 'local' studies showing negative effects of honeybees on wild bees (and all other pollinators, not to forget). It depends on a number of factors of course, but the general idea is pretty logical: suddenly there's a thousand extra eaters in your area but the amount of food didn't change. Meaning unless you have enough food for all, some are going to suffer. So most people I know with a job in nature conservation and similar think it's really about time this gets studied properly and then possibly regulated; not just Berlin has problems. There are places in the Netherlands and Belgium for instance where beekeepers drive the hives to the border of nature reserves to have their bees have a go at them. If that happens to be a place with only a small population of an endangered pollinating species left, it's not unlikely they will be effected negatively. At the same time there seems to be a rise in people interested in 'amateur' beekeeping, at least around here. And from experience they either simply don't realize that might be a problem, or they just ignore it / don't want to believe it because they think they're doing a good thing, taking care for bees (even though it is debatable whether it's really ok to just take their honey), solving the global bee decline, etc. tldr; the initiative sounds good but there might be unwanted and unknown side effects.

Detroit is such an amazing opportunity for anyone with money.

Buy up a shit ton of property for extremely low prices - it already has city infra, power, water, etc.

Install solar on lots. Bui;d a fucking datacenter for pennies on the dollar compared to other places.

Install municipal wifi with UBNT equipment

and transform the abandoned parts of the city for extremely cheap and reap the benefits both socially and financially in ten years.

If you have money to speculatively invest in real-estate -- buy everything you can in detroit.

Then get celeb detroiters to join and help back you.

Detroit is just ripe for innovation and can become a tech hub with LOW COST housing ASAP.

FUCKING CANNABIS is legal in MI now -- build a huge extraction lab there easily and cheaper than ANY other state in the nation.


Consider for a moment that there are lots and lots of properties in Detroit with an advertised price of less than $10K. How many people in the USA have the financial resources to speculate with that kind of money? Millions? Tens of millions? And yet ... they don't. There is probably a reason nobody else is snapping up these properties.

I actually know someone who bought a house for 6K. He did not buy it from the land bank so he might be able to sit on it, theoretically, and hope it gains some value. But do your due diligence because there may be big taxes, unpaid utility bills, etc, encumbering the property.


>there may be big taxes, unpaid utility bills, etc, encumbering the property

The reason no one buys is actually a lot simpler than that, if you buy, you have to bring the place up to code. Further, the city watches like a hawk to make sure no one games the system or takes advantage of the poor people living there. So in short, the real price is nowhere even close to the USD1000 that you heard about on the news.

These guys got some exemptions from rules because: "agriculture". Most people would not be getting that exemption. It's just too much work and you could never change and say, "Oh, I want to build a building there now!"


Can one buy multiple properties, combine them, and build a subdivision or apartment community with more modern designs and materials?

I mean, if Detroit wants to save Detroit, seems like that would be better than letting houses rot.


Who would you sell these homes to?

It's one thing to renovate one home in squatter and abandoned zones for yourself. Another thing entirely to bank on entire subdivisions of people wanting to move into such an area. Who's going to buy the home you build next to the squatters?

And keep in mind, if no one buys and moves in, you're still liable for upkeep on each and every one of the lots. For as long as it takes to sell. Which may never actually happen.


If you have enough consolidated land, rezoned, you can build a community with commercial, retail, and residential integrated.

I'm imagining enough that squatted buildings are on opposite sides of the street from the new development and/or there can be a buffer.


There are plenty of billionaires in Detroit who have tried to buy up large swaths of land and have been rejected by the city. The city government has made it clear that they do not want speculation, they want taxpayers.

But speculators pay property taxes.

No, the people being talked about go out of their way not to pay taxes. They will pressure the local government to rezone the properties to get away with not paying taxes. Billionaires paying taxes. Lol.

Property taxes on vacant land tend to be much lower than occupied dwellings. The city needs to either unincorporate the land and release it to the county, or find a way to get people living there again to pay for the city services that require upkeep.

What happens to property tax rates between incorporated vs unincorporated zones?

Generally property taxes in unincorporated areas are much lower.

?? Dan Gilbert owns around 100 buildings near down town Detroit.

Correct. But downtown is a small part of Detroit, and those properties were given huge tax incentives so they generate very little income for the city.

Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert have done amazing things in a 5 square block section of downtown, but it does little to help the population of Detroit. These taxpayer-funded giveaways to local billionaires has not exactly played out as planned.


I've forgotten which movie now, but there's a big scene in a blockbuster where they destroy a building for real. The studio made a deal with the town to take a dilapidated building, destroy it, then build the town a new building to replace it.

When I used to watch the Walking Dead I kept thinking there was a missed opportunity to do something similar in Detroit with any post-apocalyptic show and some abandoned neighborhoods. Even razing the properties afterward and paying for disposal would be an improvement in safety.


In RoboCop, crime-ridden "Old Detroit" was to be transformed by OCP Corporation into "Delta City"[1]. One can imagine a newer version of the story, with OCP replaced by "The FAANG Group".

[1] https://robocop.fandom.com/wiki/Delta_City


Yeah but think about the optics - “our city is a perfect setting for the zombie apocalypse with no extra work needed”...


There's alot of opportunity there but it's not this easy.

-- someone who owns and is currently renovating property in Detroit.


> FUCKING CANNABIS is legal in MI now

I tried that but it left the cannabis too soggy and hard to light.


A lot of 1960s and 1970s scifi has concept of "disaster recovery zone" lifestyle, where people go and live as they think they want, without huge government buy-in. John Brunner, Philip Dick, Rudy Rucker. It sometimes feels like Detroit is a semi-hemi-mandated version: You want to try and fix dystopia? Sure. try not to kill anyone, try not to over-succeed because we need taxes and you will become a source, but in the meantime, pick a house: we have thousands.

I guess I don't understand - the mead for the honey has to come from somewhere. So there must be flowers near the nests - a lot of them.

So one must also create meadows.

If they are on polluted ground (common in cities), probably the mead and thus the honey will also contain poisons.


Are there any dangerous substances in an urban environment that are picked up by bees and that would end up in the honey?

Honey that bees have harvested from Rhododendron nectar would be one I know of and is recorded in history as the first ever chemical weapon.

Highly recommend this fascinating article about the subject: https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/hidden-poison-rhododendro...


No more than the dangerous shit that all of us are taking in constantly living in the same environments.

I'm not sure that logic holds - swimming in the ocean isn't the same as eating swordfish with respect to mercury, for instance.

You're forgetting bio-accumulation.

No. The pollen is digested by the bees, which end up with all the gunk accumulating in their bodies.

Honey from cities tends to also taste better than rural, because the variety of flowers is far higher.


Sidenote: That Oath GDPR / data collection management popup is pretty much unusable. I can't figure out how to make sure that tracking through their "partners" is disabled and judging by how hard to navigate this tool is I guess I can't rely on the assumption that all of those unnecessary, sketchy options are opt-in.

And since I refuse to blindly accept those opaque terms Oath popups basically have become an automated call to close the tab for me these days.


Fantastic. Didn’t get why the skin color was relevant though.

For a second, I thought it was referring to the colour of the bees. Black bees certainly exist: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylocopa_virginica

Detroit is 83% black.

Making it even less relevant, surely?

I don't think so, it means this isn't just gentrification.

Might be a victim of A/B testing. The accurate headline would be "three black beekeepers are transforming Detroit's empty lots" but "black beekeepers are transforming Detroits empty lots" implies the existence of a new social movement with many members, which of course is more interesting and drives clickthroughs and hence ad revenue.

That said, Detroit Hives is a really cool team who deserve exactly none of the blame for Huffpost's bad journalism.


Why "black beekeepers" instead of "three beekepers"?

Are you not familiar with the Huffington Post?

to get clicks probably. As if beekeeping is not on the "what black people can or do do" list...

Two points:

1. the color of the beekeepers' skin is irrelevant and appears to have been an addition made by the poster

2. "The duo bought their first vacant space on Detroit’s East Side for $340 with the help of the Detroit Land Bank Authority, an agency that works to redevelop abandoned properties."

That is a redevelopment effort designed to get action.

Can anyone comment on how this program and zoning requirements interact?


I'm going to collapse this subthread which, predictably, became a flamewar about the title (and the title change (and probably next, the title changeback)).

You'd be welcome to repost your point about land redevelopment, which I assume doesn't contain any flamebait, in a comment of its own.


Ok, we've shortened the title above. Please let's all step away from the flamebait now.

Edit: since some people are arguing that it's an essential element of the story, I'm happy to put it back. The issue here is trying to get the content of the article the most interesting, substantial discussion the community can give it. That requires minimizing the things that push discussions in nasty, stupid directions, which we do routinely on this site all day.


Really? No offense Dang but don't you think that is patently ridiculous if a mere mention of skin color for a relatively benign story invites trolling and racism?

Why is mentioning the fact that they're black somehow flamebait here on HN? This is a story written by a black man, under 'Black Voices' about Black beekeepers with their race explicitly mentioned in the title of the article.


Of course it's ridiculous. The empirical question is what minimizes flamewars. If you don't think that matters, I disagree. It's the difference between this site functioning vs. being nasty, stupid, and not long for this world.

Then this goes back to some of the earlier discussions I've had with you in that there's clearly a deeper issue at hand with the community if the mention of race in a benign story incites flamewars.

Empirically it might reduce flame wars on HN, but you need to take a long hard consideration as to why it causes flame wars on HN and not other sites. Because to me, that signifies a certain, non-small proportion of the userbase here is unable to handle topics involving race, and that section of the userbase is so virulent that even stories which do not proselytize are wrapped up into the flame war.

And to preempt the argument I already see forming: Yes, social media sites and HN are a reflection of society. But your duty as someone maintaining the site is to control what parts and in what ways it reflects society. It is an excuse. Not an argument. And I find erasing race from discussions because it might inflame racists to be particularly egregious. I can understand doing so if the poster did so in a way as to misrepresent the article, but this was not the case.


"Empirically it might reduce flame wars on HN, but you need to take a long hard consideration as to why it causes flame wars on HN and not other sites."

This is so evidently false that I'm inclined to think it's even contrary to what you suggest; "other sites" is far too ambiguous.


I believe you're completely wrong about this not being the case on other sites. If you can find even one site that can fairly be compared to HN which is not at least as bad on divisive social issues, I'll be surprised. If I recall correctly, the last time you brought this up you said you were comparing HN to private, controlled forums. That's not a legitimate comparison. I'd bet that those private, controlled forums are far smaller as well. Any such community is going to have a completely different dynamic by virtue of size and structure alone. It's not because the moderators are more enlightened there or less enlightened here. That may well be the case but I guarantee you it's not the high-order bit.

Your argument about this feels to me a bit like backseat driving. All of HN's problems in these areas are endemic to the category it belongs to: a large, public, optionally anonymous, completely open internet forum. Find one of those we can learn to do better from, and I'll be delighted to.


Of course then this becomes an argument about scale, doesn't it? Twitter and Facebook both suffer from problems of racists and issues relating thereof, but do you really, really want HN to be compared to those sites? Do you view HN as having the same issues adapting to scale and being unable to control their userbase? Do you believe Facebook and Twitter to be above criticism because they have little to no other sites they can be compared to?

The sites I'm referring to are more or less microcosms. Larger subreddits, or sites like Tildes, SomethingAwful etc. These sites don't have the traffic of HN, but they deal with similar issues at their own scale. Larger sites can and absolutely should apply ideas learned at smaller scales and try to scale them upwards.

edit: Regardless of my thoughts on the site, I'll stop arguing about it and let things hopefully get back on topic.


The fact that the race of the beekeepers is only mentioned in the title and never in the actual article makes it fairly clear that their race is not relevant to the story.

The question is, would they ever write a headline that starts like this: “White Beekeepers...”?

They do:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48264941

stories and their headlines have contexts.


I wholly agree with you in sentiment that context matters, but how the hell is that article equivalent to the one here lol, I have to ask

Your article has to do with white farmers specifically targeted by the black government of Zimbabwe, literal racism, so the race of the farmers is actually relevant.


I'm not sure what you mean by 'equivalent', it's not something I said. I'm also not sure you've interpreted the contexts very accurately but if you happen to be unfamiliar with them, you can easily google up brief histories of Detroit and Zimbabwe and the central role race has played in both.

Not when 99% of beekeepers are white, no.

Yes and no. Yes this article is notable. But we don’t always need to editorialize the notable.

I’m all for highlighting achievements. It makes sense to highlight the achievements of those who for varying reasons haven’t had the opportunity.

Yet do don’t always need to do it of course. When you do it’s detrimental to the people you’re trying to highlight.

“Oh, look, Johnny did his homework today, everyone give Johnny a hand”. I’m exaggerating for effect but that’s an undercurrent.


I agree that it depends on the circumstance. Particularly, it feels more like patronizing if we highlight an accomplishment for a particular reason that the party in question finds embarrassing. Maybe Johnny doesn't want to be applauded for doing his homework. But if he doesn't mind, then there is no harm to Johnny.

But there may be another, unintentional harm: the harm to the ego of everyone who isn't Johnny. They may feel hurt that their own accomplishments weren't highlighted. They may even try to defend this hurt feeling, by saying something like "So? We did our homework too. Johnny's not special. Don't you care about us?" But the point of the accolade was never to down-play everyone else's achievements; it was merely to recognize Johnny's. But the ego gets in the way, and prevents us from letting someone else have the spotlight. We see ourselves as smaller when our peers are raised higher than us, and this makes us defensive.


And the NBA is 78% black. Should articles about white NBA players (doing something totally unrelated to their whiteness) start with lines like "White NBA players start charity for kids with cancer"?

Or maybe their race has nothing to do with their actions, and therefore should not be included?


It would be notable if white NBA players don't normally do charity. Race isn't the lede, but it's a component that may make the story unique.

To take the basketball analogy further, "white basketball player makes slam dunk" would be a bad story, because yeah, we know white basketball players can dunk. But "white basketball player becomes all time NBA point leader" would be news-worthy, because it's unusual. What makes a story interesting or unique won't always be dramatic, but it may still be important to highlight.


That's just it though.

I don't we should emphasize race in that way, when it's only relevant because "your race is less common in doing this thing". I don't want to see a headline like "white basketball player becomes all time NBA point leader". The race isn't important in that way.

That kind of thinking is what led to the self-fulfilling prophecy of slavery and racism against black people in the Americas in the first place -- the idea that they are less capable and it would therefore be surprising if they achieved something that the white man finds commonplace.


But these are different concepts. The bias of racism is one of erroneously assuming a person's capability based on something which has nothing to do with their actual capability. On the other hand, "emphasizing race" in a story can be used to point out the opposite of the above bias, in order to counter it.

If you've grown up all your life hearing the first bias, you may believe it. And then suddenly you see a story that refutes that bias, and you realize that actually, maybe the bias was wrong. Maybe it shouldn't be weird that this certain kind of person can do this certain kind of thing. It can take a lot of examples over a long period of time, but it works.

Countering the bias requires examples, and you have to actually publish those examples. If you never have stories that counter the bias, people literally just keep believing the bias. If in the 18th century nobody had ever put out stories about freedmen starting businesses, nobody would have believed that a freedman was capable of doing business. They needed those stories published just to change how people thought. That's the purpose of "black man becomes beekeeper" stories - to change perceptions, a little bit at a time.

That kind of story is useless if it's about something that everybody already knows and believes, but it's incredibly valuable if it fights a bias. This is the reason you don't see "white man becomes beekeeper" stories - we already know white people can be beekeepers. We don't all know the opposite. (If this sounds dumb, yes, I agree... but that's literally the kind of bias many people have, and this is how to counter it)


This is a really important question and needs addressing. Unless I missed something, it appears the title was changed solely to remove the fact that the beekeepers were black, which is the entire point of the column. If true, this is... well, embarrassingly racist.

Why did you shadow ban my account?

We didn't. Its karma fell below a threshold at which its comments get moderated by default.

If you want to email hn@ycombinator.com and commit to posting thoughtful, substantive comments and following the site guidelines, we'd be happy to reset it for you.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20675363

This is not pseudoscience -- unlike many of the other comments on GMOs and hormones. It's backed by research and the FDA.

Tell me where I'm wrong.


Article written by a black man, in a column called "Black Voices", about black beekeepers in Detroit, and moderators feel the need to remove "Black" from the title in order to "step away from the flamebait".

New low for Hacker News.


That's a cheap shot. I didn't "feel the need". I'm doing what we always do, which is try to set the articles here up for the fairest, most thoughtful hearing the community can give them, and minimizing the low-quality rage and noise that everything can easily slip into.

If people feel like that word in the title is essential to its content, I have zero problem with that. What we have a problem with is threads that fly off into ragey and shallow disputes about titles. Such discussion requires zero thought and zero effort—only reactivity. All people do when they argue like that—on whatever side of whatever issue—is angrily repeat things that have been angrily repeated before. That's not what HN is for. When we see signs of it happening, we've learned that the easiest thing to do is just change the title to reflect the actual content of the article. Unfortunately in this case the attempted cure produced more of the disease. That happens sometimes. In that case we change it back and plead with people to talk about the article instead.

Please talk about the article instead now.


To pick one example amongst many, when there are articles about “12 year old does X”, there is plenty of low quality rage and noise about how valuing accomplishments based on age isn’t acceptable and so on, yet I’ve never seen such a title get edited.

Painting it as something the moderation team systematically does is disingenuous.


I'm sure that we've edited such titles in the past.

"I've never seen it" is a poor metric for making general claims about moderation. People see and remember only what stands out to them, and what stands out is determined by their pre-existing views. That's why the general claims people make about HN moderation are so starkly contradictory. If there's one mechanical, utterly reliable phenomenon I've learned about from moderating HN, that's the one.


Be kind to the mods, they do their best to make judgement calls, and dang is very receptive to feedback. No need to be nasty.

> 1. the color of the beekeepers' skin is irrelevant and appears to have been an addition made by the poster

It's the title of the original post on the HuffPost.


That's weird. I thought that there was a different title when I read the article. Even double checked the title.

A/B testing headlines is not uncommon

Really??? That's bizarre.

[flagged]


It matters that the person theyre responding to is literally asserting, and I quote, “the color of the beekeepers' skin is irrelevant and appears to have been an addition made by the poster.”

It’s ... the point under discussion in this sub-thread.


He says:

> 1. the color of the beekeepers' skin is irrelevant and appears to have been an addition made by the poster

It isn't an addition at all, regardless of our comfort.


I didn't realize what was going on in this thread until I double-checked the article - currently, the HuffPost story still has the title "Black Beekeepers Are Transforming Detroit’s Vacant Lots Into Bee Farms".

The reason this title has "Black" in it is it's part of a HuffPost column called Black Voices; literally stories concerning African Americans. And the beekeepers noted here are indeed black. And I don't know if many of you know this, but there aren't that many black beekeepers out there.

The fact that the beekeepers are black is germane to the column and the story. Removing that from the title is erasing an achievement of a local black community. I think another commenter on here was spot on: someone on HN removed the "Black"ness from the story because it made them uncomfortable.

Can a mod please restore the original title?


Sure, I've done so. Happy to, if it's central to the article. The goal here is to get the fairest, most substantive discussion of the article and minimize predictable, stupid, always-the-same flamewar.

> someone on HN removed the "Black"ness from the story because it made them uncomfortable

That was me, and it didn't and doesn't make me the least uncomfortable. What does make me uncomfortable: people jumping to conclusions and accusing us of ugly motivations based on a made-up interpretation of almost zero information. Internet users have no compunction about doing that, and there's a kind of widespread implicit agreement to pretend that it's cost free. It's far from cost free.


> I'll tell you what does make me uncomfortable: people jumping to conclusions and accusing us of ugly motivations based on their own made-up interpretation of almost zero information.

1) You're a moderator - literally a person with more power than everyone else. People tend to get upset around the decisions of people more powerful than them, and jump to conclusions. It has happened in every single organization I have ever seen, including freaking yoga studios. It's on page 1 of your job description. So while I have sympathy for you, I don't have pity.

2) Sharing more detail about your changes can make a huge difference to the people that are affected by them. It may not always make people happy, but often a lack of understanding creates frustration. I appreciate the information you added after the fact, and suggest to add these details with your initial changes.

3) I don't know why you made the original change. Perhaps you didn't realize where the story came from, and just wanted to avoid any conflict at all, and so erased whatever seemed like it might generate controversy. But in doing so, you generated controversy. Like I mentioned multiple times in my comments, it appeared that the change was racially motivated ("Unless I missed something ...", "If true, ..."), even if unintentional, as a side-effect of trying to avoid a difficult discussion. And I may have been wrong, and made an unfair accusation. For that I apologize. But it turns out that the motivation didn't matter at all, because the effect was the same regardless of intent.

4) Sometimes we need to have difficult discussions. Yes, even on the fantasy land called HN, where the real world doesn't happen, and all that exists are interesting stories about technology. In this case, the really interesting discussion is not about beehives, it's about the way people interpret what they read, and how they act based on that. As one example, people may see a word that signals in them an unacceptable idea or scenario and jump to conclusions. For another, it's possible for someone to completely unintentionally have a negative effect on a minority community without even realizing it; which is a really important thing to realize, face, and learn from, but that most people in such a position won't want to accept. And another is that sometimes something that could cause a flame war might be there for a good reason, and people may need to learn to deal with it (as we used to say growing up, "like adults").

What could have been a flame war is (to me) a very important lesson about personal bias, how people interpret the world around them, and the effect they have on others. I'm saving this article as a favorite story to remind myself.


If 'the mention of "black" makes many [..] uncomfortable' then that would seem to be their problem.

The title of the page I’m looking at is the same as the post here, and is in a section entitled “Black Voices.” I don’t see where the poster changed anything.

And with a by-line from Philip Lewis who is conspicuously melanin-advantaged.

Look. Every demographic that does conspicuously well in an avocation has role models and mentors that children and young adults can identify with, from hard sciences (Feynman comments on this I think as far back as the 70's) to professional cycling.

If it seems childish, recall the target audience. Then take a deep breath, and relax.


i m happy that they are black, but it s totally irrelevant to the article

So irrelevant to the article that the race is not even mentioned anywhere in the body, only the title.

Textbook clickbait.


I thought this was a Vice article based on the headline alone.

Indeed, it is like putting the word human in there, though the prospect that it may goad a few racists to think they can do better, has many positive outcomes.

I'm not being an asshole here I'm Fucking SERIOUS: Why is it "Black Beekeepers..." And not Just "Beekeepers" (And yes I saw the pic of the author who is presumably American of African descent). I fear America will Never shed its segregation roots as long as we keep referring to each other in terms of color. Me, I'm adopted, and when people ask me where I'm from, I'll usually say Earth. Peace.

I'm not sure simply saying "I'm not being an asshole here" precludes you from being an asshole, in the same way that "I'm not a racist but..." is no guarantee that what follows isn't going to be racist.

This reminds me of something my girlfriend heard this weekend when she met up with some old friends. She heard an employer say something like: tell the Chinese girls such n such. Where one would expect to hear just tell the girls.

Article from 2018

Good catch! Added.

1) Disappointing HN thread - all about race and little about article?

2) Disappointing article. No depth at all. How is the money spent? How many bees are there? Where does one get bees? Are there flowers around for the bees? How did this person get into beekeeping? Why beekeeping and not, say, an organic garden?

3) Disappointing site - tons of flashing banners and ads everywhere.

What sounds like an awesome, uplifting story that may be replicate-able across the country was turned into an overall disappointing puff piece.


I had the same thought, I read the article to see if that was a thing, like black hat hackers. Turns out in the US, they find amazing that black people can be beekeeepers like white people. And yes, I checked who wrote the article, but it is probably a way of thinking that is shared nationwide.

Right? People raise bees. The people may be black. They may be white. They may be yellow. Or Brown. The people might me muslim, or jewish, or atheist. The bees don't care, and neither do I. I have no idea why it matters.



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