Why Baltimore Raven/Mathematician John Urschel Is The Blackest Person Who Ever Existed This Week » VSB

blackest thing, Race & Politics, Sports, Theory & Essay

Why Baltimore Raven/Mathematician John Urschel Is The Blackest Person Who Ever Existed This Week

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1. Because math — not English, not social studies, not horticulture, not even science — is the Blackest subject. At least it is according to JR Writer. And Fabulous. And Cassidy. And every other rapper who’s devoted several bars to bragging about dropping out of school but always being good at math. Because being good at math means you’re good at counting money and vials of crack, apparently.

But seriously, math is the Blackest because it has no Oxford comma controversy. None of us were taught that two plus two equals four all through school, only to become adults and learn “Well, actually. Two plus two can be six sometimes now. But it can also still be four if you want it to be. It really depends on your interpretation. You can believe either. It doesn’t really matter.

Math isn’t here for your post-racial bullshit. And neither is Blackness.

2. Because Blackness is Jamal Wallace in Finding Forrester proving Professor Crawford wrong and causing him to make a face (at the 0:48 mark) like a cat just farted in his mouth. It’s walking into Neiman Marcus, having a salesperson ask if you need any help in the most obviously “You and I both know you don’t belong here. Why don’t you try Rainbow?“-ingest way, and you matter-of-factly saying “No thanks. Was just brought on as the company’s new COO. And just wanted to tour our stores this week to see which things are no longer useful and need to go.” (And you saying it like you’re in an early-90s comedy, playing a character a Wayans brother would totally play.)

Basically, it’s both defying and thumbing your nose at who you’re expected to be and what you’re expected to be capable of. And not really thinking much about it cause that’s just who you are and what you do.

And I think a 6’5′, 320 pound Black professional athlete publishing papers with titles like “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” — a name that could probably also double as the name of the worst Star Wars prequel ever — qualifies.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Killing two birds with one stone on the Rob Brown reference. I’ll give the runner up to Chris Bosh for promoting coding among black kids in Florida and being an avid coder himself. Now if folks could get past his other shortcomings………….

    • Nicholas Peters

      that he married a woman who was scamming men out of money by telling them that she had cancer?

      • Marcie

        I did not know this! lol! She seems so nice on Instagram. lol

    • Lea Thrace

      Georgia Tech Stand UP!

  • Wild Cougar

    This post speaks to me today as I go back and forth with this grant consultant about my “role” in the social psychological research on my tech product. But, you’re a lawyer, how are you qualified to invent a tech product based on scientific research? I’m like, ok, take all that out, make me the lawyer and contract administrator, we’ll give these other people I hired with titles the credit for my invention. Fugit, just give me the money… Now she’s like, but I’m struggling with your role in this business, how are you inventing a tech product based on social psychological research as a lawyer……

    *sigh*

  • ED

    One regret I have in life is not studying more math.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      The one frustration I have is they have changed how they teach math to kids so math help becomes a Bernie Mac moment. I trying to determine who I need to throat punch; the school for changing the game or my kid for not believing I’m doing the work correctly.

      • Cleojonz

        Seriously, need to refer to you tube to help with 4th grade math lol. My 2nd grader told me the other day “No mommy, that’s not how we do that.” I’m like well why do you need my help if you no so much? lol

        • Val

          “I’m like well why do you need my help if you no so much?”

          Lol Kids like their ‘mommy time’.

          • Cleojonz

            Lol they do Val. This particular child pretty much refuses to do homework until I get home to do it with her.

      • KKay

        As someone who aced math all the way up to Calculus 2, I feel ya on that. My sis worked out of town for three months when her youngest was in the fifth or sixth grade. Helping him do his homework was a chore I could not wait to toss back in her face when she returned.

        It wasn’t just the math either. The science questions had me hitting up Google when his back was turned.

      • ED

        I’ve heard the horror stories and I’m terrified for when I have kids. I can still do most of the math I learned in school (except Calculus) the way I learned it but this new math stuff boggles my mind.

        • I see what they’re trying to do in order to get kids past rote memorization, but I’m not sure the kids truly get it.

          • Cleojonz

            What they don’t get is that they still need the memorization. It is no help if they know the processes if they can’t know off the top of their head what 4+5 is.

            • Also, another problem is that they develop these new methods on the kids of university professors and their neighbors. That’s a problem because those kids get a lot more intellectual stimulation than the average child, and it shows. A few years back, researchers at Stanford compared kids at the university preschool to kids who lived in East Palo Alto, a nearby town with a poor Latino population. The Latin kids were 6 months behind the university kids in preschool despite not having any higher incidence of developmental disabilities. Yikes!

          • ED

            I strongly believe in rote memorization. Once you memorize that 5 x 6 = 30 then you can break down different methods for getting to that answer

    • Val

      It’s never too late, broham!

      • ED

        I know. I don’t have the motivation or desire to learn advanced math anymore though. There are other things I’m more passionate about these days.

  • Epsilonicus

    I got someone who I sorta mentor who was in one his math classes. He basically taught math while getting his masters. My mentee said he is an incredible teacher

  • Freebird

    The math is very cool but what was most impressive is that homie drives a used Nissan Versa and lives on less than $25,000 a year. He must be single and all about that mathlife.

    • Epsilonicus

      I think he also teaches math in the offseason

    • h.h.h.

      definitely must be single. lol.

      • MzzPeaches

        Me thinks he’s probably still pulling them. I’m no mathematician, but I’m sure it’s a formula that shows that men under a certain tax bracket still get it in and have relationships when they look like him and in his case, have obvious earning potential for the future.

        • h.h.h.

          I’m sure it’s a formula that shows that men under a certain tax bracket still get it in and have relationships when they look like him.

          The Drake equation? lol

          • MzzPeaches

            That could be one theory lol

        • potential is a helluva drug

        • Freebird

          oh he is….dating.
          but spending less on his life than a lot of folks do on their weddings….
          like val said, he is keeping a lot of types out of his life

      • Freebird

        he at least is dealing with less unloyal h$#es.

    • Andrea

      I think homie needs to holla at the HR office at the Ravens. They must be taking a real slow azzzz time on the signing bonus.

      • Nicholas Peters

        #RookieContracts

      • Epsilonicus

        He just doesn’t need to floss. More of the guys need to do that. It makes it easier to move in public.

        • Andrea

          I think I read that wrong. I thought he wasn’t getting a salary.

          • Epsilonicus

            He gets both

      • miss t-lee

        You gotta realize them NFL contracts ain’t nothing nice in the beginning…lol

        • Epsilonicus

          The minimum is at least like 420k. Thats more than I have made in my adult life so far lol

          • Nicholas Peters

            He is a frontside guard tho…

            • Epsilonicus

              LIke I said, thats the minimum; he might be making more. I doubt in my career I am ever going to make that much in one year.

          • miss t-lee

            It’s more than you and I will ever see in a year. However, you can’t just ball out on that like you’re making multi millions…lol
            That’s how kats ended up on Broke.

            • Epsilonicus

              Look, I can make 400k look like a million dollars lol

              • miss t-lee

                Sure, sure…lol

                • Epsilonicus

                  1. I would buy a baller car from the police auction or from some auction where people get they stuff repossessed. You would be surprised

                  2. I would buy a fixer upper home. I watch enough HGTV and actually have done a little home reno. Plus out COL is low here in Bmore so you can get a lot of house for a decent money.

                  3. Get me some financial help to try and flip it. I am smart enough to know there are a lot of things I dont know.

                  • Val

                    Go HGTV! I’ve been a very happy camper since I found out HGTV shows are on Netflix.

                    • Watch enough HGTV you start hating your decor

                    • Val

                      It’ll have you walking into rooms in your house and just looking around daydreaming about what to move and where and how that wall would look in blue. Lol

                    • HeyBooHey

                      Really?!? Imma regret finding this out, I can watch that channel for hours

                    • Epsilonicus

                      HGTV will have you being able to fix everything in your house

                    • HeyBooHey

                      And then jazz it up with assorted, fanciful items like sconces and decorative wallpaper

                    • Val

                      Lol Exactly my reaction when I found out.

                  • JusticeDelivered

                    This is how I have operated my whole life, never a new car, first house was a fixer, spent seven years remodeling and then built a new house from scratch. Completely out of debt by 35.

                    For those who come from a modest beginning, delayed gratification and sweat equity is the best path to prosperity.

              • Freebird

                word up.
                give me 400k lump sum and i’ll flip that.
                #makeitdowhatitdo

              • Half a mil in 20s is like a billion where I’m from.

                • DBoySlim

                  Best quote ever

                  • Probably my favorite Pusha line of all time.

          • CrayolaGirl

            LOL. For Real!

          • Amber

            Right. He’ll be OK. M

          • Unless he gets chronically injured than those medical bills are going to wipe that away

            • Epsilonicus

              Nope. They get health insurance from the league while playing

      • Freebird

        i hear you. if that is all he was making i’d say go teach school full time.

        • Epsilonicus

          He making about 420k a year. He said he chooses not to buy a lot of fancy stuff.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Not drinking the flossing /balling kool-aid. kudos

    • Val

      Good way to keep certain types of people out of your life too.

      • Freebird

        V….
        You can say a lot in 50 characters or less my dude. I was thinking the same thing.

    • miss t-lee

      I just want to know if he fits comfortably in that Versa.
      It’s probably like that commercial with Shaq sitting in that Buick.

      • Guest

        that’s the most impressive thing about him to people who get jealous when they see someone drving a car they can’t afford. His ability to excel in football and math, that’s ithe most impressive thing about him by far

        • Freebird

          you’re a lonely little white man, huh drey?

    • Cleojonz

      I’m trying to figure out how he even FITS in a Nissan Versa.

      • I’m the same height (though not as heavy) and drive a Toyota Corolla. Screw you. LOL

        • Cleojonz

          lolI just keep picturing that episode of the Simpsons whenever I hear of a large person in a small car. My husband is 6’2″ and he was talking about getting a Juke. I just side-eyed him.

          • DBoySlim

            “This is the only car I can afford!”

          • I’ve had that same video shown to me repeatedly. I’ve even had women say that I must be confident in what I got down there because I have a small car. Yeah…it gets jokes. LOL

    • DreyStaxx

      that’s the most impressive thing about him to people who get jealous when they see someone drving a car they can’t afford. Excelling in both football and math, that’s the most impressive thing about him by far

      • Freebird

        what are you trying to say breh?

  • Nicholas Peters

    On a thread dedicated to math I want it to be known that I just did 37 x 41 in my head and got it right

  • Damon Young

    Just realized I also could have titled this “How John Urschel Just Made Ever Black STEM Chick In America Ovulate.”

    • MzzPeaches

      For Colored Girls Who Have Considered STEM Majors When Humanities Aren’t Enuff

    • Marcie

      Sounds Accurate!

    • miss t-lee

      Far from a STEM chick, but I don’t know how you missed that detail…lol All I saw was 6’3, 313 and it was a wrap.

      • MzzPeaches

        Yuup. I needed a bottle of Dasani after reading that,

        • miss t-lee

          Yes, Lawd.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        He’s 12 years old. I had to look away and take back my upvote from you.

        • miss t-lee

          He’s far from 12…lol

      • Keisha

        …and educated too!!! I wanted to move back to Texas…may need to consider Baltimore. I’m sure he has to have some friends…so you can come too! :-)

    • Its like #Felonbae but with math

      • Keisha

        LOL…true!

    • Keisha

      He had me at “Cascadic”… **swoons**

    • MsSula

      As a STEM chick, I approve this message. :)

    • The 9-9…& the 2000

      true *kanye shrug*

    • Jesse Williams: social justice warrior chicks :: John Urschel: STEM chicks

      and also

      disabuse: social justice warrior chicks :: Cascadic: STEM chicks

      (I was a gee at analogies on the SAT, so there ya go)

      Light Skints are continuing their run for domination, Champ. You gotta add him to the list.

  • Epsilonicus

    I still do math on my fingers so…

  • my favorite subject is math, and history because 2+2 is always 4, Merica always fades the British, Pi is always 3.141592653589793. Its why i like my job, men lie women lie the numbers dont (unless you want them to but kermit.jpg)

    • AlwaysCC

      maaaan y’all are trippin. why are you acting like teachers didn’t pull the ropadope when they told us 0 was the lowest number. All of a sudden *BAM* you can count in negative numbers AND there are *imaginary* numbers??? gtfoh lol

      • Imaginary numbers blew my mind. Then they just never existed beyond 9th grade.

        • Epsilonicus

          Same here!! Its like I learned about them once and never saw them again. Maybe they are just imaginary…

        • Wizznilliam

          Lol… You had to go to college for Electrical Engineering in order to see them again… Apparently them sh*ts are important when you are designing circuits… Don’t ask me why.. I changed my major to Computer Science once they started talking all that bull…

      • miss t-lee

        Girl…once they stated that sh*t, I was like…f*ck all of this.

        • AlwaysCC

          i know, right?!?! my husband once told me “2+2 is always 4” i replied, “unless you’re adding a -2 and then the answer is 0″…and i will neither confirm nor deny that he threatened to divorce me lol

          • MzzPeaches

            haaaaaa

          • miss t-lee

            Girl…I feel ya.

  • KB

    Gotta give props to the young brotha for being on top of his math game. My friend teaches high school math and is currently working towards her PhD in mathematics. She is taking the types of classes where you create your own math problems. I am not about that life. I will stick to my Poli Sci and Public Admin degrees.

    • Nicholas Peters

      Business Management…Manipulation 101

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