Parents raised concerns about her trip to Kenya

Africa’s a big continent. A very big continent. It can be hard to grasp just how big if you’ve grown up on maps that make it look as if the US dominates the universe. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos provides a nice graphic that shows how easily China, India, Western Europe and the UK, and Argentina all fit into the space Africa takes up, with some to spare.

McCarter does that by way of illustrating the cruel ignorance of this story:

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov 3 (Reuters) – A teacher at a Louisville, Kentucky, Catholic school has resigned rather than take paid leave after parents raised concerns about her trip to Kenya, half a continent away from the Ebola epidemic in western Africa, WDRB Channel 41 TV reported.

Susan Sherman, a religious education teacher who is also a registered nurse, was recently on a mission in Kenya in eastern Africa. When she returned, St. Margaret Mary school requested she take a precautionary 21-day leave and produce a health note from her doctor, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Well hey now. I’m on the same continent as Texas, where Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola. So are some 350 million people in the US and 35 million in Canada and 120 million in Mexico. Should we count the rest of America down underneath Mexico, or should we consider the narrowness of Central America a good enough reason to consider them two continents? Oh what the hell, if St Margaret Mary school can’t be bothered to check the distance between Liberia and Kenya, we might as well err on the side of inclusiveness and add another 400 million people. We should all have been in quarantine for 21 days after Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, right? All billion-plus of us? Because of a disease that is spread by contact? A disease that is not airborne?



  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    And in related news, republicans did well at the polls, in spite of mostly progressive measures (ballot initiatives) doing fairly well over all.

    In other words, people are pretty stupid.

  2. karmacat says

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the school forced the parents into a 21 day education program about geography, disease transmission and the value of not passing on one’s stupidity to one’s children.

  3. RJW says

    Actually West Africa is the entire width of Africa away from Kenya, not ‘half a continent away’. I doubt that the reaction of parents in other ‘advanced’ Western societies would be markedly different from Louisville USA, the parents’ attitude is an illustration of the difference between perceived and statistical risk. It’s very difficult to eliminate the bias, after all “Africa” is a place somewhere, although it’s probably bigger than Louisville.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    Well, we ARE talking about people living in the state that just reelected Mitch McConnell.

  5. Jackie says

    Well, we ARE talking about people living in the state that just reelected Mitch McConnell.

    You mean people like me.

    Seriously though, this state is a sad joke. It’s full of people who vote against their own interests because they only vote for coal, fetuses, guns, Putting Jesus back in schools!, homophobia and getting rid of the scary black man in the White House.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *