PC vs. pounds

A word problem told of a boat with a limited weight capacity, a two-hundred-pound operator, and an unknown number of eighty-pound children. In any other contemporary word problem, the active person – driver, pilot, carpenter, business owner – would have been specified a woman. In this case, the text book editor left the gender unspecified.

This opens up a whole new field for politically correct word problems involving, say, the change in potential energy of a forester climbing a redwood, or the forces on a 225-pound paratrooper who jumps at 1300 feet and opens her parachute at 1000 feet. We’ll bust us up some stereotypes and make some things explicit, you betcha’.

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