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'Irish slaves' post that was shared nearly a million times was taken down by Facebook
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UPDATE/EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was successfully removed from Facebook thanks in part to this article from Annie Reneau and also thanks to readers like you who took action and demanded accountability from Facebook. We're sharing it again as an example of how we can all be part of positive and constructive change on social media. Don't let the trolls win!

Original story begins below:

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As we say in the viral stories world, there's viral and then there's viral. A post with 100K shares in a month would be considered super viral. A post with a millions shares—even over a long period of time—is nearly unheard of.

So the fact that a post about Irish slaves has been shared nearly a million times in just nine days is incredibly disheartening. Why? Because it's fake, fake, fake. And not in an "I don't like what this says so I'm going to call it fake" kind of way, but in a non-factual, already-debunked-by-real-historians kind of way.

As someone with a crapton of Irish ancestry, I find the perpetuation of the Irish slaves myth utterly embarrassing—especially since it's most often shared in an attempt to downplay the history of Black slavery in the U.S. If it were true, that kind of deflection would still be annoying. But pushing false history narratives to deny the reality of the impact of institutionalized, race-based chattel slavery is just gross.

And to be sure, this is false history. To begin with, the photo isn't even of Irish people at all. It's a photo of Belgian miners crammed into a mining elevator around the year 1900.


And the text for this post comes from a discredited article from 2008, written by a man whose identity has never been verified. Since Reuters already did a beautiful job of going through the post detail by detail and sharing historians' corrections of what it claims—with citations—I won't rehash too much here. (Find the Reuters debunking here. Find an Irish Journal debunking here. And a Pacific Standard fact-check of the Irish slaves myth in general here.)

Please, please read those links. Save them on your computer or phone so that you can share them with people who keep sharing these posts.

And please, for the love of all that is good and holy, let's all learn how to check things for ourselves. Here's a quick tutorial for how to do that, using this viral post as an example.

First, let's check the photo. There are two easy ways search for a photo online.

1) In a Chrome browser, hover over the image and right-click (or "control"-click on a Mac). Select "Search Google for Image" and you'll see all the places the photo shows up with descriptions.

2) In any browser, right-click the photo and select "Copy Image Address." Go to images.google.com, click on the camera icon in the search bar, then paste in the image address.

Here's what comes up in the image search for this photo. Clearly, this is a photo of Belgian coal miners, not Irish slaves from the 17th century (when cameras hadn't even been invented yet).

Now let's look at the text.

The first red flag on this post is that there are no citations. The person who created the post gave no credit at all for where the "information" came from. If a post contains historical claims and offers no sources, it needs to be verified. Always and forever.

The second red flag is that comments have been turned off on the post, which means no one can share refuting information on the post itself. Sometimes people turn off comments for problematic responses, but on a post that's sharing "history," it's super suspect.

The third red flag is the content of the post itself. Claims like "The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white," and "It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts," are both extraordinary, considering what we know about the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. If your first reaction is, "Wow, I'd never heard that before," that's a good sign that you should check with actual historians before sharing.

In the misinformation age, we all need to get used to googling the words "myth" and "debunked." A search for "Irish slaves myth" and "Irish slaves debunked" both bring up well-cited, credible historians' responses to narratives like the one in this post. (Again, read the debunking links above. Check the links they share from interviews with and written works of Irish historians.)

Of course, part of the reason this post has almost a million shares is that a whole lot of people want it to be true. This narrative makes slavery in the U.S. seem like an equal opportunity reality, thereby diluting the racism and white supremacy inherent in the "peculiar institution" of American slavery, and thus absolving white folks of any responsibility for the powers and privileges we've inherited as a result of it. It also allows white folks to say ignorant things like, "See? Our ancestors were enslaved just as badly and you don't see us whining," or better yet, "Where are MY damn reparations?" (Actual share text from someone who shared the post.)

We have got to stop this kind of misinformation and disinformation from spreading. It's not harmless. It's not a matter of opinion or an "alternative viewpoint." It's blatant lies, and no one from any background should stand for it.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

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Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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