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Proud Boys tore down, stomped on, and set fire to Black churches' BLM signs—and it's barely news

Last weekend, in the wake of the Supreme Court dismissal of a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the Proud Boys gathered in Washington D.C. for a "Stop the Steal" rally. The irony in the slogan being lost on them, the far-right group took to the streets, and in the process, showed the world that they really are as racist as they are accused of being.

The Proud Boys frequently insist that they are not racist and not the same as white nationalists. They are a male-only group that describes themselves as "Western chauvinists," which essentially means they whine about equality movements infringing on their identity as the obviously superior descendants of Western Civilization's founders—which is a roundabout way of saying "yeah, we're pretty much racist."

The group tries to shield itself from accusations of racism by highlighting the racial identity of their Afro-Cuban chairman, Enrique Torres, in the organizational equivalent of "I can't be racist—I have Black family members!" But considering the fact that a previous Proud Boy member posted a whole screed about staging a coup in the group to officially recognize it as anti-Semitic white nationalists...welp.

Besides, it's pretty hard to argue that you're not racist when you gleefully vandalize Black churches, tearing signs that say "Black Lives Matter" off of them and then celebrating as you desecrate them. The Proud Boys engaged in this vandalism at two Washington D.C. churches, including the oldest Black Methodist church in the city. They ripped down large Black Lives Matter banners, breaking some apart, stomp all over one of them, and setting another one on fire.




Asbury United Methodist Church issued a statement from Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills that highlights the history of racism with the church, which was founded decades before the Civil War. It's a beautiful message of resilience, but it's infuriating that it had to be written in the first place. It reads:

Since 1836, Asbury United Methodist Church has stood at the corner of 11&K Streets NW, Washington, DC. We are a resilient people who have trusted in God through slavery and the Underground Railroad, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, and now as we face an apparent rise in white supremacy.

Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street. The sign burning was captured on Twitter. It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames. For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings. Seeing this act on video made me both indignant and determined to fight the evil that has reared its ugly head. We had been so confident that no one would ever vandalize the church, but it has happened.

We are a people of faith. As horrible and disturbing as this is for us now—it doesn't compare with the challenges and fears the men and women who started Asbury, 184 years ago, faced. So, we will move forward, undaunted in our assurance that Black Lives Matter and we are obligated to continue to shout that truth without ceasing. We are assured that our church is surrounded by God's grace and mercy.

Sadly, we must point out that if this was a marauding group of men of color going through the city, and destroying property, they would have been followed and arrested. We are especially alarmed that this violence is not being denounced at the highest levels of our nation and instead the leaders of this movement are being invited to the White House.

Asbury United Methodist Church abhors violence of any kind. We call upon all to join us in prayer for our community, church, and the people who are responsible for this hateful behavior. We believe this is a wakeup call for all to be more vigilant and committed to anti-racism and building a beloved community, and we invite you to join us. Our congregation will continue to stand steadfast—"we will not be moved." We press on in the name of the Lord!"

The question of whether these acts are racist isn't up for debate. If your understanding of Black Lives Matter is so skewed that you decry it as a "Marxist" organization or movement—which is how Tarrio himself describes it—then you either haven't been listening to enough voices in the anti-racism world or you've been taken by racist propaganda. And if you do understand that the phrase Black Lives Matter literally just means that Black people's lives do not matter less than other people's, and you choose to destroy any and all expressions of that phrase, that's most definitely racist. There's a reason the incidents are being investigated as hate crimes.

For those who feel tempted to say, "Well what about the destruction of property that ANTIFA/BLM engaged in?" here are some thoughts on that whataboutism:

First, let's be clear that the Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA movements are two entirely separate things. And Black Lives Matter isn't one monolithic thing, but rather a broad movement that includes some organizations that bear the name, and a whole lot more people who support the message of anti-racism. As far as violence, the BLM protests this spring and summer were enormous, widespread, and almost entirely peaceful. The individual spates of rioting and looting, despite being broadcast all over the media and pushed hard by certain right-wing outlets, were not a defining feature of the BLM movement at all—especially considering how much of the violence was actually carried out by white supremacists and Boogaloo Bois intent on undermining the BLM message.

ANTIFA, on the other hand, is its own movement with its own ideology and methods. For those who don't understand what those are, the gist is "Fascism needs to be fought by whatever means necessary." You don't have to agree with their methods—I myself don't—but being against ANTIFA's ideology is basically like saying "Nah, fascism is fine!"

While all acts of violence and destruction are wrong and ultimately counterproductive, they're not all equivalent. Some acts of violence are just dumb humans being dumb humans, regardless of identity or ideology, but some are purposeful statements. There's a difference between a historically oppressed people making a statement about ongoing injustice by desecrating a symbol of their historical oppression, and a group of people making a statement by desecrating messages of equality and justice from the churches of historically oppressed people. One is an expression of liberation from the chains of injustice; the other is an intimidating rattling of those same chains. While I don't condone violence or destruction of any kind, it's disingenuous to create false equivalencies between people who are fighting for equality and justice and people who are fighting against it.

And for a final look at how the Proud Boys operate, check out how they reacted when they thought people who actually think Black lives matter were coming toward them.

If this is what "being proud of Western Civilization" looks like, that's a sad statement about Western Civilization. These actions should be condemned by all.

Joy

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.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

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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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

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.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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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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