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Some People Have A Really Hard Time Admitting What She Admits To Here

A woman who understands that acknowledging her white privilege doesn't mean she's bad wrote a thing to help other privileged people get to the same understanding. It's pretty great. I think you should read it. With an open heart.

By Elizabeth Grattan


"Why does it always have to go back to race?!" — Female, white, 25-54

I hear you. I get it. I was just like you. Color blind. Humanist. Our blood runs red, our veins shades of blue. "BET", "Black History", "Affirmative Action" all reverse racism dividing peace and perpetuating the notion some exception was necessary where it wasn't. I was just like you.

It insulted me. My first childhood friend was black. My experiences told me it was cultural and that privilege wasn't a fact. It was just another way to blame me for the past. And I hated it.

Because I wanted so much to believe Rodney King. I wanted us to all get along. To strive for unity. I wanted so desperately for racism to be our history. I needed it to be.



So I hear you. When you talk about equality. I hear you. When you bring up opportunity. I hear you. When you feel insulted and blamed and shamed for the color of your skin. And you think it isn't fair. And you just want it to end. I hear you.

And I don't know how to convince you. I don't know what analogy to use. Because evidence and obvious aren't getting through. So I will use my white privilege to show it to you.

My chestnut haired, hazel eyed child was born into advantage. My three year old son has more opportunity in this nation than a forty year old college educated black woman. And that is the truth. And even in acknowledging that, I am benefited. My acceptance of my advantage puts me at an even greater advantage. Hear that. The mere fact that I strive to unpack the layers and change your point of view makes me more favored than if I never talked about it with you.

Because now I'm a white woman who is seen as "liberated", "aware", "educated", "diverse". I'm viewed as compassionate and empathic and progressive. I'm seen by my white peers and peeps as some sort of altruistic good woman for reaching so deep.

And that is white privilege. Because as a black woman I'd be dismissed. I'd be called angry and irate and someone who isn't grateful enough that times have changed. I'd be making everything about race. I'd be pulling a martyr card and playing a victim. If I were a black woman you wouldn't even listen. Because you wouldn't have to listen. Because it wouldn't have anything to do with you. So I'd never get through. And that is white privilege. That somehow when I, as a white woman, explain white privilege to you, you might listen.

Because that's how it happens. So listen.

Acknowledging privilege is not admitting to be a racist. It's not saying you are prejudice. It's not denying your struggle or your set backs or the journeys you've made. Acknowledging your privilege doesn't take away from anything you've gained. Acknowledging your privilege doesn't mean what you think it means. But it does mean something.

And acknowledging your privilege is as necessary for you as it was for me. Because it's your story. It's your heritage. It's your past and your present and your future. It's what has shaped you and afforded you everything you've ever had and everything you've ever lost and everything you worked so hard to achieve. It's what gave you all your opportunities.

The opportunities that were built on the back of slavery. Hear me. We trafficked human beings. We bought and sold each other like property. We traded people as commodities. We paved roads and farmed fields and fought wars and nursed babies with chains of currency.

And that was recently. And that means something.

Our Declaration didn't include everybody. Our Constitution didn't provide equality. Our Founding Fathers weren't revolutionary. Generations of systematic social injustice and slave labor shaped this country. This has never been the land of the free. It cost us something.

And you can't see it. And you will never see it. And you will never be able to see it. And you will never have that perspective. Because your heritage is different. You will never have to see it. You will never need to experience it. You will never fully understand because you will never have to live it. But you will always live with the benefit of it.





















You don't yet understand that the only reason you are able to be color blind is because you are white. You don't yet comprehend that you are afforded the luxury to stand on today and say it's all different and that things aren't the same only because the system was set up that way. You were born with the opportunity to say racism will end if we just wish it away.

But life doesn't work that way. So listen:

And these are just a few. There are so many more it would take decades to show you.

Privilege isn't about accusing you of being a racist. Privilege is about asking you to look at the evidence and see the difference between whiteness and blackness. Privilege is knowing one has advantage.

Privilege is acknowledging that racism is structural, cultural and institutional. That it underpins the foundation of our nation through integrated bias based on centuries of attitudes and ideologies we passed down in legacies we live with today. Through systematic generational cycles of injustice, in every area of life, privilege dominates the playing field with a head start that began long before we were ever born. That doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It just means it is wrong.

So hear me. I was just like you.

Until someone showed me that denying my privilege wouldn't make it go away. Individually, you can want to be color blind, collectively, it doesn't work that way.

So listen.

You aren't going to see it. You aren't going to feel it. You aren't going to be able to reach out and grasp it. And that is precisely how you can know it exists. Because you won't ever have to acknowledge it if you don't want to. And the mere fact that you are able to dismiss it? That I was?

Yeah, that's a privilege.





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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.”

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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.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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