+
'I refuse to hate a police officer': Tyler Perry's challenging speech showed true humanity
via ABC / YouTube

The Academy Awards is an evening for honoring the best achievements in film. But it's also an event where the film industry unabashedly professes its progressive views to the world.

The nice thing about last night was that, for once, Hollywood's talk about being inclusive was actually on display. The broadcast featured a diverse group of attendees and winners, putting to bed the #OscarsSoWhite critiques of the past six years, for now, at least.

Depending on where one stands on the political spectrum, Sunday's broadcast was either an exhilarating night of celebrating progressive views or three hours of virtue signaling from some of the country's richest and most powerful people.


However, there was a beautiful moment in the broadcast that everyone should appreciate. After being awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 93rd Oscars, Tyler Perry gave a speech about unity that cut through America's political divide and got to the heart of what real humanity is about.

Tyler Perry Accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Awardwww.youtube.com

Perry was given the award for a lifetime of charitable work, including the time he paid for people's groceries during the pandemic.

"Tyler knows what it is to be hungry, to be without a home, to feel unsafe and uncertain. So when he buys groceries for 1,000 of his neighbors, supports a women's shelter, or quietly pays tuition for a hard-working student, Tyler is coming from a place of shared experience," presenter Viola Davis said.

In his speech, Perry's main theme was refusing hate. A tough ask in a time when the country is so politically polarized.

"And in this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle…it is my hope that all of us would teach our kids, and I want to remember: just refuse hate. Don't hate anybody," Perry said.

"I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate," he said.

Perry urged people to meet in "the middle'' a place without hatred or judgment. "That's where healing happens, that's where conversation happens, that's where change happens – it happens in the middle," Perry said. "Anyone who wants to meet me to meet me in the middle to refuse hate and blanket judgment and lift someone's feet off the ground, this one is for you, too."

At first glance, asking people to come together in the middle doesn't appear to be that original of a statement. But at a time when many have drawn up sides, choosing to be vulnerable, step out in the middle, and reach out to listen, is a pretty bold move.

That doesn't mean to forget about one's values. It means to be willing to have a conversation and find our shared humanity. This type of action is more important than ever when, as Perry noted, people are stuck in ideological bubbles and may not even understand what the other side is saying.

Perry proved just how brave you have to be to walk towards the middle when he said he refuses to hate someone because they're a police officer. After that line, the applause he earned seemed to die down a bit. Was it a signal that his statement made a few people a little uncomfortable?

But change happens when we leave our comfort zone.



Perry's words were powerful at a time when the nation is reeling from police violence. He challenged the notion that, as a Black man, he has to hate the police.

When, in fact, Perry appears to be standing with the vast majority of Black people (81%) who want the police to spend the same, or more, time in their neighborhoods. The important point is that a vast majority of Black (91%) also want the police to be held to higher standards of behavior and accountability.

Perry further explained why he gave his speech in a post-award interview.

"Just where we are in the country and the world, and everybody is grabbing a corner and a color, and they are all – nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation," he said.

"Everybody is polarized, and it's in the middle where things change," he added. "So I'm hoping that that inspires people to meet us in the middle so that we can get back to some semblance of normal. As this pandemic is over, we can get to a place where we are showing love and kindness to each other again."

Perry's speech was challenging, uplifting and, ultimately, a practical way of seeing the world that allows us to all move forward. It's also a wonderful example of why he's seen as a humanitarian.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less
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.

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less