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In 2013, North Carolina legislators tried to make some major changes to the state's voting laws, many of which would affect the voting rights of black Americans.

Legislators argued that the new laws — which included changes to ID requirements, early voting practices, and same-day voter registration — were put forward to prevent voter fraud.

A federal appeals court struck them down in the summer of 2016 and actually said the laws were "as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times. [...]We can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent."


Photo by Sarah D. Davis/Stringer/Getty Images.

You might be thinking, "Well, what's wrong with having to show ID at the polls?" To answer that, we'll have to look back 50 years, to the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Before the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, black Americans were technically allowed to vote. But they had to jump through plenty of hoops to actually get to the voting booth.

Even when they did make it to the polls, some states still required them to prove their "good character." That usually meant showing an ID and proving a basic level of education, literacy, and civic knowledge. (And also that they weren't common-law married and didn't have an "illegitimate" child. Ugh.)

As you can probably imagine, this was easier said than done. Take a look for yourself.

Here's a sample of a test given to black voters in 1960s Mississippi:

Image from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University.

It reads:

Write and copy in the space below: Section [blank] of the Constitution of Mississippi: (Instruction to Registrar: You will designate the section of the Constitution and point out same to applicant.)

Write in the space below a reasonable interpretation (the meaning) of the section of the Constitution of Mississippi which you have just copied:

Write in the space below a statement setting forth your understanding of the duties and obligations of citizenship under a constitutional form of government.



In Louisiana, black voters only had to get 4 of 6 questions correct on a civic literacy exam cards like this — if they were lucky.

Image from Civil Rights Movement Veterans organization.

This one says:

1. The Congress cannot regulate commerce (a) between States; (b) with other countries; or (c) within a state.

2. The general plan of a State government is given (a) in the Constitution of the United States; (b) in the laws of the Congress; or (c) in its own State constitution.

3. The name of our first President was (a) John Adams; (b) George Washington; or (c) Alexander Hamilton.

4. The President gets his authority to carry out laws (a) from the Declaration of Independence; (b) from the Constitution; or (c) from the Congress.

5. Our towns and cities have delegated authority which they get from the (a) State; (b) Congress; or (c) President.

6. A citizen who desires to vote on election day must, before that date, go before the election offers and (a) register; (b) pay all of his bills; or (c) have his picture taken.









These don't seem so tricky — again, if you've had an education and can still remember what Ms. Lupi said in eighth grade. But even then, I still got tripped up on two of them.

But a few very unlucky black voters had to complete a crazy-complicated 30-question riddle game in 10 minutes flat.

There's not much information about what circumstances justified this crazy trap beyond a generalized "racism," and it was certainly rare — but wow, is it ridiculous. Here's a sampling:

Image from Civil Rights Movement Veterans organization.

Those instructions read:

10. In the first circle below write the last letter of the first word beginning with "L."

11. Cross out the number necessary, when making the number below one million.

12. Draw a line from circle 2 to circle 5 that will pass below circle 2 and above circle 4.



Black voters had 10 minutes to answer 30 questions like this. Which meant that, unless you possessed some sort of acrobatic brain powers, you probably weren't going to be able to vote that year.

Of course, if you did fail whatever test you were given, the registrar (who was definitely white) could still approve of your right to vote. If they wanted to.

Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images.

If these tests seem absurd, it's because they are. But they're not so different from the laws in North Carolina that were just struck down.

Requiring voters to present a photo ID from the DMV might not sound ridiculous on the surface. But when that just so happens to be the specific ID that's owned by a disproportionate minority of blacks in North Carolina? Something's up. (ID laws in general tend to affect minorities the most.)

The same thing happened when the state tried to abolish voting on Sundays as black communities are the ones who tend to take advantage of early voting on a Sunday. And again when North Carolina tried to shorten the early voting period from 17 days to 10 days when black citizens were significantly more likely to vote in those first seven days.

But it's not about early voting or Sundays or photo IDs. Just like it was never about literacy.

Photo by Sara D. Davis/Stringer/Getty Images.

Voter fraud is still an issue though, especially in a presidential election. But not in the way that some people think it is.

In one study of elections since 2000 — the year of the highly contended Bush-Gore election — a Loyola Law School professor found about 31 cases of individuals committing voter fraud at the polls out of more than a billion ballots cast. Another look by the Justice Department identified 86 cases between 2000 and 2005, which is still a pretty small number.

And yet, this election year, more than 30 states will require photo IDs for voters, allegedly to cut down on acts of fraud.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

Elections aren't rigged by a few sneaky individuals casting double ballots or lying about their names; it happens when the people in power tamper with technology or manipulate turnouts with the help of things like ID laws and gerrymandering that impede individuals from exercising their democratic rights.

A democracy only works when everyone has a voice — regardless of race, gender, beliefs, education, or even possession of a photo ID.

So instead of trying to fight a nonexistent issue like voter fraud, maybe we should focus our energies on educating people about the choices they're making and finding easier ways to get them to the polls.

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

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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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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