An article by The Washington Post
Ruha Benjamin, an associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University, drew a parallel to the way Henrietta Lacks, a young African American mother with cervical cancer, was treated by the medical system. Lacks is well known now because her cancer cells, taken without her consent, are used throughout modern biomedical research. She was treated in a separate wing of Johns Hopkins Hospital in an era when hospitals were segregated. Imagine if today, Benjamin wrote in an accompanying article, Lacks were “digitally triaged” with an algorithm that didn’t explicitly take into account her race but underestimated her sickness because it was using data that reflected historical bias to project her future needs. Such racism, though not driven by a hateful ideology, could have the same result as earlier segregation and substandard care.