In a recent TikTok that went viral, a woman shows that she believes there may be a racial divide in automatic sink faucets at work.
@makavelispriv ♬ original sound – makavelispriv
By Thursday, this video, posted by Six Shelsea Laplante (@makavelispriv), had 1.9 million views. TikTok shows Laplante trying in vain to use the autofaucet. But when she puts her white paper towel under the faucet, the water starts to come out.
“Black women against technology” appear throughout the video. In a message to her Daily Dot, Laplante said she experiences these kinds of problems “almost all the time.”
“I was trying to wash my hands in the restroom at work and it didn’t turn on, so I took a video. I joked I pulled a white piece of paper and it worked!”
Her video sparked a wave of comments related to the experience.
“I thought I was going insane when this happened to me,” one user commented.
Musician and recent Grammy Award winner Muni Long wrote: This is why faucets never work for me?!”
Some provided reasons behind this phenomenon.
“Yeah, these sensors are one of the most notorious cases of technology discrimination,” says the user. “What that means is actually pretty insane.”
“I think it’s because dark skin doesn’t absorb light as well and the sensor struggles,” says one commenter.
according to microphone In the article, Richard Whitney, former vice president of technology company Particle, explained that in an automatic soap dispenser, an infrared LED bulb sends “invisible light” that your hand reflects back to the sensor. .
“The reason soap doesn’t lather all day long is that, more or less, your hands act to bounce light off and close circuits,” he said.
People with darker skin tones may find dispensers that use infrared technology more difficult. This is because the more melanin your skin has, the more ultraviolet light it absorbs.
Whitney also says the sensor may simply be failing, detecting hand movements at odd angles.
Laplante said his non-Black colleagues also had trouble getting the faucets to work, but racial disparities in technology are real and can have detrimental consequences.
New England Journal of Medicine Black patients are nearly three times more likely than white patients to have occult hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen levels, detected by pulse oximetry, which measures blood oxygen levels. reported.
Laplante says she now uses white papers to revitalize her work sync every day.
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*First published: March 3, 2023 at 9:48 PM CST