13 Brilliant TED Talks on Racism, Colorism and Prejudice
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13 Brilliant TED Talks on Racism, Colorism and Prejudice

It is really easy to say you are anti-racist or an ally but are you?

13 Brilliant TED Talks on Racism, Colorism and Prejudice

In this really divisive political atmosphere, which includes misleading statements made in Washington D.C. and the misrepresentation of organizations like Black Lives Matter, it is really easy to hear all the people clamoring to be called allies or anti-racist. This happens particularly in communities that are known for their low diversity and retention numbers. I experience this first hand at my college where a lot of students want to assure me, the 'minority student', that they have good intentions and that they advocate for diversity. But if the only action a person takes is disagreeing with the racist outcome in a news story, they haven't actually stepped up. Reading condensed news stories does not replace the need to take some time to study the actual conflict that many people of color, like myself, deal with on a daily basis.

I have collected 13 Ted Talks that cover a variety of issues intersecting racism, colorism and prejudice. If you watch them you will see how these issues encompass nearly every facet of a person of color's every day life. I ask that we all amplify the conversation with better awareness and the ability to gauge our intent versus the impact.

  1. A framework for civil discourse about race and racism | Wornie Reed
    This video explains what racism is and what it isn't. Racism is not the act of talking about race and it also isn't prejudice. Racism is written into the laws and customs of our society, which as Wornie shares in this video, means that racism is institutional.

  2. Allegories on race and racism | Camara Jones
    This talk will allow anyone to ease into the conversation about race with a few striking allegories that are very relatable. If race is a sensitive subject for you to think about or bring up in your community, then this talk is for you.

  3. Telling the African Story | Komla Dumor
    An enjoyable talk that brings humor and wisdom to the subject of race and culture. Komla also speaks on economic success of Black people and their representation in the field of media.

  4. Economic lifespan of a dollar | Maggie Anderson
    In the past few years we have become more accustomed to protests and marches. But what about the buying power? This talk helps drive home the point that racism is an invisible force between us that keeps economic prosperity from the disadvantaged.

  5. The Muslim on the airplane | Amal Kassir
    Thought this list would be just about Black people? It isn't. Let's touch on the intersection of racism and cultural prejudice that Muslim Americans face.

  6. The Muslims You Cannot See | Sahar Habib Ghazi
    The erasure of Muslim history in this country is pretty horrible. Recently, some heavy handed policies have been passed down in order to protect America from an enemy that doesn't even exist. From the implementation of a Muslim ban to handcuffing five-year-olds.

  7. Inclusion, Exclusion, Illusion and Collusion | Helen Turnbull
    Unconscious bias is a bit of buzz phrase these days, but this important talk touches on how hard it can be to root out bias. It also discusses how we all are continuing to learn where our own blind spots are.

  8. You can help stop the violence against young black men | Verna Myers
    Our bias against Black men that causes us to cross the street, or clutch our purses, when they pass is the same bias involved in the unrighteous killing of Black men by police. We need to run towards our bias and look it literally in the eye in order to have empathy for people we do not.

  9. I am not your stereotype. I am not my hair. | Zodidi Jewel Gaseb
    Black women have faced persistent social stigmas regarding their hair. Natural styles have been banned from the workplaces, school and other social outlets. But more Black women are choosing to stop the painful practice of chemical relaxers and extreme heat to make their hair straight and silky in order to embrace the natural curl and kinky.

  10. Confessions of a D Girl: Colorism and Global Standards of Beauty | Chika Okoro
    A Black woman faces pressure to conform to a beauty standard that she cannot reach. This is felt through the ads on TV and other forms of media that do not include or represent all body shapes and hair types equally. Speaker Chika Okoro brings to light the internal struggle for a Black woman.

  11. Black murder is normal | Michael Smith
    There is one area of Black culture that has been widely accepted by the mainstream and that is violent rap culture. However, this pastor shows that when a Black artist dares to step away from the exact formula that has been scripted by the record labels they are penalized.

  12. The power of privilege: Tiffany Jana
    In order to redirect the conversation around privilege we have to ask ourselves some important questions. Do we have privilege and are we blind to the ways we operate in it? This talk allows you to start thinking about privilege in a broader context.
  13. How to Talk with a White Supremacist | Simon Tam
    Civil discourse today is becoming a very important topic. How do we speak with those who disagree on what we know to be right and true? It can be challenging, but we should strive to act with empathy toward all our fellow human beings no matter what they believe.

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