How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston


My parents gave me an extraordinary name: Baratunde Rafiq Thurston. Now, Baratunde is based
on a Yoruba name from Nigeria, but we’re not Nigerian. (Laughter) That’s just how black my mama was. (Laughter) “Get this boy the blackest name possible.
What does the book say?” (Laughter) Rafiq is an Arabic name,
but we are not Arabs. My mom just wanted me to have difficulty
boarding planes in the 21st century. (Laughter) She foresaw America’s turn
toward nativism. She was a black futurist. (Laughter) Thurston is a British name,
but we are not British. Shoutout to the multigenerational,
dehumanizing economic institution of American chattel slavery, though. Also, Thurston makes
for a great Starbucks name. Really expedites the process. (Laughter) My mother was a renaissance woman. Arnita Lorraine Thurston was a computer programmer,
former domestic worker, survivor of sexual assault, an artist and an activist. She prepared me for this world
with lessons in black history, in martial arts, in urban farming, and then she sent me in the seventh grade
to the private Sidwell Friends School, where US presidents send their daughters, and where she sent me looking like this. (Laughter) I had two key tasks going to that school: don’t lose your blackness
and don’t lose your glasses. This accomplished both. (Laughter) Sidwell was a great place
to learn the arts and the sciences, but also the art of living
amongst whiteness. That would prepare me
for life later at Harvard, or doing corporate consulting, or for my jobs at “The Daily Show”
and “The Onion.” I would write down many of these lessons
in my memoir, “How to Be Black,” which if you haven’t read yet,
makes you a racist, because — (Laughter) you’ve had plenty of time
to read the book. But America insists on reminding me and teaching me what it means to be black in America. It’s December 2018, I’m with my fiancé
in the suburbs of Wisconsin. We are visiting her parents,
both of whom are white, which makes her white. That’s how it works.
I don’t make the rules. (Laughter) She’s had some drinks,
so I drive us in her parents’ car, and we get pulled over by the police. I’m scared. I turn on the flashing lights
to indicate compliance. I pull over slowly under the brightest streetlight I can find in case I need witnesses
or dashcam footage. We get out my identification,
the car registration, lay it out in the open,
roll down the windows, my hands are placed on the steering wheel, all before the officer exits the vehicle. This is how to stay alive. As we wait, I think
about these headlines — “Police shoot another
unarmed black person” — and I don’t want to join them. The good news is,
our officer was friendly. She told us our tags were expired. So to all the white parents out there, if your child is involved with a person whose skin tone is rated
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or darker — (Laughter) you need to get that car inspected,
update the paperwork every time we visit. That’s just common courtesy. (Laughter) (Applause) I got lucky. I got a law enforcement professional. I survived something
that should not require survival. And I think about
this series of stories — “Police shoot another
unarmed black person” — and that season when those stories
popped up everywhere. I would scroll through my feed and I would see a baby announcement photo. I’d see an ad for a product I had just whispered
to a friend about yesterday. I would see a video of a police officer
gunning down someone who looked just like me. And I’d see a think piece about how millennials
have replaced sex with avocado toast. (Laughter) It was a confusing time. Those stories kept popping up, but in 2018, those stories got changed out
for a different type of story, stories like, “White Woman Calls Cops
On Black Woman Waiting For An Uber.” That was Brooklyn Becky. Then there was, “White Woman Calls Police On Eight-Year-Old Black Girl
Selling Water.” That was Permit Patty. Then there was, “Woman Calls Police On Black Family BBQing
At Lake In Oakland.” That was now infamous BBQ Becky. And I contend that these stories
of living while black are actually progress. We used to find out
after the extrajudicial police killings. Now, we’re getting video
of people calling 911. We’re moving upstream, closer to the problem
and closer to the solution. So I started a collection of as many of these stories
as I could find. I built an evolving,
still-growing database at baratunde.com/livingwhileblack. Seeking understanding,
I realized the process was really diagramming sentences
to understand these headlines. And I want to thank
my Sidwell English teacher Erica Berry and all English teachers. You have given us tools
to fight for our own freedom. What I found was a process
to break down the headline and understand the consistent layers in each one: a subject takes an action against a target
engaged in some activity, so that “White Woman Calls Police
On Eight-Year-Old Black Girl” is the same as “White Man Calls Police
On Black Woman Using Neighborhood Pool” is the same as “Woman Calls Cops
On Black Oregon Lawmaker Campaigning In Her District.” They’re the same. Diagramming the sentences
allowed me to diagram the white supremacy which allowed such sentences to be true, and I will pause to define my terms. When I say “white supremacy,” I’m not just talking about Nazis or white power activists, and I’m definitely not saying
that all white people are racist. What I’m referring to is a system of structural advantage
that favors white people over others in social, economic and political arenas. It’s what Bryan Stevenson
at the Equal Justice Initiative calls the narrative of racial difference, the story we told ourselves
to justify slavery and Jim Crow and mass incarceration and beyond. So when I saw this pattern repeating, I got angry, but I also got inspired to create a game, a game of words that would allow me
to transform this traumatic exposure into more of a healing experience. I’m going to talk you through the game. The first level is a training level,
and I need your participation. Our objective: to determine
if this is real or fake. Did this happen or not? Here is the example: “Catholic University Law Librarian
Calls Police On Student For ‘Being Argumentative.'” Clap your hands if you think this is real. (Applause) Clap your hands if you think this is fake. (Applause) The reals have it, unfortunately, and a point of information, being argumentative in a law library is the exact right place to do that. (Laughter) This student should be
promoted to professor. Training level complete,
so we move on to the real levels. Level one, our objective is simple: reverse the roles. That means “Woman Calls Cops
On Black Oregon Lawmaker” becomes “Black Oregon Lawmaker
Calls Cops On Woman.” That means “White Man
Calls Police On Black Woman Using Neighborhood Pool” becomes “Black Woman Calls Police
On White Man Using Neighborhood Pool.” How do you like
them reverse racist apples? That’s it, level one complete, and so we level up to level two, where our objective is to increase
the believability of the reversal. Let’s face it, a black woman
calling police on a white man using a pool isn’t absurd enough, but what if that white man was trying
to touch her hair without asking, or maybe he was making oat milk
while riding a unicycle, or maybe he’s just talking
over everyone in a meeting. (Laughter) We’ve all been there, right? Seriously, we’ve all been there. So that’s it, level two complete. But it comes with a warning: simply reversing the flow
of injustice is not justice. That is vengeance,
that is not our mission, that’s a different game
so we level up to level three, where the objective
is to change the action, also known as “calling the police
is not your only option OMG, what is wrong with you people!” (Applause) And I need to pause the game
to remind us of the structure. A subject takes an action
against a target engaged in some activity. “White Woman Calls Police
On Black Real Estate Investor Inspecting His Own Property.” “California Safeway
Calls Cops On Black Woman Donating Food To The Homeless.” “Gold Club Twice Calls Cops
On Black Women For Playing Too Slow.” In all these cases,
the subject is usually white, the target is usually black, and the activities are anything, from sitting in a Starbucks to using the wrong type of barbecue to napping to walking “agitated” on the way to work, which I just call “walking to work.” (Laughter) And, my personal favorite, not stopping his dog from humping her dog, which is clearly a case for dog police, not people police. All of these activities add up to living. Our existence is being
interpreted as crime. Now, this is the obligatory moment
in the presentation where I have to say, not everything is about race. Crime is a thing, should be reported, but ask yourself, do we need armed men
to show up and resolve this situation, because when they show up for me, it’s different. We know that police officers use force more with black people
than with white people, and we are learning
the role of 911 calls in this. Thanks to preliminary research
from the Center for Policing Equity, we’re learning that in some cities, most of the interactions
between cops and citizens is due to 911 calls, not officer-initiated stops, and most of the violence,
the use of force by police on citizens, is in response to those calls. Further, when those officers
responding to calls use force, that increases in areas where the percentage
of the white population has also increased, aka gentrification, aka unicycles and oat milk, aka when BBQ Becky feels threatened, she becomes a threat to me
in my own neighborhood, which forces me and people like me to police ourselves. We quiet ourselves, we walk on eggshells, we maybe pull over to the side of the road under the brightest light we can find so that our murder might be caught cleanly on camera, and we do this because we live in a system in which white people
can too easily call on deadly force to ensure their comfort. (Applause) The California Safeway didn’t just call cops
on black woman donating food to homeless. They ordered armed,
unaccountable men upon her. They essentially called in a drone strike. This is weaponized discomfort, and it is not new. From 1877 to 1950, there were at least 4,400 documented
racial terror lynchings of black people in the United States. They had headlines as well. “Rev. T.A. Allen was lynched
in Hernando, Mississippi for organizing local sharecroppers.” “Oliver Moore was lynched
in Edgecomb County, North Carolina, for frightening a white girl.” “Nathan Bird was lynched
near Luling, Texas, for refusing to turn his son
over to a mob.” We need to change the action, whether that action is “lynches” or “calls police.” And now that I have shortened
the distance between those two, let’s get back to our game,
to our mission. Our objective in level three
is to change the action. So what if, instead of “Calls Cops On Black Woman
Donating Food To Homeless,” that California Safeway simply thanks her. Thanking is far cheaper than bringing
law enforcement to the scene. (Applause) Or, instead, they could give the food
they would have wasted to her, upped their civic cred. Or, the white woman who called the police
on the eight-year-old black girl, she could have bought all the inventory
from that little black girl, support a small business. And the white woman who called the police
on the black real estate investor, we would all be better off,
the cops agree, if she had simply ignored him
and minded her own damn business. (Laughter) Minding one’s own damn business
is an excellent choice, excellent choice. Choose it more often. Level three is complete,
but there is a final bonus level, where the objective is inclusion. We have also seen headlines like this: “Powerful Man Masturbates
In Front Of Young Women Visiting His Office.” What an odd choice
for powerful man to make. So many other actions available to him. (Laughter) Like, such as, “listens to,” “mentors,” “inspired by, starts joint venture,
everybody rich now.” (Laughter) I want to live in that world
of everybody rich now, but because of his poor choice,
we are all in a poorer world. Doesn’t have to be this way. This word game reminded me that
there is a structure to white supremacy, as there is to misogyny, as there is to all
systemic abuses of power. Structure is what makes them systemic. I’m asking people here to see the structure, where the power is in it, and even more importantly
to see the humanity of those of us made targets
by this structure. I am here because I was loved
and invested in and protected and lucky, because I went to the right schools,
I’m semifamous, mostly happy, meditate twice a day, and yet, I walk around in fear, because I know that someone
seeing me as a threat can become a threat to my life, and I am tired. I am tired of carrying this invisible burden
of other people’s fears, and many of us are, and we shouldn’t have to, because we can change this, because we can change the action,
which changes the story, which changes the system that allows those stories to happen. Systems are just collective
stories we all buy into. When we change them, we write a better reality
for us all to be a part of. I am asking us to use our power to choose. I am asking us to level up. Thank you. I am Baratunde Rafiq Thurston. (Applause)

Author:

100 thoughts on “How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston”

  • This guy teaches us that racial stereotyping is bad. He does this by showing multiple headlines stating WHITE people call police on BLACK people. Wonder if he sees the irony…

  • Not all you see is racism. More unarmed white people are killed by police than black. Park Slope Brooklyn is not crime-free; drug dealing, stabbings and burglary is normal. Check cashing, the posted photos of those wanted for identity theft are Dwayne Johnson or darker.

  • Romulus Paradise says:

    Uuugghh. Too many lies, assumptions seen as truth. Cops are MORE likely to shoot white suspects. Newspaper headlines are not meant to be used as evidence, that's why they're sensational.I do the same thing when cops stop me because I know they're on high alert at all traffic stops, not because of my skin color. I hope this gentleman will come to understand that he and his community aren't the center of the universe. Just as all black people aren't racist assholes, neither are all whites "out to get blacks". Amazing he would use the term "Drone Strike" as that is what President O'bama is famous for. I can see he's tired. So am I.

  • So this is two arguments: 1) that here and there some dumb whitey gets the shivers on seeing a black person do…anything, and calls the cops; 2) that black people live in fear of being pulled over by police when driving. As far as Argument 1 is concerned, I sympathise with black people who feel they live with constant oppression, but have they considered that police encounter many more blacks than whites in situations where firearms are likely to come into play? Blacks commit more crimes in the USA than whites. This isn't a racist comment – it's a statistic observation. The reasons they commit more crimes are complex and obviously have to do partly with the fact that historically, blacks have had a bum deal. Historically speaking, they deserve sympathy. But that's history. Today, the objective fact is that in modern America they commit more crime than whites. Therefore they're in the firing line more often than whites. The problem in America isn't how to stop the police being racists (although a completely non-racist police force is on balance something to aim at) – the problem is to stop blacks finding themselves so often in the firing line. In today's society, this is largely down to them. If you commit a crime, you have to have chosen to commit it. Nobody else is doing that crime – you have. On the other hand, today schools and colleges are falling over themselves to attract students from minority backgrounds. (This in itself is going too far, because colleges making it easier for blacks to enter actually make it harder for them once they're through the door, because they don't always have the ability to keep up with students who've not been given the easier way in. This means they drop out and are in real trouble. Left-wing policies almost never work.) The same applies to jobs: positive discrimination means that blacks can get work just as easily, or more easily than whites. So it's only up to them to finish their schooling, get a job, don't make any babies until they do have a job and are preferably in a stable, loving relationship – even married, God forbid! – and suddenly life will look different.
    As for Argument 2, yeah, there are some morons out there. But before just taking Thurston's word for it, how about going back the source and checking if some of these stories might not have more to them than you think. They've got the air of being true, I agree – but they're SO ludicrous, I wouldn't be surprised if there's not more to some of them than meets the eye. After all, it's not exactly unusual for a given circumstance to have more than one side to it. I'm just saying – be sceptical – get the proof. Don't go assuming that because Baratunde is obviously a nice person and apparently has a mesmerising voice, what he's saying with that voice is the purest wisdom. (To me, that voice is slightly camp and very virtuous-sounding, but that doesn't influence me one way or another). White Supremacy indeed: it's never been a better time to be non-white in America – it's just up to blacks to go seize the opportunity.

  • You should also apply these to the 2nd amendment. "Man stops mass shutter saving hundreds". Else you want to loose the only tool that is capable of protecting you and your family from the tyranny you are speaking right know.

  • So I grew up with the show the Jeffersons and knew it was OK to call a white man hunky or cracker but no slurs towards a black man.

  • Take white and black out of your headlines and nobody cares. Wow that is problem solved. Next thing is to work hard and RESPECT the people around you even if you dont like them. Now you're leveled up.

  • 6:33 only using headlines means your missing context, the purpose of headlines is to draw attention to the article, nothing more… only the lazy really use headlines for their news… I doubt that the news reports on all the white people being shot by police, or black gangs raping, shooting and stealing… bad optics I guess…

  • How many white people call the the police by mistake on white people? He didn't give that statistic or compare it to white people calling the police on blacks. It wasn't very scientific. Very limited on statistics. I'd much rather someone call the police then not call them, and possibly be attacked, raped or killed.

  • Sounds like propoganda so far. Umm yup, this guy is a smart and charismatic speaker. Very nice speech. Too bad he's mainly wrong.

  • His data is biased because he was choosing news stories about white people calling cops on black people. Obviously you're going to see a trend. Also, these are stories in the newspaper which needs sensational headlines in order to get people to read. I'm sure in at least most of these cases, the cops did their jobs. While it should be that the police did their job in every case, the world isn't perfect.

  • no no no no no no…..their is so much wrong with this movie, it just shows how far back we still are with racism. This man still has a lot to learn, to bad the world moves even slower then he does. Respect

  • Spencerinx Prater isn't. Dei says:

    The misrepresentation of an otherwise non-racial issue wherein his subject happens to be white and his targets happens to be black is largely the problem with his arguments.
    He’s got a great attitude but he sounds a lot smarter than his actual logic.

    He spent a few minutes basically telling us about how successful he, a black man, is, then made an anecdotal presentation designed to convince us how real and oppressing, “White supremacy,” (in a very non-impactful way), and finally ended with a Wakanda-like salute for good measure.
    Even his personal account of a law enforcement traffic stop was wildly underwhelming.
    My dude, the reason you were treated with respect is because you’re mature and responsible. The reason I don’t have trouble when I get stopped is because I make the same decisions that you make. It has nothing to do with our skin color. It’s awareness, curtesy, common sense, and respect. Those aren’t racial traits.

    He’s a gifted speaker. I hope he uses his talent more intelligently.

  • So apparently no black people commit crimes against white people, or is it just that the news doesn’t report on it because it doesn’t make for outrage headlines

  • Person McPersonator says:

    This stuff is dumb. There are a lot of stories of this, but it doesn't happen as often as people make out. White people don't get any more benefits than blacks. Blacks are more likely to get into better schools/colleges and better jobs, inclusion and all that BS. Some white people are crazy and call police on blacks, but some blacks are racist to whites, some whites are racist to blacks. And blacks commit crimes (statistically) more often than whites. That's why more force is used. And them being armed isn't a bad thing, they are always armed, no matter what it was, so that if a problem were to arise and escalate they could defend civilians with firearms. Also lynchings don't happen anymore, idk why he's still lingering on that

  • I dont understand some black people when it comes to their interactions with the police. They know that the police officers are trigger happy, they know that there have been many incidents of shootings against black people..and yet some of them still insist on being aggresive and non compliant during their confrontations with a police officer. Its like they lack the mental ability to act with common sense and reason (To be fair i have seen that in white people too who also got shot by the way). Here's an idea. Why dont you just reply politely, show whatever paper or thing the police officer asks you to and then go home alive and well? Is that really so hard to do? I have seen numerous shooting videos of black people. In all of them, they were hostile and refused to comply with instructions or were putting their hands in their pockets or holding a knife or generally resisting arrest. I have not seen a single video footage of a black man being 100% compliant with police instructions and being eventually shot. I dont really think there is such a video, but even if there is, thats an extremely rare case. I dont really think there is racism behind these actions. I assume that the police officers are also very scared for their lives and dont want to risk it when they have to deal with suspicious behavior. I am sure that due to their profession, they have either experienced, or witnessed or heard from other police officers about other bloody incidents against law enforcement and dont want that to happen to them. Here in Europe, our police officers dont use their weapons much. The thing is though that they are also not killed by criminals that often either. Shootings against police officers in Europe are rare and that makes them less nervous which equals less use of weapons. All i am saying is that you have to understand the other side too and also…always use common sense. Common sense and reason never hurt anyone.

  • i hope one day he can see the good in the world…. bad news stories are spoon fed to the masses and its so easy to let it consume you… you have to actually go out into the world and look for the good and inspiring if you want to rewrite your story…

  • so idk if it’s just me but i honestly don’t feel like black people are discriminated against anymore, in my opinion it’s kind of the opposite. not in a bad way necessarily but i feel like black people are so much cooler and popular and everyone seems to like them a lot more after seeing them for the first time just because they are black.

  • Here's a neat trick, try reading the stories without the "white" or "black" in the headline, and suddenly racism disappears.

    Where's my TED talk?

  • Ok I have a few problems with this. The reason most of the articles he found were written because they’re absurd cases. 99/100 articles are written about things that are different from what you regularly experience. So if this is the case then most of these cases can be written off as outliers. I’m not saying they should happen. I think it’s stupid to call the cops on anyone when they’re not doing something bad. My main problem with this talk is it doesn’t differentiate that these are absurdities. Most people don’t call the cops on random people for barbecues. I also think most rational people can agree that others who do are stupid. The ted talk pins a lot on regular people, and acts like the abnormalities are all normal. You know why you don’t see the headline “boss mentors woman visiting his office” Or “white person helps black girl giving food to the homeless”? It’s because either 1. They won’t get people reading the newspaper because it won’t spark an outrage or 2. These events happen a lot more than we think, almost to a point where they’re normal or 3. Both factors play in. I wish this country luck in fighting racism, and I think racism is one of if not the most ridiculous and pointless beliefs one can have, but this is not how you do it. If you want to know how to fight racism I encourage you to watch 2 ted talks that address this from people with real experience with gettin people out of hateful beliefs. The first is Daryl Davis’s befriending members of the kkk, and the second one I can’t remember as well, but it’s something along the lines of “i used to be a white supremacist, but now I’ve changed” or something. I hope it’ll teach you all something on how to get rid of hate. Thx

  • Intelligent man, intelligent speech, tainted point of view! We all have opinions and that’s all this is. A colorful opinion! I watched looking for answers, looking for guidance but all I got was the same tired speech. Love how he made sure we knew he dates a white girl. That’s to assure us that he cannot be racist himself. We should fight the media, and make them just tell the story and let us decide if it’s a racist act or not. They headed every one of those stories to shout racism for ratings. I am so ashamed of our country. SMMFH

  • DeAndra McDowell says:

    I think who is writing these stories and how does it help? Like these stories feeding the fear, but who profits on the fear?
    Of course, the speaker makes a valid point, but that where more people such turn to the bible. It gives one great pointers on how to take action rather than "call the police." 😉

  • Leave it to me to steal this man's thunder, but not in such a way to diminish it–just redirect it for another leveling up.

    PermitPatty, BBQBecky, BrooklynBecky are, unto themselves, an invitation to better understand motivation IF only we could. No one with a modicum of self-awareness is ready to admit they called 911 because these people were black. They aren't going to admit they did it because they, as the final arbiter of all things BBQ, sales permits and Uber stops, have been designated by some ephemeral authority to call 911. They aren't going to get a verbal lashing from police over the egregious misuse of law enforcement resources–even if some minor law was being broken.

    They certainly won't self-reflect on how insulting it is to be adjudicated by some random, private citizen who seems to think they are better than you are. To be told your behavior, however benign or innocuous by any objective reckoning, prompts this random citizen to call in the cavalry that presumably is going to always act on her behalf.

    Finally, they won't be taken into custody to be interrogated for breaking any laws or endangering anyone–which would be a truly substantial change of forum. No matter how we approach this, the underlying message should remain in tact: When Patty or Becky call 911, it is still an invitation to potential harm whenever police and black people interact.

    The question remains what to do when we CANNOT get these Pattys and Beckys to divulge their motivations or pathology(s)? What happens the next time this happens–a loop? Morgan Freeman suggests racism will go away if you just ignore it–but does it really? If the underlying root of racism is never examined then all we have is time. Time, eventually, makes all things go away.

  • I'm not going to say again how most of these headlines have been represented: You can scroll for that. But I will tell a story. I was home from work one day chilling at my house when I see a man acting very shady. He's walking down the street very slowly; his eyes are casing the homes, one by one; he's looking hard at the front of the houses, the windows, head moving as he does so. It takes him a while to get from half a block down as he checks out each house he passes, and I'm frowning thinking, Um…what's he doing? Then, he walks up to my neighbors across the street and one over. He peers into the mailbox like he's looking for something, he checks out the house, then the drive, then very slowly walks up the sidewalk, looking around as if he's …. making sure he's not being watched. Finally, he reaches the door. He stops, he looks again, left right, behind him, as if he's wondering if anyone is looking. He tries to peer into their windows, as if hes checking if anyone is home… then he reached out, jiggled the door, pushed, and walked in. I didn't call the cops because he was black. I called the cops because he was acting like someone with something to hide. He was acting like someone casing the neighborhood. The cops came. Turns out he was a family member who didn't live there, but was welcome to walk in (he also had some minor mental issues). That was the 90's. My act was NOT racist. It was neighborly and it was UN-Racist because I cared about what happened to a young family living across the street and their young children–who could very well have been home from school that day, alone, while their parents were at work. And some dude was acting like a creeper and walking in their house unannounced, after acting shady. So what do headlines like this and talks like this cause? I wouldn't call the cops today. God forbid I get internet famous with my face and name plastered around for the world to see with captions like # racistCris Calls Cops On Black Man For Walking in a House. Today, someone can walk into your home and harm your children and steal your belongings because someone like me is so afraid of being called racist by the media, we're not going to get involved. That's what the media has caused with their inflated, often deliberately deceptive, headlines. They have caused more of a divide. I didn't think about that family being black when I picked up the phone. I thought about them, and their children, being in danger or harmed because they were nice neighbors and good people. That's it. Now…. thanks to the media and society, I will think of them being black First. And I'll put down the phone.

  • Yeah i get it turn black man still trying to get his victum card stamped to white man lol what a joke ted talk has become. remember do every thing for the one you are wanting to call the cops on.

  • What if the black woman was ………………………..???????? well you get the idea. Lets put these incidents where they belong . In the silly bin.

  • This pseudo-intellectual schlub is nothing but a race baiter. He's peddling lies, fear and ignorance. He talks about 4,400 blacks being lynched but mentions nothing about black on white violence which happens at a rate of 200:1. He's nothing but a white-guilt building dog and pony show. I wonder why in the world his white girlfriend(?) wishes to stay involved with a younger "Al Sharpton".

  • I wonder if white ppl know that Black ppl have been mimicking white voices for decades to recieve better service over the phone?

  • Let's not look at context at all… Black man complains about being looked at as a black man, but tells us to not actually look further into an article past the headline. The irony.

  • You mean dealing with people that are American like yourself what does that even mean the constant segregation that play black Americans do to them self is ridiculous

  • The things he didn't mention. As in twice as many unarmed white people or shot by black cops. And the like. Also men are discriminated over women. A man and a woman commit the same crime the woman gets 1/3 of the time if any. When divorce happens the man automatically are stripped of all their rights. The women are encouraged by their lawyers to say he abused me whether it be verbally sexually physically or whatever. To get an easy win and half or more of his stuff. 151 laws for women zero for men. 2000 plus women's battered shelters 0 for men but men are hit by women more than women are hit by men. The media only post the unusual and rare. So if you see it on the news it is not common practice. Just do some studying you have a phone in your hand all the information you could ever need is easily found with it. Watch a few prageru videos

  • All he did was twist a few stories that fit his agenda. He is ignorant to say white people have not been victims of racism. Ever try walking into a club being the only white blonde girl? Yeah your not welcomed.

  • Enjoyed watching, even though his numbers on violence by police against blacks are wrong. Even though he frames things in a racist view point. Even though he gives unrealistic solutions to the issues.
    I am Hispanic and I found the most racist place that I have lived in was not in the area around Zinc Arkansas – famous for Klan – but in Memphis Tennessee where I saw daily racism by blacks against those that were not black.
    Just my personal experience.

  • He's wrong, blacks are less likely to be treated violently by the police, not more. Kind of negates his entire talk.
    Also, President Trump has been treated more unfairly than most blacks.
    It's easy when you do all the talking, nobody to point out how far from reality you are.

  • Point blank period. It's White American Parents faults for not choosing to change their own racist/bias/discrimantive behaviors and deep belief systems. It's very simple. It exists due to copying your family, parents, and surroundings. As children we naturally absorb what we see. It's not rocket science. I've seen, observed, experienced different schools, families, and enviroments/states/cities. I notice though, poor and diverse schools are way more accepting of different races suprisingly has a lot of collective Love~ Lots of millenials and esp. younger generations are more loving and diverse. I love it! I notice areas with just white people living there can be difficult to simply "walk", "eat", "shop", and "EXIST" He's 100% right about that. I'm picking up the energies, thought forms, and behaviors around me. And yes white folks tend to Stare and act differently towards blacks and browns.
    I always questioned.
    Why do White Americans treat me less or differently to their own kind?
    (VS)
    White Europeans?
    -They treat me as an Equal and much better.
    But, they are the same lineage with European DNA..
    Well,
    》》It's the American History/Belief Systems and Parenting.
    That NEEDS TO CHANGE. So start today and Change Yourself. This deep subconscious Racism/Bias/Discrimantiveness gotta go! Lose Ego and Lose Judgment.

  • What about the law of averages? What about better safe than sorry. What about the knockout game. What about the real statistics of crime in the US. Poor fella is just deluded. Well spoken, but just dead wrong. He probably hasn’t live near or in section 8 housing.

  • This is absolutely shocking. where did he get his few to none statistics from? You are more likely to be shot when you're white. but he does not mention that. he himself is racist as it for seeing what he feels and not what the facts dictates

  • yawn !!!!! more whites killed by Police every year, vast majority of people in prison are minorities, ( but of course they are ALL innocent ) could be why whites are scared of them ?
    All stories used are from media sources absolutely renowned for their impartiality ! ( sarcasm ) etc etc.
    Perhaps instead of pontificating the usual "poor us" mantra, blaming the whites which is pure racism, I suggest he has a chat with people like Candace Owens who actually wants to help the black community !!!!! Radical eh ?

  • HATE MONGERING RACE BAIT! This is how pop-culture lies.
    The 32 calls to 911, listed on his website, represent .000013% of all 911 calls for the given year.
    Throw in slavery and lynchings, because what white person, today, is not guilty those atrocities.
    And if you're white, don't buy any real estate and improve it. Better to let someone else be guilty of gentrification.
    BTW, EVERYONE gets pulled over for expired tags (except my mother), and EVERYONE has to comply.

  • 6:39 oh thank god. you have no idea how many times a week im called racist or sexist or even homophobic for being a straight white male. GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • I have heard that black folks fear being around white people because they fear that they will be arrested or killed. I have heard that white folks fear being around black people because they fear that they will be mugged or killed. These are stereotypes. Stereotypes plage the world because everyone is fearful and everyone acts extremely irrational when they are fearful. The news finds that their articles are more read and in turn produce more profit when it makes the reader angry. They will actively take something that has nothing to do with race and make it about race because it nets them more readers. BY NO MEANS AM I SAYING THAT NONE OF THESE ARE TRUE! I am simply stating that many articles are like this. For every white woman calling the police on a black child selling water there is a white man calling the police for a white child selling water. But that is not as interesting, not as angering as a hate crime fueled by race so they don't show it. The solution? Kill stereotypes. For black people, for white people, for all.

    TLDR: Stereotypes are bad for every race. The news profits off of angry readers and exaggerates stories to make more people angry. Kill stereotypes to cure racism.

  • I'm reading the comment and some of them made me chuckle, it's fascinating how you can discredit racism and all of these experiences that people went through when your life is on the line and when you're not subjected to this violence.

  • Police interact with tens of thousands of black people every day without any of them being shot, but let's pretend the literal 1 out of 100,000 getting shot is the norm. It's way easier to cry about that than to focus on fixing your actual problems, like all the blacks in gangs shooting each other.

  • FRANK Widdifield says:

    I like how he doesnt mention black on black crime. Oh wait, his economic privilege didn't afford him that life lesson. Economic privilege is real, white privilege is not.

  • i love how this TED talk has more dislikes than most. Truely, some idiots have wasted their evenings disliking things so they feel like they have some control on their reality.

  • Him saying he was lucky in the case where he was stopped, implies that the majority of police interactions with black people result in force/death. I don’t think the numbers would support that. That is unfair to the vast majority of law enforcement. However, I did enjoy most of the presentation. But the problem isn’t systemic, it exists with individuals. Civil discussion like this goes a long way toward educating and changing minds. Much better than the screaming, dividing, and crafting of headlines for clicks.

  • Stephane Nerbonne says:

    yes, not easy. But i would refer to Candace Owens. She seems to be more factual, and that would help the black communauty far more than his prose. The only thing he has not discussed is the glaring obviousness of a media wanting to exacerbate racial tension and the fact that white police officer are far more cautious when dealing with black individual. The statistic are not in his favour, the media headlines yes. Media are puppets to owner wanting to polarise, divide opinion and fragmemt the population in angry pieces. Do not believe everything written down or uttered out on TV. And yes, there always be idiots with white supremacist view, best avoid them.

  • Way to simplify more complicated situations and fall in-line with media that is incentivising the division of race for the sake of sensationalism

  • I think the majority of the problem here stems from each group’s fundamental view of the police. White people see the police as people meant to “uphold justice” which for some people means coming to stop ANY MINOR LAW EVER BROKEN ie not having a permit to sell water. The black community however views the police with fear and distrust due to the decades of mistreatment they have faced and as such aren’t going to escalate the situation by calling the police on somebody . Meaning that opportunity for violent police force is not present and the people they would have called the cops on aren’t put in harms way.

  • Christian California Conservative says:

    This is one of the only talks I have ever seen legitimizing "white supremacy" in the modern era and an alleged reality of black people having to "live in fear" that has come across as logical, respctful and truly genuine. I am thankful for this and mostly agree with the message wholeheartedly. ☺

    However, I believe there are issues in both the black and white communities that have contributed to this awful vicious cycle, such as all the fake hate crimes perpetrated by the black community and just general snobiness and wanting to keep the comfortable status quo in certain parts of the white community. I would also like to see some data on the most common demographic of the white people who call the police on black people. I have a strong hunch on what it is.

    🎈 LAST BUT NOT LEAST; I make regular content over at my channel for whoever wants to come join the party! 😁 🎉

  • Patricia Handa says:

    My brother (white) is a property manager, AKA paid to do the landlord's work for him. My brother states that he has been called at night because a (black) male resident was taking out the garbage or walking home from the late shift, sometimes prefaced with "I'm not racist, but…" My brother is pretty sick of this, because of course he has to check only to find no one (because they entered their unit in the meantime).

  • i see his point but is it systemic? black people can call the cops as well so it’s not like the police are a white militia or something.

  • don't loose your "blackness"? so… your raciest… got it… and because i didn't read your book.. I'm raciest … and your not responsible for your actions…

  • I’m sorry people who are yelling “playing the victim card” but because he went to Harvard. Money doesn’t have a color. Money can’t protect him from a bullet. Anyone afraid of blacks and brown will see his color first. Then ask questions later. Most immigrants with the most degrees are Nigerians, but people still think they’re stupid Africans. Knowledge and money doesn’t help if they only see your color.

  • wow okay. he even says not everything is about race but he uses articles that make everything about race. I guarantee in the majority of those headlines he referenced. the police weren’t called because of race but since the person who called was white and the person having the police called on, just so happened to be black. so they added it into the headline. let’s also not forget that while people make up 73% of US population and black people only make up 13%

  • I reject his hypothesis that he "got lucky" … that is the norm. Police shooting people, black or otherwise, is rare, and doing it for no reason other than skin color is even more rare. He spends too much time reading the news, that's the actual problem here.

  • Liberals get mad at news article titles that other liberals write…. bc you know conservatives aren't that focussed on identity politics.

  • Quick statistics for ya. 689 fatal police shootings in 2019. 144 fatal shootings were black….. 210 were white. He didn't want to mention any of that huh?

  • I'm black, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH. Thanks Ted for the anti-white propaganda, sure I seen a bit of the one about time being racist against black people too, there's so much bullshit I don't know about.

  • I am mesmerized at how many people in these comments go blinded by the "racism" part, and missed this entire point.

    Firstly, all of you who think he is only pointing out racism by whites against blacks, never made it past his first level. I understand he continues on with whites doing it to blacks, but that was likely more for consistency of story telling. These speakers have little time to make their points. He points out how the reversed roles are still considered racism as well, and how doing so (reversing the roles) would accomplish nothing but cause the same issues.

    Second, he points out that whatever they are doing, it boils down to just living their life. Which he goes on to point out later more examples of activities done.

    Third, he points out that the important part to start changing is our reactions to these activities other people are doing. The important parts are not who the person is, who you are, or what the other person is doing. The important part is to change the way we react and/or take action upon seeing another person living their life.

    Lastly, he points out that everythimg he talked about in this ted talk of his is not just about racism. It is about any unjust or unfair treatment that has become systemic, and he goes on to list out a few examples like misogyny and other abuses of power.

    The point of this talk was not about the clickbait title of just racism. It was basically a creative way to say what has been said countless ways before. We must change ourselves in order to change societal norms. There is a lot of unfairness, injustice, and abuse or power and people in the world. The first step to correcting even a little of it is to identify it, and then we can fix those issues in ourselves one at a time.

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