How to Resolve Racially Stressful Situations by Howard C. Stevenson

Howard C. Stevenson presented How to Resolve Racially Stressful Situations as a TED Talk.


Earlier this month Dove posted an ad that was deemed insensitive. It seemed to be a before and after with the before being a black woman and the after being a white woman, leaving the impression that cleansing would turn you from black to white. They apologized and made the typical statement about it not being intentional, etc. In all honesty it probably wasn’t “intentional” but it’s too common and a sign of something subconscious. If it wasn’t we’d have examples of the opposite, the black person portrayed in the more positive position. Unfortunately time and time again it’s the same.

Again, I don’t think this is usually intentional, but it’s in a blind spot. As a black man I have the odd or unique position of being on the disadvantaged side of racism and advantaged side of sexism. Being on both sides makes me think about things from multiple angles. I see some of the things my female friends go through and see they were hurt by others thoughtlessness and do my best to realize some of the things I go through are also due to thoughtlessness instead of maliciousness. Intentional or not, many actions still need to be addressed, but hopefully moving from malicious to thoughtless is a step in the right direction.

United We Stand, United We Kneel

For roughly the past week the topic of standing or not standing during the national anthem has been a hot topic. Unfortunately the fact that some are protesting during the national anthem is a hotter part of the topic than the reasons they are protesting. Personally I’m not a fan of the protests, but understand why they are taking place and believe the issues leading to them need to be addressed. At the same time I believe if you are going to protest during the national anthem doing so by taking a knee is one of the best ways to do so. (If the real concern with those opposed is standing versus kneeling, another good option would be to stand facing the opposite direction). Either of these would be silent, non or minimally disruptive, and clear ways to protest.

In reading several days worth of Facebook philosopher posts, there doesn’t seem to be much all sides agree on. If anything, there are only 3 things I can think of:

  1. In a perfect world everyone would stand for the national anthem
  2. In a perfect world the issues of racism and inequality leading to the protests wouldn’t exist
  3. We don’t live in a perfect world

That’s about it. My hope is the outrage people on all sides are expressing lead to action. The unfortunate ironic part of all of this is it won’t for most. Someone will post countless quotes on Instagram about the wrongs of actions taken this week, but not get off the couch long enough to make progress toward correcting any of them and the same person that’s been using Twitter and hammering at people about disrespecting the military by kneeling during the national anthem and their counterpart that’s been hammering back just as hard in attempt to remind people it’s not about the military will move on to the next hot topic next week. They won’t find a way to support a cause, the President, the military, the protest, the issues surrounding the protest, or anything else that doesn’t involve social media.

I have a couple disappointments with the recent happenings. The first and most significant is the President having harsher words for those kneeling during the national anthem than those marching in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. This one is hard to wrap my head around.

Another is the number of players and owners that didn’t get involved until now, coinciding with statements being made that could impact their wallets. I can’t imagine those that don’t support the current administration believe recent comments are the worst that have been made, but the recent ones led to action. There have also been enough games played since Kaepernick first took a knee to decide if you wanted to join him before this weekend. It makes me wonder what they are truly uniting for.

Courage is Contagious by Damon Davis

Damon Davis presented Courage is Contagious as a TED Talk.

The Urgency of Intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw

Kimberlé Crenshaw presented The Urgency of Intersectionality as a TED Talk.