2020 Resources – TED Talks for Enhanced Understanding

Those of you who have participated in leadership 2020 know how much I am a fan of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talks. If you are unfamiliar with TED, all you really need to know is that this is a platform, created by a non-profit organization, in which leading thinkers and activists are invited to give the best talk of their lives on something that matters to them and that could benefit the world, in 18 minutes or less (most are between 10 and 18 minutes). In addition to global TED conferences with prominent speakers, there are hundreds of independently run TEDx gatherings that have a similar intention. TED curates the best talks and presents them as TED talks. You can search for specific topics or follow recommended playlists. There are three things I particularly love about TED talks: I am introduced to interesting people and topics in a bite-size chunk of time; I learn from how people present ideas as well as what they present (e.g. through storytelling); I can view talks outside of my primary field of interest which stimulates my creative thinking (the value of obliquity).

Here are a few wonderful talks that might help to uncover, understand or further challenge our hidden biases and beliefs – more yoga for the mind!

Bryan Stevenson:
We Need to Talk About an Injustice

Bryan Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer who works with the poor, incarcerated and condemned in the United States. He’s the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (http://www.eji.org) and they have won legal challenges to eliminate excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerate innocent prisoners on death row, confront abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aid children who have been prosecuted as adults – throughout the US.

“In this engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.”

 Although the talk focuses on the US system – which is markedly different than the Canadian justice system – there are underlying themes that confront us in Canada. Most notable is the over-representation of Aboriginal people, the poor and people with mental illness and addictions in the justice system. This is a beautiful talk that can encourage empathy for those who are most marginalized in our communities

Verna Myers:
How To Overcome our Biases? Walk Boldly Towards Them

Vernā Myers is a diversity consultant and “recovering lawyer” and leads an organization that breaks down barriers of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation in workplaces. She is also the author of Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go from Well-Meaning to Well-Doing.

“Myers encourages us to recognize our own biases in order to actively combat them, emphasizing a “low guilt, high responsibility” philosophy. In her work she points to her own inner biases, because, as she says, ‘People relax when they know the diversity lady has her own issues.’”