Happy MLK Day! I actually intended to write a much longer post today, but I’ve been fully invested in my office’s Winter training session. However, I couldn’t let today pass without at least acknowledging Martin Luther King Jr. and his contributions to our society and the world at large. Many people will take today as an opportunity to do some reflection, look into MLK’s legacy, and talk more about issues of identity, cultural exchange, social justice, and activism- I’ll personally be attending a public screening of documentary The New Black and an intimate conversation with the filmmaker, fellow Brunonian Yoruba Richen (Class of 1994) as a way to do so and to think about modern-day applications of Dr. King’s message. If I had some more free time, I would go see Selma as well- there’s always next weekend…
Anyway, I’ll write a longer post on my thoughts about diversity and social justice and how we can think about these topics in a nuanced way later, but today I wanted to share some TED talks that I think are particularly appropriate for the occasion by, including one by Yoruba Richen for those who haven’t seen The New Black (if you haven’t, find it and watch ASAP). Diversity and identity are at the center of each of these talks, but in addition the speakers look at the subjects from different perspectives: feeling “othered” as a member of multiple cultures and identities, intersectionality of race and sexual orientation, identity in the academy, acknowledging and embracing our biases in a post-Trayvon Martin/Mike Brown/Eric Garner world, and the need for counternarratives in our society. Selecting women of color was a specific intention of mine- as we think about the “New Black” both in the context of Yoruba’s film and in general, it’s important to me that voices that may have previously been silenced get heard, especially on a day like this. Watch one, two or all of them when you have time- more to come from me on this.
Thandie Newton, Embracing Otherness, Embracing Myself:
Dr. Marylin Sanders Mobley, The Paradox of Diversity:
Yoruba Richen, What The Gay Rights Movement Learned From The Civil Rights Movement:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, The Danger of A Single Story:
Verna Myers, How To Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them:
Enjoy the day, watch the videos, and take a little time to reflect on where we were, where we are and where we should be going. More on my thoughts on diversity in the coming weeks- be back on Wednesday with a post on Breaking Bad and Student Affairs (way to shift gears, huh?).