Overlooked, underrepresented, and mistaken for someone else

One Tuesday (and the occasional Wednesday) a month, we curate and share three short talks on a theme. For February, shining a spotlight on Black history seemed the obvious choice, and I found dozens of worthy TED talks on the topic.

This monthly exercise of choosing three videos to feature on the blog takes longer than you might think — especially if you’re inquisitive by nature. One enlightening talk leads to another (and another) and if you’re not careful you end up down a rabbit hole, surfacing hours later only to realize you’ve missed your deadline. Once again, curiosity kills the copywriter.

In my defense, I was ready to post this article by end of day Tuesday as planned but then I did something I never do. I looked through the comments section for one of the talks I wanted to share — and they were positively toxic. Somehow, I did not expect that.

It honestly never occurred to me that sharing TED Talks could be controversial. And so, I started to second guess my choices. A day later and a post short, here’s what I think.

The loudest voices are not necessarily the most representative. And we should never let them drown out civil discourse. That seems like a particularly relevant message for Black history month, especially in the year 2020. So, here are three thoroughly engaging and insightful talks that I hope you’ll watch, reflect on, and share. Enjoy.

Amy Padnani: Honoring people overlooked by history (11 mins)

New York Times digital editor Amy Padnani is the creator of Overlooked, a series that tells the stories of remarkable women and people of color who didn’t get a prestigious Times obituary when they died — and should have. In this 11-minute talk Padnani explains how the project attempts to right the wrongs of the past and “refocus society’s lens on who is considered important.”

Titus Kaphar: Can art amend history? (13 mins)

A funny thing happened on the way to the Natural History Museum in New York.  As artist Titus Kaphar climbed the familiar stairs to the entrance with his two young sons, the 9-year old asked a question that stopped him in his tracks. It’s the impetus for this riveting talk about art and what it reveals about America’s painful history.

Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave? (14 mins)

In this powerful talk from 2014, finance executive Mellody Hobson poses a simple challenge: “Invite people into your life who don’t look like you, don’t think like you, don’t act like you, don’t come from where you come from.” Find out how challenging your assumptions and embracing diversity will help you grow as a person.

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