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How to Talk so People (or Racists) Will Listen

This video is around four years old, and you might have seen it already. I've seen it before, but I still thought it was terrific when I stumbled on it a few weeks ago.  Mr. Smooth explains a concept here that is so simple that it often escapes us at the crucial moments that we need to remember it the most.

Everyone has prejudices and stereotypes stuck in their brain about how the world works and who people are.  Prejudice isn't the problem because it's always going to be there.  The biggest problems arise when it comes to matters of race, multiculturalism, politics, or even "tastes great, less filling" because people forget how to talk to each other.

We're trying to go for the kill when it comes to discussing controversial topics.  "The kill" is not the end game. Attacking someone with a zinger might feel good, but, forgive me for bursting that bubble, but it achieves nothing. In the end turning a discussion about race or politics into an exercise in promoting one's own feelings of self righteousness is of no value.

The end game is not feeling good about yourself, you know? It's compassion, harmony, a pluralistic understanding of humanity. I will go so far as to say that watching what you say and how you say it is at the core of achieving that. Let me add here, though, that living in a more compassionate world is likely going to make you feel good about yourself.

Watching this video might be the most important three minutes you spend today.

Unless you're a heart surgeon or a pilot or something.

How to Tell People They Sound Racist

Reader Comments (17)

I love that video. So much so that even though I've seen it several times, I had to stop and watch it again. Thanks for that. :-)

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave2

Yes, yes, yes.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

Guy's a genius in so many ways. Thanks for the replay.

I'm a hypocrite. Trying to change that is my resolution for this year.

Not kidding.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRW

Pure brilliance.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKailyn

Yes, we learned this in Chris Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS rejuvenation, via Rachel the ADA: "It's not who you are underneath; it's what you do that defines you."

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthe muskrat

Love this video!

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkristen howerton

I know. I've watched it four times in the last... well, twelve minutes.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa


January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

In defense of your hypocrisy: the older I get, the harder it is for me to not engage in the "this is what you are" rhetoric. Life is complicated, and sometimes it's just simpler to write people off rather than tell them what they should probably know by now if they'd been paying attention. I struggle with that more and more of late.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

He's awesome.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Not to dis on Rachel, but I'm pretty sure that he was Brice Wayne underneath that Batman suit played a significant part in her affections for him. Rich is the new hot.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

I know, right?!

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

So would smacking them on the back of the head when they say something stupid be considered the "what you said was racist" conversation or "you are a racist" conversation?

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I remember this video - such a great way to explain it.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Posts like this one are exactly why I've nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award : - >

Here’s the link to my post about it:

And here’s what to do to accept:
a. Write a post accepting the award and show the award’s picture.
b. List seven random and weird facts about yourself – things that probably haven’t already come up in your blog posts.
c. Pass the award on to 5-15 other blogs, ones that you already follow or for which you solicit invitations.

Your posts makes us think, consider, and hold a mirror up to our own blind spots. Keep 'em coming!

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSylver Blaque

Love this. Thanks so much for sharing it. I missed it in the first go-round.

I've not seen this video before- thanks for sharing it. It's tough for me to confront people sometimes. I find it easiest in my own home, less easy at work, and the hardest of all with my dad.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJM Randolph

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