TED Conversations

Casey Kitchel


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The use of professions and disciplines, as a medium for discussing social, political, economic, and environmental issues.

Cameron Russell uses modeling as a medium to discuss and raise awareness about social issues that are important, sensitive, difficult, or uncomfortable to talk about. By placing the social issue of race and ethnicity within a certain context (the example being fashion/ beauty industry, and modeling), it appears to make the issue more comfortable/ less uncomfortable to talk about. With that said, what do other people think about this concept, and if this concept does help to discuss and raise awareness about social, political, economic, and environmental issues that are important, sensitive, difficult, or uncomfortable to discuss, what other professions and disciplines could be used as mediums to help discuss them?

I know I am technically “proposing an idea”. But, I feel like I'm really “proposing an idea” and “asking a question” in the hopes that it stimulates “debate”. TED Conversations, here is a case where I really could have used an “all of the above” option when “starting a TED Conversation”.


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    Feb 9 2013: GREAT idea for discussion Casey! Here is an article that was posted in the conversation thread of Cameron's talk, in which she insightfully perceives her position as a platform from which she can address issues.


    While some folks criticize her for participating in the modeling industry, I believe that she learned quite a bit, and will use that information for the benefit of others. We cannot as adequately address issues from "outside" looking in, as we can from the inside.

    I was a professional actor, model and named Mrs. Vermont years ago. I can honestly tell you that these professions, disciplines and positions provided a platform from which I could address issues. For example, under other circumstances, I probably would not have had the opportunity to connect with as many people, including the members of the state legislature. BECAUSE I was recognized, and invited by a friend who was a member of the state legislature, to speak to the assembly and various committees, my testimony contributed to changes in laws regarding domestic violence and the dept of corrections.

    How we use the different professions, disciplines and positions is the important peice.
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      Feb 11 2013: Colleen!

      Great contribution and thank you. By the way, I went ahead and read that article (and I am not going to lie, I also took a look at her interview on CNN with Soledad O'Brien). More often than not, i find it is helpful to get multiple view points to understand someone/something or to get a better idea of the "whole" picture. As in design, I can't emphasize enough how critical it is to do good research.
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        Feb 11 2013: Hey Casey!
        Multiple view points are always good, and I believe that in any exploration, good research is important....and fun:>) What did you find in the CNN interview? Consistant with the article? Or not?
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          Feb 13 2013: It can be fun... ;) (you got me there Colleen!) BUT, I think it is important to be mindful, sensitive, and respectful about not being invasive. Especially as a guy! Just by virtue of being a guy I feel like I am automatically labeled as "suspicious". And I really don't think I have to say this but I am going to anyways, "hobbies" like stalking weren't cool before the internet, and they certainly haven't gotten any cooler, or more importantly, any more appropriate since. I always try to follow the rule of don't do anything to anyone else I that I wouldn't like to be done to me. So I try my best to tread lightly and to be respectful. Certainly there is some admiration there too, but definitely more out of respect. And I think you will agree with me in saying everyone deserves to be shown some respect, regardless of how they look or where they are from.

          Honestly though, I think it was okay the little bit of research I did because the three of those sources are public material (and I feel that's an acceptable place to draw the line at). But it feels a little uncomfortable anyway, or maybe that's just because Cameron's talk is seeping into my conscience. Awkward and uncomfortable! XP
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          Feb 13 2013: Having addressed "that" part of your response Colleen :) , I feel I can move on and proceed to address the latter part of your response.

          As far as I can tell, Cameron is consistent all the way across the board. I happened to read the article before I watched the interview, when in fact the article in Vogue was published after both her TED talk and the CNN interview, and i think that helped to prove her honesty and support the message she is trying to convey.

          First, I want to point out that Cameron always emphasizes that she is grateful she could use modelling as a way to pay for her education. If I could have, I would have too! College isn't cheap, and it doesn't appear it is going to get any cheaper anytime soon. I'm sure she has an opinion on that.

          Second, let's face it, she was invited to be on Soledad O'Brien's show, on CNN, all of which people for the most part will agree are well respected and reputable sources. Soledad doesn't invite just anyone on to her show, and she certainly doesn't recommend anything to other people (or her own daughters) to watch if she didn't think it were important or equally important, trust worthy. Cameron's responses to the questions all seemed honest, thoughtful, and respectful. Even to the modelling related question asked by the "middle-aged white guy".

          As it appears to me, they all match, and they all support each other, and that in turn backs up Cameron and her cause. She seems to have a positive out look on what she is doing and where she is going (because she is going) and from the article, even on the more negative experiences she has encountered. Hopefully she will be back on Soledad's show discussing social issues, but NOT on the fiscal cliff! (PLEASE!) I would prefer that that matter would resolve itself before then in a way that wouldn't be detrimental to the future of everyone!
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        Feb 15 2013: Casey,
        Sorry I didn't respond sooner to your two most recent comments. I've read them several times, and I'm a bit confused with the direction you would like to take in this conversation.

        "Fun", to me includes being mindful, sensitive, and respectful.

        I do NOT perceive you, or label you as "suspicious" because you are a guy.

        I am totally in the dark regarding your comments about "stalking".

        I totally agree with you that "everyone deserves to be shown some respect, regardless of how they look or where they are from."

        Have I said something that causes you to think/feel I am NOT respectful? You not respectful?
        You say..."it feels a little uncomfortable". I don't understand your discomfort.

        I have supported Cameron and her talk, and it feels like you are trying to convince me to do so?
        Are you preaching to the choir?
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          Feb 15 2013: Sorry Colleen!

          I didn't mean to come off like that. I wasn't trying to say that you think of me as being suspicious, or that you don't respect me, or anything bad like that.

          In the short time since I joined the TED community, I have quickly come to view you as one of the more mindful, respectful, wise, and trust worthy people.

          I think I may have read too much into your comment, and I think I overreacted. I hope you can forgive me.

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        Feb 16 2013: Casey,
        Nothing to "forgive" because I did not blame you for anything. I simply could not understand your comments.....thanks for clarifying. Sometimes, folks kind of go off on "sub-topics" in these conversations, and it's difficult to keep track of the topic!

        Thank you very much for your kind and generous feedback....I appreciate that:>)

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