TED Conversations

Daniel Early


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Stevenson points out we don't like discussing injustice in America, to what extent is the online response to his talk evidence of that?

Bryan Stevenson pointed out how we don't like to talk about our problems in America and I'm curious to what extent the online reception of his talk is evidence of that. Does the low number of views of his talk compared to some of those talks on technology and design (which happen to be two areas he mentioned we tend to focus on more) speak directly to our evasive manner towards concepts like injustice? Is it possible that the title of the talk puts people off and is that disinclination symptomatic of America's tendency as a nation to refrain from addressing such shocking injustice?

I was surprised to see his talk has garnered only 382 total comments so far, which is less than some of the videos I've watched today that have 1,000's of comments. And his talk has been posted for over a year.

Last point, if you had me watch 'David Gallo's: Underwater Astonishment' and 'Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice.' And then told me that one had a million views, but the other had over eight million, and then asked me which one was the one discerning, open-minded, issue-facing, problem-discussing TED talk viewers watched eight times more than the other. I would have been wrong. But this could be comparing to apples to oranges, that occurs to me as I right this, but the possibility is there.


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    Jul 13 2013: That makes sense. Not surprising. I was really moved by the talk. Emotions composed a larger part of my reaction to this talk than have to other talks. Maybe I assumed other people would react more emotionally and then assumed that there was a correlation between one's emotional reaction to the talk and the likelihood of them posting a comment. That belies the conception I have of how Americans 'talk about' or 'discuss' our problems.

    It might say more about me and my cynical nature, but I tend to perceive Americans as loving to whine and complain and bemoan their problems, that they have emotional or pre-conditioned responses more than intellectual or rational responses, which I associate with discussion and serious talk. I guess that is cynical of me, saying others treat problems as things to be blamed rather than things to be solved.

    But how earnest and serious and deep can a conversation about injustice be amongst a general population that, for example, doesn't have a working knowledge of the Bill of Rights? http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/03/20/how-dumb-are-we.html 44% of Americans were unable to define the Bill of Rights.

    Thanks for your response.
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      Jul 13 2013: As the concepts of justice and injustice are universal concepts rather than concepts peculiar to the United States, I would say that people the world over can discuss them seriously and earnestly without having a working knowledge of our Bill of Rights.

      A lack of knowledge of the Bill of Rights definitely does affect people's ability to engage in civic participation however. I have twice been part of jury selection as the lawyers probed potential jurors and was shocked that potential jurors did not understand matters like that the law says you are innocent until proved guilty and that jurors must decide by that standard even if they personally believe the accused should bear the burden of proof of his innocence. There were jurors who said that the more serious the crime, the more right they had to presume guilt as a starting point.
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        Jul 13 2013: Yes they have to get to a higher level of corruption before they need to concern themselves with the interstate commerce clause.
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          Jul 13 2013: Have you sat on a jury, Pat? I can just imagine you as a jury foreman.
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        Jul 13 2013: George C. Scott or Jack Lemmon or Courtney B. Vance?

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