playlist

Check your assumptions

Everyone makes snap judgments. These talks challenge the hidden biases we all hold -- around looks, race, class, gender, language.

Checking your list
  1. 14:14
    Mellody Hobson Color blind or color brave?

    The subject of race can be very touchy. As finance executive Mellody Hobson says, it's a "conversational third rail." But, she says, that's exactly why we need to start talking about it. In this engaging, persuasive talk, Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring — makes for better businesses and a better society.

  2. 9:59
    Geena Rocero Why I must come out

    When fashion model Geena Rocero first saw a photo of herself in a bikini, "I thought ... you have arrived!" As she reveals, that's because she was born with the gender assignment "boy." In this moving talk, Rocero tells the story of becoming who she always knew she was.

  3. 5:12
    Clint Smith How to raise a black son in America

    As kids, we all get advice from parents and teachers that seems strange, even confusing. This was crystallized one night for a young Clint Smith, who was playing with water guns in a dark parking lot with his white friends. In a heartfelt piece, the poet paints the scene of his father's furious and fearful response.

  4. 9:37
    Cameron Russell Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model.

    Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she's tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.

  5. 11:28
    Roxane Gay Confessions of a bad feminist

    When writer Roxane Gay dubbed herself a "bad feminist," she was making a joke, acknowledging that she couldn't possibly live up to the demands for perfection of the feminist movement. But she's realized that the joke rang hollow. In a thoughtful and provocative talk, she asks us to embrace all flavors of feminism — and make the small choices that, en masse, might lead to actual change.

  6. 13:48
    John McWhorter Txtng is killing language. JK!!!

    Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting — linguistically, culturally — than it seems, and it’s all good news.

  7. 7:09
    Becky Blanton The year I was homeless

    Becky Blanton planned to live in her van for a year and see the country, but when depression set in and her freelance job ended, her camping trip turned into homelessness. In this intimate talk, she describes her experience of becoming one of America's working homeless.

  8. 25:28
    Sarah Jones One woman, five characters, and a sex lesson from the future

    In this performance, Sarah Jones brings you to the front row of a classroom in the future, as a teacher plugs in different personas from the year 2016 to show their varied perspectives on sex work. As she changes props, Jones embodies an elderly homemaker, a “sex work studies” major, an escort, a nun-turned-prostitute and a guy at a strip club for his bachelor party. It’s an intriguing look at a taboo topic, that flips cultural norms around sex inside out.

  9. 19:23
    Anand Giridharadas A tale of two Americas. And the mini-mart where they collided

    Ten days after 9/11, a shocking attack at a Texas mini-mart shattered the lives of two men: the victim and the attacker. In this stunning talk, Anand Giridharadas, author of "The True American," tells the story of what happened next. It's a parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation.

  10. 4:29
    Jamila Lyiscott 3 ways to speak English

    Jamila Lyiscott is a “tri-tongued orator;” in her powerful spoken-word essay “Broken English,” she celebrates — and challenges — the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, in the classroom and with her parents. As she explores the complicated history and present-day identity that each language represents, she unpacks what it means to be “articulate.”

  11. 14:01
    Yassmin Abdel-Magied What does my headscarf mean to you?

    What do you think when you look at this speaker? Well, think again. (And then again.) In this funny, honest, empathetic talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied challenges us to look beyond our initial perceptions, and to open doors to new ways of supporting others.

  12. 11:53
    Victor Rios Help for kids the education system ignores

    Define students by what they contribute, not what they lack — especially those with difficult upbringings, says educator Victor Rios. Interweaved with his personal tale of perseverance as an inner-city youth, Rios identifies three straightforward strategies to shift attitudes in education and calls for fellow educators to see "at-risk" students as "at-promise" individuals brimming with resilience, character and grit.

  13. 16:23
    Paul Bloom Can prejudice ever be a good thing?

    We often think of bias and prejudice as rooted in ignorance. But as psychologist Paul Bloom seeks to show, prejudice is often natural, rational ... even moral. The key, says Bloom, is to understand how our own biases work — so we can take control when they go wrong.

  14. 9:36
    The Lady Lifers A moving song from women in prison for life

    The ten women in this chorus have all been sentenced to life in prison. They share a moving song about their experiences — one that reveals their hopes, regrets and fears. "I'm not an angel," sings one, "but I'm not the devil." Filmed at an independent TEDx event inside Muncy State Prison, it's a rare and poignant look inside the world of people imprisoned with no hope of parole. (Note: The prison's Office of Victim Advocacy has ensured that victims were treated fairly and respectfully around this TEDx event.)