Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


The moral bias behind your search results: TED Talk by Andreas Ekström

Interesting listen... Especially for those who believe there is something objective about the internet search results you get whenever you look for information online.

Search engines have become our most trusted sources of information and arbiters of truth. But can we ever get an unbiased search result? Swedish author and journalist Andreas Ekström argues that such a thing is a philosophical impossibility. In this thoughtful talk, he calls on us to strengthen the bonds between technology and the humanities, and he reminds us that behind every algorithm is a set of personal beliefs that no code can ever completely eradicate.


The future of race in America: Michelle Alexander at TEDxColumbus

Michelle Alexander TEDx Talk originally published on Oct 16, 2013.


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.”

Jamila Lyiscott is currently an advanced doctoral candidate and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College where her work focuses on the education of the African Diaspora. She is also an adjunct professor at Long Island University where she teaches on adult and adolescent literacy within the Urban Education system. A spoken word artist since the age of fifteen, Jamila works with youth, educators, and activists throughout the city to create spaces that reflect and engage the cultures and values of black and brown youth inside and outside of the classroom.

A Zankel Fellow, Lyiscott is also working as a Graduate Research Fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education where she leads the Cyphers For Justice youth, research, and advocacy program. Jamila’s poetry and scholarly work has been published in Teachers and Writers Collaborative Magazine and English Journal. She has directed several conferences and projects both locally and internationally and has presented both spoken word and academic papers at many seminars. Through her community, scholastic, and artistic efforts, Jamila hopes to play a key role in forging better connections between the world of academia and communities of color outside.


Detroiter Shaka Senghor: Why your worst deeds don’t define you…

In 1991, Shaka Senghor shot and killed a man. He was, he says, "a drug dealer with a quick temper and a semi-automatic pistol." Jailed for second degree murder, that could very well have been the end of the story. But it wasn't. Instead, it was the beginning of a years-long journey to redemption, one with humbling and sobering lessons for us all.

At the age of 19, Shaka Senghor went to prison fuming with anger and despair. Senghor was a drug dealer in Detroit, and one night, he shot and killed a man who showed up on his doorstep. While serving his sentence for second-degree murder, Senghor discovered redemption and responsibility through literature -- starting with The Autobiography of Malcolm X -- and through his own writing.

Upon his release at the age of 38, Senghor reached out to young men following his same troubled path, and published Live in Peace as part of an outreach program bringing hope to kids in Detroit and across the Midwest. His activism attracted the attention of the MIT Media Lab, and as a Director’s Fellow, Senghor has collaborated on imagining creative solutions for the problems plaguing distressed communities. His memoir, Writing My Wrongs, was published in 2013.

Read more about Shaka Senghor here, and follow his work here.


Toni Griffin: A new vision for rebuilding Detroit (Another TED Talk)

I love my home city of Detroit, although I'll admit that I am biased towards the Detroit that I came of age in during the 1970's and 1980's, and not so much the city now being imagined and crafted by enterprising and opportunistic developers and entrepreneurs.

While I appreciate Toni Griffin's ability to tell a compelling story about a city on the rebound, I am struck more so by the parts of the Detroit story either omitted, or that receive a passing light touch, within the larger narrative of opportunism and optimism.  Some more direct and honest treatment of the following would have been helpful: a) how the unraveling of the city happened, including the complexities and intricacies of structural racism; and b) any tradeoffs the legacy Detroiters are having to make in order to benefit from the new vision for the city.

Ultimately, I am also clear that I don't actually live in Detroit anymore, and that the Detroit of tomorrow has to be developed by those who are actually there.  Detroit will always be home, but indeed when I go back nowadays, I feel more and more like someone in permanent exile, as the place I loved and still love is becoming more and more of a distant memory.

What I have also become more clear about over the years, is that there are many people and business interests that always wanted it that way, and have thoughtfully engineered the makings of what we're experiencing today.

No worries, though, as that Detroit spirit of old still lives on within us!

This TED Talks Description:

Once the powerhouse of America's industrial might, Detroit is more recently known in the popular imagination as a fabulous ruin, crumbling and bankrupt. But city planner Toni Griffin asks us to look again -- and to imagine an entrepreneurial future for the city's 700,000 residents.

About Toni Griffin:

Toni Griffin is the Founding Director of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the City College of New York. In addition to her academic involvement, Griffin maintains an active private practice based in New York. Prior to returning to private practice, Griffin created a centralized division of planning and urban design for the City of Newark, New Jersey, and before that, worked on waterfront and neighborhood revitalization in Washington, D.C.

Griffin recently served as director of the Detroit Works Project, and in 2012 completed and released Detroit Future City, a comprehensive citywide framework plan for urban transformation.




Was this TED Talk Banned? Nick Hanauer “Rich people don’t create jobs”

Check out another TED Talk - except this one didn't make it to primetime.  I wonder why?

Read on, and then watch the video.

From a 2012 TIME article...

Their slogan is “ideas worth spreading.” But the folks at TED – the Technology Entertainment and Design nonprofit behind the TED Talks, beloved by geeks and others interested in novel new ideas – evidently think that some ideas are better left unspread. At least when the ideas in question challenge the conventional wisdom that rich enterpreneurs are the number one job creators.

This past March, millionaire tech investor and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer – one of the early backers of – gave a talk at a TED conference in which, among other things, suggested that middle-class consumers, not rich people, are the real job creators – and that because of this rich people should be paying more in taxes. Though the talk drew applause from conference attendees at the time, TED Talk curator Chris Anderson decided it wasn’t worth sharing with the wider world, and refused to post it on TED’s website.

His explanation? The talk was “too political” to be posted during an election year, and that “a lot of business managers and entrepreneurs would feel insulted” by some of Hanauer’s arguments. This seems more than a tad disingenuous, since TED generally doesn’t shy away from controversial ideas, and is sometimes so “political” that it invites actual politicians to talk at its conferences.

From Nick Hanauer's unpublished TED Talk...

Consider that for thousands of years humans believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. It's not. And an astronomer who still believes that it was, can do some pretty terrible astronomy. Likewise, a policymaker who believes that the rich are job creators, and therefore should not be taxed, will do equally terrible policy.

Ultimately, businesses need people to buy their product. When there are no people to buy the product, there is no need for people to create or sell the product. When there's no need for this, businesses have no reason to hire people.

Moreover, as it is currently, the money people are spending on goods and services is being kept by the increasingly rich business and corporate executives (and their investors of course), with the decreasing numbers of workers who create and sell the product receiving less and less income. Meanwhile, the people doing the work are working harder and longer hours with less and less pay for their work.

Get wise, people. While you continue to watch Scandal and other mindless television shows, there are many advocates and policymakers working hard to undermine the livelihood and life experiences of our children and their children yet unborn. Watch whatever you want to watch; that's not my point. The point is that we need to better understand what's happening around us, and do the hard work of making this country, and the world for that matter, the kind of country and world we want and expect it to be. We need to spend less time numbing ourselves to the stress and pain of the daily grind, and spend more time actively working to create a present and future that is worthy of the term "civilization" or "humanity".




TED Talks: What FACEBOOK And GOOGLE Are Hiding From The World

Another TED Talk (Eli Pariser: Beware Online 'Filter Bubbles')

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser is the author of "The Filter Bubble," about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview.

Selected Quotes...

...In a broadcast society, there were these gatekeepers, the editors, and they controlled the flows of information. Along came the Internet and it swept them out of the way, and it allowed all of us to connect together, and it was awesome. But that’s not actually what’s happening right now.

...The Internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.

...Your filter bubble is your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online. What’s in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do. But you don’t decide what gets in — and more importantly, you don’t see what gets edited out.

...Because I think we really need the Internet to be that thing that we all dreamed of it being. We need it to connect us all together. We need it to introduce us to new ideas and new people and different perspectives. And it's not going to do that if it leaves us all isolated in a Web of one.