Voices Worth Hearing

A couple things crossed my social media feed and challenged / moved me in the last few days. And I’m not just talking spoiler-laden clips of Game of Thrones’ season finale. (But holy cow did they fit a lot into that episode!)

1. With regard to the Brexit vote, before it happened, here’s a powerful and masterful example of persuasive public speech.

I know a lot of people opposed Britain leaving the EU, arguably for some good reasons. What I hate is the idea some spread or implied which said that every “Leave” supporter is some xenophobic, racist, greedy, hateful miser only out for themselves. Several million people voted for this (what was it, 19M+ if memory serves). Are we really supposed to believe that the vast majority of them are motivated politically by hatred and fear? Take a listen and enjoy a well-stated perspective, even if you don’t agree.

2. After the tragic and horrific shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, my wall exploded with different views on what should be addressed, what could have been done, what the real problems in America are, and so on. Accusations of Islamophobia (and maybe some actual Islamophobia) all peppered the mix. As if it’s so simple as suggesting adopting “if we just had a stricter law about guns” or “if the President would have called it radical Islam” or some other myopic opinion masquerading as a solution.

In the midst of all that, I found this OpEd on CNN: Well-stated views about what Muslims in America could do about the current state they’re in. On the one hand, I don’t like the idea that an entire, complex group of people is painted with the same shade, with one massive brush. But the writer seems to pragmatically state, “Well here we are, what can we do about it?”

3. Another piece of very persuasive and energetic public speech appeared on my feed today. I don’t know who Jesse Williams is, but he issues a challenge to all those with something to say about Black Lives Matter and about how African-Americans should deal with racial tensions. Those of us who aren’t forced by daily experience to consider all the ramifications and consequences of something as basic as skin tone might do well to listen with an open mind. We might not see it how Mr. Williams sees it. We might not agree with his conclusions. But there is a wide swath of America that does see it that way–a large percentage of Americans for whom Mr. Williams’ comments are spot on, addressing their day-to-day reality. If we’re willing to understand, we can’t assume we’ve got the whole picture on something so complex as race.

If you’re only going to watch one of these, I suggest the third option. Click the image below for a link to the speech.

Jesse Williams
Jesse Williams
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