The power of a visual story is unmatched, especially when it’s providing a glimpse into someone else’s life experience or a window into a different culture. That’s why TED Talks serve as an invaluable tool that D&I practitioners, ERG leaders and leaders in general can utilize to foster courageous conversations, shift perspectives, connect with others or simply inform themselves and their team.
Here are some TED Talks to watch that speak to diversity and inclusion. Whether it’s five or fifteen minutes, each talk has something that anyone can take away. The perspective provided by these talks can serve as an added value at this pivotal junction as employers and leaders look to support their employees, communities and take action against systemic injustices and inequality.
From TED: Imagine a workplace where people of all colors and races are able to climb every rung of the corporate ladder—and where the lessons we learn about diversity at work actually transform the things we do, think and say outside the office. How do we get there? In this candid talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall shares a three-part action plan for creating workplaces where people feel safe and expected to be their unassimilated, authentic selves.
From TED: There’s an angry divisive tension in the air that threatens to make modern politics impossible. Elizabeth Lesser explores the two sides of human nature within us (call them “the mystic” and “the warrior”) that can be harnessed to elevate the way we treat each other. She shares a simple way to begin real dialogue — by going to lunch with someone who doesn’t agree with you, and asking them three questions to find out what’s really in their hearts.
From TED: Are diverse companies really more innovative? Rocío Lorenzo and her team surveyed 171 companies to find out — and the answer was a clear yes. In a talk that will help you build a better, more robust company, Lorenzo dives into the data and explains how your company can start producing fresher, more creative ideas by treating diversity as a competitive advantage.
From TED: We’re taught to believe that hard work and dedication will lead to success, but that’s not always the case. Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation are among the many factors that affect our chances, says writer and advocate Melinda Epler, and it’s up to each of us to be allies for those who face discrimination. In this actionable talk, Epler shares three ways to support people who are underrepresented in the workplace. “There’s no magic wand for correcting diversity and inclusion,” she says. “Change happens one person at a time, one act at a time, one word at a time.”
From TED: 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.
From TED: Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we’ve seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how.
From TED: Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of … eating, walking or generally “living while black.” In this profound, thought-provoking and often hilarious talk, he reveals the power of language to change stories of trauma into stories of healing—while challenging us all to level up.
From TED: Now more than ever, it’s important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias — and understand how the two can combine to create even more harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term “intersectionality” to describe this phenomenon; as she says, if you’re standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you’re likely to get hit by both. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice.
From TED: Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in — in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest — and reminds us that, 40 years on, there’s still work left to do.
From TED: UPS’s Wanis Kabbaj asks why do we have to choose between nationalism and globalism, between loving our countries and caring for the world? In a talk with lessons for avowed nationalists and globalists alike, he explains how we can challenge this polarizing, binary thinking — and simultaneously be proud citizens of both our countries and the world.