Jay Smooth’s TED Talk Reveals How He Learned to Love Talking About Race

The noted video blogger opens up about what got him interested in talking about race.

By Jorge Rivas Nov 17, 2011

Jay Smooth, our favorite video blogger and host of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, recently presented at a local TED conference meet up at Hampshire College. 

In the talk, called "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race," Smooth says it’s sometimes difficult to talk about race because we’re taking the wrong approach. "We deal with race and prejudice with this all or nothing, good person-bad person binary, in which either you are racist or you are not racist," Smooth says.

The truth is that discussions about race are a lot more complex than the "you’re racist vs. you’re not racist" conversations. And once people acknowledge that fact, they’ll be able to have more honest and productive conversations.

"Anytime we’re dealing with race issues, we’re dealing with a social construct that was not born out of science or reason or logic. We’re grappling with a social construct that was not designed to make sense."