Color Blind or Color Brave?

In “Mellody Hobson: Color Blind or Color Brave,” she talks about the racial divide in America, and how many are uncomfortable and dismissive of the situation. During her Tedtalk, Mellody shared a story of how she was discriminated against and mistaken for the kitchen help. I found that most memorable because it has happened to many people of color, not just black. The stereotypes in our country have a structured a way of thinking or categorizing citizens in unwanted situations. ​​After reviewing ethos in the Tedtalk, I believe this is enough evidence to trust what Hobson is stating. She uses real-life experiences like this one, “Harold and I arrive in New York. We are in our best suits. We look like shiny new pennies. And we get to the receptionist, and we say, “We’re here for the lunch.” She motions for us to follow her. We walk through a series of corridors, and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a stark room, at which point she looks at us and she says, “Where are your uniforms?” This example makes the audience know that situations of racial discrimination do happen to people of color.  Hobson is the president of one of the largest African-American owned investment firms in the United States, Aerial Investments. Her expertise gives her credibility that can help a reader or audience member understand her argument stated in the Tedtalk. With that said, ethos is important to this talk, because she wants to give examples that many people of color face daily; without examples or evidence, her point of dismissing color blindness and advocating color braveness in the workplace or any public situation will not come across as credible or convincing.

Hobson has given the audience many (logos) logical points that present supporting details for her statements. Not only has she expressed her own experience, but has stated many statistics and facts that will make the target audience aware of issues presented, “One example from corporate America: Even though white men make up just 30 percent of the U.S. population, they hold 70 percent of all corporate board seats.” With racial disparities and discrimination, that was the strongest and most impressive point she stated, also to add, “in Fortune 250 companies, seven CEOs are actually minority and in public traded companies (PTC) only two are chaired by black women.” I found it impressive and strong because it shows minorities in America are coming a long way in the corporate world. Since we are slowly entering into this field of business, we are making huge impacts with opening successful businesses and helping a fellow man in the process. I really didn’t find a least point that the speaker has made, most of her points were valid and straightforward to help her argument come into play. There may be a low point, but it is difficult to find when everything can help.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Throughout the talk, Hobson continues to capture the audience while using pathos to get many of her points across. With her uncomfortable situation with a friend, who was running for U.S. Senate and being mistaken as kitchen help. Even though caught off guard and stunted, she was not surprised by the whole ordeal. Her mother 30 years old ago gave an insight into what the world would treat her since she is a person of color. In American history, discrimination was one time legal and institutionalized. Mellody also expresses that with many who have suffered to overcome and fight for their rights as citizens; issues in racial discrimination robs generations of many opportunities ancestors have fought to save or establish. The emotional response is very important, because the audience can take from the text the truth that many Americans have become color blind to racial issues and avoid them, instead of facing the problems head-on as color brave in which the speaker has implied through her experience as well as providing many emotional triggers like this example, “Now, don’t you think we need more than one black person in the US Senate.” The speaker was able to receive an applause from that statement and gave many other emotional statements to help her argument.

I believe a target audience is a select group of people who do not want to deal with racial issues in America and feel uncomfortable. Since they do have an advantage in some areas they stay quiet and let it sweep under the rug. Another group would be people who are colorblind, but want to speak up on the issue but do not know how to come about it the right way. The audience reaction would be shocked, because many may have not experienced what Mellody Hobson or any person of color have gone through in their lives. The comments are very justifiable, each person who has commented have taken the talk in their own way. For example, “Sadly, the issues of ethnicity/ color and diversity have been mislabeled as ‘race’… we are the HUMAN RACE…” Some comments are examples of what Hobson is saying when people are uncomfortable and frequently push away from discussing race, as the term color blindness is presented. “Mellody, it is difficult to discuss race because people are afraid to be labeled racist…” Nevertheless, Mellody Hobson was able to successfully present her argument to the audience stated.

Photo by from Pexels

What I have noticed the second time around is that there are people in companies that have become more aware and color brave when hiring. Children growing up want to dream big and become their role models one day. Color blindness is dangerous as it only hiding problems in different fields, but if people become more color brave then children can have brighter futures and make certain dreams possible. Another thing that stuck out to me was Mellody Hobson is married to a white man and his experience with her had open his eyes in many ways that were different when he was growing up. In the end, Hobson reiterates that her mother was ruthlessly realistic and became her role model for her future in business.

In “Color Blind or Color Brave,” Mellody Hobson states the differences between the two terms. As history has shown to see few people be color brave and face racial discrimination head-on. Often times you see some individuals as color blind, and steer away from situations about race or sweep facts under the rug. With corporate companies becoming smart and embracing diversity, recognizing that this can be a great advantage and a competitive opportunity like Hobson has expressed with her company. Her discussion wants children to grow up like her with a dream to be successful and embrace a role model that can guide them to many opportunities in their future. Color Brave will expand the knowledge of many and help make individuals more comfortable in talking about race, rather than moving around the topic and become more buried into hardship of America’s problems.

To learn more about the Tedtalk and the author, click links below.

TedTalk: Color Blind or Color Brave by Mellody Hobson

Article (Vanity Fair): Mellody Hobson

Featured Image: “Two Men Talking” – Photo by nappy from Pexels

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