Be color brave, not color blind: Mellody Hobson at TED2014

Great woman, great talk

TED Blog

Mellody Hobson. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Mellody Hobson. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

In 2006 Harold Ford called his friend Mellody Hobson, saying that he was running for US Senate in Tennessee, and he need some national press. Hobson, an investor, opens her talk with this story. She called a friend at a major media organization who organized a lunch. Hobson and Ford arrived at the reception, said they were there for the lunch, and were taken to a back room. Then they were asked, “Where are your uniforms?” At that point her friend rushed in, speechless. Hobson said, “Don’t you think we need more than one black person in the US Senate?”

Hobson says that she and Ford still laugh about that incident, but also that “deep deep down inside, I wasn’t surprised.” Her mother was ruthlessly realistic, and had prepared her. For example, after a birthday party where she was the only black person, her mother…

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Educational games

The Against the Odds game really did an effective job of helping me role play as a immigrant applying for a job in America. I’m an actor and many times pretend to be other people during major events and circumstances but don’t often think of things that I would consider mundane such as applying for a job within the context of being a refugee. The sound effects and music I found to be incredibly helpful in immersing me in that world. I found level 2 to be extremely interesting with people basically talking about you as if you’re not there. I played as a female character and for some reason felt more vulnerable during the game than I think I would have had I  played as a male character. Part of it I think was that there was a portion in the mall there was a guy who seems to be talking to his friend about whether he should “get to know” my character  or not. His fear is that my family will be “after him” I found this to be  I don’t know why but I found that experience to be more awkward than the rude comments said by other civilians in the mall. 

One interesting game mechanic is that when the guards check my bag the text is in english so I can read what they are saying but the audio is extremely garbled gibberish. I felt that if this was intentional it enforces the context of being an immigrant not fully familiar with english and thought it was extremely smart. 

 I found the Ayitri game to be more engaging than Against All odds in pace. Odds was  a little slow and the choice game mechanic wasn’t as enjoyable as ayitri because in odds it takes longer before you can choose between options such as wearing different types of clothing or saying different things whereas in Ayitri every minute or so . The game by forcing me to plan for a whole season made me feel like I had a better idea of what it was like to live life on Haiti than I did playing as a refugee in Agains All Odds. Also the fact that in the beginning I thought I was making smart decisions like by having the kids alternate schooling times so that 2 would work while one was in a good school around the year turned out to bite me in the butt since it drained my money and eventually I had to remove my kids from school. It was hard as I realized I probably could have had an easier time in the game if in the beginning I put the dad or mom in vocational school and had the kids work. That decision was a harsh reality I ignored during the game. It was very difficult on the education setting and gave me a deeper understanding of how people living in developing nations are caught on a ferris wheel of poverty as kids are forced to work. I wasn’t ignorant of these realities in the past but the game by having me role play educated me more than the books and articles I read and gave me more empathy. I felt like constantly looking for an Oxfam or some other organization that helps developing nations button. 

I could see though how on the other hand how an immature player could think they were an expert after playing the game.  I think that both games (if used correctly) as teaching tools could and should be used for people that are interested Model UN groups in high schools and colleges. After playing Ayitri I feel kind of conflicted because I feel like the message is strong but some people might be so desensitized to videogame deaths that the situations created to teach you a lesson won’t be effective. What caused me to engage with the game and see it as educational were the stakes and interrelated choices. Against All Odds on the other hand although not as engaging for me probably will be more engaging to someone who doesn’t respond to virtual death strongly. 

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The Against the Odds game really did an effective job of helping me role play as a immigrant applying for a job in America. I’m an actor and many times pretend to be other people during major events and circumstances but don’t often think of things that I would consider mundane such as applying for a job within the context of being a refugee. The sound effects and music I found to be incredibly helpful in immersing me in that world. I found level 2 to be extremely interesting with people basically talking about you as if you’re not there. I played as a female character and for some reason felt more vulnerable during the game than I think I would have had I  played as a male character. Part of it I think was that there was a portion in the mall there was a guy who seems to be talking to his friend about whether he should “get to know” my character  or not. His fear is that my family will be “after him” I found this to be  I don’t know why but I found that experience to be more awkward than the rude comments said by other civilians in the mall. 

One interesting game mechanic is that when the guards check my bag the text is in english so I can read what they are saying but the audio is extremely garbled gibberish. I felt that if this was intentional it enforces the context of being an immigrant not fully familiar with english and thought it was extremely smart. 

 I found the Ayitri game to be more engaging than Against All odds in pace. Odds was  a little slow and the choice game mechanic wasn’t as enjoyable as ayitri because in odds it takes longer before you can choose between options such as wearing different types of clothing or saying different things whereas in Ayitri every minute or so . The game by forcing me to plan for a whole season made me feel like I had a better idea of what it was like to live life on Haiti than I did playing as a refugee in Agains All Odds. Also the fact that in the beginning I thought I was making smart decisions like by having the kids alternate schooling times so that 2 would work while one was in a good school around the year turned out to bite me in the butt since it drained my money and eventually I had to remove my kids from school. It was hard as I realized I probably could have had an easier time in the game if in the beginning I put the dad or mom in vocational school and had the kids work. That decision was a harsh reality I ignored during the game. It was very difficult on the education setting and gave me a deeper understanding of how people living in developing nations are caught on a ferris wheel of poverty as kids are forced to work. I wasn’t ignorant of these realities in the past but the game by having me role play educated me more than the books and articles I read and gave me more empathy. I felt like constantly looking for an Oxfam or some other organization that helps developing nations button. 

 

I could see though how on the other hand how an immature player could think they were an expert after playing the game.  I think that both games (if used correctly) as teaching tools could and should be used for people that are interested Model UN groups in high schools and colleges. After playing Ayitri I feel kind of conflicted because I feel like the message is strong but some people might be so desensitized to videogame deaths that the situations created to teach you a lesson won’t be effective. What caused me to engage with the game and see it as educational were the stakes and interrelated choices. Against All Odds on the other hand although not as engaging for me probably will be more engaging to someone who doesn’t respond to virtual death strongly. 

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