Global Issues TED Conversations

Comments we loved this year: The words of support

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TED Talks often get 100 or more comments — usually a mixed bag of kudos, critiques and questions. Looking back on the year, we’d like to share a few comments that wowed us. These intelligent, observant contributions took the talks beyond their 18 minutes and into an ongoing conversation.

Every speaker appreciates a “Great job!” but here’s a beautifully worded example of how to go deeper. If a talk truly moved you, take some time to reflect on why. If you disagree with the critics, elaborate on why the speaker’s ideas are worth defending. With civility to spare, this comment provides a powerful counterpoint to a dissenter’s opinion.

Below, commenter Ziska Childs defends Bryan Stevenson’s “We need to talk about an injustice”:

“Yes, I was in the audience. Yes, this struck a primal chord. Yes, I do ask “Why this speech above all others?” Perhaps it is because I have seen black men and women step off the sidewalk to let me pass. Perhaps it is because I have seen old white women walk to the front of the line. Perhaps it is because I know in my heart of hearts that this is close to the core of what is a uniquely US cultural disconnect. Bryan spoke not about the privilege of wealth to a wealthy privileged audience but the privilege of Justice.

Justice. Justice is not vending machine forgiveness. Justice is not a punishment exponentially greater than the crime. Justice is not choosing to punish the criminal over healing the victim. (Ideally the punishment would heal the hurt.)

I choose to believe that someone who recognizes the systematic murder of 12 million human beings as immoral can also see the fingerweight on the scales of Justice against the African American as unconscionable.

I choose to believe that compassion is neither exclusive nor finite.

I choose to believe that learning from history is better than ignoring history.

What Mr. Stevenson asked for was ‘Justice’ with the scales set level from the start. I choose to believe that is good.”