Chamblee54

TED Talk Google Adventure

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, The Internet by chamblee54 on February 11, 2020


TED sends me emails, recommending talks. This week, it was The real story of Rosa Parks — and why we need to confront myths about black history. I felt like listening, and clicked on the link.

David Ikard was the TED-talker. His son came home from school, having learned a lesson about Rosa Parks. Unfortunately, he was taught the version where Mrs. Parks is an old lady, whose feet hurt. The truth is that the protest had been planned.

Dr. Ikard was offended that his son was taught the incorrect version of the story. He wanted to have a conference with the teacher. The transcript tells what happens next. “So I’m agonizing over this, primarily because I understand, as an African-American man, that whenever you talk to whites about racism or anything that’s racially sensitive, there’s usually going to be a challenge. This is what white sociologist Robin DiAngelo calls “white fragility.” She argues that, in fact, because whites have so little experience being challenged about their white privilege that whenever even the most minute challenge is brought before them, they usually cry, get angry or run.” At this point, I decided not to listen to any more of the talk.

I got curious about how this turned out. His son taught his own lesson to the class. The teacher saw the error of her ways. That part of the talk has a happy ending. Unfortunately, the talk has eight minutes to go. Dr. Ikard tells another story. If you want to hear this story, you can listen to the talk.

After the second story, Dr. Ikard is talking about race relations in general. He repeats a quote. “Toni Morrison said, “If, in order for you to be tall, I have to be on my knees, you have a serious problem.” She says, “White America has a serious, serious problem.”

I have never read any of Ms. Morrison’s books. I have heard an interview on CBS radio, and seen a couple of videos. The “If, in order for you…” quote sounds like something she might say. However, I wanted to know the context. How did she come to say that?

I highlight the quote, right click, select google search. The only results that I saw, in English, were the TED talk. The next step is to find the Wikiquotes page for Toni Morrison. Control A, Control C, click onto a blank word document, Control V. Save the document as Morrison, to be put in a quote database later. Next, hit Control F. Write a search term in the field, and see what you find. After using tall, knees, order, and serious, as search items, the quote does not appear. It is possible that Ms. Morrison did say that sentence, but, for our purposes, it is not verified.

This is not the first time a Toni Morrison quote has caught my attention. A few years ago, a facebook friend posted a video of Ms. Morrison on the Charlie Rose show. I asked the fbf if he had a link for the video, for which he replied “Google it, sir.” It turns out that the video used creative editing, and did not accurately represent what Ms. Morrison said.

This is the problem with saying “Google it.” A search engine is going to show the searcher information that you might not want them to see. Besides that, saying “Google it” is rude. If you post something on facebook, or a TED talk, you should show where you get your information.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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