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Mellody Hobson Calls on People to be ‘Color Brave’ Not ‘Color Blind’

Mellody Hobson on Color Blindness

Mellody Hobson discusses color blindness at TED 2014

In recent years the term “color-blind” has been introduced as a part of the discussion on racism, but African-American businesswoman Mellody Hobson has exposed some serious issues with the “color-blind” concept. The concept of being “color-blind” means that people would learn over time to pretend not to notice race. “In my view, that doesn’t mean there’s fairness,” Hobson said. “Color blindness is very dangerous because it means we’re ignoring the problem…We can’t be color blind, we have to be color brave.” According to Hobson, what some see as a solution to racial discrimination and negative stereotypes is only a quick escape for those who feel too uncomfortable to confront the truth. “Race in America makes people completely uncomfortable,” Hobson said. “Bringing it up is like the conversational equivalent to touching the third rail.” During her TED talk, Hobson explained that avoiding the subject is only furthering the oppression of minorities and making the issue of racism more severe. “The first step of solving any problem is not to hide from it,” she said. “The first step to any form of action is awareness.” She recalled the story of when she joined her good friend Harold Ford in 2006 when he was running for U.S. Senate in Tennessee. Ford needed national press and Hobson reached out to a friend at a major media organization to make it happen in the form of a luncheon. When Ford and Hobson arrived at the reception, however, they were quickly asked “Where are your uniforms?” Mellody Hobson calls for Color Bravery Not Color BlindnessWhile Hobson admitted she laughs about the incident now, it is still a true story and proof that the issue of racism has not been corrected. “I’m not here to complain,” she said during the TED talk. “I’ve been treated well by people of all races more often than not. I have succeeded in my life more than my wildest expectations. I tell the uniform story because it happened.” She also revealed troubling statistics that supported her claim that it is more important to be “color brave” than “color blind.” According to Hobson, white men make up only 30 percent of the U.S. population, yet they hold 70 percent of all corporate board seats. The Fortune 250 only includes seven minority CEOs, and of all the publicly traded companies only two are chaired by Black women – one of them being Hobson. Hobson is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ariel Mutual Funds and the Chairman of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. in addition to serving on several other boards. She went on to say that it’s not just the owners of businesses who need to embrace color bravery. “If you’re part of a hiring process or admissions process, you can be color brave,” she said. “If you are trying to solve a really hard problem, you can speak up and be color brave. If you’re doing a brainstorming session at work or at school, you can be color brave.” Hobson told the crowd that color bravery is vital to the future of the country that claims to be the “land of the free and the home of the brave” because addressing the issue of racism “head on” is what will allow every child to know “that their future matters and their dreams are possible.”

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4 thoughts on “Mellody Hobson Calls on People to be ‘Color Brave’ Not ‘Color Blind’

  1. Sundiata Keita says:

    trustee huh? since when do white people trust black people? they always prop black women up in them ladycoon positions. i bet everyone she is tied too is white.

  2. Michael Bush says:

    They lost me at "her good frined Harold Ford". Anyone friends with an obvious Tom like Harold Ford is "no bueno".

  3. Fuck that photo..I spit on it

  4. She loss me when she integrated with that cracker also

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