We need to talk about an injustice | Bryan Stevenson


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In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at /> If you have questions or comments about this or other TED videos, please go to



VZA
Grandma tells him not to tell anybody... gets on TED and first thing out of his mouth...
Mikel1988
Bryan Stevenson for President
Lisette DuFore
Everyone go read his book, Just Mercy. It was one of the most powerful and inspiring books I've ever read.
ezyfnef
People talk about frogs on TED and rake in millions of views but a topic this crucial to the integrity of our society gets about 300k. Distasteful!
Megan Thomas
"The way to think about it is not do people deserve to die because of the crimes they commit but do we deserve to kill?" amazing
Danielle Robinson
52 years old??? He look 30!
ytjhhh
We won't be judged by our intellect, technology, design. You dont judge a society by how they treat the rich , the powerful, the privileged You judge the character of a society by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated. Because it is in that nexus we understand truly profound things about who who we are. 16:50
Simon Chris
This is one of the best Ted Talks.
Ashok Vardhan
One of the most powerful talks I have ever heard on TED. Bryan Stevenson is a very powerful speaker.
Farhana Jabbar
Outstanding! "United States is the only country in the world where we send 13 year old to jail to die" very disappointed. Shame on us.
Jonathan Michael
Thank you for posting this, TED.
proelium555
I'm french and we haven't got the death sentence in France. This talk permit me to see that the injustice exist in the World and that's a problem. I've an exposed tommorow at school and i'll speak about this talk because it touched me. I'm sorry for my bad english, don't hesitate to correct me :) Thank's for reading.
ytjhhh
We have a system of justice in our country that treats you much better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. Wealth not culpability shapes outcomes. Very true' Bryan Stevenson. 6:45
Andreas Georgiades
Stephen Colbert sent me here. Thank you, Bryan for what you do. We are all proud of you.
An gela
An intern at my office suggested this TEDX...I heard him on NPR awhile ago (I THINK it was him) and LOVE his life journey - life work!
Candace Robinson
I did not want him to stop talking! 😳
Moli Meshulam
This is legitimately the best TED Talk I've ever watched.
zane Smith
This guy is a true story teller
Tovacorona
Mr. Stevenson speaks the truth. We all need to pay attention to the suffering and injustice happening in our justice/penal system. And I don't take offense at all at his comparison to what has happened to blacks in the U.S. and Jews in Germany. Yes, the Nazis were more systematic and efficient, but abusing and killing blacks for nothing more than being black and stepping outside of white, Jim Crow era sensibilities, was also either codified into law or the law deliberately looked the other way and refused to prosecute blatant murderers of blacks. We're talking into the 1960s, here. And I say this as a Jew. Our current penal system can easily be seen as a continuation of Jim Crow repression, particularly the disenfranchisement of huge percentages of black men. 
Yoonseong Lee
The best talk I've ever heard.
liltika007
It's a shame how few views this video has...
Slaughter
I wish he would run for president
tinkerhelll
One of the more inspiring TED talks I've watched.  Wish our country had more folks like this running things.
Mark Walton
Thank you Bryan Stevenson. Thank you for helping me gain a much deeper understanding of the power of identity and compassion. The politics of fear and anger disconnect us from our humanity. So true.
Delores Vickers
Today would be a good time to give that talk on National TV.
Majus Franz
i work in Berlin, germany in a ghetto district on a school with arabian, turkish and black childrean to give them a better live, and brian stevenson gives me also the view that i do the right thing and do more!!!
Kay2B
How does a human hear this injustice and turn his/her head? When Bryan speaks "If I lived during the lynchings, I would have not allowed it," "If I lived during slavery, I would not have allowed it," " If I lived during the "terrorizing" of black/brown people, I would have done something to stop it," I reflected on how often I have thought those thoughts and heard those words from people who believe their passionate positions. I realize I need to move beyond, "If I lived..." to how I live today. Share the injustices. Encourage discussions to change the "narrative," move to give hope to someone with no hope, believe I can make a difference by moving out of my comfort zone. I am living now. I will...
KaySix
...is anyone else crying?
Emma-Inemesit Richardson
Wow. One of the best TED talks out there. I can't believe I'm only watching this now. I must read this man's book.
Big Dumb Bich
The real wealth state problem is that if you are poor, you cannot afford a very good lawyer frequently, and if you are rich then its the opposite.
Sagacious One
I'm 49 and have never had alcohol. Blame it on my Mormon upbringing, but I've never had the desire.
Francina Jones
i was listening to NPR on Monday night and he was being interviewed. I needed to know more about this young man. I know he has kept his eye on the prize. So empowering and thought provoking. 
qwer
"We are more than the worst thing we've ever done...the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. All of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone." This man is amazing, this TED talk is wonderful.
Earl E. Butler Jr.
Phenomenal, that's all I can say about this video! Brian Stevenson is so on target. Society as a whole must fix the judicial system. It's bias, prejudice, and complete and utterly chaos, must end!
John Byrne
his book was awesome
Santiago Bron
"a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives." is it because they commit crimes? just a suggestion.
CzarJuliusIII
How to sum up this video in a few words: This man is a true human being.
C. F. Patterson
My son, who just happens to be incarcerated in the state of Wisconsin, brought me here. My ONLY child received a 25 year sentence, for PROVEN self defense, has spent 8 yrs in prison because the judge WOULD NOT address the questions that the jurors posed when asking for clarification on the charges, the prosecutor TOLD LIE after LIE instead of presenting the facts that led to my Son having to defend himself as well as the BLATANT tampering with evidence and witnesses. While in the process of obtaining our own EXPERIENCED criminal law attorney, the judge declared my Son as indigent and appointed an attorney that admitted to NEVER HAVING the experience of a criminal law case...AND the fact that this court appointed attorney was under criminal investigation for misconduct!! Oh I forgot to mention that because the trial took place about a week before Xmas that year, the case was "rushed" because the judge announced that "we need to wrap this up... It's almost Christmas and I have things to do." This statement is in the transcripts!!
DIRTY T.
This is a good video. The facts are facts but I think that the root of the problem starts at the home. Society has issues sure, but the problems start at home. "Fix" the home element and the rest will subsequently follow (in most cases). But first, somebody has to try and legitimately "break the vicious cycle" that has kept so many impoverished.
Lucy L
He spoke today at my University and it was truly an amazing speech
Terrible Person From Louisiana
its a shame how this has not gone viral given his extremely important message...
Jackson Douglas
using this video for a research paper on the death penalty and it helped a lot thanks
Ramen Shaman
I joined the ovation from my bedroom.
Dark Lord
I know this was made a while ago but I just finished reading "Just Mercy" and I realize now how stupid america is as a country and I'm so glad there's people like him in this world to make us better and who actually want to help people who need the help. Thank you to Bryan
lura garcia
love this guy! Just Mercy is amazing. read it in two days :)
RETiredGM
"We have a justice system in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than poor and innocent. Wealth, and not culpability, shapes outcomes. And yet we seem to be very comfortable". Bryan Stevenson
Leota713
The most meaningful Ted talk I've watched.  Thank you, Mr. Stevenson.  I hope Silicon Valley will change their hiring policies and include poor people, fat people, old people, people of color, people trying to change their lives so that THEIR EMPLOYEES REFLECT THE POPULATION AND DIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE THAT USE THEIR PRODUCTS, THE PEOPLE OF UNITED STATES.  And that the companies WILL PAY THEIR TAXES TO SUPPORT THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY.  Thank you.
Doogle Ticker
Superb talk. Make America great by respecting the constitution, not by locking up poor black kids. Of all the countries on the planet, why is the USA never ranked as number one except for incarceration and military spending? Do fools run the USA?
hope dean
"We have a system of justice in this country that treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent" I watched 13th on Netflix (cannot highly recommend enough - Academy Award-nominated documentary with different viewpoints and connections that I didn't even know about) and Bryan Stevenson was one of the people interviewed for the documentary. He speaks so calmly and clearly and obviously has a good head for what's right. He really knew what he ws talking about.
momandson cookingshow
I had not thought that Germany didn't have the death penalty and it is amazing that each generation that followed has remembered why they don't.
Mmb Kush
he should run for president i would vote for him
avedic
Gah....what an amazing talk. His example about Germany...and what it would mean if they were executing people today...who were disproportionately Jewish....really struck a chord. If Germany was doing that, there would be outrage...and rightly so. There's so much I could say about this talk...but I hope most of you already know what I want to say, because you're thinking it too. Sadly, there's lots of excuse making and outright racism in the comments. That's YouTube for you. Oh well. I love how this talk was sans-Power Point and whatnot. It was just one man...speaking with eloquent passion to a crowd of transfixed people.
Barbara McGhee
I just spent the last 23:41 minutes with a lump in my throat.  I am moved. Being of mixed races and having a history of experiencing the brutality of our justice system, this was awe inspiring.  If we could ALL just ingest this talk and then act on it.
SF Drone & Piano Guy
It's hard to blame Blacks being in jail as some sort of racial injustice, when their imprisonment rates are pretty much on par with how their crime rates relate to other races.  Whose fault is it if you decide to do a home invasion? brutal assault? Mugging? Car Jacking? Drug Dealing? The crime rights are so high, in some cities they are literally refusing to arrest people except for the most serious crimes because they can't handle anymore thugs in jail. I'm seen the most brutal & violent crimes have the perpetrator convicted, only to be back on the streets before a year is even up. If you want to get Blacks out of jail, go preach to THEM---- not US
rana banana
An extremely inspirational, eloquent and beautiful speech.
Manuel Antunes
Inspiring intervention but I suspect it's not only in America that society accepts better a  rich guilty  than a poor innocent - it is global. At least, it is the same here in Portugal. Thank you for your words. I hope they reach many, many people around the world - I'm contributing with my little effort.
Freddy Frug
The fact that there's been more written about Louisiana than Georgia regarding the Great Migration happened to shape my thoughts that racist violence had a more terrifying effect on black Louisianans than on black Georgians. Turns out the opposite may have true when considering that in 1950, Louisiana's black population was 183k larger than it was in 1920, while Georgia's black population was 143k smaller than it was in 1920.
gamerboy
Should I read the book? Great Talk btw
ytjhhh
The opposite of poverty is Justice. 16:30
Anita K
I think the death penalty is very wrong. Many other countries has life without possibility of parole. I think that is much better then continuing the killing. People who put others to death through this penalty are doing just as much wrong. I think prisoners should be treated humanely, and given the opportunity to better themselves and perhaps one day earn the right to back in society.
Bilal Brown
One of my favourite TED talks. Exposing U.S. double standards.
Trevor Rich
i have to watch this for english class
Brian A
Stevenson 2016
Edward Wu
This is a great speech, it is very deep subject, generally people only concern about salary and living status in a small circle, but more likely fundamental of society must be fair and respectful enough to sustain every small circle stays in a positive and balanced status. it has to focus on the main point like human society or circulation of global, not an occasion.
ytjhhh
Our Humanity depends on everyone's humanity. We have to embrace these challenges
Anthony Spencer
How David Blaine gets over 7 millions views and this only gets under 500,000 is shocking. One of the best talks I have ever listen. Great stuff
John Thomson
My neighbor last night told me of this gentleman who was going to speak at the local highschool on Monday.  My neighbor knows that I have spent half my life in a dozen prisons across this country going back to 1958 when I was a teenager and spending years in prison.  I last left prison behind 37 years ago.  Having just listened to this man' speech I would have to ask, where is the merit that suggests what he has to say is going to change anything and if so, why has it taken so long.  I submit that based on my own education and experience that the reason Americans don't care or at least not enough of them, is that as he even mentioned.  They are not them.   I don't think beyond a miracle from God Himself that compassion or caring for those who are in poverty or imprisoned no matter their race is probable in this country.   A prison school teacher told me God could change my life.  Everything inside me doubted what she said but I had nothing to lose, so I accepted Christ. Had I not encountered her I would still be in prison.  Eight years later we were married and have been so for 34 years.  
Ama Kiramuruzi
1 in 9, outrageous! How many under-18/black/white in that? What happens after the court recognizes a person has been wrongly eliminated ? On what criteria does the judge certify a teenage as an adult? The definition of a 'minor' has not been fixed over time, but the definition of a murder for instance has been more stable.  The contrary of poverty is indeed justice, say the Holy Books(valid for all nations for ever). Who was the victim of that 14 yo killer btw?  The presentation would be more balanced if it showed some consideration to the victims too.  Is president B.H.Obama doing enough at all to address this problem?
Farheen Khan
Absolute favorite Ted Talk
PhantomPianist91
Great talk, really enjoyed it!
Nikki Berry
This needs more views. I got teary-eyed near the end.
Carla Marie Mills
I have so much Respect for this Man.
M. Va'enuku
The Guard & the Chocolate Milkshake is what his work is all about. So grateful I stumbled across your book and your work. Inspiring! #JustMercy
pwelchster
Bryan Stevenson for president.
Brendan Kim
The best lecture of my life. Inspires me every time I watch it.
Hail Mari
This has got to be my favorite Ted Talk!
dumbodonus
Finally, a Ted Talk that I disagree with. 
Teressa G
Preach it!
albert chen
deathpenalty is not an issue.Inequality is.
Lyric
This man is truly amazing and inspiring. I just finished his book "Just Mercy" .... In reading it, I felt a wide array of emotions: sadness, anger, hope, disgust, but most of all I felt inspired.  I really enjoyed this TED talk and I highly recommend Bryan Stevenson's book.
Masamune
I am currently reading his book 'Just Mercy' and it is absolutely incredible. What a wonderful man. Very informative , inspirational and empowering.
ytjhhh
Allow us to be fully human until we pay attention to suffering
Kristina David
Very powerful! Thank you so much Sir Stevenson!
sweetness583
He made a good speech, but I'm sorry, there are some crimes that are so bad, that the criminals do deserve to die for them.
ExistentialLance
What an awesome guy
Andriv Productions
what a powerful speech.
DreamBIGGNow!
Wow. What a conversation. Until we (America) are willing to face the 'dark and difficult things', we (America) will continue to uphold racism, discrimination and injustice. This was chilling yet hopeful. Congratulations Mr Stevenson on your work.
T B
He speaks quite well for a black guy.. But hes Only Peddling Another Black False Narrative
Louisa S.
tarrus riley
Hussein Muhsen
#اصحاب_ثنيان
Anas Abdullah
Who would vote this down?...oh that's right, Rich, white, 75 yo, corporate executives would
37AbFab
The basic simple premise is:  an injustice to one is an injustice to all.  
MuzikGC
I liked what he was talking about. please keep these videos going.
Nemesis 737
he is wrong and all he says is a lie
ArtificialIntelligenceDev
This was captivating, inspiring, and thought provoking. Thank you.
Creative Sound Lab
Wow. 17:00 It's how we treat the poor which tells us the person we really are.
Mr. Wonderful -TV
Yes! I'd spent 2000+ days in county jail awaiting for my trial in solitary confinement which ended basically time served https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OwuEbUPUbw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmjFaSrsxA What Mr Stevenson is talking about is good in theory, but will is happen? Not in my lifetime.
Anshu Sharma
"We are all better than the worst thing that we have done." What an amazing and powerful thought.
Kelsey Levante
I read Just Mercy my junior year of high school, I'm now trying to get my white parents to read it as well. I showed them this TED talk and I got them to start a conversation between each other about race :) it starts with one conversation at a time
D Harper
Thank you so much mr Stevenson for your love ,compassion and commitment! For fair and justice of our people there should be millions of blk men standing with you for a change, much love sir .