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tv   Brandon Fleming Miseducated - A Memoir  CSPAN  July 31, 2021 11:01am-11:58am EDT

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coach brandon fleming shares how literatures will by black writers changed his life. >> i'm delighted to introduce our speakers, brandon fleming is the assistant coach of
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debate at harvard university and founder of the nationally acclaimed harvard debate council diversity project . in 2020, fleming was recognized by forms on their 3030 list and by the root as one of the root 100 most influential african-americans in 2020. nick stone was born and raised in atlanta georgia and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one . after graduating from some in college she worked extensively in the mentoring and lived in israel for a few years before returning to the us full-time acclaimed novel for young people includes review bestseller here martin , clean getaway, i went, dear justice and black panther novel. they will be discussing rent and flemings memoir missed educated which recounts his extraordinary journey from a troubled us upbringing and a nearly lethal battle with depression as an 18-year-old
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college dropout to his current role as assistant coach of debate arbor university and founder of the harvard diversity project, a pipeline program of the council. for three consecutive years the programs inception every cohort trained by fleming has one harbors summer debate competition. i'm pleased to turn things over to our speakers. the digital podium is yours, brandon and nick. >> that might have been a mistake but it's okay. >> miss stone. >> first of all, they took me out and it's uncomfortable because we got to kicking it on today because you had kind of a release party for the book that came out on tuesday . congratulations by the way. it's a huge deal.
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it's a hardcover, you are in this space so talk about how you wouldn't do it again and i disagree with that and i will continue to disagree because you have such a way with words . the first question i have for you, miseducated is a memoir but i've never seen anything like with regard to the way you express yourself and the things you are willing toput out there . in addition to solving at times and wanting to fight other times i was astounded by like i said, the things you were willing to talk about in this book. there's such a lack of the kind of shame we are told we are supposed to feel over some of the stuff you went through so my first question is, i will say where did inspiration come from, what inspired you to write the
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book but what gave you the courage to put all this out there? >> i'm going to answer your question first view these flowers i need you to know how much i appreciate you. how much you mean to me. i am honored and privileged to be able to house this first virtual conversation with you. you inspired me, i'm just so impressed by you and i'm so blown away by your work. and not just as a black woman because i kind when people say that. it's like would you not expect that? i'm proud of you as a black woman. >> i understand. >> your contribution to the literary world. i was going to somebody who's got 20 folks of your own and i don't know if i can do that .
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i'm so privileged and so honored to be able to share this moment with you and thank you for being there the other day as well to be able to celebrate the moment with me. i enjoyed it even more than the release itself the time we spent in theparking lot talking about . we're going to keep that same energy going. it doesn't matter who's here right now because we would do this on facetime, in person so we're going to let people eavesdrop on what we talk about but to answer your question, what gave me the courage to do this and be so raw with what i share with the world. it didn't start out asbeing for the world . what really gave me the courage is this book started out for my students . i found myself in class sharing with my kids about my own journey and what teachers once taught me.
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and that process in that book you know, where i go through this transformation and this reinvention. i've now turned that process into curriculum. and i use it as a tool to help build scholars. i want my students to learn from my mistakes so at first it's very uncomfortable to kind of air your foibles to the world but it's a price i'm willing to pay if they're able to use my mistakes as a compass for the places where they don't have to go. i've been there, i've learned that lesson so we are in the position we can offer them a cheat sheet. we can say look, this is the result of doing this and let me tell you how to get there quicker because we don't want them to be who we are, we want them to go further so that's what gave me the courage is that it started out being for them first. >> i think the thing that i
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appreciated most is that you do present these things without shame. because i will say as a person who writes books in that teenagers get banned all the time because there's this idea that the stuff i talk about in my book isn't appropriate for young people what i discovered reading missed educated is that you reallywere willing to be like , this is what i was doing when i was the age of these people you say are too young to read what i'm talking about. how did you get to a point where you were able to shake off the shame that would typically keep people silent about this stuff ? >> i don't know that i had to shake it off because i don't know that itwas ever there . i was never really ashamed about what i did. because this is a story about victory. the story that picks you up in a very low place but where
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it drops you off, it drops you off in a place of inspiration. so for that reason i'm willing to delve deep into those dark places. because i know that i came out and i needed to show other people that you can come out too. it doesn't matter how downtrodden you might be. nobody is beyond the reach of redemption and i believe i was able to make itout , that's what i want to show the world. i was able to make it out to my broken and shattered pieces and turn it into a mosaic that everyone else has the power to do the same. >> bars. that's what i'm talking about . that was beautiful and poetic . >> is real though. >> i have a favorite quote from the book. i only knew i was born into circumstances i did notchoose . i conform to the identities
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and lifestyles of the people accessible to me. the reason this quote stood out is the truth of it is a thing a lot of people overlook. as the mother of black boys, my sons are growing up differently than the way i did largely because i've worked my. [bleep] off. if you decide to have children are going to grow up differently than you did because you've been working your. [bleep] off but there's a lot to be said about being a product of your environment and this is something people overlook when it comes to black boys. i want you to say more about conforming to these identities and lifestyles that you saw around you and why you felt like you had to do that is if you read the book it's clear you felt like that was an imperative. >> one of the things i say all the time is that we have to understand about access and representation is that representation is the lens
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through which we dream. it's the lens through which we aspire. i aspired to become that which i had access to. i didn't know black people who were scholars. but there were backs black scholars in my world and the microcosm in which i existed i only saw black gangsters and black athletes, that's what i had access to. i didn't see last scholars in my community or i didn't see black scholars in my textbooks. we can spend the whole time talking aboutthat . so what does that say about me? that's when we're talking about the colonizing curriculum because we got to ask the world when a young black kid is reading the textbook what does it tell them about themselves that my history is rich and full of legacy is not relegated to a 400 year freedom struggle. it's not relegated to poverty
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in africa and at the same time, we were all kings and queens either. but we have to show black and brown people that it's possible for them and we have to give them access to examples and models that will make them as fire to be something great and that's something i did not have quite honestly. young people can't be what they can't see. for me i saw alan iversen and his cornrows and i thought i could be that. i wanted to cornrows to. i didn't have any hang time though. you remember when athletes would come to school and they had no hang time? that was me. >> i totally remember.
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my sister used to bring my hair. >> i saw alan iversen and luttrell spree well, all their baggy jeans and i thought i could do that because they looked like me but how different would it have been if someone would have at an early age introduced me to lack scholars and if somebody would have put a book in in my hand instead of a basketball. i think my life could have turned out differently. >> i want to get into thisa little bit . because i completely agree but the thing about you as a black scholar that makes you different from the black scholars, the thing about both of us as black scholars that is different from some of the dollars i encountered his authenticity. we were talking on tuesday about being educated, you've got to be really well-educated and still do things that society says
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you're not supposed to do. the things that fulfill the stereotype but how you clearly successfully are able to push back against the idea that to be a common you have to not do anything or be involved what's over here and that's just not true. how do you manage to do the things that you do, build the things that you build and be who you are? >> that's one of the things i love about you because i told kelly that the other day . i love nick stone because he's so brilliant and he's so ratchet. this was the perfect convergence of sophistication and wretchedness and it's beautiful. and nobody should be one-dimensional. i think we have an advantage for that because reaching people is all about being multilingual. about being able to speak
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other people's language in order to connect with other people. and there's a lot of people who really struggle with that ability to connect so i'm grateful for my journey. the same way that look, my kids don't roll up privileged because they're not going to have the same struggles that i had but i want them to understand how to connect to people. i need them to be able to have a variety of different cultural experiences and to be able to speak other people's language is and so i'm able to do that because our motto is where the place where scholars shape the culture and it's a movement that goes against the grain and shows young black people that you don't have to sacrifice defining elements of your culture in order to conform and assimilate to
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what society says a scholar should look like. you can be a scholar and have tattoos. you can be, i've got tattoos. we are late, you can be a scholar and your urban slang, your economics. you hear use slang and think it's not sophisticated, that iscreated . what we do with words is creative. it's poetics. so that's why. the cause of those people who think that that blackness or characteristics of blackness are unintelligent. that's really just a sign of their lack of intelligence because you're a beautiful and brilliant people. we should show it. >> having somebody who sees the world through a similar lens there's nothing like it
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in the world . i love the way in this book that even just through the telling of your stories, you really highlight the power of economic inequality you manage to let show all of these factors into who you became. some of them have to do with family. some of have to do with economicsituations . your mom was gone a lot because he was gone for weeks at a time. you were dealing with somebody that reading this book i was like, i hope i never see this dude in the street. i understand that because i had a similar situation in my house. to see -- is almost this double edged sword. something you highlighted beautifully in this book is there's this pressure on black kids specifically to conform. this is what you've got to do in order to earn respect but
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you do all those things and people still respect you so you got to go the other way because at the end of the day the message is you have to earn respect. reputation is everything in a lot of ways. how did you ship out a backspace where it's like okay, i'm doing everything right but nobody is seeing this other stuff in the background trying to keep me down so now that nobody's not paying attention to that i'm going to do something different so i feel a little safer but both ways everybody wanted to treat melike trash . how do you carve out a new space for yourself because that's what i believe you did not just in the book but in life. >> it's about learning how to navigate spaces. we're being real, there are certain environments in which is not an opportunity, an
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opportune time for us to show every aspect ofourselves . i'm going to go on too many tangents because we can talk about so much . it reminds me about someone asking you black people should coach with some people disagree. some people are saying black people shouldn't code-switch and there's truth to that. at the same time it goes back to what i was saying about being able to speak multiple languages and not being one-dimensional. i think what i learned throughout my journey was how to not be one-dimensional but here's the thing, some people don't know how to explore dimensions of their selves without losing they are at the core. that's what i never lost so the thing is look, i grew up in harvard not to talk that talk.
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i can talk that talk and i can walk that walk, i can be all of that . but at the end of the day i don't lose myself. i know who i am. and i'm able to show people who i am and they are able to appreciate that as well some of it quite honestly is about power . some of it is aboutpower as well . and because the person who has power is a person who commands respect and people are willing to make certain concessions for people who they respect and perceive in power. >> look, again this is off-topic but not really. i don't know that it's possible to not code-switch. where you're at you talk based on where you are. i think it's still just putting that out there. i want you to see a little bit about the compulsion to
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cause chaos. something that i really dug about this is that you didn't hold back when you were talking about, you had a desire to kind of create chaos in some of the spaces you found yourself in but i know that comes from a very human place. talk about that a little bit, this drive to mess stuff up. >> that's a great way to put it because i wanted to mess up everything around me and i became a threat to everything and everybody who was around me. i think we got to talk about the why. here's the thing. when we look at people and life even when i was in school and as a kid and i exhibited all these wayward miscreants behaviors teachers had a reason to not want to deal with me becauseeverybody had a label for me .
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everybody had a judgment but nobody took the time to ask the right questions. nobody asked why and here's the thing, we see people out here every day fucking things up but what we've got to understand is people hurt other people and at the end of the day where going to continue that cycle until somebody takes the time to stop and say what's happening to that personbecause what i want people to see in this book , in this story is that victims can either become villains or they can become heroes. they victims will become villains if they don't find help but victims can become heroes if they can simply find healing. and we've got to understand that about people so i'm not turned off when i see some of my students exhibiting some of the behaviors that even i did when i was younger. i take the time and i asked
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the right questions. i try to learn from their experiences because at theend of the day we're all looking for healing . come across are looking for healing in the wrong places. when i got jumped into that gang, when i got introduced to drugs. i don't necessarily know i wanted to do that and i wasn't even good at being a gangster at first. you read that part of the book. i was wildly. >> i was dying to read about that part. >> i got that from assault because of how impersonal we are. i wanted to be down. because i didn't have a community. so what everyone was doing around me, i thought i had to adapt to that in order to be loved .
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and i think that's what a lot of us do. >> i completely agree. even the fact that the book does give different insight into why young black ways go down the path to go down. i think richard wright's book native son and i read that book probably 17. the idea of digger thomas feeling like we're going to end up based on things going around behind me. was it inevitable for him to wind up where he did? you do an excellent job of digging into that and showing all these other factors. these places where were not given the benefit of the doubt. the immediate assumption is was mentally ill in some ways it was like obviously that's not the case. it doesn't go down the same way and i'm thankful for your willingness to put it out
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there with regard to language . >> this book is an emotional, intellectual and psychological window into the experiences of people who are lost. we tend to judge those people but when we talk about reaching people, you can't reach people that you don't understand. and so that's what i want to achieve in this book. if we're talking about going out and rescuing the lost, we can't do that if we don't understand them first. if we don't have empathy for them first . you can't see people that you don't serve and you can't lead people that you don't love. so this is part work right here.
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that's why so many teachers fall short because they don't know how to do the heart work. they might be scholars but they don't know how to serve people. they don't know how to reach people so they miss them and so many people and up lost. >> i'm going to ask you one more question before i open it up to q and a. i want you to say more about your journey up. you've talked a lot about being down and the things contributing to you adding this low place. the book opens with a suicide attempt and i should say with the results of a suicide attempt. first of all, shout out to you. i have conversations with some of my black friends every day about why are you not taking your psychiatric medication. you're coming to me and you're not doing well but you don't want to takeyour meds .
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in fact that you're willing to even start the book with an expression of the mental health struggle, shout out to you. i as a person who has mental health issues cannot say how much i appreciate you. it's impossible for me to express how much i appreciate you, a straight black cute do being like this is where i started. how did you get up? >> for me, desperation as the tendency to pull us up sometimes. desperation -- i hit rock bottom and i didn't hit rock bottom, i didn't just get rock-bottom but i made my bed there. it was a space i lived in where i don't think i could have gotten any lower than that in trying to take my own life but can i tell you that time gave me a sense of fearlessness because there was a part of the book where
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i start doing stuff. when i got to college, and when i gave that first speech, when i was a harlem renaissance festival i wasn't scared of failing the reason why is because i have been so low, you couldn't do anything to me that had not been done already. i wasn't scared place. i was like i've been icing of that place, i know what you. i'm not scared because i ever fall there again pull myself back up. now there's nothing i can do. you can't only one thing i can do because i'm not scared even if i am scared i'm going to do it for a so grown up to be to, i never realized i think every student should participate in athletics. it's so important because it instilled a sense of competition, not necessarily competition with everyone else but competition with myself. it taught me that sometimes
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your disadvantages are your greatest hits. so for instance for me, i'm not very tall. i'm only like five days but i wanted to make it in basketball and so in order to make it in basketball you know, i have to, were my weaknesses that post on the he said we don't complain. we compensate. what are you going to do about your own disadvantages, going to do . i just teachers will be in my eyes and saidthey would not be laments . so from that moment i realized that the ball was in my court. so now when i struggle with the literacy, the ball was in my court. when i started with race money, the ball was in my court. everything is with the ball was in my court. in every circumstance i experienced there's never went there i had absolutely no control. i always like the wayb b- so
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that's how they were able to lift myself out of that. >> you're the realist area i like seriously adore you. >> about two is on to say you . >> so there's a couple of questions in the q&a. i really like this for one, what was it like to sell this book overwhelmingly white publishing industry for agents who might see it as old black but it's always education and. that's fantastic and. >> is a good question i don't know that i thought about it that way. i wasn't thinking about white people when i'm this book. and, some people do. i wasn't thinking about the book industry when i wrote this book. i wasn't thinking about the policy process. i was thinking about emptying myself.
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that's all i was thinking about. i was thinking everything on inside. i was thinking about my students . that's what gave me the strength. it was not for them i would not have done this. the places, i don't think you understand. in the beginning of that book i had to revisit those places . family and i never have conversations about any of that stuff. all that stuff happened when i 10, five years old 10 years old is all wrong! my family and had one conversation only sister. i know it's going to be tough but i've got to write this book to remember some of the things that happened and as we're trying to call to our memory, our recollections of those events. i sat there breaking it down with all that being ready to rush back and i didn't know what to do with that. you're the first person i told this but i went through depression while writing that
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book. i was not ready to go there. i don't with some serious healing and people always are like, was a healing smr number that book was not a healing process but you know what will bring a sense of feeling, the moment i hear from somebody that's that book gave a sense of feeling. >> because that's what it's about, it's about taking our turning into something beautiful can offer the world to make somebody's life better. that was gives purpose your pain. >> i want to show the white man --
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i wasn't thinking about that. >> we were all right. next question. how would you encourage people to embrace vulnerability especially the people who love to put on a tough front? >> yeah. that's tough, you know what, because all throughout the book i talk about relationships. >> that you do. >> and particularly that's were i failed in the school of hard knocks with my cousin. real [bleep] get money. real [bleep] don't cry. to the point, and this is so powerful and i hope you get it,, to the point were even as men, for instance, we are not talked to be excitable to each other. even if we are excited to see each other we are taught to keep a straight face.
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are you straight? i'm straight. were not taught to be vulnerable. in fact, i was reading this article that described may relationships versus e-mail relationships that said female relationships tend to be face-to-face whereas male relationships tend to be shoulder to shoulder, which means we do things together but we don't connect intimately, so we live in this culture that is very hyper masculine to what we make it seems like it's not masculine to be emotional and that's why so many men are messed up. do you know what i'm saying? that's what i struggled so much because i was taught if you're vulnerable you are a mic you know what i'm saying? how do you overcome that? by changing your surrounding, changing the people who are feeding your mind. when i got out of that environment that's when i was able to change.
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the fact of of the matter iss fortunate to get out of that. some people are stuck in their condition and that's why it's our responsibility to liberate them. >> word, word. something important, i want everyone to take a second to recognize the tough guy act, you are dehumanizing yourself. we cut off our own humanity by pretending, like why would -- >> like your whole emotional being, why would you suppress that? why would you not nurture that part of who you are? you can never be whole that way. >> and this is literally what separates us from other members of the animal kingdom is like the motion. we don't need to act. so there's another question here. this is actually one of my mentees in one of your kids,
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elliott. >> elliott. >> my elliott. "miseducated" is a deep with personnel took the ticketing deep places. how did you care for your emotional and mental well-being while reliving this? like you just said, it took you, you were depressed while you were writing it. how did you survive that? >> it depends on how honest you want me to be. i mean, sometimes drinking, sometimes partying, you know. it was -- we tend to judge addicks a lot. many of us are addicks and we don't even know it, the reason why is because i think most of us are already trying to -- all of us are looking for a high. all of us are looking for something that will numb and quell the pain. for me i did know how to deal with that.
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fortunately for me, just answer the question directly, work is, thankfully, what the type of work i do so purpose driven that he gives me a sense of healing. if i didn't have that i would not have reason to live, and i certainly wouldn't be able to write that book. but as a went into the dark spaces i was able to come out because i had somebody to come out for. i had somebody to look for, and there were so many people who don't feel like you have reason to live, there are so many people that feel like they have no one to love, no one to love them, and as as a result thel like they have no purpose. that's how i was able to make it through because of the people that i love. >> i love that. i love that. and that is another way of encouraging vulnerability. like, you other people that you live for in a sense.
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>> absolutely. >> this is a really good one, too. i live in a small community where there's been about three murders each month, mostly black men. how do i keep from becoming numb to it all? >> you know, that's tough. it's hard to say because i did become numb to that, the violence, that i saw constantly in my community, i think we have to be careful about not becoming numb to other people's pain. and trying to numb our own pain, and i think empathy, whether that's empathy for others, whether that's empathy for self and self care and all of that, but i think the way that we don't become numb to it is would put ourselves in a position where we constantly fighting against it. there are some people, and that's why i said there's a
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difference between, for instance, cultural awareness and cultural responsiveness. cultural awareness is not enough in the reason why is because you can be aware of something and choose to do nothing about it. racism, who does know the racism exists? not one person in this world that does not know the racism exists. however, not everyone is willing to respond to racism. my answer to that would be always be in a position to respond, always be in a position to fight against it. and when you do that you will wt become numb to it. >> now the your students have graduated from the program and most likely were read the book, how do you intend to have a conversation with them about the personal side of you that they did not know about? >> i ain't got no answer to that, i'll be honest with you, i don't know. we are figuring that out right now. this is so new, it is very
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uncomfortable, like when i tell you i did some shit, you know, and my kids have never seen in the light concern now i'm like oh, my god, what other grand think about me, you know what i'm saying? i don't know. i'm not the only one in this position. think about parents. you as the mother, how willing are you going to be to tell your kids, you are messed up. let me tell you how. this difference between telling your kids that you are messed up and being like you know, let me tell you what it did because of the thing is if their superficial they know we are being -- kids don't like inauthentic people, , period. whether that's her parents, teachers. kids appreciate authenticity. honestly i think i can see my kids appreciate that about me.
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i'm not like any of their other teachers. i'm real. like i'm honest with him and i told them about where i've been and what i've done. i don't try to put up front. i don't try to pretend. in fact, sometimes i think my ways are way too unconventional because i cuss at my kids, you know what i'm saying? because that's ym, you know you know what i'm saying, i'm very intentional about showing my kids that i'm a real ass person. the reason is because we tend to put people in the pedestal, people in our positions are successful, we think they are perfect and because we think we are that perfect we think we can't beat them. so i did my kids to see if i'm going to be an high place. i need to see i'm just as smart as they are. that way they don't ever negate the possibility of them rising.
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>> damn. i don't care what anybody to admire a version of me that real because -- >> right. >> what's the point, right? >> and i have struggled with even knowing what i go places and the fed the opportunity to speak to millions of people, i'll be honest with you, sometimes i like these people don't love me. they don't even know me. because you know what i'm saying if i pull up in my genes and my beater or sudden ahead on my tattoos, would you feel the same about me? you know what i'm saying? if us talking to them the same way you and and i were talke other day with you still feel the same about us if they got to experience us, you know what i'm saying? that the only way you really know who is truly writing for you for not is who's willing to accept end up racial authenticity. >> i love that, i love it, i love it, i love it. here's one. how to write a book about your journey change you how you
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think, feel and act? did any of that change what you learned about yourself in this writing process? >> yes. what it taught me was that i was not healed, and the reason why is because i think i used work as a drug. like, even when i'm going through stuff, like i lose myself in work and i go in, you know what i'm saying? it's easier to do that than to confront what we really got going on, you know what i'm saying? because everybody is looking for some sort of high. we get high off of what we do. so in writing this book i had to sit there and i had to write and i had to edit. you know that process. you know that process way more than me, you know. we had to edit and try to go
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back in and perfected as much as possible and find the right word that captures the true essence of the emotion that you are trying to convey. i had to deal with all of that and it was the first time i had to get words to my experiences, especially the ones that i tried to ignore. and so it opened this window where i realized dan, like i'm really not healed from this stuff. and so what did he teach me? it really taught me that my life and just begun. literally just now. look, we're going to do this healing work together. >> like, what other option is there? when you're a a person who is interacting with younger people and they are like looking to you, how do i do this life thing, not healing is not an option. >> yeah, , and we've got to be real and let them know we try to figure out, to spur absolutely,
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absolutely. >> we are just trying to figure it out. we've got to have grace for each other. >> absolutely. okay. this one is from one of my moms actually. debbie. your deep honesty will help so many students. has your experience giving you precision to see people in trouble it when they try to hide it? >> one of the things that talk about is is the fact when i n school and i shut all those behaviors, i wish i had somebody who is able to identify those behaviors as symptoms of a deep-seated pain, you know, and because a lot of people don't know how to articulate that they are in pain, you know? a lot of people don't know, they don't have the courage to be able to share of think about come how many people are sexually abused or physically abused, and they don't tell
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anyone. because they are so conflicted on the inside, and so this book is not just for those kids who are going through it but for those who have the desire to reach them, but in order to reach them you have to have the wherewithal to be able to identify certain declivities of kids who are dealing with trauma. that's that something we dl with. we talk about an education but i've been through the education training programs in college. we didn't talk about this stuff. we don't have conversations about that. it's all about the subject. it's all about the curriculum and that's why say to teachers all the time nowadays would live in a climate and a culture where where teachers love the subject more than they love their students. when's the last time we've had a class on love offer teachers where they've had a professional developer seminar that was
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centered on love? this is hard work we are doing so we are talking about reaching these kids and changing these kids. we have got to understand change. change comes through the front door of the heart and the back door of the mind. love changes people more than information ever will, and that's what we've got to understand. >> i'm just, we are going to take a moment of silence after that one. >> that's real, man. >> absolutely. >> how did you find yourself and continue to return to your true self? >> i found myself when i found my voice, and that's important because where a person has to voice they did not exist. they don't exist. it's your voice that declares. when i found my voice i
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discovered who i really was, and i discovered my calling to help others do the same, to find their voices. that was how -- how do i say true to myself? by singing my song, by telling my story, by using my voice to make other people's lives better. that's how. >> i just love you. you are -- >> i love you, too. >> i am excited for a lot of the things you're doing that are not going to mention, because i do, like you are doing, you drink some really powerful stuff. let's talk about debate. as a question about the connection between debate and festival. what the basketball teach about debate? answer that and then i want to talk about debate because i was a debater. >> first of all when i was -- i was totally geek, the debate references. i was like weight, was nick a
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debater? i was. >> how did she not tell me she's a debater? we will talk about that later. the connections between basketball and debate is the same come there's a correlation between debate and basketball and life, particularly life in america. in a capitalistic society where we have to play this game of chess. when we're talking about being our better selves and this journey of finding power and using that power to make other people's lives better, because if the right person does not power, the wrong person will. we have got to understand that. for me debate taught me about owning my ideas, about thinking
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critically about wielding my words as a weapon to build and a fight against the injustice. that's what it's all about for me. that's why, i debate centered curricula so powerful because there's nothing that you own more than your own perspective. >> correct. >> that's why kids love science and math so much, tends to be more hands on. but whether you are creating a product or whether you are creating an idea, maybe something that you can behold as your own come something that you can love, something that you can cherish. when i got to the point was able to formulate my own thoughts, carter g whitton said party of information is not education. the effort must result in one's ability to thank and do for himself. when i learned how to think him when i learned how to do, that's what i felt like i really started to exist. that's what it felt like a
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really started to matter. when i discovered that power, i've got to get this, white people in my community don't know about this, i've got to take this back to the hood. it was that transformative and i was like i forgot to find some black kids and teach them about this because they probably don't know that this exists. so when i was in college, i quit the debate can because i wanted to start speaking to the kids in my community and they started showing up. versus five, pentane, kids from the park, from the playground, and the basketball court will come to learn about debate. why? why? because they're going to the same intellectual morphosis that i was. all that was spawned by debate. all of that was spawned by me finding my voice. we've got to help young people find their voice. we've got to. >> love it. i started debating in seventh
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grade, and -- >> word. >> the rapidfire thing. >> yeah, the speed thing. only good in policy debates i watched it in my head just spins. but you're right, the most beautiful thing about debate when it comes to teaching kids how to find the voice, your teaching also how to support what they have found. where's your evidence commercial background? how are you going to support this argument you're making? how are you going to convince me that what you are saying is valid, right? inc. able to speak for yourself i think one of the most beautiful things kids can take from debate. please keep that energy, keep that, just amazing. >> everyone come doesn't matter if you're a mad science, every subject should be centered around debate and discourse. because the thing is the problem
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is it's only classrooms around the world that the teacher does 90% of the talking. why? like why? you are not fostering -- this should be a journey that the teacher should be a tour guide. someone who takes you on this journey with beautiful tangents, where curiosity, you know, where you just drift away with curiosity and find yourself in this place that's a a beautifl and jewellike how did we get here? this destination, like there's nothing to live for more than those aha moment, those moments of self-discovery. man, they are so powerful. the true teacher is one who knows how to usher in the aha moment experience. debate does that. >> word. discourse and debate, absolutely. you are everything.
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>> you are, too, man. >> we are just going have to kick it. >> i just come i appreciate you, man. you have no idea how much you mean to me as a budding author, so what is new on the scene, to be embraced by someone of your stature, someone who as celebrant as you, i'm talking the nic stone, i've got nic stone on the back of my book. it is there, it ain't going nowhere, you know what i'm saying? that means the world to me, man. i was telling this the other day, tivo like you, people like dr. cornel west who have really just embraced me and loved on me, i appreciate you more than you ever know, sister, unseriou
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unserious. >> and and i appreciate just t you're doing out in the world. in my house, making stuff up all day which is great, don't get me wrong, it's wonderful, it's happening but -- >> i wish i could do that. i wish i could be a fiction writer. fiction writers of the most brilliant people in the world. like you create whole new world worlds. >> we had this discussion and i'm telling you, nonfiction is hard to me because i can't lie. like have to tell the truth. embellish, , then it's not nonfiction anymore. >> yeah. no, i'm envious of you, so give me a little bit of that energy so i i can do the same maybe e day. >> there you go. >> i appreciate it. i received that. i appreciate you, man. >> i am so sad to be the one to cut off this conversation. thank you so much to both of you
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for your candor. i have been frantically writing down notes on my phone of what these wonderful -- thank you. this is really, really wonderful conversation. thanks so much for joining us. i i just we posted a link in the chat to purchase copies of "miseducated." please go by this remarkable book and thanks so much to both of you. there it is. >> nick mentioned earlier he even matched his wardrobe to you today. please make an effort. anyway, thank you so much for supporting your independent bookstores. thanks so much again to both of you. this is a really, really wonderful conversation. stay well, stay safe, keep reading. have a lovely night. thank you. >>
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