DiscoverTED Radio HourPlaying With Perceptions

Playing With Perceptions

Update: 2017-02-178


Where do stereotypes come from? Why do some perceptions persist, and is there any truth or value to the assumptions we make? In this hour, TED speakers examine the consequences of stereotypes. (Original broadcast date: November 14, 2014)

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support for this podcast and the following message come from T I A whether it's investing advice banking or retirements the IAEA believes smart financial decisions should enable life not define it C I A calls this the new success story learn more at EIA dot org have one just a quick note to let you know that we are I promise we're working on a bunch of new shows they do take time so please bear with us but in the meantime enjoy this one is from our archives of great episode called playing with perceptions that sold out where stereotypes come from and why they stick around and if there's actually any truth to the assumptions that we make about people this is the Head Radio Hour each week groundbreaking had talked the Ted Technology Design at Stanford delivered and Ted conferences around the world gift of the human imagination we had to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR guy Raj so few years ago Sarah Jones went to L A edition for a TV show and this was before she became a well known playwright and performer anyway one afternoon she took a walk around Hollywood and that I was walking with a fellow woman of color as we say and we were crossing the street and I think I started to say don't walk as we were making our way to the other side and at the corner of her I share a police car drive up lights flashing and I remember thinking Oh I wonder who they're flashing their lights that there aren't any cars in the vicinity there's going to do was crossing the street is no way we could be you know getting pulled over you can get pulled over while you're walking and in fact you can and they did bend us over the car and say Are you girls working tonight and that was it was even a time with the middle the souls of age or stop you and they taught you to the car after they frisk you absolutely it was like Are you girls working tonight and you know I just remember you know I can say with ballistic balls I had the instinct if I started talking I thought they'd be a lot more respectful but I sort of stop them with my super power of Tron class status and nationality in the moment in real time bahs I thought better of it thank God and so it's important that this is what Sarah Jones does as a performer she becomes different ethnic characters and Bowie all the voices that are here for the next ten minutes or so they are all Sarah Jones a few years ago she won a Tony Award for a play she wrote based on those characters all that success happened long after that day the cops stopped her in Hollywood when Sarah realized her first instinct was not to be herself you know my thought was I need to elevate my status somehow I'm a woman a woman of color in with another woman of color we're you know low on of who requires respect so the cops didn't let Sarah and her friend go after about ten minutes but at that moment it hit her just how much she'd internalized the way those cops are and how even before she spoke a single word all of these assumptions were made about who she was so when she went back to New York she started to focus her work on this very idea on how we perceive others and how they see us wherever I am underground or bus system I try to write it and looking at all of these people packed into a small space together I've thought about you know what if what if he was standing he said the young do African American would anyone of quality on the stand any kind of looking around a train his little old lady and what if he looks at me and a steak and he knows whats going through my head and what would I have to say to the both of them and that it is entirely possible that we would all come together and say Did you see that episode of Game of Thrones last night my caught The The The The we've all been judged for reasons beyond our control perceived to be something we're not anything that is we all do it to other people too but can understanding why really change anything today on the show had speakers who are all playing with perceptions challenging stereotypes and in some cases embracing them I guess I feel the tears character Bella the eighty seven Hawk term break the only president ever known is the kind of identify with the people who like vomit on the plane the sheep like talking about how different the honor for another twenty four hour news because they really want The The The The so he watched Sarah's performance and a good chance you should because if it is almost impossible to believe that these voices are coming out of the same person you find yourself wondering if if what you're watching is like a series of stereotypes and whether that's okay dear Sir John's on the Ted stage althought I'm very happy that two of you know doing this kind of thing making the talk of a byline that's very good I love that and I hope you guys I have to say and if you don't mind privately now in the future I'm going to think of Ted as the acronym for Technology Entertainment and the mannequins thank you very much so that was a radio just like Lorraine and everybody else are meeting today at these folks were based on real people from my real life I am friends neighbors family members I come from a multicultural fat family in fact they all the way you're just met very very loosely based on a great aunt on my mother's side it's a long story believe me but on top of my family background my parents also sent me to United school where I encountered a plethora of new characters including bugs on my French did serve you know issue would be that you know kind of talking with the catheter you know are talking about the existential futility over Eli a few know and we were only eleven years old so it was not appropriate but I am so there were the teachers and then there were my friends classmates from everywhere many of whom are still dear friends to this day and they've inspired many characters as well for example a friend of mine but I just wanted to say good evening my name is Patty Murray and much for the of the the and of course there are elements of all these people that that the type early right and it's it's it's like a sort of caricature of of a type of person but they exist they do that's absolutely true you know this is the concept and look what is a stereotype anyway you know and um I remember somebody asking me about well you don't want to portray E for example a person who's a domestic worker or you know an Italian American who's a cop can't do that why can't you do that itself isn't the problem I think for me where it gets artsy get tricky is when I'm assigning you know some kind of moral judgment on you oh well if you do this kind of work you must be a person whose limited or less than that is where it gets tricky or I guess it so it's just the over simplification like stereotyping is about taking what is true and over simplifying it in a way that seeks to oppress or marginalize a group of people and I mean and will you do I guess it is more like an homage I hope I hope what I do is portray people as honestly as I can with a view to assist the like I don't see sustain that sort of just honoring their basic humanity I tried to strip away what's actually there but a meanie in doing that you have to comb stay aware eight I mean that you're not crossing a line and then offending someone right in you know I will let somebody else feel that this let me see my name is partying thing I thing I know you from the Ted conference you are one of those cat people tat guy hate my fat butt joke but even though as Imogen my English it's not perfect I think that people when they got a fence on this because its height they feel soul if yet but they will not be able to see the person only to accent this oh oh no i'm not suppose to relate to God because of the Inn if I am happy you cannot offend me I speak the way I see no problem I don't have fear in your fence is the bubbly is about you the me the day whether or not you agree with Sarah which is really trying to say with her performances is that when it comes to stereotypes to the way we view each other and our differences we are probably way over thinking it and what I think we need is two under think we need less pontificating and analysis and brow furrow ing and kind of nervous hand wringing and more are truly honest conversation that I have the most fun I've got to perform in such incredible places you know Indonesia Ethiopia or are in the Middle East where ever I find the conversation is soul fruitful when we just sit there and get really rigorously honest in the moment and it's not always pleasant the entire time we can get a little messy but I Fink all this tidy ness isn't doing us any good to spills out anyway good evening my name is heavy but I had and I would like to first avoid thank the joys afforded putting on of the pressure on the oily add up and who she brought with head ed to be lost that they say I am originally from Jordan and I teach at a competitive yet the natural greens garnished if you indulge me by a watershed quickie with you a bit of Veritas at which I memorized as a young GED at sixteen years of age so back in the ancient times I joke it oredi in neck bit heavy and sticky back felt he e the feedback I am sixty back I miss you but maybe add that to be he added that Hubby Hubby and that this translates these Let Me Hold Your Hand All I Want To Hold Your Hand I Want To Hold Your Hand and when I touch you I feel happy and so I had such a feeling that my love I can't lie I can't online I can't only when it's all about the piece if it is sounding familiar it's because I was at the same time in my knife listening to the beat and the regular mullet they were very popular and so on of that is to say it but I like to believe that for every way intended to attend that ass death to one another dad is always a unique connecting ears and hearts across the continents in the rhyme and I pray that this is their way but we will study and vent and I'm not spoiled and she can't thank you very much for the opportunity to give thank ya very much the only thanking Sherry Jones as the veggies then given to Ted talks and you only heard excerpts from one of them here check up both of them had come I totally expect to like the Ask to join the fight and a bod like really round and then sure if I would have offered to babysit my kids but maybe the only responsible they said I'm the guy rise more ideas about the limits of perceptions assumptions and stereotypes moment listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR are o Hey Everyone Just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who help make this podcast possible first to Goldman Sachs get insights from some of the world's leading thinkers on markets industries and the global economy on the firm's podcast exchanges at Goldman Sachs to hear discussions and topics with far reaching implications like climate change economist writing in the future of China's economic growth plus much more that exchanges at Goldman Sachs available on iTunes stitcher Sound Cloud and Google Play and A G s dot com slash podcast The thanks also to bracket mortgage by Quicken loans when it comes to the big decision of choosing a mortgage lender it's important to work with someone you can trust who has your best interests in mind with racket mortgage will get the transparent on line process that gives you the confidence you need to make an informed decision skip the bags give the waiting and go completely online at Quicken loans dot com slash ideas just got an equal Housing lender licensed in all fifty states and MLS consumer access dot org Number thirty thirty it's the Ted Radio Hour from NPR guy rise and they shelled playing with perceptions ideas about assumptions prejudice and stereotypes and perceptions of people have of you that like really get under your skin man all the time this is a master brownies a comedian so I'll be doing a show and the silica know guys like when you hear British the thing the and this and you know the cool accent a rock star James Bond was the way is Iranian American then you hear like Iranian we think will foil terrorist Khomeini Khamenei is our James Bond suggests not right for the most part when you see us in the major media you know that some evil dude with a beard and that ominous music while you know it's it's that and as an actor Miles has played his fair share of people there to do as he explained on the Ted stage lot of times in Hollywood when casting directors find out your middle eastern descent to go you're Iranian great can you say I would give you the name of Allah I could say that what if I would say Hello I'm your doctor great and then you hijack the hospital I think you're missing the point here in Iraq I don't mind playing bad guys I want to play bag I want to rob a bank to rob a bank in a film to rob a bank in a film but do it with a gun with a gun not with a bomb strapped around her as I imagine the director Miles I think your character would rob the bank with the ball around him why would I do that's if I want the money kill myself gimme All Your Money robo myself up the well then blow yourself up just do it outside Lee's show what is the worst rule that you've ever been asked to do we know starting out I would just go on any audition that came my way so I actually got a Chuck Norris movie of the week once called the president's man sand the I played this guy was a physicist who was in Chicago to blow up a building to Chicago for ten years now the father to see it for my education PhD in applied physics from Northwestern he worked for like a Osama bin Laden type guy I knew one that called upon to serve the greater good set of law and I went for the fitting and they go OK you know here's your shirt here's your pants here's your turban eyesore and I was the other I go this guy would wear turban going know he's this Afghan guy the one where Tim and I go Afghans in America don't wear turbans and secondly if he's trying to blow the building he deftly on the other This is stupid please let them know this is a gal talk to them soon halves of the next issue over the trailer and there's much sure there's my pants and there's a scarf and I was like oh great you guys give me a scarf she's like No that's the turban is gonna wrap it around I love it so I wore this to determine the cause I get tired and I swear I tried watching it and it was so bad more peaceful and become and I said no more I said no more tears puts the more it may be funny now but for my As for lot of actors to get type cast because of their ethnicity you can get depressing to comedy to get help the standup comedy is really like therapy so whether you're dealing with ethnic issues are dealing with issues of the house you have an issue with your wife or kids or whatever it is you go on stage and you just you can actually just riff about it and find the funny and really by finding the funny in it it helps you cope if you like like some of those tropes about Muslims or Arabs came after September eleventh have a contract offer little in the past two years or worse no listen man its like so easy once the forward two steps back because you know anytime you think like all great we get a break ok to slowing down overcomes ISIS it's always you know even this is just going to exist no matter what happens I mean you can have a thousand Iranian Arab doctors saving lives every day in the United States and the lack of exposure that would get compared to one Muslim trying to blow up a car bomb in Times Square like the Pakistani guy had tried to do it years ago and now the Muslims are coming to get us again now I happen to be in Times Square that night doing a comedy show and a few months before that there was a white American guy in Austin Texas who flew his airplane into the IRS building and I happen to be in Austin that day doing a standup comedy show not tell you as a Middle Eastern male when you shop around a lot of these activities start feeling guilty at one point I was watching the news of the mind of all this crap and get the memo what's going on it was interesting was when the when the white guy flew his plane into the building and all my Middle Eastern or Muslim friends in the states were watching TV going please don't be Middle Eastern to be house on the same man came out jacket like whoa that's not one of us but I kept was in the news in case they came back before we did cover to Islam that's why Jack why the tea over and give us people who are middle eastern or Iranian or every American rich like screw the snacks were completely hide from identity because I'm just I'm just tired of being tagged for something that I'm not absolutely I mean a subdued joke about how a lot of Iranians became Tony Vitale and I mean those that that was the way they deal with it if you look at it in the recent history in the US so you got nineteen seven in nineteen eighty yet the revolution of Haas a situation then you got the movie My Daughter however that one yet which is about an American woman married to an Iranian and in America is great but as soon as a go to Iran he turns into an animal I remember like when Not Without My Daughter came out of serious I think that dating from Iranian men became a lot harder to his name show who became Tony Massey became Mike I mean these guys were like screw it I don't deal with it yeah we're all together would be speaking Farsi Alice of that into as soon as like some bloggers would go buy hey guess how are you this is Mike this is Tony this is me with the Sopranos have been and what's like the balance between finding the funny side of a stereotype and then actually trying to break it exists because there's always some truth to stereotypes not always but often and um I feel a person feel like if there's a balance out there I think the good thing about America as it is a melting pot there so many different people here and I myself sometimes I see something in it breaks the stereotype when I see Asian Americans I expect them to speak either like this or with an asian chinese accent or Korean accent or Japanese accent whatever but I was in New York one time and I saw this Asian American thug like this I had those going I may say what blew my mind is a good Asian boom bah um so that's going to exist and so for me I think it's I think the breaking of stereotypes is more interesting than what other things I try to do with my standup is to break stereotypes and I've been guilty of stereotyping as well I was in Dubai and there's a lot of Indians who work in Dubai and they don't get paid that when I got my head that all the Indians there must be workers I forgot there's obviously successful Indians in Dubai as well I was doing a show this to send a driver to pick you up so went down the lobby I saw this indian guy he's got to be my driver to stand there like a cheap suit thin mustache staring at me so I was his niece or my driving is not that I own the boat and go inside the lobby staring at me I thought you might drive him to leave you guys with this I try with my stand up to break stereotypes present Middle East is in a positive light Muslims in a positive light I hope that in the coming years more film and television programs come out of Hollywood presenting us in a positive light who knows maybe one day live in our own James Bond right I was bald bald bald till then I'll keep telling jokes laugh and have a good day thank the uh comedian and actor master Ronnie he's about to release an action movie spoof with a Middle Eastern protagonist who does not play a terrorist it's called Jimmy Best good American hero the the uh gate picture this scene there's a guy on the Ted stage he looks like he's from India or Pakistan brown skin slim probably about thirty he's the chair wearing a traditional Indian court a pajama but he's not sitting he's squatting like a Yogi and another chair next to him is a woman looks Chinese her name is you in the Indian looking guy does the performance artist attain Patel new you is his translator woman aka Coco says he put on that we learn to put them to PA if you're confused that's the point of tears attain Patel going to now the suit to tell you this because I don't say hi and hey Ken and taste and this is the you you have asked her to translate for me going to now this is so soon tell you this because I don't so I will spoil and raced the M and test a England but I'm not going to say a glaze to use as I'm trying to avoid any assumptions that may be made for my No Sen access to the Ausmus eco he said Daddy why Ohio State to tell ya this is so soon Teo this eco I don't owe the only public with masking it was Chinese mentoring is I can only state this paragraph which I haven't learnt by heart when I visit Team China the ally can do is keep repeating it in different homes and hope you will know the now this is the most is the you do not speak Chinese no I don't you actually speak English with the Manchester accent ye I guess it was you know I like this idea that when you meet somebody I think is natural that we want to place them somewhere yeah you know in part the world in a community and firemen and I was taken away a bit because the reality is that our lives and our personalities and and and what not a made up of so much more than you kind of localized area you localized area can be the will to attain Patel was born at ten called Bolton it's just outside Manchester his parents immigrated to the UK from India back in the nineteen six season as a kid he just wanted to be British I went to school where I was the only non white kid there and so you know for a very you kind of go into the whole process of trying to lose your Indian accent trying to walk and talk like the natives trying to fit in is as she do as a kid or those stereotypes of people had a view that and and your culture that just drive you crazy that we who I think of these cars so that it is true that we carry everyday we interviewed every day which we did that we stink of curry he just call it food exactly exactly you know it's it's this cold in his way of chips and beans that's exotic the hand and all that kind of stereotyped relationship to discipline the idea that we should work all the time in study and things like that was true but I think it was the anointing of thing that would drive me crazy away was that when you're young you're made to feel that that's not good thing yet or made to feel and that's a bad thing you know when I was a kid when a sty primary school when I was five years six years old I was ashamed of the fact that I spoke and ready I was ashamed of my index and I was a shame that trio was ashamed of the colors in the Hindu things at home and after of you know a young kid you know eyes it's not good so I think it's that kind of that you made to feel that the difference is is wrong or it's inferior goal something that should exclude you have to show a fine line between stereotyping and identity and because on one hand like when your kid it's and it's normal to want to just be like the other kids but on the other hand pose some units are elements of your identity that also get sort of pushed aside yeah absolutely it's a very good point and sometimes talk about my practice my art practice this is kind of a continual struggle trying to be free and freedom in a lot of ways whether it's to do stereotyping or what kind of jobs were in clothes we wear or what we love is is self permission it's what we allow ourselves to believe that we can
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