“What would it feel like to be living in a world where the nation state of Germany were executing people, especially if they were disproportionately Jewish? I couldn’t bare it.”
This line, by human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson , during a recent session of TEDTalks where he tackles the American identity, continues to haunt me.
For obvious reasons, Germany’s judicial system doesn’t engage in the death penalty, while in the Unites State—whose history is no less scarred with racial violence, Black defendants are 22 times more likely to be given the death penalty if the victim is White; Whites are only 11 times likely to get the same sentence if the victim is Black.
Bryan explains that our love of entertainment, technology and innovation are shadowed by a history of continued suffering, abuse and degradation. These issues, which are wrapped up in our country’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.
“We will ultimately not be judged by our technology; we won’t be judged by our design. We won’t be judge by our intellect and reason. Ultimately, you judge the character of a society… by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated…”
Watch this engaging and personal talk for yourself above.