5 powerful TED Talks on ethnic diversity and unconscious bias

Explore these inspiring and powerful TED Talks designed to gain perspective to challenge unconscious bias and improve ethnic diversity at work.

Diversity Ted Talks

The recent world news have firmly put the spotlight on the systemic and overt racism that is sadly still the experience for so many people of colour today globally. In order to drive long-lasting change, we need to better understand how this plays out in organisations.

TED Talks are a great source to hear about first-hand experiences, gripping stories and a variety of perspectives, passionately and effortlessly delivered by amazing speakers from around the globe.

We’ve compiled a list of talks on ethnic diversity and how we can challenge unconscious bias and truly move the needle on ensuring diversity, inclusion and belonging for people of all races, ethnicity, religions, nationality and gender. 

1. How to get serious about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, by Janet Stovall 

When it comes to business, diversity and inclusion are not simply “nice to have,” they’re essential components for long-term success. But even with the best of intentions, most corporate diversity initiatives fail. In this candid talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall shares a three-part action plan for creating workplaces where people feel safe and expected to be their unassimilated, authentic selves.
Watch full TED Talk here


2. Colour blind or colour brave? by Mellody Hobson  

In this talk, Mellody Hobson, argues the time has time to become “comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation about race., and ignoring an issue will never help to solve it – instead, it can only make the things worse. She encourages everyone to speak more openly about race, to encourage change on a personal, professional and societal level, as a whole. Watch full TED Talk here


3. How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias, by Valerie Alexander 

The human brain is a remarkable achievement in evolution. Unfortunately, the brain activity that kept the human species alive for millions of years is the same brain activity that keeps us from achieving equality today. Author, speaker and CEO, Valerie Alexander, explains how the human brain instinctively reacts when encountering the unexpected, and proposes that if we have the courage to examine our own behaviour when faced with the unfamiliar, we can take control of our expectations, and by doing so, change the world. Watch full TED Talk here


4. How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them – Vernā Myers  

Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how to confront prejudice and start reprogramming our mindsets. Watch full TED Talk here


5. Three ways to be a better ally in the workplace – Melinda Epler 

When change advocate and writer Melinda Epler became the victim of workplace “microaggressions” that eroded her confidence and ability to perform her job, she began to champion the importance of diversity as a core corporate value rather than a mere “side project.”  

"There's no magic wand for correcting diversity and inclusion," she says. "Change happens one person at a time, one act at a time, one word at a time." Epler’s story and succinct advice will appeal to human resources managers, team leaders, and anyone who wants to become a better ally, employee or person. Watch full TED Talk here

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