What’s the script for black manhood? Mychal Denzel Smith unapologetically upends assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black men so that depression and anxiety aren’t considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight. Denzel Smith, author of of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, talked with Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas Co-Curator Helena Brantley about black manhood today and the heightened awareness of racism in Trump’s America.
Most of us are familiar with public defenders from TV shows, but do we really understand the crucial role they play in the justice system? In fact, they represent 80% of people charged in the system and provide legal representation to defendants who cannot afford private attorneys. However, they are often so overwhelmed by crushing caseloads that they’re unable to provide their clients with the bare minimum representation required by the Constitution.
Jon Rapping founded Gideon’s Promise in 2007 to change the public defense landscape across America. His goal is to groom a generation of public defenders to rise up and fight systemic inequity, and provide higher quality legal representation to marginalized communities. He spoke with Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley. Uncharted is a production of Berkeleyside.
Jessica Zitter describes herself as an “accidental evangelist.” As a doctor, she set out to save lives, not to focus on death. But her work has led her to a commitment to change the current paradigm of end-of-life medical decision-making. In October 2017, Zitter, an ICU and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital, sat down with Amy Tobin, CEO of the JCC East Bay, at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley. Uncharted is a production of Berkeleyside, Berkeley's award-winning independent news site. The two talked about why we have to address the “End-of-Life Conveyor Belt” where the dying are intubated, catheterized, and die attached to machines, often without even knowing they are dying. Zitter also offered tips on how to have difficult, but necessary, conversations about death with our children.
When he was an insecure teenager, Christian Picciolini was part of a group of violent, skinhead neo-Nazis. Fast forward to today, and Picciolini spends his days helping people disengage from hate and violent extremism through his nonprofit, Life After Hate. In October 2017, Picciolini, author of the book Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, sat down with Mother Jones senior editor and writer Wes Enzinna at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about his personal journey and what it takes to de-radicalize a hate-filled extremist.
America is sometimes described as a class-free society — a view not shared by UC Hastings law professor Joan Williams. Williams, author of White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, argues that misconceptions about class — in particular how the “professional elite” class misunderstands and condescends to the middle, working class — explains much that is wrong with the country. In October 2017, Williams sat down with media innovator Peter Leyden at Berkeleyside's fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to deliver some hard truths about class bias and friction, and how it relates to our current political landscape.
Political messages gain added strength when they’re delivered in a way that matches how our brains process information. Pioneering cognitive linguist George Lakoff says that America’s leading progressive politicians have ignored the science, while Donald Trump and the right wing have connected with voters with dangerous effectiveness.
In October 2017, Lakoff, a former distinguished professor at UC Berkeley, sat down with journalist Daphne White at the fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley, to discuss how so many people underestimated the man who became the 45th president of the United States.