Race debate poll: CNN/KFF Racism Poll

Published: November 25, 2015

Race debate poll: CNN/KFF Racism Poll, The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio is hoping that a new video can help stir up a much-needed conversation on how discrimination impacts lives.

The video, launched recently at the Diversity Center’s annual Humanitarian Award Dinner, introduces the social media hashtag #RethinkLabels.

In the video, local high school students talk honestly about the meanest things ever said to them. They recount hearing hurtful slurs about their race, weight, sexual orientation – from peers and even from their parents.

Mean-spirited labeling can even take place within the same group, the video reveals.

One African-American girl remembers tearfully how it felt to be told by a fellow student at a new school that “You talk like a white girl.”

The video takes viewers into the world of a teen, “and shows what they have to go through every day,” said Diversity Center board member Tony Weber, whose company, Goldfarb Weber, produced the video.

“I wanted to make it like a punch in the stomach. I wanted to make a difference,” he said.

The video then makes an 180-degree turn, showing the same students as they respond to a new question: What is the best thing anyone has ever called you? The students beam with pride as they answer with words like “hero” and “amazing.”

Weber said the video is a reminder that, just as kind words leave a lasting impact, so does hate speech.

“By the time you’re 12 years old, you have your stereotypes set in your brain. That comes mostly from your community and your parents,” he said.

“Be careful before you open your mouth. Remember that everything you say leaves an impression that could last a lifetime to these young people,” he added.

A newly released CNN/KFF poll underscores the need for more discussion on the complicated topic of race, Weber said. The poll found that an increasing number of Americans say that racism is a big problem in society.

“Diversity is as unique and authentic as each person,” said Peggy Zone Fisher, Diversity Center president and CEO. “At The Diversity Center, we try to be the fence at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance below. But when acts of hate do happen, we teach not only that we must respond, but that we must respond in a way that is consistent with the best instincts and values of our humanity.”

Weber and Fisher hope that the discussion will continue on Twitter under the hashtag #RethinkLabels.


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