Ruby Sales is a committed social activist administrator, public theologian and is a renowned educator in the field of civil, gender and human right. Ruby has made it her role in laying down the law and travel around the country preaching about class, race, gender and most importantly reconciliation. She is the initiator of the Spirit House Project. At a young age, Ruby joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the early 1960s. When in university, she opted to work as a student freedom fighter in the County of Lowndes, Alabama. The love for her community has driven her to carry out and initiate programs that have promoted peace and coexistence between whites and people of color. For instance, Sales championed young people and offered support and locations for an intergenerational society of evolving and accomplishing social justice performing and creative artists. Sales is among 50 African Americans who have drawn attention in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
In the film, Ruby Sales tells how she witnessed her best white friend, Jonathan Myrick Daniels die after being shot by a white man who was standing at the door (Sales 5:54). The white man had intended to kill her, but Jonathan decided to take the bullet by pulling her away from the direction where the white man had directed the bullet. Ruby narrates how that event traumatized her. However, she also says on that day she witnessed two types of white men; antiracist and racist. According to her, that was an important day to her as she saw both love and hate from different white men (Sales 6:51). Jonathan represented a white man who was against racism while the man who shot him represented a man who was totally buried in the social construct of white superiority and hate for non-whites. As such, Ruby Sales concluded that the idea of racism is not embedded in the blood of whites, but in those who were believed that non-whites do not deserve fair treatment like them.
After the loss of her friend Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Sales has taken it upon herself to be deeply committed to groundwork on matters that pertain to education and practical understandings on issues that touch on racism and oppression. Having suffered from racial discrimination herself, Sales has a rich understanding of how racism can be cancerous to society. As a result of this, she has devoted herself to stand firm against racism by not only fighting it but trying to tap into the source of healing and mending bridges. She brings out her main point on racism by asking a question that she is famous about dabbed “where does it hurt?” And what is the source of the hurt? (Sales 10:47). It is a question that in a public domain, the majority hardly know how to ask. On the other hand, it is a question that the vast majority are weighing upon and sadly enough living with.
Ruby Sales stresses that if humanity genuinely desires for a lasting change on the matter about racism, then human beings should be vivid enough on what they love visa vi that which they truly hate. In a nutshell, she is trying to advise people to be sincere and honest about what they feel. Sales message is clear and straightforward people should carry out self-evaluation and self-reflection then move ahead to stand against the culture of whiteness. Sales categorically note that the root of the problem is not with the white people but rather with the culture of whiteness. Racism is founded on the notion of whiteness which is nothing but a controlling fiction imposed by violence and power. Whiteness or white supremacy culture is a social construct ideology that white people’s ideas, beliefs, actions, and thoughts are of high superiority as opposed to those of people of color. This notion of white culture comes with entitlement that certain people have certain privileges that allows them to exploit and prey on the vulnerable people of color.
To humanize our generation society has to fix the culture of whiteness. This can be achieved by creating a deep connection to our authentic ethnic selves and other aspects of our identities and by falling out with the constructs of race, religion, ethnicity, and tribe. To attain this change, everybody should stand firm and air out the collective narrative. Sales say that the common description should entail individual stories, literature, art, and spiritual reflection. Sales further add that racial justice ought to be redemptive instead of punitive. She says that the case of hate among different races is the differences in redemption such that they have people have ill beliefs towards others. She says “Our redemption is tied into their redemption. And we cannot be free unless we free ourselves from unredemptive anger” (Sales 16:53). In this case, she means that ending racism is a mutual approach and not only the racist side should be blamed. Redemption should be from within by emancipating the mind from slavery thoughts and anger by trying to figure out where it truly hurts.
Sales says that humans should use technology to elevate the conscious mind rather than use it as a tool to fuel hate speech and degrade each other. Technology has made the world a global village, and this can serve as a way of providing a wide vista of preaching peaceful coexistence.
From the ted talk, one can draw several lessons that enlighten the mind on how best to curb the menace of racism. Some of the practical ways are, people must recognize that eliminating racism is a community effort and not an individual’s role. Additionally, people should step out of their comfort zone and channel all resources towards eradicating the culture of racism. People should realize that black lives and that of people of color matters and is equally important; hence they should not lose their self-esteem by settling for crumbs. Lastly, leaders should be in the forefront campaigning against the evils caused by racism since they have significant influence in the society.
Ruby sales story is so exciting, moving and touching that it invokes the feeling of coming together to fight for a common cause. The video not only brings the aspect of racism to light but instead creates a platform that tells people that it is okay to open up to their deepest fear by talking it out. It took ruby years to fight her darkest fear; however, by unchaining her mind, she was able to free herself of the pain of racism and strives to mend bridges by preaching peace. This video is educational, and all students should watch it. Youths are the future world hope. They are the generation that has the strength to make the world a better place. Watching the video gives the youths a platform to learn from previous generations past mistakes. The system should strive to integrate all student from a different race. By so doing education will be the key to teaching youths how to live in peace love and harmony for a brighter future free of racism.
As she finalizes her talk, she asks the audience several questions: Do you want to join the line of generation of people who believed in the promise of America and have the faith to upbuild democracy?” (Sales 19:03). “Do you want to live into the fullest of your potentials?”(Sales 19:25). In this regard Ruby Sales encourages the current generation to keep on protesting against racism since ending racism is the only way people can unity and have one identity. Since Ruby believes that racism can come to an end, she urges her audience to believe in themselves too (Sales 19:29).
Sales, R. (n.d.). How we can start to heal the pain of racial division [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/ruby_sales_how_we_can_start_to_heal_the_pain_of_racial_division?language=en