“I see that light of divinity shining within my students,” says Professor Derik Smith, “every time I enter the razor wire.” Dr. Smith teaches in the New York State prison system, and rather than encountering deficit and darkness there, as a Baha'i and a Black man he has found love, justice, graciousness, joy and wisdom. But he has also encountered bias—including being mistaken for someone who committed a crime rather than a professor. In this riveting video, Smith passionately discusses unconscious bias and how it impacts poor Black and brown people, who are unjustly deemed less worthy of love and compassion and more deserving of the harshest punishments a society can perpetuate. If we believe in justice, Dr. Smith proposes, we have to find ways to make it work, not just for some of us, but for all of us.
Listen to the audio version on SoundCloud.
Join Dr. Derik Smith as he discusses how we can spiritually transform society. Wednesday November 3, 2021, Transforming Society: Baha'i Beliefs in Action: Click here to RSVP.
Derik Smith is a professor in the University at Albany English Department. His teaching and writing is anchored in the analysis of American culture and, particularly, African American literary culture. In 2018 The University of Michigan Press will publish his book, Robert Hayden In Verse:...READ MORE