Clint Smith: The danger of silence

Speaker

Clint Smith is a slam poet and educator whose work blends art and activism.

Summary

In a 1958 speech, Martin Luther King said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. By being silent you allow ignorance and hate to take hold – silence is taken as agreement with what you are hearing. As a teacher Clint teaches his children about the danger of silence and encourages open communication in his classroom with the following commitment:

  1. Read critically
  2. Write consciously
  3. Speak Clearly
  4. tell YOUR truth

Clint reflects on his own failures to tell his truth. For lent one year Clint gave up his speech, and realised that he had refused to speak up so much that he may as well be silent. He talked of times where he ignored or held his tongue against a gay friend being bashed, ignored a homeless person, let a woman insult his “unintelligent” students at a fundraising event. He speaks faster and louder – in slam poetry style – on what he could have said to help these people against ignorance. Silence is not about picking your battles, but letting them pick you. In the end, silence is the sound you make when you’ve already lost – when you’re already dead “run out of body bags”.

Live every day as if there is a microphone under your tongue, you don’t need a soapbox, you just need your voice

My Thoughts

Worth watching – he speaks very quickly and powerfully with a lot of message for such a short talk. I will take his message on board and not be afraid to talk against wrongs.

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