TEDxStLouis Rewind: Antoinette Carol Asks Can Design Dismantle Racism?

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  • Published on December 3, 2021
  • In News

In this 2018 talk from the TEDxStLouis archive Antoinette Carol speaks at on how elements of design can build strong equitable communities for the Black and Latinx population. She believes designers and creative experts are the way forward for a better community. 


In this 2018 talk from the TEDxStLouis archive Antoinette Carol speaks at on how elements of design can build strong equitable communities for the Black and Latinx population. She believes designers and creative experts are the way forward for a better community. 

Building Inclusive Communities 

It is important to involve the designers and creative practitioners because they are known to navigate complexity in ambiguous situations – creating art from nothing on a daily basis. Design is omnipresent and it isn’t just the tangible aspect (what you wear, what you see). The intangible aspect requires more attention because it is this component that has built systems of oppression, injustices, and inequities. 

Statistics 

Blacks are incarcerated five times the rate and Latinx community two times the rate as Whites. On average, it takes 228 years for the Blacks to accumulate the same amount of wealth as the Whites while Latinx will incur the same in the year 2097. These implications are not by choice, but by the design of systems – the intangible systems of oppression, injustices, and inequities. 

Project Cards Against Brutality 

Carol worked with designers and technologists for a year to bring the change – through five activated projects – addressing the common issues to have a better community. One such project – Cards Against Brutality focused on media narration and framing such as sexual assault victims, police brutality victims or victim blaming. This project, it wasn’t merely a deck of cards, but built to be used in the educational system for high impact and to discuss these issues at large. 

Project Look Beyond Your Fear

This project focused on the culture of fear within the region, the community, and the society. Instead of justifying fear through mistreatment and hiding behind the term ‘safety’, this project helped individuals reflect on the root causes of fear. Statistics showcased Black men has a culture of fear around them depicting this through – clutching the purse when crossing the street to leaning closer to the door in an elevator.

Project Connected for Justice

This project was built on the framework of civic matchmaking – an online platform inviting volunteers for different actions and interventions. At the end of this project in 2014, over 700 actions have been taken place. 

According to Carol, she believes design is powerful – to break down language barriers, bring people together, and give them a unique voice. Design is a culture, and it is a movement.

As the CEO/Founder of Creative Reaction Lab, Carol utilizes this social enterprise to educate, train, equip with necessary resources and tools to create solutions with Black and Latinx population. She envisions to design healthy and racially equable communities using the Table of Collaboration, where the creative sector, business sector,  social and civic sector, and community members come together to solve problems using the equity-centered community design process.

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