Baratunde Speaks at the March for Science SF April 22, 2017


We have a special guest in town
who just happened to be here, and just sent me a text a couple
of days ago and he was like, “I’m speaking.”
It wasn’t a question, it was awesome. He’s a former “Daily Show” producer,
worked at the Onion, but mostly, he’s an activist and
author that demands us to be better, please welcome Baratunde Thurston. Yeah! What up, Bay area? Are we ready to make
America smart again? I come to you from Brooklyn, New York,
by way of science. Aerospace engineering is incredible. I wanna first just express
appreciation to all of you for being here. You are beautiful, you are bold,
and you are brilliant. These signs…
are amazing. I have seen some of the cleverest
signs of my life. I wanna give a shout-out to–
what did we want? Evidence based science. When do we want it?
After peer review! That’s brilliant. That is brilliant. I wanna show some love for a very
simple sign, Geology rocks! You guys are killing it in the
pride game. This is amazing. This is amazing. And my favorite of the day, but, I
know there’s thousands more, “Knowing stuff is good, why do I
even have to march for this?” Very, very beautiful. The is a lot of people asking how did
we get to a place where Jared Kushner
is our president. I think it’s a great question.
That’s a great question. And, the answer is always history, but
also I think the answer’s science. Show some love if you know who
Isaac Newton is. Isaac Newton, for those who don’t
know is the creator of Cross Fit. And, Isaac Newton tweeted on SnapChat
the other day… Third Law of Physics,
Newton’s Third Law. “To every action there is an equal
and opposite reaction.” I think those same rules apply to our
politics in this nation. To every brilliant, competent, first
black president, there is an idiot white supremacist
president. It’s just science, y’all. It’s just physics,
it’s just cross-fit. So, I am here because I had
a mother who helped me be here. My mother was born in 1940,
Washington DC when nobody wanted to be black. Black
people didn’t want to be black. White people hadn’t gotten
around to it yet. And, she did not have
a college degree. She raised my sister and
me on her own. She was a domestic worker,
she was a secretary, but, she also became a
computer programmer for the federal government. She was the black girls code before
there was a black girls code. And as a child I didn’t know what a
computer programmer did, but, I discovered one day, what that meant. See, I would get home alone, and my
job, do home work… don’t watch TV. So, of course, I did the opposite. But, I’d keep an eye out the window,
’cause I was smart, and as I saw my mother approach, I would turn off the TV, I’d go
sit at the kitchen table, I’d start doing my homework. My mother would walk in the house… she’d walk over to the television, and she’s put her hand
on the television. Some of you also had my mother. And she could feel the heat generated
by her lying son. That’s when I realized computer programmers were
wizards sent from the future. To deny cartoons like “Duck Tales”,
and “Dennis The Menace”, to lowly children in the hood. See, my mother had a hypothesis… that her son was lying to her.
Then she tested it. And then, like an idiot I offered her
a chance to repeat that experiment. Because she was a scientist. And the last thing I wanna
stress today… is that we are here, in many
cases, in opposition… to a dark orange cloud
descending on our nation. But, that’s not the only
reason to be here. Because regardless of what’s going on
in the halls of congress, or the halls of the White house, science itself has more work to do. Science alone doesn’t fix things. And, who makes science is important. I am here because my mother can
help make some science. And in this debate area, the Yay area, we should constantly be questioning… who’s making the science and
technology that defines our future? Who’s benefiting from the job that
economic opportunity that defines the reality in which we will live? So, yes to resistance in the true
scientific sense but, also yes to inclusivity
and creation in the full expansive sense,
that is a power to this nation. The last thing I wanna say… is to paraphrase the words of
Niels Bohr. Give it up for Niels Bohr? All right! Created hot yoga. Niels Bohr has a quote, about what science ultimately is. And to paraphrase it,
it says, “Science is the gradual elimination
of prejudice.” “Science is fresh
in their assumptions.” We look at the world and say,
“What else is there?” And we are constantly chipping away at
prejudice, ’cause we’re not afraid to ask ourselves questions. So, let’s all continue to ask
ourselves questions, let’s be scientific in our approach to expanding the
promises of justice. And let’s turn up this march,
I’m Baratunde Thurston, has love for science.
Thank you Bay area.

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