Jasmine Roberts took the stage and delivered her first TEDx Talk titled “I’m Tired of Talking About Race” on February 23 in Mershon Auditorium. Standing in the wings of the stage before her talk began, Roberts said it was the first time she had been nervous in a very long time. Teaching for a living has made Roberts used to giving presentations and standing up in front of a crowd. She said she felt the most nervous during the first 30-45 seconds on stage, but she found comfort and peace looking into the eyes of her family members in the audience, which helped her to confidently deliver her speech to the rest of the crowd.
“Some of us are getting tired of talking about race because of some of the responses that we receive that range from dismissiveness to colorblind rhetoric that’s used to trivialize our experiences,” Roberts said during the opening of her talk about the emotional fatigue experienced by people of color when discussing race with their white counterparts.
While presenting a TEDx Talk hasn’t been on her bucket list forever, Roberts said it has been in the back of her mind for the past few years. A former student encouraged Roberts to apply to be a TEDx speaker in 2014, but she felt like she had too much to learn before taking on this challenge.
In October 2018, Roberts received an email inviting her to apply to be a TEDx speaker, having received a nomination.
“That’s an answer I would like to know,” Roberts said about who nominated her. Out of 200 applicants, Roberts was one of 13 speakers selected by the TEDx executive board, comprised of all undergraduate students, to speak at the conference. Founded in 2011, TedxOhioStateUniversity is a student organization that hosts independently-run TED Talks. Every spring, the organization hosts an event for the Ohio State community, bringing in students, staff, faculty and alumni as speakers.
Roberts’ speaking coach was Omare Hussain, an undergraduate student majoring in Biology and a member of the TEDx team. Roberts said she appreciated how Hussain helped her develop a speech to resonate with audience members who would know nothing about the subject. Through many coaching sessions, Roberts created her outline, defined her main idea and key takeaways and began practicing the speech two to four times per day for a month.
Not only did Roberts have to memorize her speech, but she had to learn to deliver a compelling story to captivate the audience. Roberts said this experience made her more aware of how she presents ideas to both students and colleagues. Now she speaks slower and presents more human-interest examples to help students remember information as they study or take tests.
Roberts joined the School of Communication in 2012, where she teaches upper level undergraduate courses in the areas of communication campaigns, strategic communication writing, persuasive communication, news writing and public speaking. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies and Spanish at the University of Michigan and her master’s degree in communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Her TEDx Talk is published on the TEDx Talks YouTube page.
Article written by student Bailey Socha