In the span of exactly one hour, Amanda Seales will make you question your privilege, your existence and most of all, your ability to laugh THAT much in 60 minutes. The entertainer is known best for her recurring role in HBO’s “Insecure” and her own comedy act on truTV, “Greatest Ever.” However, these facts simply scratch the surface of not just how self-aware Seales is, but how in touch she is with society today.
With the speech being titled “Deconstructing the Dream: At whose expense?” it was set to be interesting at the least. Ultimately, Seales’ captivating presentation was the best part by far. She handled issues of intersectionality between race and gender that have been grappled with for centuries with a sharp tongue and wit that was role-model-worthy to those that filled the Schwab Auditorium.
Seales’ speech came down to one simple scenario: we all have a seat at the table in this thing called life. “We’re all at a dinner table not having enough conversation, to move things forward,” Seales says. When it comes down to it, we have to be the ones to encourage each other to challenge the discourse around us. “People live different existences based on their privilege,” she says.
She stressed that being unique means we must accept and be open to the uniqueness of others. “When it comes to change everyone has a role,” Seales says. However, she quickly changed that to, “everybody has a role but that doesn’t mean everyone should be talking.” The crowd roared.
And she definitely wasn’t shy to mention that too many people in today’s world are willing to be bystanders. They were the first group represented at the table in Seales’ metaphor. She emphasized that “we live in a time when your politics represent your character,” and that doing nothing is actively doing something in today’s polarized society.
Listeners were the second group at the table. These people expose themselves to different perspectives, but don’t exactly say anything in support of one side or another. The moderator role, though self-explanatory, is also crucial when entering disagreement, because he or she may be both an ally and a listener.
The ally affirms the ultimate the truth teller’s arguments. We must be aware of each version of truth someone may have. This reality brings in the obstructor, who is the one that will shut down the truth teller based purely on emotion, not fact. “Intersecting rage with information is knowledge, and knowledge is power,” says Seales. The truth teller at the table should be able to clearly exemplify this sentiment.
Who are you at the table? Who do you want to be? Go out today and make strides toward becoming the best person at the table that you can be.