15+ Videos for Social Justice Education

in Blog,Social Justice Education

I reblogged Emiliano C. Diaz de Leon‘s very helpful list of 20 Useful Videos to Engage Men in Gender-Based Violence Prevention Work. I often use videos in my work to help convey ideas in different ways, bring in different voices, engage learners in different ways, and bring emotion to the topics. Here are some of the videos I use in teaching social justice in higher education to graduate students and in workshops on college campuses.

The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown

Although not specifically about social justice, I’ve started to begin my course with both of Brené Brown’s TED Talks. It gives the students permission to not get it and to open themselves up to the learning and unlearning process which is both intellectual and emotional.

Listening to Shame – Brené Brown

This second video really begins to unpack the difference between guilt and shame. We return to this often as we work to foster our own guilt and accountability but avoid the destructive emotion of shame. Later we talk about how in working toward greater justice and equity we can foster guilt and avoid shame in our work as social justice educators.

The Matrix – Red Pill, Blue Pill

My social justice work is centered around the Matrix of Oppression from Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson’s chapter in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. This model illustrates how oppression is structured in society of individual, institutional ,and societal levels to give some advantages they didn’t earn and don’t deserve and others disadvantages they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. This clip from the Matrix (cleverly, using the same term) creates a wonderful metaphor for how tempting it is to believe the myth of meritocracy and how hard it can be to recognize and unpack our own socialization. If you have never noticed what a subversive social justice film the Matrix is, you may want to watch it again through this lens.

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Adichie

This video powerfully illustrates that we are all more than a single story. Too often we are essentialized in the minds of others and in our own minds to a single identity or single narrative. Adichie points out that we need to see the complexity of intersectionality and be open to new stories to emerge, even in ourselves.

Albert White Hat

In this snippet Albert White Hat describes his story of oppression, shame, policy, and the critical role of forgiveness in creating liberation.

What Is Privilege? – Buzzfeed

Many of you may be familiar of privilege walk activities. You may have found them transformative or problematic. I’ve found that there is nothing good or bad about the activity itself, but the magic is in how it is facilitated and whether or not the audience is ready developmentally. This video summarizes the activity and shares some of the learning that can take place when it is facilitated well.

How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist – Jay Smooth

This short video helps illustrate the points that Brené Brown makes about fostering guilt (I made a mistake) and shame (I am a mistake) related to confronting racist behaviors in others. Keep the conversation on what they did or what they said (fostering guilt) and not on who they are (shaming).

If I Should Have a Daughter… – Sarah Kay

Poetry can powerfully connect us with the emotional aspect of our work unpacking our socialization. I use the first poem in this video as a way of grounding and unpacking some of the gender messages we get in society.


Every Kid Needs a Champion – Rita Pierson

Pierson describes the importance of relationship in advocacy and education.

The Opportunity of Adversity – Aimee Mullins

This video helps us begin to make the shift from thinking about ableism as a problem within the individual to a problem with how society is constructed.


I Am Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much – Stella Young

Comedian Stella Young points out the problem with “disability porn” and the objectification of disabled people.


What Would You Do? – Barbershop

This video offers three different ways individuals who see insensitivity and hurt might respond. Social justice is both a process and a product and this video gets at the process. It is important to note that there is a big difference between systemic racism toward People of Color and a white person being criticized by a black woman for being in an inter-racial relationship as happens in the video. Still, the lesson of engaging those who hurt with love and compassion and how effective that can be is powerful.

Quicksand – Guante

Speaking up and working toward social justice can be hard. This video goes through the many excuses I often go through in my head when I’m trying to justify and rationalize my own inaction.

From Casting Blame to Cultivating Transformation

In this clip bell hooks describes how her approach to working for justice and equity has evolved over time to be more aligned with her sense of self and to be more effective in cultivating transformation. For those in a hurry you can skip to 25:19 for a great 3 minute snippet.

What Else?

What videos have you used as a teacher, trainer, or facilitator? What videos of inspired or transformed you as a learner? Please leave the video in the comments below and I will add suggestions to this list as they come.

Previous post:

Next post: