Watch Sam Richards’ “A radical experiment in empathy” at TED
By leading the Americans in his audience at TEDxPSU step by step through the thought process, sociologist Sam Richards sets an extraordinary challenge: can they understand — not approve of, but understand — the motivations of an Iraqi insurgent? And by extension, can anyone truly understand and empathize with another?
Identifying himself as “an iconoclast from Toledo, Ohio,” and identified by David Horowitz as one of the “101 Most Dangerous Academics in America,” Sam Richards is one of the most provocative, and popular, sociology teachers in the country. Every year 725 students at Penn State University take his course on race and ethnic relations, where he attacks, with humor and courage, questions most would choose to avoid.
He is also the founder of the World in Conversation project. Every year, more than 7,000 students participate in its mission is to create a conscious dialogue around the politically incorrect thoughts of the participants, bringing them out in the open for inspection.