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Combating Hate and Bias Recap: Ana Navarro & Bakari Sellers

Combating Hate and Bias Recap: Ana Navarro & Bakari Sellers

By Sophie Yost ('26)

Sophie Yost (PPS '26)
Sophie Yost (PPS '26)

Polis Student Assistant

The closing event of the Combating Hate and Bias Conference featured keynote speakers Ana Navarro and Bakari Sellers. Navarro is a GOP strategist, political contributor to CNN and Telemundo, and the Co-Host of ABC’s The View. Sellers is an accomplished political analyst and a former Representative for South Carolina. Dr. Deondra Rose, the Sanford School’s Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Polis: Center for Politics, joined these two impressive guests to discuss how hate and bias have infiltrated the political landscape.  

Navarro and Sellers brought their honesty and wit to the discussion. When asked by Dr. Rose about the state of hate and bias in politics today, Navarro quickly responded with, “It’s bad…it certainly feels like the worst I’ve ever seen in my lifetime in America.” She goes on to highlight several recent hate crimes brought on by the Gaza-Israel conflict and the influx of “hate-fueled” mass shootings across the country. Sellers agrees, noting the timeliness of the conference. However, he argues that hate and bias are not new in the United States: “I do take offense when people say the ‘rise of’ because this ain’t the rise of antisemitism, the rise of Islamophobia, or the rise of anti-black racism. Y’all just see it more. That is the fundamental difference.” He emphasizes that, while people are now just starting to pay attention to hate and bias on a massive scale, it is still important to remember our past and learn from our mistakes.

Throughout the keynote, both speakers emphasized the importance of mental health at a time like this. Navarro believes that “it is so important to destigmatize mental health.” Sellers also highlighted how it is doubly important for minorities, especially Black men, to talk about mental health and feel comfortable with vulnerability. In their closing remarks, both guests shared their parting words of wisdom and advice on how to navigate our challenging political landscape. When talking about combating hate and bias, Sellers said that we have to continue to have uncomfortable conversations and try to meet others where they are: “This is not something you can just afford to let continue to fester. We have to be intentional and purposeful.” He noted that we have to be more thoughtful in how we engage others in these tough conversations. While Navarro recognized that there will always be hate in the world, she noted that there is still hope: “Do not allow anybody to define you. You get to define yourself.” She talked about how important it is to talk about your struggles. When you raise your voice you realize you are not alone. Ana Navarro and Bakari Sellers left attendees inspired to treat others with kindness and start advocating for change. 

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