A conversation with Tania Israel, psychologist, professor, and social justice advocate, on dialoguing with people across political lines
Do you find yourself afraid or angry when you think about the divide on our political and cultural landscape? Do you wish you could engage with people on the "other side" but find those conversations turning into visceral arguments that just make that gap seem wider? Do you find yourself avoiding conversations with and maybe even drifting away from loved ones and friends on that "other side"? Do you think that, maybe, figuring out how to bridge these divides might be really important?
Tania Israel has done a lot of thinking and study on how to engage with and find common ground with people who hold beliefs that may differ vastly from our own. And as her offering to the needs of the time, she's giving workshops on doing just that - "Going Beyond the Bubble: How to Have a Dialogue across the Political Lines." In this conversation, her thoughts on the importance of curiosity and listening, embracing the diversity in the range of values in this country, how we can all stand up for the most vulnerable, and how all that might just be how we can save democracy.
"There are things that we can do, and none of them are ever going to be enough. And somehow, we have to do them anyway … We need all of it. I feel like right now in this country, everybody needs to bring whatever they have."
Links and extras from "Bubbles Colliding: What Do You Mean by That?"
A conversation with Tania Israel on Dialoguing across Political Lines - KCSB show July 9, 2017
**PARTICIPATE: We the Village wants to know - What do you think? Are conversations (as opposed to bitter arguments) with those whose beliefs seem very far from ours a part of saving our democracy? Have you had an experience with having this kind of dialogue? A breakthrough? A botched attempt maybe? Have you been wanting to have such a conversation but haven't yet? Check out Tania Israel's dialogue flowchart. Apply its guidance. Take perspectives. Come from a place of curiosity. Report back.Send a message, subject line, "Bubbles Colliding" or record a voice memo and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we'll play it on a future show!
On Tania Israel's website, you can learn about her work, contact her to schedule a seminar on dialoguing across political lines for your group, get a brief overview with the dialogue flowchart, and more.
Want to hear from some super real conversations across political lines? Check out "Lea in Trumpland". The link will take you to the first of a series of conversations in which Strangers (a really awesome podcast) host Lea Thau goes on the road to converse with Trump voters in the deeply intimate, open way that characterizes her show.
Here's an article that talks about the different ways we have of knowing what is fact: "Anger, Resentment and Apple Pie: Understanding the Fourth of July in the Trump Era" by Judah Grunstein (World Politics Review, July 5, 2017)
And the Times review on Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Hochschild.
Suggested listening (aka songs from the radio show version):
♪ "Your Racist Friend" by They Might Be Giants on Flood, Skyline Studios, 1990
♪ "So Many People in the Neighborhood" by Ween on Quebec, Sanctuary Records, 2003
♪ "Imagine” cover by Alex G. with Gustavo Guerrera on My Life on the Internet, 2017
Strangers by Lea Thau.