Recently I did an interview on a local radio show that highlights experiences of being a person of color in Boulder County. The show is called PoCo in BoCo and is co-hosted by Tracey Jones and Nikhil Mankekar also of Boulder County. In the show we talk about what people must consider when entering in conversations across differences. Some of the highlights are:
- Being willing to fail when attempting to communicate beyond difference
- Understanding that conversations of depth incur risk
- Trusting the experience of the person over “data” about people from underrepresented groups.
In the conversation we lifted up the benefit of structured conversations such as those offered through the guidance of Living Room Conversations and participating in challenging small groups such as the America’s Original Sin (see below) group that we are doing at our church. When we put ourselves in the situation to have our assumptions challenged and are vulnerable enough to admit that there are things we just don’t know, some amazing growth can happen.
Based on the challenges that we seem to face as a global society, I predict that the future belongs to agile conversationalists–those who are able to intelligently and compassionately engage in constructive dialogue with others. If this is the case, the degree to which one cannot converse with those who hold different views is the degree to which their progression in life will be stunted. This is not a dire prediction, but rather one that holds the promise that the days that we are now experiencing–where fostering polarization is seen as power–are only temporary.
I know that some may disagree with this promise. If you are among them, I’d love to talk to you about it.