I co-edited this issue of New Directions in Evaluation to bridge the views of these two fields. More
Using Art of Hosting and Conflict Transformation: An event in Houston, Texas. More
Why is it hard to change attitudes about girls' education? Because in poor countries, it's more complex than you may think. Check out the results of this study funded by Girlhub Ethiopia More
Photo courtesy of Girlhub Ethiopia ©2013
We have work to do. The election of Trump has ripped the bandaid off our modern myths of justice, revealing the collective wounds we swept there after the Civil Rights Movement. While our society shifted to a more inclusive society in the 1960s, fifty years of good intentions does not erase 350 years of horrific deeds.
Our wounds have been festering for centuries, cyclically reopened by violence. We are now being called to face our demons and to heal more fully, together.
On Wednesday, we found out that Donald J Trump is our president-elect. I spent the day grieving for what I thought the next ten years of my life would look like, for me and the children I’d like to bring into the world. Outrage got him elected. Outrage now grows in those of us who have begun marching. I spent the campaign season reassuring myself that 60 years of desegregation, activism, and coalition building could not have happened in vain. That we were a better people, a more united people, than it seemed. That the violence, the hate, was the minority of us, and Trump’s campaign would become just a bad dream. I was wrong.
The violence is rising.
When I guide groups through frustration and outrage, I say it’s time to tend to the margins. In this case, the margins have become 50% of the popular vote.
Got relatives or friends on the other side of your political beliefs? Can't get three words in before the conversation gets rough? Do you avoid talking all together to avoid feeling awful? For my series on inclusive conversations−conversations where differences are seen not as a resource, not a threat−and this tip is for you: don't word-pick, empathize.
African American people taught me how to live well, at peace, while feeling like a fish out of water. It hurts to watch how many people, and our media, assume that violence is norm in Black culture.
By the standards of most Americans I am an incredibly weird person. I am an Italian American woman who spent seven years studying African American culture in college, first for a Master’s in Sociology, then a PhD in African American studies. I left a life in Rome, Italy, the eternal city, to study in Philadelphia. I wish I could make a collage with the look on people’s faces, of all colors, when I tell them what I just told you.
When you take a stand, it doesn’t have to be you against the world. Taking a stand can also inspire a group to be the best it can be.
Until now, all the tips on inclusive conversations were about being receptive, asking questions, and listening. Today’s tip switches gears: it’s about taking a clear stand in the presence of flawed process.
Do your conversations these days feel like black holes of despair that transform even the sweetest of donuts into booger-tasting jelly beans? If most conversations you have about these crazy primaries end up in fights and go nowhere, tip #4 is for you. Inclusive conversations occur when differences are seen as a resource, not a threat. Previous tips included preparing the conversation, choosing when and where to invest your energy, opening the door to the conversation and making allies. Today's tip is more about the actual conversation. Tip #4: No matter how insane you think people are to think the way they do, don't beat them down with what you know, try to pause, and meet them where they are, instead. But before I explain what I mean by: "meet people where they are," here's a little story for you.
In the last blog, I listed a self-care tip for having inclusive conversations: choosing when and where to invest your energy. Inclusive conversations are conversations where differences are seen as a resource instead of a threat. These conversations can be tricky because differences can bring up fear, hurt, or anger.
Today's tip is also about self-care. If you're not taking care of yourself in a conversation, or hosting yourself, and being present, as the Art of hosting’s four-fold practice would put it, then it's unlikely that the conversation will be productive. Inclusive conversations are often hard and courageous conversations. So today's tip: Look for allies and build support before you jump in.
Many friends have talked to me about struggling with Facebook posts on their "friends' " timeline especially in this time of heated presidential debates and recent tragic terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Lebanon, Mali, Turkey, Ivory Coast, Belgium, and Pakistan. Some posts were prejudicial, others blatantly racist. The way Facebook is structured, someone's status shows up on our feed, so many of us feel the need to "call out" misinformation and prejudice, and feel deeply disturbed when we choose silence. It is known that reacting to Facebook posts can create more trouble in relationships and friendships.
"What is it about you Americans?” a friend in New Zealand said to me a few months ago, “Why are you so resistant to the common good?" The state of panic, fomented by some presidential candidates, reminds me of that statement. Inclusive conversations are defined as conversations where differences are leveraged as a resource, not a threat. For this issue, I’m addressing practicing inclusion for our common good.
There once was a little girl named Folasi; she was lively and loved to sing, dance, run and breathe. She built a home for herself in the forest. It was a cardboard box with cut-out windows decorated with colorful paint and leaves. To her, it was a mansion. On the days in which a soft breeze would come through, she could sit in her home and feel protected.