Depolarizing Conversations About Race

What is Depolarizing Conversations About Race?

Depolarizing Conversations About Race is a new skills workshop for difficult but necessary conversations between White Americans about race and public policy.

It seeks to improve the culture of conversations about race and provide a constructive alternative to the polarized and judgmental exchanges that dominate our current discourse.

Created by a diverse group of Braver Angels leaders, this new workshop helps White participants develop more skills for listening to others and expressing their own views on race in ways that lead to more productive conversations across differences.

While this workshop is primarily intended for White audiences, Americans of all races are welcome to participate.

The Need

Conversations between White people about race are often dysfunctional and judgmental, descending into “Just listen to me explain racism to you” and “Don’t call me a racist!”

The vast majority of White people are firmly against racism as they define it, but they battle over what it means—for example, systemic versus personal—and about whether racism is mostly an evil of the past versus an ongoing scourge. They split over framing our country’s history as fundamentally compromised by racism versus its ideals still standing to light the way forward.

When it comes to policy solutions, many White people have trouble sustaining conversations on issues such as affirmative action, police reform, reparations, and removing statues. Conversations flare up and shut down, relationships become strained, and a national path forward on race becomes harder to envision.

We need to change the culture of conversations about race and public policy among White Americans, finding alternatives to the polarized and judgmental nature of these exchanges.

Why a Workshop Aimed at White People?

While people of any racial identity can participate, the workshop is intended primarily for self-identified White people who:

  • Want to communicate more constructively about race and public policy
  • Believe in the equal worth and dignity of persons of all races
  • Are concerned about our nation’s problems with race and wants to see progress

If You Take This Workshop, You Will Be:

  • Better at listening to people who have differing views on race and public policy, so they feel heard.
  • More skilled in expressing views in a way that the other person can hear you.
  • More able to find common ground when it is present.
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