Dialogue diversity, a new blog.


Michael Sandel (Michael Sandel) about the “justice” (based on his famous course at harvard) video series about two minutes later, a pair of students to debate the campaign should play the role of the college. One said that racial discrimination was always wrong, and the other said that it was too long for white people to discriminate against themselves, so systematic corrective actions such as racist affirmative action were necessary.

An important conversation, I have a strong opinion (on the liberal side). But the area is quite familiar.

This trailer is not continue to discuss this topic, but cut the sander of Harvard University student hall put forward another question: how many of you have is the oldest child in your home? More than half of the hands went up.

When I first saw this video, I was obsessed with this question, and I almost raised my hand and stared at the screen. Birth order is an important aspect of identity – it’s new and fascinating.

I know that, as the eldest of the, I for parents expectations of what the profound influence on me, so I expect of yourself, and the expectations of teachers and coaches, and has a profound influence on my life achievements.

And the structure elements in the game, the privileges associated with the primary status are implicit in how the various systems work? Other societies have different approaches, maybe more fair, maybe less? What is my identity relative to all the other identities I carry? – the second generation of Indian americans of brown skin, male, straight ismarie Muslim, middle class, graduated school with education city, Midwest?

In my thousands of conversations on campus diversity, birth order has never been an important dimension of identity. Not once. Even with rich academic literature about birth order, that is the case, the importance of people have been casually mention it (they play the role of the “baby” in the family, how to shape their life challenges with a middle child, etc.).

So why is the birth order rarely mentioned in the “diversity” conversation?

Sandel – both a towering intellectual and a master of education – expanded my mind with a shrewd observation and a sharp question. I didn’t find myself wanting to put Sandel in my head, and I found myself thinking in new ways and engaging in more interesting conversations about identity.

Are college campuses making smart observations and asking targeted questions in order to promote new thinking and foster interesting dialogue?

This is the “diversity of conversations” I wrote for “advanced education” in this new blog. As a person who believes that campus is our basic laboratory for pluralistic democracy, I would like to raise a series of observations and questions about identity and dialogue in these pages.

Martin Marty (another noble intellectual and master educator) first pointed out that observation, problem and dialogue are closely related. Arguments tend to occur when people are obsessed with conclusions. When we play the game, the lines are drawn, the tribes appear, the weapons are selected, and all kinds of wars begin. In recent years, some wars around diversity have been more harmful.

The observation – question dialogue method is very different from argumentation – conclusion mode. It does not primarily pursue familiar situations or call for predictable explanations to reinforce existing orthodoxy. Instead, it deviates from the range, looking for cases that are difficult to categorize, and guessing the explanation beyond the standard package explanation. Its purpose is to have interesting thinking and friendly conversation.

* * *

A little bit about my background, perspective and current position. As a college student in the mid-1990s, I was awakened by the question of race, gender, class and sex. I remember in the computer lab at the university of Illinois when typing, my fingers fly over the keyboard, when I look, see a African American students to pluck the same task, her eyes looking for the right letter.

I learned a lot from her comments in class, so I was surprised by her single finger typing. It must have been obvious, because she made me feel depressed and asked the question, “how many computers are there in your high school? I have two. “

Why do I think typing is fast and smart is connected? Early lessons of race, class, and privilege.

I don’t need how long they can learn more such teaching, because of huge accumulation of these lessons make us into a world view, to this world, the suburbs of my father for his lack of consciousness of the interpretation of color for a long time.

My father to the abuse in general are good, but there’s a Sunday I thinks himself to be too much for him, he put the table to my in front, “for all you talk about diversification, why didn’t you mention the identity of the dimension driving world affairs – religion. Next time you want to give me a variety of lectures, start by telling me how you and your college friends resolve conflicts between different religions. ”

The following week, yitzhak rabin was assassinated by members of his own religious group. I didn’t admit it to my father for the longest time, but he was absolutely right – although it was an animation from social justice movement to civil war, I had very few ideas about religion.

What I learned in many of these experiences can be summarized as follows:


Don’t let me be obsessed with the identity of things that I currently think of as being invisible or thinking of other identities in any particular situation;

While identity is always important, other things are important, like the fact that the duke lacrosse game.

As far as I am concerned, self-righteousness will lead to the self-righteousness of my interlocutor, which may turn an interesting conversation into a depressing argument.

It is important to raise incipient questions about other paradigms and worldviews, but the justice of intellectuals is not a question of their own paradigms, but a particularly important ethic on university campuses.

I was lucky enough to incorporate these lessons into my career. As an interfaith youth core founder and President, my job is to help the school develop high quality, sustainable project, engaged in religious diversity, especially the project of fellowship with other identities. In fact, this means that I visit about 25 campuses every year to discuss and listen to diversity issues. These campus visits are the source of many of the observations and problems I will bring.

Since this is a blog, I write at least once a week, perhaps more frequently. Usually, these posts will grow up to two paragraphs and are usually incomplete, meaning that they will not achieve satisfactory results and will not attempt a comprehensive explanation. Instead, I will tell a story about the identity/diversity problem I encountered, which makes me feel “out of scope” and try to raise some interesting questions.

I hope it is interesting to me, for you are interesting, some observations and issues presented here may be useful to your classroom or extracurricular activities, the most important thing is the process to further promote the new thinking and friendly conversation.


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