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Bridging the Gap

August 3, 2021

Racism is one of several issues that need “courageous conversations.” While the Bridging the Gap program includes more than racism, it certainly includes useful tools for the fight against racism. Difficult conversations that create dialogue about differences generate better awareness and understanding.

Simon Greer, founder of Courageous Conversations, talks about productive engagement even despite fundamental disagreements. Greer saw the need for equipping a new generation. “People don’t want to communicate across lines of difference. They want to hunker down with their friends where they feel safe and secure and validated. Shame on us for not equipping them [college students] to do something different.”

With contrasting campus cultures, Oberlin College and Spring Arbor University did a bridging the gap program in which students from the two campuses came together to learn courageous conversation skills. Watch the video to learn more.

A longer Courageous Conversations video (linked below as an additional resource) includes a lot of what is in the featured video but adds significant information and insights. Included is dialogue between Greer and Jonathan Haidt. Haidt is a professor, author, and social psychologist. His 2018 book, The Coddling of the American Mind (co-written with Greg Lukianoff) explores the rising political polarization and changing culture on college campuses--including the effects on mental health. Haidt describes a cultural shift on college campuses beginning in about 2015.

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