People usually identify themselves with one or more societal groups. . Once settled in a particular group identity, it’s common for people to compare themselves favorably to other groups, often fueling prejudice. These differences can be emphasized (and overemphasized) to discourage mixing and/or to reinforce one’s own social position. In what other ways does belonging to specific groups influence interaction between people and social divides in society?
Let's Get Started!
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
Social identity and relations with others (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. The group may choose to have everyone answer: A) whichever question speaks to them individually or B) the same question with an option to pass. Once everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for any clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring with other topic or related questions as time allows.
- Which groups have you joined by choice and to what groups you are ascribed by other people or society at large?
- Which groups are most important to you and how do you feel about belonging to these groups?
- What do you gain from your groups? How does your group influence your identity or sense of belonging?
- How do you think your groups differ from other groups? How does comparison of your group to others help you feel more positive or negative about yourself?
- Are there groups you avoid or do not think highly of? And are there groups you would you never join? Why?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?