Tribalism 101: Next Door Strangers

Conversation Guide

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Background Information:

Inspired by the podcast Next Door Strangers, this Living Room Conversation begins with a  15-minute podcast: http://www.kuer.org/post/1-tribalism-101-pick-side. We invite you to listen and then begin your Living Room Conversation.

Tribalism: the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group. People on the left and right may disagree on many things, but they generally agree that “tribalism” is bad for our politics and our country. Although most people want communities where all people have dignity and respect, respectful interactions are often not what we see modeled in the media and in politics. How do we build strong and unified communities in a divisive time?

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • 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?

Round 2:

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:Begin with every person answering the following question:
  • Name one or more groups you feel at home or strongly identify with (where you find a sense of belonging and/or feel stronger together).
Continue by answering one or more of the following questions:
  • What generalizations do you think people make about your group? Which are accurate? Which are inaccurate? Which are most painful?
  • What generalizations do you make about other groups? How do you evaluate or check the validity of your generalizations, if at all? How important is it to you that your generalizations are accurate?
  • Some groups come together based on sharing a common culture, vision, or enemy. What is the commonality for your group? What need does your group fulfill in your life?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ 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?

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