“I get so upset during conversations about politics with certain family members, I feel like my body’s on the verge of explosion, with body parts flying off and blood splattering all over walls.”
Do you ever feel like Julie does when you’re trying to have a meaningful discussion with someone with whom you vehemently disagree? Then you’re going to love this episode with journalist Mónica Guzmán, author of the book I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. As the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted twice for Donald Trump, Mónica knows from personal experience how hard these conversations can be. Now she joins Julie and Eve to explain why we’re so polarized, how–whether you’re red or blue–your perceptions of the other side of the political divide are grossly overblown, and how you can talk to people whose worldviews are different from yours in a way that feels productive (or at least in a way that keeps the walls clean and everybody’s limbs intact). “We've got facts,” Mónica says, “too many facts. What we need is trust.”
Mónica Guzmán is the Director of Digital and Storytelling at Braver Angels, a nonprofit working to depolarize America, and host of the Crosscut interview series, Northwest Newsmakers. She was a 2019 Fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, where she studied social and political division, and a 2016 Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, where she studied how journalists can better meet the needs of a participatory public. Before committing to the project of helping people understand each other across the political divide, Mónica co-founded the award-winning Seattle newsletter, The Evergrey. She was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle and served twice as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes.
I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times
“The book’s greatest offering, I think, is permission to reclaim people we might have dumped for ideological reasons; such connections won’t sully us but may in fact enrich us. I can see this book helping estranged parties who are equally invested in bridging a gap—it could be assigned reading for fractured families aspiring to a harmonious Thanksgiving dinner.” —New York Times
“Like all skills, these techniques take practice. But anyone who sincerely wants to bridge the gaps in understanding will appreciate this book. Guzmán is emphatic about making an effort to work on difficult conversations.” —Manhattan Book Review
“In clear and lively exposition Mónica Guzmán lays out how we have become unlikely and increasingly not interested in talking to people with whom we don’t agree . . . We need to return to our basic curiosity about what other people think and feel. That’s our most human, most empathic, starting point.” —Sherry Turkle, MIT Professor, New York Times best-selling author ofReclaiming Conversation and The Empathy Diaries