What do we mean by dialogue?
A dialogue is a forum that draws participants from as many parts of the
community as possible to exchange information face-to-face, share
personal stories and experiences, honestly express perspectives, clarify
viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns.
Unlike debate, dialogue emphasizes listening to deepen understanding (see
Appendix A, "The Difference Between Debate and Dialogue"). Dialogue
invites discovery It develops common values and allows participants to
express their own interests. It expects that participants will grow in
understanding and may decide to act together with common goals. In
dialogue, participants can question and reevaluate their assumptions.
Through this process, people are learning to work together to improve
What makes for successful interracial
The nature of the dialogue process can motivate people to work towards
change (see Appendix A, "Examples of Race Reconciliation from Across the
Nation"). Effective dialogues do the following:
Move towards solutions rather than continue to express or analyze
the problem. An
emphasis on personal responsibility moves the discussion away from
finger-pointing or naming enemies and towards constructive common action.
Reach beyond the usual boundaries. When fully developed,
involve the entire community, offering opportunities for new, unexpected
partnerships. New partnerships can develop when participants listen
carefully and respectfully to each other. A search for solutions focuses
on the common good as participants are encouraged to broaden their
horizons and build relationships outside their comfort zones.
Unite divided communities through a respectful, informed
sharing of local
racial history and its consequences for different people in today's
society. The experience of "walking through history" together can
lead to healing.
Aim for a change of heart, not just a change of mind.
beyond sharing and understanding to transforming participants. While the
process begins with the individual, it eventually involves groups and
institutions. Ultimately, dialogues can affect how policies are made.