Episode 94: Curious Conversations Across the Divide with Mónica Guzmán

Mónica Guzmán, author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, is the Director of Digital and Storytelling at Braver Angels which is a cross-partisan nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging America’s widening political divide. Mónica’s background in journalism and her own life experiences brought her to Braver Angels as a person interested in conversation without judgment. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants who considered themselves Republicans and a journalist, Mónica understands political party differences on a personal and professional level. In the episode she describes her journey to Braver Angels and details how the organization creates spaces, through workshops, where citizens across party lines can have difficult conversations. As she and Henry explore divides within family structure she notes how family ties put more at stake in these political conversations but how that can be extremely powerful even though it is uncomfortable. Trust and listening are more important than people may think when trying to have these conversations and Braver Angels helps people develop those skills. The end of the episode also addresses some of the controversy the organization has had recently surrounding the conservative opinions related to the January 6th Capitol attack and Henry and Colin discuss how Braver Angels transparently discussed their podcasting practices in relation to misinformation and conspiracies. 

A full transcript of this episode will be available soon!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Mónica Guzmán

Book: I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times

Braver Angels
Mónica’s earlier journalism for The Evergrey (Seattle)
Interview with The Daily Kos (“you don’t have to talk to a Nazi tomorrow”)

Braver Angels’ list of roles we play in family conversations about politics

USC Norman Lear Center research on media consumption among liberals, moderates and conservatives

Jonathan Haidt: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives
And more about his book, The Righteous Mind

Braver Angels podcast and controversy:
Depolarization in the Age of Misinformation | Jonathan Rauch with David Blankenhorn & Ciaran O’Connor (our clip starts around min 7)

A Conservative Perspective on January 6th & the 2020 Election | Peter Wood with Ciaran O’Connor (our clip starts around min 17:00)

Braver Angels national debate to open up the larger question—”Should we draw lines?”—to hundreds of people. President David Blankenhorn chimes in toward the end of the video 

Podcast host Ciaran O’Connor’s op-ed in the Deseret News with more of the product of Braver Angels’ reflection on what happened, and also YouTube’s role

Mónica’s own reflection on the issue in an interview with the American Press Institute asking “what might journalism learn from ‘bridging’?.”

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry, Colin and the How Do You Like It So Far? account! You can also email us at [email protected].

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