Having Conversations We’d Rather Avoid (Celeste Headlee)
"So if we take that off the table, if we take off this, this goal of changing somebody's mind, then what are you left with? What's what's your purpose in the conversation? And I feel like not only is that more attainable to have a conversation in which you are exchanging ideas, just exchanging ideas, changing information, that's attainable every time. But also it relieves some pressure, right? I mean, sometimes I feel like people see conversations as frustrating because they keep trying to do something that's impossible. Maybe it would be more enjoyable for you if you weren't trying to beat your head against the wall. I feel like that that paragraph from Carl Rogers is not just something that is useful to tell the other person. I think it's mostly for you. Like for you to tell yourself, I'm not here to change you. I'm just here to listen and understand."So says Celeste Headlee, award-winning radio journalist and author of many incredible books, including Do Nothing, We Need to Talk, and Speaking of Race. Celeste, a self-described “light-skinned Black Jew,” has been having hard conversations about race since she was a little kid. Already an astute observer of culture, she has notated throughout her life how unproductive these conversations tend to be, how we shut down and get defensive, or try to reinforce our own sense of righteousness.In today’s conversation, we explore the reasons we’ve become culturally calcified as well as antidotes for taking on tough and essential topics. In Celeste’s experience, the more reserved we become about leaning into potential conflict the more fear enters the equation: And right now, one of the worst labels you can hear is that you are racist.I loved DO NOTHING and I also loved Speaking of Race, because at its heart it is also just about the art of conversation--and active listening. And Celeste has a lot of experience: She is a regular guest host on NPR and American Public Media, and her Tedx Talk on having better conversations has been viewed over 23 million times.While I’ve got your attention on Celeste, you need to listen to her season with John Biewen on Scene on Radio: They did an incredible series of episodes about misogyny, and his season on race, called Seeing White, which he co-hosted with Chenjerai Kumanyika is incredible. MORE FROM CELESTE HEADLEE:Speaking of RaceDo NothingWe Need to TalkCeleste’s WebsiteFollow Celeste on Instagram and Twitter
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