Despite a commitment to diversity and inclusivity, many groups and organizations find that their members still have a hard time talking across differences in race, class, gender, political affiliation, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability, or any other kind of identity. We often lack the tools to help us graciously navigate conversations like these—and so we avoid having them. We just don’t talk, even though research shows groups who share diverse viewpoints are more innovative, better at problem solving, more open to feedback, and better off in the long run.
In this workshop we will explore how avoiding conversations about difficult social issues can lead team members to feel unheard, perpetuating a cycle of misunderstanding and misinformation. Fear of “saying the wrong thing” can actually result in worse outcomes. Rather than avoiding potentially contentious conversations, we will develop stepping stones to increase awareness, mutual understanding and growth. In short, we can all benefit from diversity and inclusion. But it won’t happen by itself. We have to do our part to be the change that we want to see, by creating productive spaces for these types of conversations and learning how to effectively navigate difficult topics.
This workshop will also address communication during this time of social distancing, and navigating difficult dialogues in virtual spaces.
About the Presenter
Maureen Linker received her Ph.D. in philosophy in from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. She is currently a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan– Dearborn where she has been teaching since 1997. She has published in a variety of academic journals including The Criminal Law Quarterly, Perspectives in Multicultural Education, The Journal of Argumentation, and Social Theory and Practice. Her book, Intellectual Empathy: Critical Thinking for Social Justice was published in 2015 by University of Michigan Press. The book, in its second printing, is used in a variety of courses around the U.S. and Canada including the University of Georgia, University of Northern Illinois, Villanova, Michigan State University, and the University of Victoria. According to one reviewer, “Linker’s writing style is conversational and engaging, and her impeccable integration of scholarship with compelling, multi-layered contemporary examples and case studies makes it an excellent resource for social theorists.” (Debra Jackson –Teaching Philosophy)
In addition to research and classroom teaching, Maureen has led workshops on “Diversity Fatigue,” “Navigating Difficult Dialogues,” “ Finding Common Ground through Intellectual Empathy”, and “Managing Implicit Biases” for the American Institute of Architects, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, the American Philosophical Association’s Teaching Philosophy Consortium, the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor School of Social Work, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor Library, and the Canton Public Library.