Emerging Dialogues

What is Civil Discourse/Common Humanity to you?

We asked the fellows what common humanity and civil discourse means to them… here are some of their responses:

“To me civil discourse is about not stepping on people’s toes, being more reserved and polite when it comes to political conversation. Common humanity is about understanding that we are all imperfect people who often do hurt other people’s feelings and aren’t always polite. common humanity acknowledges our interconnectivity as human beings and recognizes that it can be hard to be polite when the current issues blur the lines between what’s personal and what’s political. Civil discourse implies a binary and limits how much emotion and passion people are allowed to bring into a political conversation. It doesn’t take into account how our identities inform our politics in the same way that the recognition of common humanity can.” - Alex Bell ’21

“To me, civil discourse implies reserved deliberation that is limited by Western norms of civility— it is about who is labeled as more civil or uncivil based on their identities. In turn, common humanity takes into consideration, like Alex mentioned, our differences and embraces them, making them a part of our conversation by employing the value of honesty to our conversations. It allows us to create brave spaces so that differences can be encouraged and seen as a necessity to continue our collective path to growth and acknowledge the importance of critical thinking and questioning norms that have been accepted.” - Maureen Rendon ’21