Stop ignoring the elephant in the room with this guide to engaging in real conversations about divisive issues.
When a conversation takes a turn into the sometimes uncomfortable and often contentious topics of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and politics, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to respond to someone you disagree with. Embracing the Elephant empowers us to transform these conversations into opportunities to bridge divides and mend relationships by providing the basic set of skills we need to be successful, including listening, reframing, and dealing with strong emotions. Addressing the long history of injury and pain for marginalized groups, the authors explore topics like intersectionality, power dynamics, and white fragility, allowing us to be more mindful in our conversations. Each chapter contains practices and conversation starters to help everyone feel more prepared to talk through polarizing issues, ultimately encouraging us to take risks, to understand and recognize our deep commonalities, to be willing to make mistakes, and to become more intimate with expressing our truths, as well as listening to those of others.
DIANE MUSHO HAMILTON is a Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage. An award-winning mediator, she is the cofounder of Two Arrows Zen, a practice in Utah, and cofounder and lead trainer at Ten Directions, which runs programs on Integral leadership and coaching. She is the author of Everything Is Workable and The Zen of You and Me.
GABRIEL WILSON is a consultant and facilitator who specializes in working with difficult issues, diverse perspectives, and across generational boundaries. He is a lecturer at Stanford University, chair of the Integral Diversity Initiative, and diversity and inclusion coach and consultant at Ten Directions.
KIMBERLY LOH is a practice-focused peace researcher teaching conflict resolution at Columbia University and working on peacebuilding policy with the Quaker United Nations Office. She has supported the work of many groups, including the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mediators Beyond Borders.