Giving Compass' Take:
- Derrick Feldmann explains that most Americans fall "somewhere in the middle" on many social issues, and argues that organizations striving to change opinions must to a better job of meeting individuals where they're at.
- How can you work to bridge divides and find common ground for social progress?
- Read about why we must prioritize bridging our divides.
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When you perform qualitative interviews with the general public, you realize two things very quickly: The world is not black and white, and people for the most part are torn on where they stand.
In the past year alone, I’ve participated in at least twenty-five research projects in which we were tasked with understanding the mindset of the American public as it relates to a specific social issue. We found ourselves engaging with rural, urban, and suburban individuals who often strike an interesting balance on issues — between what they grew up with, learned, or even experienced in their earlier lives, and the complexity of today’s issues in a world where technology, connection, and relationships are being created and built at varying levels.
This means that many individuals are neither “pro” nor “anti” about most things. They often reflect a spectrum of support as they work through their personal decisions about whether to support, oppose, or even take no stance on an issue.
But what about the individuals who say in research interviews, “I understand and hate that this is happening, but how do I address it?” “How do we deal with the livelihoods of those that either agree or disagree?”
This is the real struggle of the American public: how to deal with issues in a way that’s not black or white, all or nothing, even though that’s how society often presents them.
What if, instead, we were to create a more moderate entry for those in the middle — those who are just starting out on their own journey toward an anti or pro position to learn and grow?
Read the full article about diverse perspectives by Derek Feldmann at Philanthropy News Digest .