Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted—twice—for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using: our own built-in curiosity. Partisanship is up, trust is down, and our social media feeds make us sure we’re right and everyone else is ignorant (or worse). But avoiding one another is hurting our relationships and our society. In I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times (BenBella Books, 2022), Mónica takes us to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people.
Drawing from cross-partisan conversations she’s had, organized, or witnessed everywhere from the echo chambers on social media to the wheat fields in Oregon to raw, unfiltered fights with her own family on election night, Mónica shows how you can put your natural sense of wonder to work for you immediately, finding the answers you need by talking with people—rather than about them—and asking the questions you want, curiously.
This podcast episode is a recording of a live event co-hosted by Gather, an initiative of the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon that focuses on community-centered journalism.
Jenna Spinelle is a journalism instructor at Penn State's Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. She's also the communications specialist for the university's McCourtney Institute for Democracy, where she hosts and produces the Democracy Works podcast.