There are many confusing and painful divisions in our culture and it seems harder than ever to find ways to communicate across boundaries of race, class and other apparently uncrossable barriers.
Question Bridge is a concept I’ve developed that’s designed to see if there might be creative approaches to addressing these problems.
The idea is that if you feel safe enough to ask a deeply held question you are saying in effect “This is something I do not know about you, please help me understand”. If the question is meaningful you are much more likely to listen respectfully to a sincere attempt to answer. Questions and answers of this kind can become a bridge to transformative social reform.
Every Question Bridge begins with the creation of a “Zone of No Consequences” that makes it possible for those involved to ask difficult questions without fear of reprisal. The nature of each Zone depends on the participant’s concerns.
Below are links to two Question Bridges I set up that use the internet to allow for questions and answers between students from vastly different economic and social backgrounds. First click on the student’s introductions to see how they describe who they are to each other. Then click on the questions to read the strings of answers and responses.
Follow the discussions:
Question Bridge I, May 1997
Question Bridge II, November 1997