Netroots Nation (#NN12) Ignite talk


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Over the past year, the LightBox Collaborative has engaged in rigorous research and testing of one of the most powerful social change tools known to progressives: the simple conversation. We'll share our research finding and offer some tips on how you can leverage conversations to advance your cause with friends, family, and even perfect strangers.

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  • Contact theory The premise of Allport's theory states that under appropriate conditions interpersonal contact is one of the most effective ways to reduce prejudice between majority and minority group members.[3] If one has the opportunity to communicate with others, they are able to understand and appreciate different points of views involving their way of life. As a result of new appreciation and understanding, prejudice should diminish.[4] Issues of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are commonly occurring issues between rival groups. Allport's proposal was that properly managed contact between the groups should reduce these problems and lead to better interactions.4 criteria must be present:Equal Status, both groups taken into an equal status relationship,Common Goals, both groups work on a problem/task and share this as a common goal, sometimes called a superordinategoal,Acquaintance Potential, the opportunity of group members to get to know each other as friends, and not merely as actors playing out social roles or as representatives of their social groups; the familiarity between group members involving the task or situation at handSupport of authorities, law or customs, some authority that both groups acknowledge and define social norms that support the contact and interactions between the groups and members.Integration of the army in Wwii, LGBT, Mslims in Europe
  • Friendship is the key ingredient for change
  •  we studied LGBT community linking their lives to policy issues, eg they were out to their friends, and then taking the next step to ask their friends to take political action on their behalf. but we think the implications are broad (list of other issues)
  • The car has to be well-packed The folks going on the journey have to have some common ground They have to be willing to take risks in order to gain the rewards that friendship promises
  • Triggers/When to go •The phenomenon of the “useful gay”•Often adversity in the straight person’s life, often over a relationship, provides an opening•Culture, celebrities•Casual references to a partner, or to being gay•Humor
  • Go together: a key motivation is care for the relationship
  • The conversations you will have among friends are the route you travel together Conversations pave the path: they are effective at changing attitudes and behavior
  • Bond over tunes n snacksIt’s the little, ordinary thingsFirst, be boring Travel light: keep it personal, real, and ordinary•The conversations along the path are easier than we might have thought; don’t make them harder than they need to be•The conversation is entirely personal, not political•It’s based on shared values, common ground•Talking about rights is not necessary; in fact; it probably backfires•Signal openness and willingness to answer questions•Talk about the mundane, the everyday•A sense of humor helps
  • Remember the trip to Vegas Baby: you think it’s gonna be all bright lights and booze, but the road there is actually kinda boring and sleepy. Friendships includes the boring parts too.
  • Laziness is your friend: •The reduction in prejudice does seem to generalize to the group; it takes mental effort to rationalize positive feelings for a friend and negative feelings for their group 
  •  Make use of the scenery along the way: media and popular culture•Visibility and positive images of gay people in the media and culture are a critical part of the contact process•Gay celebrities, television characters, and campaigns (such as It Gets Better) provide conversation triggers•They also provide positive images of gay people that can be related to every day real life•Leverage the positive images and stories that are already in the culture and media
  • No shortcuts -- Attitude change is a path with no shortcuts: it takes time, and a sequence of steps
  •  The destination: It’s no big dealThe destination: Being gay is no big deal•Gay people told us the effort is worth it•Increase in personal well-being•Relationships are better than ever•The friendship is better than ever•Freeing; relief; being myself•Nothing to hide; nothing to lose; nothing to be afraid or ashamed of•The gay person has become more open with and understanding of others•The straight person has become more open minded toward everyone, not just gay people•Straight people are now defenders and advocates•Having a wider circles of friends (not “ghettoing out”); being welcomed•Straight people are more relaxed around the gay person•Now it’s no big dealIt’s about the friendship, stupid: A key motivation is care for the relationship•Gay people in our study are motivated to have conversations with straight friends and family by: personal well-being, care for the relationship, and care for their straight friend•Gay people in our study are also motivated by getting to a place where being gay is no big deal, and they don’t have to have these conversations any more•Gay people are unwilling to risk their relationships with straight people to gain individual rights and benefits•Gay people are no more motivated than straight people are by language about rightsThree related motivations:•Personal well-being: authenticity, living an honest, authentic life•Concern for the relationship•Concern for the straight person Gay people expressed a belief that not talking about sexual orientation eventually does more harm to the relationship than being open.•Did NOT find that achieving rights and justice were strong motivators •Did NOT find affiliation with the LGBT community to be motivating•Strong resistance to “activism”•Possible exception: concern for supporting young people  
  • Netroots Nation (#NN12) Ignite talk

    1. 1. Holding good ideas up to the light @hollyminch of @LBCollab
    4. 4. “The contact situation must provide the participants with the opportunity to become friends.”
    5. 5. What we learned:Changing someone’s mind is like a road trip
    6. 6. The car must be well-packed
    7. 7. Choose the best time to go
    8. 8. Go together
    9. 9. Your conversations are the route you are traveling together
    10. 10. Bond over tunes & snacks
    11. 11. Laziness is your friend
    12. 12. Make use of the scenery along the way
    13. 13. There are no short cuts
    14. 14. My challenge to you:Go make a friend who is different, and you’ll change the world.
    15. 15. Holding good ideas up to the light @hollyminch of @LBCollab