What unites us? How do we overcome our divisions and differences? Can we discover ways to bridge the chasms that separate us? What tools can we turn to?
Amid the turmoil of 2020’s U.S. elections, we launched a project devoted to exploring these questions. We called it “We Are Not Divided” — a cheeky name, but cheeky with a purpose. We wanted to encourage readers to rethink and reexamine their assumptions about how divided we really need to be.
We recently decided now is an opportune time to revisit those stories.
With predictions of everything from political violence to civil war — along with just as many “counterpoints” arguing that hyping those threats only makes them worse — it’s clear that fresh fears are circulating about American instability. So, over the past couple of months, we’ve republished stories from We Are Not Divided that address those fears. See previous editions here and here. We select articles that feel relevant to the moment, and each month’s roundup has a loose theme. This month’s theme is system change. How do massive systems of division get overhauled? Can change really penetrate the systems that keep us apart? Read on and decide for yourself.
Botswana’s Radical Experiment in National Unity
When you’ve seen cultural division tear countries around you apart, the stakes are high to find better way. One African country did just that, with a system so committed to building national cohesion, the government forcibly moves people around the country to make sure they find humanity in the “other.” Is it extreme? Maybe. Does it work? Find out for yourself.
You Cannot Use Force to Change Minds
Meanwhile in Kenya, all-star human rights activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete is making the impossible into reality. When she stood up to the patriarchal elders in her Maasai community to end a brutal ritual, what she found in their conversations surprised her. Now, a collective revolution is saving thousands of lives… and retaining what matters most to the culture she holds dear.
Taiwan’s Crowdsourced Democracy Shows Us How To Fix Social Media
If there is one system we can all agree is broken, it is the ultimate culprit of modern human division: the internet. But a group of hackers in Taiwan might have the key to a solution. Learn about the virtual platform helping people — and the Taiwanese government — find something increasingly rare to discover online: the things that people agree on.
Looking for more stories about bridging divides? See the whole project here.