Chatterbox: conversations for change is the result of a partnership between the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance and the Behavioural Sciences discipline at Notre Dame University.

The aim of the Chatterbox project was to create a set of principles to guide more empathetic conversations between people.  We believe that a harmonious society is built on the strength of the conversations we have with each other, individually and in our communities, yet our basic human rights can often be forgotten when we engage with each other through social media or face-to-face.

We recognise that we should all be able to talk about difficult topics related to race and religion in a respectful and safe way, and have created five rules of engagement for more cohesive conversations, underpinned by the universal values of freedom, tolerance, respect and fairness.

Whilst our aim is to foster a peaceful and cohesive society free from racial and religious prejudice and discrimination, these rules can be applied to any conversation, by any one, of any age.

Before engaging in conversation, we need to acknowledge that we are all unique and entitled to have different beliefs, attitudes, and interests. We have all grown up in different ways and with different influences, but this does not mean that one way is better than another. While we can all form unconscious biases, engaging with people who are different to you and listening to diverse points of view has the potential to overcome ignorance and fear of difference.

Together we need to find common ground in our shared humanity and remember that we all deserve to be treated equally and with respect.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

VALUE DIFFERENCE

We are all entitled to our individual identity and these differences enrich society.  We have a right to be different and should be respected for this.

BE CURIOUS

Ask questions and learn more about other points of view.

ACKNOWLEDGE OTHER BELIEFS

Recognise that others have beliefs that are important to them.  Acknowledging another person’s point of view does not make yours invalid.

ENGAGE WITH EMPATHY

Humans have an amazing ability to emotionally connect to one another through sharing their lived experiences. This can create a common ground for understanding and compassion for other people’s stories.

BE CONSIDERATE

In your response focus on the issue while being considerate of the person you are engaging with.

 

Use this to talk to your children about diversity, curiosity, understanding and empathy, all the tools you need for a cohesive society on one hand.

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