In the wake of the election of the next president, we've seen two narratives becoming increasingly prominent. They stem from our emotions and the uncertainty that comes with the election of someone with relatively little capacity to provide intercultural leadership.
The first narrative is of polarization. The polarizing narrative draws lines—multiple lines in every which way—between and among people and groups. It divides. It paralyzes. It freezes. It threatens.
The second type of narrative comes from those who criticize the polarized views. These are the minimized views. Here, you might hear people say: “we shouldn’t be polarizing; we should be uniting!” Often, what this really means is that we should not focus on the differences and diversity we have among us.
The minimizing narrative ignores identities and necessary identifications, which are important parts of our lives and vital pieces of information for creating an equitable society, instead of treating everyone the same (equally).
The truth is we can't focus on one or the other. The narrative that is missing is the one that responds to the urge to simplify. This needed narrative -- an intercultural leadership narrative -- rejects the fragmentation of polarization and also the suppression of diversity under the guise of calls for unity. This needed, alternative narrative is more complex. But it's one that will allow more people to participate and hold ownership of a tough situation. For those of you who consider yourselves intercultural leaders, it requires your leadership. We have your back and hope you have ours.