From: Marcella Peralta Simon:
I, like many others, am relieved at the result of the recent presidential election in the United States. I am also concerned at the degree of support for Donald Trump including a slight increase in support from white women and slight but growing support from African Americans and Latinos. After the degree of incompetence, cruelty, and corruption we have experienced in the last few years, more people voted for him in 2020 than in 2016!
We interculturalists know that the United States is probably the most individualist society on earth. I am aware there is great variance in that label within our diverse population. Nevertheless, when I look at what Donald Trump represents, it is unfettered, unapologetic narcissism, a malignant individualism that asserts anything goes including cheating on taxes, on spouses, on elections, as long as "you" are the winner. Of course, fear and resentment of the "other" plays into this scenario for racism and nativism. If "their" children can assimilate and succeed what does that mean for the privilege it took so long to gain?
I ask the question what can we as interculturalists do to help heal ever more extreme divides in US culture? I attended some excellent seminars where the answer seemed to be "listen to and respect" other opinions. I live in a retirement community where occasionally people do come up to me and voice opinions coming straight from Fox News. They assume anybody with a white face would agree with them. These are people with college degrees, well off people. Inevitably I realize listening and respecting is very difficult when their sense of reality is distorted by an endless stream of misinformation.
As a teacher, when I heard opinions that were contrary to my message, I would ask more questions, go deeper into the mindset that produced that opinion. I also enlisted the help of others to dispel or diffuse when necessary. I have no official role now but I do have the desire to help understand and heal.
I realize this is not an easy question and there are no easy answers but I would like to hear the perspectives of fellow interculturalists.