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Opening Up Dialogue on Political Correctness

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Friday, April 27, 2018   

ASHLAND, Ore. – People from each side of the political fault line are coming together for the National Week of Conversation this week. Friday in Ashland, a forum is opening up the dialogue on political correctness.

The event is part of the "Finding Our Way Conference," which aims to bring southern Oregonians together for civil conversations on controversial and sometimes emotional issues.

Marla Estes is helping host the forum on political correctness. She says Ashland is known as a progressive city – but she wanted to give the "other side" a comfortable place to discuss this topic.

"There's business people and more conservative folks here in Ashland that are concerned about some of the ways that political correctness shows up,” says Estes. “So, we just want to open it up, so people feel safe yet courageous to explore this."

The event, "Finding Our Way Through Political Correctness," begins at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Trinity Episcopal Church. Estes and co-host Rob Schlapfer will also put political correctness into context and talk about some of its unintended consequences.

The two have been hosting events like this since last summer and say people have come away more willing to see things from another person's perspective. Schlapfer says the point is to have people step away from their own ideologies when thinking about an issue.

"We've found that once people are exposed a little bit to kind of the underlying ideas of 'conservatism' and the underlying ideas of 'progressivism,' that there really is a softening and there's a sense of humanizing the other, as opposed to demonizing the other," says Schlapfer.

Estes and Schlapfer note the point of these forums isn't to change anyone's mind. They hope people will become more open-minded and not feel threatened by ideas that oppose their own.


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