3 Ways to Engage in the Story

The world is endlessly complex and gloriously diverse, but sometimes the differences that divide us can be hard to step beyond. And yet, it’s worth it to expand our own tiny corner of the world by reaching outside and empathizing with people from other corners. Here are some options to try:

1. Go shopping

Next time you’ve got birthday presents to choose, groceries to buy, or even just time to kill, skip the superstores and seek out a culturally diverse shopping center, then strike up a conversation during your trip.

If you live in Minnesota, stop by the Hmong marketplace in St. Paul or the Somali market in Minneapolis. If you live elsewhere, let Google by your guide.

2. Get involved in multicultural art

If you live near the Twin Cities, consider checking out the 9th Annual Cuban Film Festival at St. Anthony Theatre on Main, or locate a venue near you. If you don’t want to physically make the trip, browse foreign language films on your favorite streaming service.

You could also visit a museum or cultural center featuring multicultural art and history. In Minnesota, the Minneapolis Institute of Art features exhibitions from a myriad of international sources, while institutions like the Hmong Cultural Center and the American Swedish Institute are more specific.

If you’re up for something a little more active, you can join a diverse community at the vibrant May Day Parade, or even join in the festivities yourself.

3. Enter a conversation online

Seek out forums, articles, and other online spaces where people share their experiences of life and culture and community. Share your own story, ask questions, and listen on purpose.

But beware: social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have mechanisms basing the content they show us next on what we’ve looked at previously. This is good for marketing, but bad for our perspectives, resulting in an echo chamber effect where we only see what we want to see. Subvert this by seeking out content from people of different backgrounds and viewpoints you don’t necessarily share, and listen to what they have to say.

 

 

 

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