Editor’s note: Office Hours with MHP will be a regular Friday feature of the MHP Blog.
On Monday, I visited Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver a lecture for Black History Month. While there, I was excited to learn about Clark’s popular courses known as Difficult Dialogues.
Students in the Difficult Dialogues program have explored issues like power, agency, climate change, race and ethnicity, religious tolerance and slowing in a wired world.
What kind of people sign up for something called Difficult Dialogues? The kind who know that the hardest classes are always the best ones! I consider it a great compliment to learn there are campus rumors that I am a “tough professor.”
This is the spirit I hope to bring to “Melissa Harris-Perry” every week. The staff here at “MHP” is dedicated to pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones. We will have discussions across the partisan aisle and ideological divide. We will quiet the noise of the echo chambers so that we can hear the many different voices that are bouncing around in there. We plan to cross lines of race, gender, generation and belief in order to push ourselves to new understandings. We will ask people to leave the talking points at home so that we can really talk to each other – even if it is hard to do. I’m hoping that we can actually bring you some stories that may not have dominated the news cycle and others you’ve been hearing about all week – but not like this.
Witnessing Clark students having difficult dialogues was a reminder of what is possible we embrace the complicated and surprising process of listening to each other even when we disagree. Common wisdom says political television should consist of easy sound bites and explosive crossfire battles. I believe television viewers are willing to engage in difficult dialogues that take a little time, require a little patience, and lead to some unexpected places. I sure hope I’m right!
See you on the air tomorrow!