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Racial and Ethnic Tensions (NIF Report)

This is a report about National Issues Forums where citizens deliberated about the issue of what to do about racial and ethnic tensions. The forums involved nearly 2,000 people in 40 states around the country using the NIF issue book, Racial and Ethnic Tensions, prepared in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation. Analysis of what happened in those forums was conducted by Doble Research Associates, a public interest consulting firm, and is presented in this report. Find more details & order info on the NIF website. From the report…

2. What mattered to people as they deliberated?

As they deliberated, participants wanted: a. A diverse mainstream. Participants agreed that it is time to move away from what they saw as an outdated, static concept of “a melting pot,” instead, they favored bringing everyone together into a “diverse mainstream” in which all ethnicities and colors are woven together to create a rich, vital, dynamic tapestry. It is essential, they said, to celebrate the contributions that different cultures make and have made to American life. b. English as our official language, but for practical reasons. To become fully functioning members of society, participants said immigrants must learn English as soon as possible. However, participants also said that being able to speak English is necessary for pragmatic, not ideological reasons, noting that being able to communicate is required to find a good job in this country. c. To create equal opportunity. Participants said that racial and ethnic tensions are rooted in unequal access to political, social, and economic opportunities. To reduce tensions, they said, everyone must have the same chance to attain success.

More about National Issues Forums and their Reports on the Issues…

The National Issues Forums (NIF) network includes civic, educational, and other organizations, and individuals, whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America. NIF issue guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. Look through all the NIF issue guides and their corresponding moderator guides, DVDs, and other resources at www.nifi.org/issue_books.

Reports are published periodically to communicate the outcomes of forums held across the nation about a particular issue. Making use of participants’ answers to forum questionnaires, reports from moderators, and in-depth studies of selected forums, these reports describe in some detail what happened as people deliberated about the issue at hand. View all NIF Reports on the Issues at www.nifi.org/reports/issues.aspx.

NIF issue books & associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/discussion_guides/index.aspx.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/reports/detail_issues.aspx?catID=17&itemID=278

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