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Does Identity Trump Facts? (reflections from Greg Ranstrom)

We are happy to share the reflective piece below from NCDD organizational member Greg Ranstrom of CivilSay, which came via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

Here’s a great example from the public health sphere about how hard it can be to arrive at shared facts: an NPR segment on vaccines and public opinion. The reporting suggests that the right information is not enough – people must reconcile self image with new information.

My own experience suggests this is right – if not a bit maddening. I am a fairly rational guy and I expect others to shift perspectives if the facts don’t add up. Trouble is – if I am really about smart action in the world – I have to figure out to keep people whole as they shift their sense of the world. Otherwise, they’ll stick to the old facts to preserve their sense of themselves.

I think the answer lies in deep respect for where people are coming from (regardless of the facts they hold to be true) and deep empathy for how they might land gracefully in a new reality.

What do you think?

We encourage you to share your reflections in the comments section below!

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