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The Black Bell Curve and Confirmation Bias on Race and Justice

In this episode of As In Heaven, Jim Davis and guest host Skyler Flowers welcome Darryl Williamson to continue the conversation on race and justice.

Williamson addresses the wide spectrum of opinions on the race issue and our tendency to try to find voices that agree with our preconceived notions. He claims the antidote is a posture of empathetic listening, which he unpacks with examples from his own life in a pastoral and charitable way.

The group discusses:

  • Introduction and background for Darryl (1:25)
  • Understanding the Black experience in America (4:02)
  • Societal institutions and the Black experience (10:39)
  • No monolithic Black perspective or experience (15:24)
  • The bell curve of Black opinion on race and justice (21:55)
  • Processing a spectrum of voices, including social media (24:35)
  • Loving interaction with the full spectrum of opinions (30:14)
  • Encouragement for those on the extremes of the spectrum (35:00)
  • Understanding confirmation bias (41:55)
  • Practicing gospel listening (47:30)


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. On the topic of race, which voices do you most frequently listen to? Where do you listen to them and why?
  2. In light of the discussion on a Black bell curve, which side of the curve would you place the voices you most frequently listen to? For those Black voices whom you disagree with, how do you come to find out about their perspectives?
  3. What should our posture be when engaging with different voices on this topic, especially those who disagree with us? What postures are unhelpful? 
  4. Do you think it is important to engage with voices across the spectrum? What are ways to do this?
  5. How should our conversations differ from the world? How should this affect the world around us?
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