AllSides Sparks Movement to Fight Polarization in America, Combating Divisive Rhetoric, Personal Attacks

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New AllSides Dictionary Breeds Tolerance and Mutual Understanding

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AllSides helps us fight the divide in America that is now reaching epic levels – not just in this election, but in our communities and that sometimes erupt into riots when misunderstanding takes over.

Following the results of the 2016 presidential election, AllSides is sparking a movement to fight polarization, combating divisive rhetoric and personal attacks. To this end, AllSides is introducing the AllSides Dictionary, an online resource that combats divisive campaign rhetoric and public polarization by providing a balanced, human look at hundreds of hot-button and controversial terms from Abortion to Zionism – revealing how differently they are perceived by people with different political perspectives.

Countless studies have shown that when we hear only one point of view that we agree with, we tend to become more extreme in our own stance and more polarized against those who disagree.

A recent study at the University of Colorado not only confirms this, but also shows that the impact is far more than we realize. People are generally unaware that this is happening to them, significantly underestimating the extent to which their attitudes have become more extreme.

“In the wake of the election results just in, many people are asking what do we do now,” said John Gable, CEO of AllSides. “How do we live together if we let highly supercharged rhetoric run us? AllSides helps us fight the divide in America that is now reaching epic levels – not just in this election, but in our communities and that sometimes erupt into riots when misunderstanding takes over. What we really need to do is listen and work with each other to fight injustice.”

Words matter, but they mean different things to different people. While typical dictionaries give literal definitions, the AllSides Dictionary focuses on people and how we feel and respond to a variety of terms. When we understand how other people feel about a term or issue, we can then pursue a genuine conversation that leads to better solutions.

The alternative? The politics of division, polarized communities and even burning and looting in the streets.

“Part of what divides us is that we often don’t realize what our words mean to others, leading to huge emotional reactions that can hurt relationships among friends and families,” continued Gable. “The AllSides Dictionary works to turn that around, helping us take a closer look at different points of view and each other.”

Using the AllSides Dictionary, people can understand how different individuals, across the entire political spectrum, define and respond to terms like racism or racist, gun control, freedom of religion, climate change, abortion, refugees, capitalism and the welfare system.

People can see these and hundreds more terms at AllSides.com/dictionary. AllSidesForSchools.org provides lesson plans for discussing these terms in the classroom.

Consistent with the AllSides multi-partisan approach, the nearly 400 terms were written by a diverse group of over 30 volunteers representing a broad diversity of political, religious and cultural perspectives, from far left to far right, social and economic conservatives to progressives and socialists, devotedly religious to atheists. Many of the contributors are professional mediators and moderators – having spent thousands of hours in the trenches of intense, deep listening across disagreements in America.

“Unlike what we’ve seen in all the debates and town hall meetings leading up to the election, or in the news, working closely with such a diverse group to create these terms was productive as we checked each other’s bias, but also rewarding and fun!,” said Jacob Hess, a conservative-leaning contributor to the dictionary. “It might surprise some people, but this group of conservatives and progressives, atheists and Christians are now also good friends.”

“Every day a new word seems to be weaponized in America,” added Hess. “How are we going to come together in this country if we can’t even understand each other? We believe understanding is possible - but not without a bigger, deeper conversation about our different ways of seeing and talking about the world.”

People can also comment and participate in a new discussion platform that encourages thoughtful, respectful dialogue. Unlike most comment systems that are littered with crude and useless rants, this system powered by The World Table lets the community call out the best comments as thought provoking, genuine, kind hearted, entertaining or helpful, and even let’s them flag comments when they show abuse, personal attacks or incivility. This results in more productive, informative conversations.

“The beauty of the AllSides dictionary is the way it thoughtfully reveals differences in our use of language, giving us an opportunity to discover how we may be misunderstanding each other,” explained Joan Blades, a progressive-leaning contributor to the dictionary and co-founder of Living Room Conversations. “This increases our ability to look for shared values and understanding.”

About AllSides
AllSides is a media technology company that helps everyone see, understand and discuss multiple perspectives. The patented crowd-driven technologies provide bias ratings, news, issues, search and civil dialogs that reveal a wide variety of perspectives and build bridges between conflicting ideas and people. It services educators, media companies and direct users at AllSides.com.

Media Contact:
Andrea Corry
TopMind PR
(925) 640-5482
andrea(at)topmindpr.com

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Andrea Corry
TopMind PR
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since: 05/2012
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