“Honoring Dignity & Leading in Polarization” with David Brubaker’’

In this classic Fractal Friends episode re-release, Duncan speaks with David Brubaker about the depth of polarization. They discuss the importance of honoring each others’ (and our own) dignity, even when we don’t agree with each other. Empathy is a valuable tool we can use to understand other perspectives and ask questions that produce profound answers. David and Duncan delve deep into how trauma impacts polarization, including our epigenetics. That’s why it’s so important to know how to deal with trauma appropriately and recognize its wider effect on all of us. David explains how people choose their side regardless of how much sense the other side makes. He tells an anecdote about Israel and Palestine where one side shunned their own idea because they thought it came from the other. Polarization is real and dangerous, and it’s up to us to understand and fix the rift it creates.

David Brubaker

David Brubaker is a Dean at the School of Social Sciences and Professions at Eastern Mennonite University. He’s also a Professor of Sociology, and the author of several publications, including a book called When the Center Does Not Hold: Leading in an Age of Polarization. David has consulted or trained with over 100 organizations worldwide. He’s served with several community development and conflict transformation organizations for over four decades.



Cooperative By Design is a consortium of peacebuilding practitioners, each committed to creating a more just and peaceful world by enabling healthier families, societies, organizations, communities and natural world.

The Congregational Consulting Group is a network of independent consultants. They publish weekly thoughts on topics of interest to leaders of congregations and other purpose-driven organizations.

Episode Highlights

  • Learn the definition of polarization and the different levels of conflict.

  • Discover the importance of honoring each other’s dignity, even when we don’t agree.

  • Learn about the history of Mennonites and their involvement in conflict resolution.

  • David explains how polarized people choose their side, regardless of the logic presented by the other side.

  • Duncan and David discuss the history that’s led to polarization.

  • Uncover why avoiding conflict isn’t the answer.

  • Learn why trauma makes polarization worse and why it’s important to understand how to deal with it.

  • David explains why Confederate statues were built in the South.

  • Understand why epigenetics might cause people of color to run from the police.

Watch the video below


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Other Omni-Win Resources




Here are some podcast episodes from Fractal Friends related to the conversation in today’s episode:
Race & History
Politics and Polarization

Related pOdcast

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Duncan Note

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