Strangers in Their Own Land: Challenges Climbing the Empathy Wall

(upbeat instrumental music) – Good afternoon to everyone My name is Dylan Riley and I’m a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology here at Berkeley and a member of the Bernard Moses Lectureship committee We are of course enormously pleased and excited to present Arlie Hochschild, this year’s speaker at the Bernard Moses Memorial Lecture series this afternoon and before presenting Professor Hochschild I’m just gonna describe a little bit about what this lecture series is about It’s part of the obligation of the quest But he’s a very interesting person so In 1937 a University of California president Robert Gordon Sproul, Sproul Plaza, and the UC Board of Regents established the Bernard Moses Memorial Lectureship in the Social Sciences The Lectureship honors the memory of Bernard Moses who was a professor of history and political science at Berkeley He was a kind of universal intellectual He wrote books ranging from studies of constitutionalism in Latin America to Swiss democracy to the rise of the German empire in the late 19th Century and he was a professor at the University from 1875 to 1911 and then Emeritus from 1911 until 1930 when he died Under worldwide reputation for his various contributions and really in a way for establishing the tradition of comparative politics at Berkeley The lecture series has featured in the recent past such eminent speakers as Herma Hill Kay, Nicholas Riasanovsky, George Lakoff, Kenneth Stampp, Carolyn Merchant, Jean Lave, Emmanuel Saez, Mary Ann Mason and Sociology’s very own Ann Swidler But now I’d like to turn to our speaker for this afternoon, Professor Arlie Hochschild Professor Hochschild is a distinguished, really eminent American sociologist Her most recent work that she’s gonna be speaking about today explores the experiences, beliefs, and deep story of the American right, obviously a very timely matter and this is encapsulated in her book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right This text was based on five years of research in Louisiana’s oil and petrochemical belt So if you go out into the delta of the Mississippi River this is where these things are located where she interviewed Tea Party enthusiasts The book was a New York Times’ best-seller and it was a finalist as well for the National Book Award This latest book sort of culminates an incredibly impressive career with such great titles as The Time Bind, The Second Shift, The Managed Heart, So How’s the Family and Other Essays, The Outsource Itself, and Global Women Her publications has been translated into 16 languages and she has contributed to efforts in global feminist community programs and she has also written a children’s story entitled Colleen the Question Girl I’d like to just say a couple of words about Professor Hochschild as a sociologist before turning the floor over to her I would say that really kind of as a group sociologists are generally characterized by two traits One is that they’re terrible writers and the other is that they have a kind of a penchant for inventing totally unnecessary terminology to describe the obvious What I think is really admirable about Professor Hochschild’s work is it’s complete break with both of these traditions in the discipline As anyone who’s looked at this most recent book or any of her work knows she’s a great prose writer

Very rare in our discipline And second, the concepts that she brings to bear on her analyses, emotional labor, second shift, deep story, not only encapsulate and reveal underlying elements of social reality that we wouldn’t have seen before, they are often in fact reincorporated into our social imagination in a way that’s really only comparable to the great sociologist Robert Merton with his concept such as self-fulfilling prophesy and so on So really an unusual scholar and a truly great sociologist and it’s really my pleasure to welcome Professor Arlie Hochschild to the Moses Lecture series this afternoon (audience applauding) – Thank you Well what a great pleasure to be here You know actually I House was the very first building I stepped into almost trembling as a first year graduate student here at Berkeley and I stayed here for my first month I actually even have a small box that says I House on it which contained all my worldly possessions So here I am again So what I thought I’d try and do today is first take you with me on a journey that I’ve returned from, tell you the question I went in with, but the findings I came out with and then share with you some of the responses I’ve had to The Second Shift and then deal with kind of one of the fundamental questions that I think the book raises of the efficacy, the wisdom, the capacity to reach over the growing partisan divide in this country today Can we do it? Is it worth doing? What happens and what would be the result of that? So let me begin by saying that I started in 2011 realizing that I, Berkeley, now my home all these years, I was living in a political and moral bubble It was a geographic bubble You know from this book The Big Sort that when people move it’s increasingly not for better, cheaper housing and better jobs but for compatibility, cultural and political And I also found myself in a media bubble I read The New York Times religiously and an electronic bubble the way all of us are our computers give us back to ourselves as you know algorithmically and I didn’t know anyone that would be suspicious say of a word like international here, International House, or would think that Berkeley and things public, public universities and parks were suspect and that even the government itself was more a problem than solution I didn’t know anyone like that and turned out I wasn’t alone A recent Pew study showed that nearly half, 47% of people who planned to vote for Hillary Clinton didn’t have any close friends who were Trump supporters and same number say that if a friend supported Trump it would put a strain on their friendship So in fact democrats turn out to be substantially less able to countenance friends who support the quote wrong candidates Just 13% of republicans say a friend’s support of Hillary Clinton would strain their relationship So many reasons for that imbalance

but I was in some strange way kind of relieved okay I wasn’t the only one So I decided you know what? I’m gonna try and find a bubble that’s as far right as the sociology department at Berkeley, California in the blue state of California is left I thought well where would that be? That would be in the south where we know the right has risen the fastest and strongest But where in the south? Well how about the super south? And I discovered that 2012 looking at the proportion of whites who voted for Barack Obama in the whole region of the south, 13 states, it was a third but in Louisiana it was 14% So I thought perfect, okay, let’s go there And let’s within Louisiana there is a region where the petrochemical industry is concentrated and as luck would have it I had one contact who was through a former graduate student of mine in sociology His mother-in-law lived in a town called Lake Charles so I started there not thinking that this would be more than a taster of just seeing what it felt like, wasn’t sure it was a book yet And I brought with me The Paradox How many have read the book? Cause I don’t wanna repeat too much Okay, alright Good I asked The Paradox was the red state paradox that how could it be that the poorest states, the states with the worst schools and hospitals, the most road accidents, the lowest life expectancy, worst health, most pollution, are also the states that receive more money from the federal government in aid than they give to it in tax dollars and revile the federal government? That was the red state paradox and Louisiana was an exaggerated version of that Second poorest state, 44% of its state budget came from the federal government and super tea party very right wing and in the end extremely enthusiastic about Donald Trump I also discovered that as I kind of sniffed the air around Lake Charles and went over the I-10 bridge to West Lake, this is in southwest Louisiana and petrochemical plants all around my eyes would begin to sting and the sky was like it is today and there was people all had bottled water So I thought wait a minute Something is talking to me Maybe the environment is what I should look at, this pollution, because people in Louisiana that I came to know were adamantly against regulating any kind of industry including the polluters So they were living in one of the most polluted spots in the entire world and they’re opposed to pollution I thought this is my keyhole issue Let me just look at that and get to know people Well five years later, 50 interviews later, over 4,000 pages of transcript later, I came to realize that the question I had come with was my question People would respond to it by saying yeah, yeah, we know about the red state paradox It’s an embarrassment to us They knew about it They lived with it But they set it aside Knowledgeable about it, so it wasn’t a question of not knowing It was a question of its not being the main point So I thought well if that’s one thing I learned The low importance attributed to this question But as I got to know people I began to realize that values, the way values expressed themselves,

the way values value is by making a story feel true and the way circumstances really imprint themselves is again the way it makes people believe a story to be true So I made up a story that I thought fit everything I was hearing over that period of time And what is a deep story? Deep story is a story that feels true It’s described by the objective correlative of feelings that is it’s what all the details you believe to be true that account for why you feel what you feel You feel mourning You feel lost You feel envy You feel anger And those are told in the story which to refresh you goes like this and by the way all of us have underneath our political beliefs a deep story You’re waiting in line and your feel are pointed toward the top of a hill as in a dream tells itself by metaphor and you see at the top the American dream and you don’t see anything behind it that’s causing changes in it You just see the distance between you and it You’re not looking behind you in line either and the line hasn’t moved People hadn’t had a raise in two decades and they were tired They were in their fifties and sixties This was it Life was narrowing down And then they notice someone cutting ahead Well who’s that? Well that would be blacks finally through federally mandated affirmative action plans given access to jobs that have historically been reserved for whites and even worse, women who now through federally mandated affirmative action are finally given jobs that have historically been reserved for men I’m an example So these line cutters and then we would have undocumented workers and even for them the oil-soaked brown pelican, Louisiana’s state bird, seems to be cutting in line People told me time and time again Oh those liberal environmentalists put animals ahead of people Animists And then another moment of the right wing deep story looks like Barack Obama who should be the impartial supervisor of this line, this country, seems to be waving to the line cutter Oh he’s their president He doesn’t see us In fact isn’t he a line cutter? And here was a little paranoid streak that would kick in Oh, how did his mother, poor woman, not a woman of, not wealthy, afford a Harvard education? A Columbia education? Something fishy Something rigged Would come after that observation No such thing as scholarships for brilliant students So it’s rigged So another moment of the right wing deep story someone from the coast, maybe from Berkeley, maybe a woman, would get up and was way ahead in line and turn back and say oh, you to the person waiting in line who’s been there forever, you homophobic, racist, sexist, fat redneck and that was the word, redneck, that you could almost see it was a tipping point term of I’ve been dissociated I have been non-personed I am a stranger in my own land I’ve worked this hard, working hard and so on, serving the American dream

Redneck kind of cast them adrift and of course the environment wasn’t theirs They didn’t feel like the culture was theirs They didn’t feel like religion, they were highly religious and they felt growth of secularism and as whites they saw the country changing its complexion and they felt that even the bayou they looked out on they couldn’t swim in, they couldn’t eat the fish from It wasn’t theirs either So there was a moment of estrangement and strangerness and actually a later study, a survey found that those who answered yes in a poll that they felt like strangers in their own country, this was Atlantic, a study, were three and a half times more likely to vote for Donald Trump and I felt that the end of my odyssey Donald Trump was coming for the first time to a primary rally in New Orleans and he hadn’t won the primary He was just coming But in Louisiana this was the next day and seeing the crowd, seeing the excitement and here he comes down from the sky in the Donald Trump plane, you know almost like descended from heaven right? And he was the emotions candidate Look how emotional we are We’re not the silent majority We’re the noisy majority And he promised in essence he hit the theme of loss They did feel they had lost something He hit that and he hit the theme of blame, who to blame for the loss That would be the line cutters And he hit the theme of uplift and rescue Great again Was almost I came to feel like a secular rapture Well I’m gonna take you up to heaven with me And in fact if you look at some of the pictures of the top floor of Trump Tower it looked very much like people’s description of heaven Everything was gold (audience laughing) So I concluded, came home scratching my head and saying look I started with this red state paradox but really I’m going home with a blue state paradox How could it be that the democratic party, the party of the working man and the working women, did not speak to them I didn’t see any glimmer in their eye with regard to Hillary’s candidacy How could this be? Some of them, by the way, had nice things to say about Bernie Sanders Extremely right wing tea party people would say oh Uncle Bernie Uncle Bernie Well he’s a socialist We’re a capitalist country and he’s promising pie in the sky but friendly feeling He means well So I came home with the blue state paradox Now what I’d like to share with you today is what some of the responses to the book have been I’ve been on another odyssey with regard to that I went home and when the book came out the next week I sent out copies of it to the people that I’d written about who had helped me and I went back to Louisiana put a dinner on for them, another one for the people I dedicated the book to and one of the characters, Janice Serrino if you’ve read, she was the company loyalist and very tough and she came to the dinner with a jacket and she came up to me and said you wanna see what I have on under my jacket?

Yeah So she pulled it open and it said adorable deplorables I’m gonna send you one of these (audience laughing) But you have to wear it No promises So they liked the description of themselves In fact this Janice would say Arlie you have a swear word in my chapter Your chapter? She felt proprietary about her chapter Well I did have a swear word there but it was quoting Sher Bono who has a transgender child and who was complaining about the F tea party So I had that in there in order to account for Janice Serino, my respondent’s hatred of Hollywood but that was, nevermind, she didn’t want the swear word in her chapter Did they read appendix C which had all the facts that were taken out of the deep story? No I began receiving letters on my email from people across the country and they give you, let me share one with you here This is from a young man, 23 He began I live 15 miles outside a small one stoplight town of 2,500 in rural Virginia I’ve lived here in Gretna for all 23 years of my life save for the four years I spent at the University of Virginia Half a mile deep in the woods behind my house is an abandoned grave of a 19 year old Confederate private I found it one day when I was hunting I was 19 myself at the time and standing there with a rifle in my hand I had to reckon with that What was really the difference between me and him in that very moment except for the time in which fate placed us? Fields that were once full of tobacco now go unplanted Old plantation homes lie in despair The furniture plant where my grandfather worked has closed down The textile mill where by grandmother worked has been bulldozed down The jobs outsourced overseas At the end he thanks me for listening and then wonders if he should come to the sociology department at Berkeley (audience laughing) An older woman writes I’m writing from our farm house in Fairview, Kansas I was sewing this afternoon and listening to a Canadian podcast from 2016 and a grace video in which you discuss the state of people across America You know the number of dairies around here has dropped dramatically over the years The larger dairies employ a couple of high school boys to work morning and evenings The boys go to work at three a.m And after work they stop at Casey’s for biscuits and gravy and bring with them to school to eat before the tardy bell rings at eight She goes on Thanks me for listening And wants to set up a high school exchange program A middle-aged woman writes I’m from northeastern Kentucky Appalachia is the sister area to Louisiana I came to Christ in the Methodist church as a child and during the charismatic renewal in the 1960s my mother started going to a Pentecostal church My walk with God is personal every day and outside of the physical church My problem as a Christian is this I find myself on the outside of the Christian church because of the politics that consumes it Thanks for listening One more As a female Indian Muslim, another young woman writes, living in a conservative part of America, I often felt disliked and discriminated against which led to my hatred of many of those in my community

Reading your book has changed my perspective and made it easier to share my beliefs to help create understanding and feel more understanding towards those I once disregarded One more I hail from Lake Charles, Louisiana My brother works at the company formerly known as Pittsburgh Plate Glass, central to many of my stories, and lives under the chlorine cloud in the shadow cast by the cranes building Sessel in West Lake I was surrounded by the milieu you capture so well It’s been hard to read your book, very hard to read your book, but I thank you for it Now I’ve been very moved by these responses and it’s raised for me a question about reaching out to heal this partisan divide or as I describe in the book climb an empathy wall across this partisan divide Now there are people who say you know what? That’s a fool’s errand There was a review of this book It was respectful but really took a different line by Frank Rich in New York Magazine this last spring in which he said you know what? Don’t waste your empathy We need anger and it’s a waste of time to talk to any of these people and someone I very much respect normally and Katha Pollitt again in The Nation takes a very respectful but she said really hold on to your anger Don’t waste any breath And that got me to the place where I am just speaking personally to that very question of the efficacy of reaching across this growing divide The way I see it at this frightening political moment is that we have three possible pillars of activism First one is to address our attention, all our action, toward the defense of the principle of checks and balances Independent press, a revered and independent judiciary, so that no president would put himself above the law This I think is number one and you don’t need to talk to anyone who disagrees with you to pursue pillar one Pillar two for me would be to turn to the democratic platform which does not speak to the people I came to know and those like them and to engage in electoral politics And again, you wouldn’t need to talk to anyone you disagree with to engage pillar two And then there’s pillar three and you can say well look, I don’t wanna talk to the hard core neo-Nazis we saw in Charles’ film and I’m with you in that But if we think about what by some estimates are eight and a half million people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then switched to Donald Trump in 2016 we do wanna talk to some of them Or if you look at the, by some estimates, one out of three, other estimates one out of four high school educated blue collar whites who would have voted for Bernie Sanders if he had been the Democratic candidate but instead voted for someone else, majority for Trump, would they be of interest? And once you selected who it is you thought it would be interesting to climb the empathy wall with how would you do it?

And why would you do it? My thought is that these three pillars need to be coordinated with each other if you really want to revamp a platform you better know what the response to it would be and if you want to defend really the whole principle of checks and balances that underlies our democracy you better know how people see it and how they feel about it so that these should be coordinated and like in the British sort of loyal opposition kind of coordinated and acting in unison So you don’t have to talk to people you disagree with You don’t need to climb that empathy wall But what you do need to do I believe is see the reason for doing it and the reason for doing it I think is two fold One is moral I felt again in the mail I’m getting a lot of moral sort of wish to heal this divide Another quote a woman wrote that she was part of an Episcopal church in Massachusetts and she wanted to get in touch with the congregation in Lake Charles and did I know of a parishioner that she could contact? Well as luck had it, I did Called my Louisiana friend up and they are now in touch And so if you got together with someone how would you do it and in what way would you do it? Would you just get there and say here’s what I believe I think is true and you’ve got a deep story and it’s not true (audience laughing) Or would you say different as we are, maybe there are strips of common ground on particular issues and those issues could be getting money out of politics They could be reducing prison populations They could be alternative energy to something called the green tea party Did you know that? They’re tea party people for alternative energy Check it out Deborah Dooley now in Florida So strips of common ground so I’m not envisioning one kind of right wing moderate getting together with one kind of left wing moderate morphing That’s one model for talking But there’s also possibility when you completely disagree on basic principles but yet the discourse of respect and empathic basis I went back to one man, this one who was very enthusiastic tea party He was born on a sugar plantation in the old south He worked in oil all his adult life and he was big tea party and Trump Name was Mike and last time I went back I was with my son who was a big environmentalist I was trying to see if they could come to common ground on ending pollution and my son asked him well Mike, do you have any hesitations about Donald Trump? And if you looked at Mike’s Facebook it was just all flags and Trump But he answered in a spirit of openness where do I begin? So a lot is in the very spirit you establish of mutual respect across deep differences The other is what I think of as simple stretching I just did an op-ed for The Washington Post on this What is a symbol stretch? It’s when you notice what the symbols are of the person you’re talking to and you nod to that symbol but you stretch it to something they’re not thinking about I followed around an extraordinary man named General Russel Honore who is a three star general and was the rescuer of the victims

of Katrina in New Orleans He’s now an ardent environmentalist and he goes around talking to people who don’t agree with him on the environment I was there watching him when he was talking to some very conservative businessmen in Lake Charles And their talk was all about freedom The freedom to start your own business The freedom to get as rich as you want The freedom from big heavy government regulations Freedom And so this general got up and he said I woke up this morning and I looked out at Lake Charles and I saw a man in a boat and he had his fishing line out and he had his bucket ready But that man is not free to lift out an uncontaminated fish I thought you genius You just stretched the symbol of freedom over to something they hadn’t thought about And I followed him around wherever he went See how he stretched symbols So their way is kind of the skills of the mediator that we can use There is actually for all of the focus on a growing partisan divide and increasing bitterness and brittleness consolidation of each pole under an extremely divisive leadership shall we say a grass roots movement of bridging and if you were to Google tonight something called the Bridge Alliance you would find some 70 or 80 different small organizations with funny names like hi from the other side or living room conversations which was started by Joan Blades, the co-founder of here in Berkeley She’s a labor mediator by training that bring left and right to see if they can find common ground on particular issues There is a Bridge Berkeley and one of the young men in it by the name of John Rider, John, no has tried to get left and right together on climate change and actually he and I were emailing and I was in Baton Rouge He said oh, what are you doing in Baton Rouge? I said well I’m giving a talk He says I’m in Dallas Well what are you doing in Dallas? He was getting left and right together to see if there could be common ground on that So it made me proud that he was Berkeley and that he was part of Berkeley Bridge Movement and that he was trying for putting pillar three in its larger perspective but trying to be active in it I think at its best you see Berkeley hatches students like John and a place like International House which is out looking, out reaching to people in other countries that that very spirit Berkeley could be a leader in extending to the strangers among us within this home country Thank you (audience applauding) – Okay so we have about 10 minutes to have questions and I would just urge you to try to formulate your question concisely and to make sure that it’s an actual question (audience laughing) The mic is down front in the center

– That was a great talk, thanks A lot of thought-provoking things there I’ve been an activist for some 30 years I lived in this house at one point I guess you were addressing mostly federal issues We could talk about many things We live in the sixth largest economy here in this day – We live in a what? Sorry – The sixth largest economy in the state so when the California legislature makes decisions it can really affect the country and the world in many ways So my recommendation to people is to learn their assembly person and their state senator and make calls and what do you say to that? Is there a lot of room to affect change through at the state level we were established as a federal system People have forgotten that and we often are only looking at the national government But isn’t there a lot to be done at state levels? – There is a lot to be proud of in this California state and a lot we can do as Californians to reach out I just learned of an app that will tell you any particular day in what state what bill is coming up and what friend in your Facebook pack of friends lives in that state and it was probably Silicon Valley that invented it – I’ve tried a strategy that hasn’t been successful so I’d like your comment So my feeling is that of all the issues that the left has which is dozens of issues they should focus on income inequality and not care about gun control, even immigration, even abortion I advise everybody to just pay Planned Parenthood a lot But people are so wedded to their issues that they’re not giving up What do I do? – So your proposal is that all of us pick one main issue That is a hugely primary issue It’s the issue of a sinking bottom, of poverty and loss of democracy This is a Bernie Sanders issue My thought would be to hold there are many issues and I think race is a big issue and it underlies the inequality It’s connected with class So I would put those two things, inequality, class, and race primary, I guess, yeah – Hi, thank you for your talk I’m wondering, in terms of– – A little louder – Louder Closer to the mic, how’s that? Finding the strips of common ground that you mentioned What about the more general shared common humanity of wanting to be happy, not wanting to suffer? Caring about our families that aren’t political That aren’t charged – Yes wonderful When people come together that’s how they come together and create a family a fellow a feeling and I think that the gatherings that the Bridge Alliance is doing kind of start with that But then you can actually get to these common grounds I thought to tell you something recently that just happened I got a call from someone named Ro Khanna Anybody know? He’s a Democratic representative in Silicon Valley and in his constituency is Facebook and Google and Intel, Yahoo He told me half my constituency are Asian and I’m Asian myself Democrat But I’ve made an alliance with a Republican in Kentucky whose constituency are unemployed coal miners and what Ro Khanna has done is take a group of coding trainers to Paintsville, Kentucky, set up a training program promising that if you get through the program you are promised

a 40,000 dollar a year job and the first 30 graduates of this training program have graduated and you know what they call themselves? They call themselves Silicon Hollow So there are a lot of ways you get family feeling together these strips on particular issues and then some actual imaginative ways of handling real needs – There’s the problem of alternative facts – Alternative? – Facts In California we have a petrochemical industry but we don’t have to choke on the air and the people who work in that industry don’t have to live on eight dollar an hour wages and the industry doesn’t have to be a historic polluter or essentially a scofflaw in every way, shape, and form and we invite more regulation to make it even more so and we probably have more jobs than they do in the petrochemical belt in Louisiana They look at it and they say keep the government out otherwise it’ll choke off our jobs We look at it and say make sure we have the regulations in order to ensure that our jobs are consistent with our life So we have a single item of alternative fact I’m sure we could run through almost every category of governance, almost every sociological category of data and find that somewhere or another on the ellipses or the parentheses on the coast we have circumstances that are exactly opposite to the circumstances in this area How do they live with the fact that the way they are doing it is producing an adverse result? Huge unemployment, low wage, bad education, toxic environment, crap lifestyle in every way, shape, and form except that they can hunt because they have multiple guns easily available and out here we’ve got all of the rest of that but on the good side of it How do they rationalize this disconnect? And how do we get them to understand that it’s a factual disconnect? – You know during World War II my father-in-law had a job He was based in London He spoke German and he was a Colonel and his job was to take Nazi officers who believed in their own truth, right? Fake news because Hitler was saying oh London is in shambles Big Ben is in smithereens and we’re about to win And so what my father-in-law decided to do was to take these military people, put ’em in a car and go to the center of London and say well you can tell what time it is Look at Big Ben And what restaurant would you like to eat in? In other words, you reveal a truth to a person and then those officers said you know what? We’re not gonna win We’ve been fed a pack of lies and we’re gonna help you So there are lots of ways to skin a cat and one is not just how to distance say you’re stupid you don’t know this Come have a look Come have a look at California And when I got this tea party Trump supporter together with my son who is a member of the California Energy Commission, does this regulating and is a ardent environmentalist to talk about precisely this thing Hey you know we’ve got oil too but we’re not choking on it and we’re not dying from it You know what this tea party Trump person’s response was? Hey that’s not fair California gets to have it all That’s not fair Well okay that’s one of these symbol stretch, in this case a value stretch It’s an opening for how to talk to people Thank you – Hi Arlie – Oh hey – Nice to see you So you inspired me to talk to my ardent Trump supporter nephew who I adore I thought that would really help I did end up cussing like a sailor

and we ended up back to our love for each other The one place we came together was where you said about taking money out of politics So my question for you has been I would love to hear how you got over your own reactivity which I imagine you have in listening So I’d find that very helpful – Well (laughs) – [Woman] Reveal your trade secrets please – You know I’ve written about emotional labor and this kind of research I think requires it But actually it’s interesting The job of listening was to take my own political and moral alarm system off while I was listening so that the purpose of my being there was to learn I’ll give you an example of how that worked There was an evangelical minister’s wife who said at a meeting of Republican women of southwest Louisiana I love Rush Limbaugh You know the conservative radio host And I had a gag response to that at first and then a thought, ooh I’d really like to talk to you about that And we went out for sweet teas, what you do there, and she said I love Rush Limbaugh because he hates feminazis I thought I hope they haven’t Googled me Second Shift And then environmental wackos and so on She went on and then she was looking at my face which I was trying to hold neutrally and she said is it hard for you? I know you don’t agree with me Cause I told her exactly who I was and what I believed or side I was on and I said actually no, it’s not hard That’s not why I’m here I know about me But I don’t know about you and you’re doing me more of a favor than you know to open your experiences to me and I can’t tell you how I appreciate it You know what she said then? Oh take your alarm system off I do that too I do it with my parishioners I do it with my kids And then we had that in common and could kinda move from there across vast differences She was the one who described heaven as a cube of gold, you know? So differences but yeah – Well what I get out of that is the focus on understanding as opposed to correcting or changing – Yes And you do wonderful work by the way – Thank you That was largely my question But I guess I also wanna ask what else did you learn about yourself in the process and ways that you had to show up differently or assumptions that you had to check in the process of hearing others’ perspectives? – Well people ask me did it change my political beliefs? And no, it didn’t at all But did it change me? Yes I would say it did because now I walk around with thinking how X or Y you know Janice Serino or Mike Chef would think about X or Y or Z and sometimes it makes me sad to think how they would see some things here at our beloved Berkeley The Antifa violence, for example, and their conclusion with that is whoa your students they think they’re the students or the fascists, you know, anyway So it made me more worried about us and I see a kind of a defensiveness and a non-openness on my side that has me concerned and has me wanting to work on it and I’ll tell you one thing Just two days ago I was at the New Yorker festival and got to speak with and hear the Reverend William Barber

the Second the Moral Mondays guy from South Carolina Very spellbinding and very incorporative and he is really an heir I think to Martin Luther King and his openness and what he gets up and says is I’m black, I’m white, I’m Indian, I’m some ways conservative, some ways progressive I’m all of these things and I want to organize, we are organizing in 30 cities a big demonstration for poor children across the country Hold the moral high ground The end of his speech it was like a congregation A spellbinder thing and at the end of it he had each person in the audience turn to your neighbor and say I will not be depressed I will not be depressed And then turn to them and say I will get active I will get active And so I came home and I thought you know what I’m gonna write Carol Christ and see if we can get this guy to Berkeley Incorporative, we need to be incorporative – Hi, I am a young woman I’m a freshman at UC Berkeley undergrad I have grown up a military kid I’ve experienced all different places and all different kinds of people and as a young woman who’s going to spend the four years of Trump’s presidency at UC Berkeley how do you suggest we go about receiving our education and going out into the world finding a job in this kind of culture that’s been created and this kind of like attitude that’s been created in this country? How do you suggest we go about that? – Well classroom education, dive in And as for your experience here at Berkeley take yourself as a builder of a culture, of political discussion and debate At the moment I feel that the Berkeley campus culture of political debate reflects the national culture You have a few polarizing speakers that come in in attack-defend mode You’re either for them or you’re against them There is no middle ground It’s kind of frozen You don’t dare say what you really think That’s a problem I think we need to really thicken up and enrich the culture I think we need to bring theater into it We need satirists We need Reverend Barber People who have all kinds of projects and I think there is an important place for Berkeley Bridge So I would invite you to plunge into that set of activities – Hi, thank you It seems pretty clear to me that the kind of awareness that you’ve demonstrated about the deep story and climate in Lake Charles has definitely been perceived and is in many ways used by political campaigns and news media to exacerbate the sets of being hardly done by and others getting ahead so I guess my question is when you were in Lake Charles what is your sense of people’s ability to recognize when they’re being manipulated and or any optimistic views of how in Lake Charles the partisan divide can be minimized or at least not inflamed? – Well there are people there, first of all, there are pockets of progressives, of course, in this conservative country and landscape and they all have friends and relatives

who don’t agree with them So actually they’ve gotten pretty good at how to do this bridging thing Many of them just avoid differences and keep their bonds without that They were as worried about this divide as I was That was kind of the first thing they would say I sort of came in like Mary Poppins Hi, I’m Arlie Hochschild, sociologist at Berkeley and you’ll never remember my last name So jokes and then I would say I’m worried about this growing divide and that’s the first thing they would say We are too We’re feeling cut off and we don’t feel you understand us We feel you liberal coastal people are looking down on us So you go write a book and set ’em straight What they would say But you know what ultimately I would love to see? I think we need new mechanisms, social mechanisms for mixing up the American population We know that the 46% of Americans who voted for Donald Trump are regionally distributed It’s the south and it’s the Midwest We know it’s racially distributed More white, fewer people of color And class distributed Less likely to be highly educated whites that are Democrats but much more likely if they’re high school educated or lower So given that kind of sociological divide I think we need to look to mechanisms that bridge those structural divides We used to have before 1973 a compulsory draft which did that for men and we used to have in its heyday through the labor movement labor unions used to do that for workers But we don’t have either of those mechanisms today so I think it’s on us to invent new mechanisms and what I would love to see is either a one year year of voluntary service that kind of mixed young people up or to have a program through high schools and to have in your junior year coastal kids go inland Have southern kids go north Have norther kids go south and for three weeks be the guest in an exchange program So you don’t send your kid off to Italy or France for their experience of the other world, your national world What you do is introduce them to the strangers in their own country via this So not only I think we need two things These new mechanisms for mixing people up and the result of that will be to have new questioning about what are true facts and fake facts? I mean that’s gonna start some conversations that aren’t going on now So I think we need the new mechanisms and then we all need to become mediators, develop that skill set and apply it in the new world we wanna live in Thank you very much (audience applauding) (upbeat instrumental music)