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In this Elizabeth Lesser keynote the co-founder of Omega institute talks about the process, negative impacts and how to counteract “otherising.” Otherising is the act in which an individual or culture begins to demonize another group of people as different and therefore as a threat. Negative otherising is the first step that leads to violent extremism and widespread hate.
Lesser uses the metaphor of an individual’s inner mystic and warrior and how the warrior tends to overcome one’s mystic nature when otherising. The cure to this is what Lesser refers to as “taking the other to lunch.” Invite someone whose opinions, beliefs and lifestyles conflict with your own (to a reasonable degree). Talk about shared experiences, what issues concern you and ask a question you’ve always wanted to ask from someone on the “other” side. By doing so you are effectively dropping all pretense of “know-it-all” behavior and are making a positive choice to encourage diversity and inclusion.