Appendix 2: The Difference Between Debate and Dialogue

Appendix A2.
The Difference Between Debate and Dialogue

Debate... Dialogue...
is oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong. is collaborative: two sides or more sides work together towards common understanding.
has winning as the goal. has finding common ground as the goal.
lets one side listen to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments. lets one side listen to the other side in order to understand.
defends assumptions as the truth. reveals assumptions for reevaluation.
causes critique of the other position. causes introspection of one's own position.
defends one's own positions as the best solution and excludes other solutions. opens the possibility of reaching a better solution than any of the original solutions.
creates a closed minded-attitude, a determination to be right. creates an open-minded attitude, an openness to being wrong and an openness to change.
prompts a search for glaring differences prompts a search for basic agreements.
involves a countering of the other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or deprecates the other person. involves a real concern for the other person and does not seek to alienate or offend.

Table of Contents



Characteristics of Community Dialogues

Starting Steps for a Dialogue

Conducting an Effective Community Dialogue on Race

The Role of the Dialogue Leader

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4

Appendix B

Appendix C


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