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December 22, 2020+Team HxA
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Resource Guide: Political Polarization

This resource list contains HxA tools, blog posts, and podcast episodes on the topic of political polarization. In addition, we are also sharing a curated TED talk playlist that you may find helpful. We encourage you to share these materials with friends and family and use them in your classes and on your campuses to generate thoughtful, nuanced conversation about the issue.

Political polarization – the vast and growing gap between ideological groups like Republicans and Democrats – has become a defining feature of modern American life. As the Pew Research Center put it, “Americans have rarely been as polarized as they are today.”

Polarization is affecting Americans on both sides of the political aisle. Pew’s research surrounding the 2020 election shows that “a month before the election, roughly eight-in-ten registered voters in both camps said their differences with the other side were about core American values, and roughly nine-in-ten – again in both camps – worried that a victory by the other would lead to ‘lasting harm’ to the United States.”

While many surveys confirm these findings, there is hope: As partisan as this election was, Pew also found that “overwhelming majorities of both Trump (86%) and Biden (89%) supporters surveyed this fall said that their preferred candidate, if elected, should focus on addressing the needs of all Americans, ‘even if it means disappointing some of his supporters.’”

We hope these materials will lead to deeper understanding and spark conversation about the state of political polarization today.

TED Talk Playlist

Tools and Resources

  • “Purple” Film and Discussion Guide  PURPLE tells the story of everyday Americans with opposing viewpoints addressing their differences head-on and discovering the concerns and humanity that lie behind each other’s positions. The accompanying Discussion Guide provides tools and exercises to host a screening of PURPLE and lead a meaningful conversation about it afterwards.
  • OpenMind – A free, psychology-based educational platform designed to depolarize communities and foster mutual understanding across differences.
  • How to Navigate Moral Disagreements – These strategies summarize how to approach moral disagreements in constructive ways. They can be used to build mutual understanding, depolarize issues, and have more productive conversations.
  • How to Create a Political Classroom – This guide draws from educational research to provide practical guidance on how to create, structure, and teach in a political classroom. By openly having political conversations, students can achieve mutual understanding and reduce polarization.
  • Living Room Conversations – An organization that facilitates structured conversations to create connection between people despite their differences, and even identify areas of common ground and shared understanding.
  • On Constructive Disagreement – A list of materials on the topic of constructive disagreement.

Blog Posts

Podcast Episodes

We're always trying to share more relevant materials. If you have suggestions for materials on the topic of political polarization that would be a good fit for this list, please email us at questions@heterodoxacademy.org.

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