In response to rising polarization, a number of grassroots organizations have formed to bridge the growing political divide. Individuals dedicated to this cause have been called “bridge-builders,” and they aim to facilitate dialogue across lines of difference. As the field has grown, however, several concerns have been raised about whether bridge-building is a viable solution in the context of systemic inequities. These concerns, questions, and criticisms of bridge-building point to the tension—perceived or real—between efforts to repair intergroup relationships and efforts to correct inequitable structures. In this report, we grapple with the critiques of bridge-building, with the hope that it will spur sustained discussion within and across the bridge-building and social justice communities.
Building Bridges in the Context of Inequality