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mouthcoverThe United States is a pluralistic society:  a mix of cultures, languages, nationalities, races and religions, and that’s before we even address differences in political beliefs, sexual orientation, and income levels.  More often than not, however, we live our lives surrounded by family, friends and in neighborhoods comprised or people very similar in attitudes and beliefs similar to ourselves.  Accordingly, it should be no surprise that we sometimes feel uncomfortable and struggle when we are around people who are different.  This discomfort isn’t based upon negative feelings about those differences, but rather a simple lack of familiarity.

Society is awash in propaganda about why we should embrace others, but there is little guidance on how to navigate this effort.  One could spend weeks seeking to memorize the endless lists of what you should say; likely an impossible task.  However, it is far more practical to learn and know what NOT to say—ever—in order to avoid offense, embarrassment and hurt feelings.


  1. People are good.

  2. People are uncomfortable with difference.

  3. People are uninformed.

  4. We are interdependent.

  5. We must confront and navigate uncomfortable situations and have difficult conversations.

  6. We must consider intent.

  7. We must take ownership and be accountable when we do something wrong.

  8. Our communication skills and cultural education must continue to grow and evolve.

  9. Language is the key to positive and productive interactions, relationships and organizations.