Hi, welcome! Are you here for the party?
Yeah, I heard about the party from a friend. What’s going on?
Well, we want to get people together to talk about how to solve this problem.
What problem? Is it my problem? Do I have a stake in this?
Of course, come on in, let’s talk about it. Did you bring anything for the potluck?
Oh, now you’re telling me that I had to bring something for the potluck to be allowed in?
No, I just asked if you had brought anything. It’s not required, it’s just something we do so we can share the load because everyone gets hungry while they talk.
Oh, ok. So am I allowed in?
Of course! Come on in. What is your top issue?
Oh, well, I don’t think my issue is your top issue is your top issue, so I don’t think I should come in yet. I want to stand out here for a while and listen. Can you set up some microphones and speakers for everyone outside so we can all hear and participate without coming in the house?
“Baby, it’s cold outside.” Come on in.
You know that’s a rape song, right? I don’t think I can come in because now I’m afraid for my safety in your house.
Look, it is cold outside, it is raining, in fact there’s a big storm coming and I would like to invite you to come inside so you can be sheltered from the storm and so we can talk and work on these problems together.
You don’t look like me.
Why does that matter?
Well, because you don’t look like me I don’t think we can communicate because I don’t think your experiences match mine.
You’re probably right, but that just means we can tell each other stories and get to know each other better.
But I don’t think my stories will be respected because my shoes are wet and that looks like new carpet.
We can wash the carpet. It’s more important for you to come in from the rain. Please come inside.
I can’t, you’re standing in the doorway.
Ok, I’m now giving you whatever room you need to come inside.
But I don’t know that I’m actually welcome.
Would you just come inside already?!
Now you’re being aggressive, and I don’t like that. I don’t think I’m actually welcome. And I can still see you, and you don’t look like me.
Do you want to join this conversation so we can work on solving these problems?
I see a green field next door. Maybe I can set up a tent and listen to the speakers that you are going to set up and talk into the microphone that you are going to set up for me.
We have plenty of room inside the house, and everyone is welcome.
I don’t believe you. I haven’t been invited before. At least I don’t think that invitation was for me, you spelled my name wrong.
… Look, I have people who are waiting for me to rejoin the conversation. I’ll just leave the door open and you can come in if you want to. I’ll be in the other room.
I can still hear you. I think you’re talking about me now. I don’t like that.