changing the world by crafting sentences

I’m re-reading They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein), as I prepare to begin to teach WR 121 on Monday. And just had to quote this paragraph. THIS is the reason for everything I do, as well as the reason I chose my thesis topic (religion in the writing classroom).

This ability to enter complex, many-sided conversations has taken on a special urgency in today’s diverse, post-9/11 world, where the future for all of us may depend on our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of those who think very differently from us. The central piece of advice in this book — that we listen carefully to others, including those who disagree with us, and then engage with them thoughtfully and respectfully — can help us see beyond our own pet beliefs, which may not be shared by everyone. The mere act of crafting a sentence that begins “Of course, someone might object that _____________” may not seem like a way to change the world; but it does have the potential to jog us out of our comfort zones, to get us thinking critically about our own beliefs, and perhaps even to change our minds. (13)

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