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One day in May during a recent year, a conversation began that launched several years of ongoing dialogue. A graduate student, Kyle, reached out to a graduate counseling professor, Andrea, to discuss some concerns and anxieties he felt in some of his class discussions. What began as a conversation about racial diversity in the counseling setting evolved into an exploration of different ways of looking at the sociocultural context of race in the United States, a topic discovered to have political and theological underpinnings. As a result of the dialogue, we realized that specific preconceived labels identifying political, theological, denominational, and other potential perspectives of origin were insufficient at best and divisive at worst. The process of dialoguing revealed that the way we both saw various issues was not dichotomous, and the use of the labels initially created obstacles to our understanding of one another. Our focus here is on our process of creating understanding, so we intentionally limit the use of labels and rely on descriptions of our perspectives. The resulting dialogue was so transformative that both Kyle and Andrea, co-authors of this manuscript, wish to share our experiences with other students and educators.



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