IDP Resource: Listening & Learning with "I" Statements

Episode 2. Access

In this episode, Rachel, Ruju, and Stephen talk about times when they’ve felt a lack of access in their own lives, examples of when having access has made them feel connected to others, and questions about what access means.

Episode transcript

Discussion Questions

  • This episode explores different ways to define or understand what it means to have access.  What does having access look and feel like to you? 
  • When discussing access, the idea of being “the only” is mentioned; for example, being the only student of color in the classroom or being the only queer person at a meeting. When have you experienced the feeling of being “the only”? Which social identity or identities were you aware of when you felt like “the only”? How did it feel to be “the only”? If you’ve never experienced feeling like “the only”, why do you think that is? 
  • Assumptions – those that are made about us and those that we make about other people – are a recurring theme in this episode. What are some assumptions or stereotypes people have made about you because of one or more of your social identities? What role do our assumptions play in helping or hindering your ability to engage across identity differences? 

Writing Prompt

Having access and experiencing challenges or difficulty are not mutually exclusive (e.g., in the episode, Stephen highlighted the immigration process as a place he felt he had access to because of his citizenship status, despite experiencing the difficulties and challenges that come with navigating the immigration system). What are some examples of a specific social identity (e.g., being a U.S. citizen, being white) conferring access to existing institutions? How have you seen challenges (e.g., dealing with bureaucracy, struggling financially) affecting the way that some people perceive their relative access? 

Related Readings

Experiment with IDP’s latest offering: Listening & Learning with the “I” Statements podcast. This guide is an accompaniment to our podcast, “I” Statements, where people with different identities come together to share their own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives, demonstrating both the power and the possibility inherent in communicating across difference.

These episode guides are for people who would like to incorporate the podcast into their work with students and/or colleagues.

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Cite this IDP Resource:

  • APA: Intergroup Dialogue Project. (2020, September). IDP Resource: Listening & Learning with “I” Statements, Episode 2. Access. Intergroup Dialogue Project – Dialogue Across Difference.
  • MLA: Intergroup Dialogue Project. “IDP Resource: Listening & Learning with “I” Statements, Episode 2. Access.” Intergroup Dialogue Project – Dialogue Across Difference, Cornell University, September 2020,
  • Chicago: Intergroup Dialogue Project, “IDP Resource: Listening & Learning with “I” Statements, Episode 2. Access,” Intergroup Dialogue Project – Dialogue Across Difference, Cornell University, September 2020,