273. A More Just Future with Dolly Chugh

Doing social justice work of any kind, whether it’s in our homes with their families or out in the world causes us to encounter uncomfortable feelings like confusion, shame, guilt, and overwhelm. But, according to Dolly Chugh, the author of a powerful new book, A More Justice Future, it isn’t a problem to have those emotions; it’s more a question of what we should do with them. Join the conversation with Dolly to gain insights into our wired-in biases, our natural emotional responses to reckoning with a painful past and present, and the science-backed tools to use our responses more skillfully to build a more just future. 

About Dolly Chugh: 

Dr. Dolly Chugh is an award-winning social psychologist at NYU Stern School of Business where she studies bounded ethicality, or what she calls the psychology of good people. In 2018, she delivered a popular TED talk, “How to Let Go of Being a Good Person and Become a Better Person.” She is the author of The Person You Mean to Be, which offered the argument that the more we believe we are already good people, the harder it is to become better people. In this episode, we discuss Dolly’s new and incredibly powerful book, A More Justice Future.

Listen and Learn:

  • The power of learning to pronounce one another’s names
  • The paradox of the narrative around American pioneers, like the Laura Ingalls Wilder family
  • The value of being a lifelong “unlearner”
  • How principles from acceptance and commitment therapy can help us reckon with the past
  • How to unhook from the dominant cultural narratives to capture greater accuracy and more helpful nuance
  • How studies of home team bias and group identity in sports help us understand that bias is wired into us as part of being human
  • How Dolly understands the controversy around Critical Race Theory
  • Different narratives around history, and what are the most useful kinds of narratives to adopt.
  • What is a paradox mindset and how to practice having one
  • How stories we tell about our history problematically obscure how change happens
  • The power of a growth mindset in doing social justice work
  • How to build more nuance into some of our cultural fables (and why we should) 
  • The fable of Dolly’s own life that she’s worked to introduce nuance into


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Episode 273