In a world where workplace diversity sessions increasingly resemble Maoist struggle sessions, Chloé Valdary's Theory of Enchantment seminars seek to bring people together using popular culture to explore our common humanity and generate empathy rather than division.
The 28-year-old Valdary started a group to combat anti-semitism as an undergraduate at the University of New Oreans, and after a fellowship at the Wall Street Journal opinion page, she created Theory of Enchantment as an alternative to the antiracist programs of Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, which she believes deepen the very resentments they seek to alleviate. Her program employs materials as varied as Disney's Lion King, music from Kendrick Lamar, and writings by James Baldwin and Cheryl Strayed.
Valdary spoke to Reason about how her life experiences inform Theory of Enchantment, why the demand for her program is growing, and why she's optimistic about the future of race relations and individualism.
Photo Credits: Tsering Dorjee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Panchen Lama Struggle Session, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash; Koshu Kunii on Unsplash; Philip Strong on Unsplash; Holly Andres on cherylstrayed.com; Rob Croes / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; Batiste Safont, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Roger Cosby on Unsplash; John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Press/Newscom; https://www.uno.edu/uc; Photo by Brother Swagler on Unsplash; Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash; Photo by Nelson Ndongala on Unsplash; Photo by Duncan Shaffer on Unsplash; Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash: Photo by Alicia Steels on Unsplash; Cheryl Strayed Photo by Joni Kabana; Theory of Enchantment on Facebook; Patience Photo by Caleb Gregory on Unsplash; Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash; Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash
Intro edited by Regan Taylor; interview edited by Ian Keyser; hosted and narrated by Nick Gillespie.
Music Credits: Never Looking Back—Instrumental Version, by VESHZA on Artist.io