Into the Unknown: Third Space

Republican or Democrat. Male or female. Old or young. Rich or poor. These are only a few examples of things that divide our society. We have become so polarized in what we think, sometimes leading to death. We have been programmed since we were children of what’s right and wrong. We were taught that life is mainly black and white with little grey areas. This is prevalent in our country today. We are drifting farther apart, and I’m afraid that there will be no going back.

Teams Elite Junior (USA) and Lexettes Junior (USA) taking a picture at the 2020 Spring Cup

To resolve this enlarging problem, we need to find the third. The third is a place where we can discuss and investigate our differences. The third can act as a middle ground to talk about what sets us apart and work towards revelation.The third isn’t one location, it’s a collection of ideas that people gravitate towards. For the third to be successful, everyone has to listen to what other people have to say. The intention of a third space is to focus on what brings us together. We all will have our own opinions, but we need to know that it isn’t the only answer to the problem. If we keep being closed off to other people’s ideas, we start to make that the norm. That is dangerous to those who have a different take, and we would be stripping them of their voice. In the Ted Talk,“Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she tells the audience of instances where people make perceived assumptions about who she is. Adichie brings up a good point that, “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete” (Adichie 12:54). By only going solely off of our bias, we push others farther down until they have nothing left to give. Without the third, we begin to make one story the only story. When we listen in this third space, we can open our hearts and minds to stop the social cycle Bobbie Harro brings up. Harro sheds a light on the current split groups, and that they are existing in our society. There should only be human beings. Harro explains that, “We are exposed to rules, roles, and assumptions that are not fair to everyone” (Harro 4). She is trying to get at that our society is based off of harmful stereotypes. We can eliminate this by going into an uncomfortable space and listening to all sides of the story. By doing this, we can bring back what we lost to humanity. 

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but they are incomplete”

(Adichie 12:45).

Now why does the third matter? We go into the third because it reminds us of who we are. Being reminded that we are human comes with the fact that we are bound to make mistakes. We aren’t always going to be correct, but today we get punished for being wrong. We should use those differing answers to push us into a different place. It’s terrifying being pushed outside of our comfort zone, but it’s necessary for us to make change. In “Willing to be Disturbed” by Margaret Wheatley, she goes into depth about how we are so limited to our thinking and that we have been told to get the right answer. We weren’t taught how to be wrong, so when it happens, we deflect on other people by tearing them down. Wheatley writes, “Sometimes we hesitate to listen for differences because we don’t want to change” (Wheatley 3). But sometimes change is needed. It’s crucial for us to be well-rounded individuals and let ourselves be vulnerable. We can then all have an equal voice in society to pave the way for a better future. When we work together, we can get justice on those who have fallen to inequality and hatred. In the Ted Talk, “If a Story Moves You, Act on It” by Sisonke Msimang, she shows that we have the power to create a better world. Msimang says, “Storytellers can help us to dream, but it’s up to all of us to have a plan for justice” (Msimang 12:14). We can make strides in our world, and we will be unstoppable if we stand behind one goal. The third will open up a new realm of possibilities. If we take the time to be perceptive in the third space, we will achieve greatness that’ll go down in history. 

Teams Elite Junior (USA) with Marigold Ice Unity Senior (FIN)

“Sometimes we hesitate to listen for differences because we don’t want to change”

(Wheatley 3).

Generally speaking, a lot of good can come out of the third. But in order to start this movement, it needs to start with you and I. This past month in this class has made me more motivated than ever to put as much as I can for the betterment of my peers. Although it’s scary, I’m ready to go head first into the abyss. I want people to hear my side of the story because I’m different from some in my community: I’m Asian, I’m a female, I’m seventeen, I’m Christian, and the list goes on. My way of life is all that I’ve ever known, but I want to know what it’s like in other people’s shoes. It’s my responsibility, and yours, to care for our loved ones. We have an obligation as humans to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We’re all here for a reason, and we have so much to offer in this world. I’m ready to go into the third, are you?

Teams Elite Junior (USA) watching the U.S flag raise to the National Anthem after claiming gold at the 2019 Spring Cup

Published by Ellie Lim

Hi! I'm Ellie, and I'm a Senior at Glenbrook North High School. Some of my interests include synchronized figure skating, spending time with my friends and family, and being with my dog. For synchro, I compete on behalf of Team USA!

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