Mutual Vulnerability: Deepening Human Interconnectedness in Cross-Racial Relationships




Dong, Thymai

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Unnecessary acts of hate and violence permeate our society due to misunderstandings between racial and ethnic groups. It is no longer appropriate to claim we live in a post-racial society. An intentional study which can inform us about the potential for increasing feelings of interconnectedness when individuals from different races and ethnicities are reciprocally vulnerable with each other is needed. Setting the stage for these specific relationship-building conditions has the potential to break down emotional barriers and could lead to a new kind of human interconnectedness across races and ethnicities. Leveraging one’s vulnerability and accepting this vulnerability before others can result in a transformative interconnected experience in the context of cross-racial relationships. Heron (1996) refers to this as “transformation of personhood” (p. 38) whereby we grow personally as we develop both our interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. Certain authors reviewed in the literature foreground vulnerability as an essential human condition (D’Agnese, 2017; Meyer, Le Fevre, & Robinson, 2016; Petherbridge, 2016; Rozmarin, 2017). Mutual vulnerability can help us to begin turning toward each other in reciprocally supportive ways, rather than away from each other in individually or institutionally destructive ways (Bagnoli, 2016; Brown, 2012; Giese & Thiel, 2014; Guishard, 2009; Gunaratnam, 2011; Haugland et al., 2017; Ito & Bligh, 2017; Petherbridge, 2016; McKinnon & Greenberg, 2017; Rowland, 2016; Rozmarin, 2017). Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study is an exploration of mutual vulnerability in order to determine its potential for deepening human interconnectedness across diverse races and ethnicities.



Vulnerability, Mutual, Human interconnectedness, Cross-racial, Race, Racism, Relationships


Dong, T. (2020). <i>Mutual vulnerability: Deepening human interconnectedness in cross-racial relationships</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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