Always guard against the tendency to believe that everyone within a given identity group believes the same way.
- Students will identify stereotypes they've experienced or heard
- Students will discuss how these stereotypes are not always true
- Students will identify specific ways to break down stereotypes
- 3x5 index cards for students
Stereotypes represent a belief or assumed knowledge of an entire group based on an experience with or information about a member or members of that group. It is an easy way of categorizing complex individuals.
Stereotyping often occurs because persistent messages are reinforced by family members, in places of worship, on school campuses and through the media. Stereotyping can be subconscious, where it subtly influences our decisions and actions, even in people who do not want to be biased.
A key component in the development of culturally responsive conflict resolutions models is developing tools to identify and break down stereotyping. Stereotypes can be broken. When we bring people together to open up and honestly share who they are, stereotypes begin to shatter. We discover that other people are not the mental picture created by our stereotype.
Distribute index cards and invite students to write down a stereotype they have heard about themselves or someone close to them.
Shuffle the cards and invite a few students to select one, read it aloud and talk about how they think a person would feel to be stereotyped in that manner.
Close by sharing ways to eliminate stereotypes or by developing class or club pledges where signers commit to ending stereotyping.
Discussion or writing prompts
1. How did it feel to share a way you have been stereotyped?
2. Did you hear a stereotype shared today that you once bought into? If so, what was it and why did you use it?
3. What are your ideas on eliminating stereotypes?