“I would recommend this program to a friend to promote awareness and to have a voice to be heard!”
One of the stand-out activities on day two was the hoodie role-play. We had a lot of challenging conversations about how we identify difference and how we treat people who we perceive as ‘different’. It was excellent hearing debate around the room as everyone brought their individual perspectives to the activity. We also loved seeing all the budding actors in the room join in with the role-play and take each scenario to the next level.
Using the hoodie as a metaphor for other kinds of ‘differences’ such as race, language, religion, culture, gender and class, we opened up imagination and discussion to consider how each of these factors can affect people’s lives. Poor Sandeep - our resident hoodie-wearer - had a lot of pressure on him by the end of this session!
After talking about bias, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, we jumped into a brainstorm that asked:
What stereotypes have you heard about others?
What stereotypes have been applied to you?
How does it feel to be stereotyped?
The responses that came up were hard to face, but it was powerful to lay out the messages we hear on a daily basis and question their origins. For example, the stereotype ‘Asians are good at maths’ may seem positive at first, but it still involves setting expectations for people that limit who they can acceptably be. We also had a great conversation about how stereotypes about gender, sexuality, age and other factors of our identities can be more or less common depending on our environment.
We closed day three with an activity that really brought the group together. By sharing stories and practicing different kinds of listening, we built powerful bonds of empathy and got to know everyone a lot better. A lot of you reflected on how you were usually shy in social situations, but felt very comfortable being open and vulnerable with this group. Us facilitators found this pretty emotional to watch!