Examples from everyday life

These examples (sometimes known as critical incidents) can provide good discussion starters, especially in small groups:

You are union representative in a small company. You realise that your boss never hires any foreigners. You receive evidence that this behaviour is intentional. Knowing that most of the workers employed in the company (i.e., the people that elected you) agree with this practice ... How do you react

You are the witness of a crash between two cars. One of the drivers is an immigrant. The police come to note the facts, but they do not understand the foreigner (he does not speak the language of the country). You quickly understand that the police stand up for the native since the other person is unable to defend himself. How do you react

You play in a sports team in which physical contact is important (soccer, basketball, etc). One of the players of the team announces that he is seropositive. How do you react

You live in a small village in the country. The government decides to set up a centre for refugees. The little rural village, which used to be very quiet, is now the centre of many discussions. The shopkeepers do not serve the refugees. Thefts are discovered and the refugees are automatically accused. How do you react

In Brussels, in the football club "Atlas", 99% of the players come from the Maghreb. One Belgian only, a Catholic, plays in the team. You play every Sunday afternoon and the coach (a Moroccan) proposes to go to the country every Sunday morning to prepare for the match of the afternoon. The Belgian player argues that this is impossible for him since he goes to mass every Sunday morning. How do you react

You come from Northern Europe and love to use the sauna. After a grand family reunion, including people from Southern Europe, you propose to go to the sauna. The Southern Europeans wear their bathing costumes. How do you react

[Adapted from a method used in the ETUC seminar "Racism and Xenophobia - How young trade unionists can respond to the rise of this problem in Europe", EYC, April 1993]


You will find more critical incidents and ways of using them to promote discussion and understanding in the related materials. In DOmino Section 4 you will find "Stories told by young people".

If you would like to use pictures to represent critical incidents instead of words, then look in the all different all equal education pack at the activity "What do you see".

In Compass you will find several activities with themes that relate to the critical incidents posed above that you could use as follow up. For example, "Trade Union meeting" and "Sport for all".

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