Sexual discrimination is
something I have experienced through someone else's eyes. I have friends of mine getting fired because their sexual orientation was different from other people's.

Jerzy Roziewicz,
20 years, Poland

Session 9.4



An activity to encourage people to look at images and words which are associated with the words BLACK and WHITE in different contexts and see if alternatives could be used. An introduction exercise to promote the use of 'politically correct language'.


• Flipchart paper

• Coloured markers

• A large room or hall

• Tape


1 hour

Group size

15 - 20 people


Divide into small groups of 4-5 people and ask them to write the words 'BLACK' and 'WHITE' on two separate sheets of paper. The small groups have to write down all the words and images which come into their minds when they think of the words 'black' and 'white'.

For example:

• White Christmas

• White House

• White-collar

• In black and white

• Black Death

• Black Humour

When the two lists are complete, come back into the large group and ask a representative from each of the groups to report back on what they came up with.

Lead into a general discussion raising issues such as:

• What did you notice about the lists you drew up? Were they mainly positive or mainly negative?

• What does this tell us about the ideas most people have in their heads about blackness and whiteness? Do these ideas affect us?

• Can anyone think of alternative phrases which mean the same thing but don't use the word 'black' or 'white' in a negative way?


Instead of a report of a representative of each group, you can ask them also to make up a short drama sketch about two or three of the words which they pick out of their list. After the performance you can then lead into a general discussion.

Another ways of exploring the associations people have with the words "black" and "white" can be found in the all different all equal education pack. There is the activity, "White future". You could also use the "Word association game" described in chapter 2, page 30 or the activity, "Cultionary".

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