rules of the game
All organisations have to have rules and members
should stick to them. But, are they always fair to everyone?
Are they fair to minorities?
• Majority - minority relations.
• Power and authority.
• The exclusion of minorities from
access to resources and opportunities.
• To start discussion about rules
in society and majority and minority situations.
• To experience discrimination.
• To experience power and powerlessness.
to decide e.g. 2 hours, one session. Set the limit.
Group size: Any
• Coloured sticky paper labels of
two different colours, e.g. green and yellow.
• Tape or pins
• Write a list of 6 - 8 special rules
appropriate to your group on a large sheet of paper, for
People with green labels:
may not sit on chairs
may not be together in one place with more
than one other person
may not talk to a 'yellow' unless spoken
may not have access to equipment without
People with yellow labels:
have priority at the table footy and other
have priority choosing the music
may have free access to any equipment they
are entitled to a free drink/chocolate bar
at the end of the session if they keep strictly to the rules
1. Give the labels out at random and ask
people to wear them at all times. Everyone in the group
should have one.
2. Pin the rules up in a prominent place
and explain that they should be observed with no exceptions.
In all other respects this session should
be as normal as possible.
Debriefing and evaluation
Make sure that you allow plenty of time
for the debriefing. Start by asking how people felt about
the game and what they learned. Ask:
• How did it feel to be a 'yellow'
or a 'green'?
• What was the best/worst thing about
being a 'green' or a 'yellow'?
• Did anyone try to swap their label?
• What sorts of discrimination happen
in real life?
• Who has the power to make the rules?
• How democratic is your organisation?
• What can you do to promote democracy
in your organisation, in your community locally and in your
society regionally and nationally?
Tips for the facilitator
Prepare the rules carefully in advance to
keep control of the game.
Be aware of who is in which group. You may
wish to manipulate the membership of each group, but don't
let the players realise you have done this. Also be aware
that this activity can bring out strong emotions.
This activity fits very well into residential
courses or seminars. It is important that it is given a
defined limit e.g. 2 hours or one session and that before
the evaluation the participants step out of their roles.
If you want to go deeper into minority-majority issues you
may also arrange it so that there is a majority of people
with yellow labels and a minority with green ones.
Suggestions for follow up
Review the rules of your group or organisation.
Are they fair for all members? Are they suitable for everybody
who would be interested in joining? Look at who makes the
rules and who has the power and see if it could be shared
more widely. You might then go on to ask what a fairer society
would be like or even what your ideal society would be like
and then to think about what is stopping us achieving it.
A fun way to do this is with 'Balloons'.
The rules for a fair and just world are
enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
How much do members of the group know about the UDHR? Perhaps
they may like to show each other using the activity, 'Act
it out' in Compass.