do you stand?
Theme M & A
What do we think about racism and discrimination?
are we of defending our own points of view and of understanding
that of others?
• Racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia
• Responsibility for one's personal
• To challenge participants' views
and opinions on racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and intolerance.
• To raise participant's self-awareness
of the role they play as members of society.
• To get participants to share their
thoughts and opinions.
• To draw out and recognise the
differences in thinking in the group.
• To break down communication barriers
and encourage everyone to express their opinion.
• To make participants aware of
how quickly we sometimes have to come to a decision and
then how fiercely we tend defend it unable to accept the
other's point of view.
Group size: 10
to 40 people
• Flip chart and markers or alternatively
an overhead projector
• A list of statements.
• Before starting the activity write
down the statements on flip chart or an overhead transparency.
• Tell participants that they should
imagine that on one side of the room there is a minus (-)
sign and that on the opposite there is a plus (+) sign.
• Explain that you are going to read
out statements and then those participants who disagree
with the statement should move to the side of the room with
the minus sign. Those who agree should move to the side
with the plus sign. Those who have no opinion or who are
undecided should stay in the middle, but they will not be
able to speak.
• Read out the first statement.
• Once everybody is standing in their
chosen position ask those by the walls, in turn, to explain
to the others why they chose that position. They should
try to convince the rest of the group that they are right
and therefore, that the others should join them.
• Allow between 5-8 minutes for this.
• When everyone has spoken invite
anyone who wishes to change their position to do so.
• Now read a second statement and
repeat the process.
• Once all the statements have been
discussed go straight away into the evaluation.
Evaluation and debriefing
• Start by asking the following questions:
• How did you feel during the exercise?
• Was it difficult to choose? Why?
• Was it difficult to stay in the
middle and not be able to speak?
• What sorts of arguments were used,
those based on fact or those which appealed to the emotions?
• Which were more effective?
• Are there any comparisons between
what people did and said during this exercise and reality?
• Are the statements valid?
• Was the exercise useful?
Tips for the facilitator
In order to facilitate participation you
may invite members who are particularly silent to voice
their opinion. In the same way ask someone who intervenes
too often to wait a bit.
The statements are necessarily controversial.
It is important to explain this at the end of the evaluation.
Depending on the group you can develop the
discussion on several points:
• Despite their ambiguity, there
is also a certain truth in the statements. Explain the fact
that in all communication different people understand different
things in the same statement. It is also normal that people
think differently and differ about what they think. There
is not necessarily a right or wrong attitude or position.
What is more important is to know and understand the reasons
that motivated the position.
• Try to draw out the links with
the reality of everyday life. Often we think only about
one side of a problem. It also happens that we are sometimes
asked to support an issue but not always given the chance
to think deeply about why we should do so.
• You could ask the group to consider
how this affects democracy.
• How much do we actually listen
to other people's arguments? How well do we make our points
clear? The more vague we are the more we nourish ambiguity
and risk being misunderstood.
• How consistent are we in our opinions
Suggestions for follow up
It is not always easy to stand up and be
counted, sometimes it is dangerous to do so. But you do
not have to feel alone, there are others who are working
for a better world. There is always something you can do.
Brainstorm the things you can do to improve the lives of
minorities in your community and to support human rights
in your own country and abroad and decide to take some action
however small it may seem.
If you want a quick activity, which gets
people into groups and at the same time raises issues about
feeling isolated, try 'Odd one out'.
Alternatively you could think a little more about why it
is so hard for people to make what they want to say heard.
Who has the power and why won't they listen? 'The
rules of the game'.
If the group wants to practice and develop
their skills of listening, discussion and persuasion, then
they may like to do the activity, 'Electioneering'
in Compass. This activity provokes thought about discussion
and dialogue in a democracy and the reasons for valuing
a pluralist society.
SOME EXAMPLES OF STATEMENTS:
'MUSLIMS CAN NOT REALLY INTEGRATE
INTO EUROPEAN SOCIETIES'
'NATIONALISM MEANS WAR'
'MEN ARE MORE RACIST THAN WOMEN'
'IT IS BETTER TO BE BLACK THAN GAY'
'ROMA ARE THE ONLY TRUE EUROPEAN PEOPLE'
'YOUNG PEOPLE ARE AT THE FOREFRONT
OF RACIST ATTACKS'
'IMMIGRANTS TAKE AWAY HOUSES AND JOBS'
'LOVE CAN SOLVE ANY PROBLEM'