Open dialogue activity: Read the statement below out loud or project it up on an overhead screen in the front of the room. Invite participants to stand on the left side of the room if they AGREE with this statement. Ask those who DISAGREE to stand on the right side of the room. And finally, direct those who are UNSURE to stand in the middle.
If a friend/teammate makes a racist or biased comment towards a person of color, I need to do something.
Agree - - - - - - - - -Unsure - - - - - - Disagree
Facilitators, please ask:
Question #1: Why are you standing, where you are standing? (Begin with those in one group, and then proceed with asking the other two groups. There are no wrong answers.)
Question #2: What makes a problem "serious" for you?
Question #3: What message does “staying silent” send to the person of color? Or, to your friend/teammate who made the racist comment?
Question #4: If it’s not your business to respond in some way, who’s business is it?
Exchange Zone Violation
You’re at a conference track meet sitting with some friends in a secluded section of the stadium. One of the guys in your groups points to the black runner from your school in the lead coming around the curve. He grins and says, "Last time I saw a black person run that fast they were running from the cops!" One of your friends laughs. You and the others stare straight ahead pretending not to have heard the comment. No one says anything.
Open Dialogue to Support Critial Thinking
Typically, when we notice potentially harmful or abusive language or behavior, interpret and decide for ourselves that it’s wrong and feel a sense of responsibility to say or do something, we act.
Facilitator Notes: Below is a series of questions that can be used to explore beliefs and attitudes about race and racial inequalities and examine pro-social ways to effectively engage and "show up" within our peer groups as active bystanders.
Questions #1: Is this situation realistic? Could this happen in my peer group or in our school?
Question #2: What’s problematic about this situation? What concerns or “red flags” do you notice in this scenario?
Question #3: What responsibility might the friend(s) in this situation have to their friend who made the comment? To the others sitting around them? To the school/organization? Or, to the black runner from you school?
Question #4: Have you ever witnessed or observed a similar situation? If you are willing, please share your experience(s).
Question #5: Have you seen others intervene or get involved in situations like this before? If so, what did they do?
Question #6: Why might others in this situation choose to be silent or not get involved? What is the potential IMPACT on the black runner if no one says anything or gets involved in this situation?
Facilitator Notes: In this next portion of the activity, the focus will be to generate realistic options for friends, classmates, teammates or others to consider using should they ever find themselves in a similar situation. Keep a running list of all options.
Question #7: How might one respond “directly” in this situation? (List examples.) How might one respond “indirectly” or utilize a “distraction” in this situation? (List examples.)
Question #8: If you didn’t respond immediately in this situation, what might you consider saying or doing later on? To whom would you speak?
Question #9: To whom could you go to for guidance or support in this situation?
Question #10: After hearing different examples of responding in this situation, how might you, personally, "show up" in a situation like this? Why?
Facilitator Notes: By now you've created a list of different approaches or responses available to bystanders, i.e., friends, classmates, teammates, etc. in their efforts to "show up" in this scenario, or in one like it. Discussing the problematic issues associated with racial injustice, understanding why some observers or friends are silenced in these situations, and generating a list of ways to respond and speak out against racism helps unveil the common belief and understanding that most of us are caring and empathetic individuals. Remember, there are many ways to be a positive leader....there are many ways to be an active bystander!
Created with images by Braden Collum - "Relay runner" • Mike Von - "George Floyd Protest" • Clay Banks - "Woman holds up sign at the Black Lives Matter protest in Washington DC 6/6/2020 (IG: @clay.banks)" • tommy boudreau - "Basketball court" • Jonathan Chng - "untitled image" • Caleb Mullins - "I’m extremely new to the photography scene and I’m not used to a lot of the terms you use, but there’s a burning passion inside for taking pictures" • Riley McCullough - "untitled image" • Serena Repice Lentini - "untitled image" • Darko Nesic - "untitled image" • Wesley Tingey - "untitled image" • John Arano - "Daily Grind" • Pocky Lee - "untitled image" • Braden Collum - "Runners in a race" • Nicolas Hoizey - "Shot during 34th international Elite athletics meeting in Montgeron-Essonne (France), Sunday, May 13th, 2018" • Bruno Nascimento - "untitled image"