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POSITIVE STEPS AGAINST RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Use with Section C of the Lesson on Racial Discrimination


There are many things you can do to make your school or community more inclusive to people of all racial backgrounds. Here are a few suggestions:

· Activity 1: Personal actions.
· Activity 2: Use skits to practice responding to racist remarks.
· Activity 3: Learn about community efforts to improve race relations.
· Activity 4: Become involved in a global network of young people.
· Activity 5: Learn about efforts to create a racism-free society at the international level.


Activity 1: Personal Actions

Take the pledge against discrimination on the website for the World Conference Against Racism. (http://www.un.org/WCAR) The pledge reads as follows:

"As a young citizen of the world community, I stand with the United Nations against racism, discrimination, and intolerance of any kind. Throughout my life I will try to promote equality, justice and dignity among all people in my home, in my community, and everywhere in the world."


In addition to taking the pledge, develop concrete actions you can take to carry out the pledge. Suggestions:

· I can start examining my beliefs about other races. I can ask myself, "Is that really true, or could it be just a stereotype?"

· I can learn more about different racial groups by reading a book, seeing a movie, attending an event, or making friends with people from different backgrounds.

· I can invite someone from a different background to eat lunch with me.

· I can join groups at school that welcome people of all backgrounds, and avoid groups that exclude people.

· I can stop telling jokes or making fun of people based on their race.

· I can speak up when I hear people making fun of others based on their race. I can say "I feel hurt when you say ________ ." or "Do you know another joke that doesn't put people down?"


Activity 2: Use Skits to practice Responding to Racist Remarks

Speaking out against acts of discrimination can be difficult. Using skits is one way you can practice responding to racist remarks and other inappropriate comments.

· Working in groups of 3 or 4, write a brief skit about an act of discrimination you have witnessed or experienced. The skit could show someone making a stereotypical remark, putting someone down, or telling an inappropriate joke.

· Make sure the skit shows positive ways to respond to the situation. For example, you could have someone say, "That's just a stereotype." or "Do you know any other jokes that don't put people down?"

· Perform your skit for your classmates. Take suggestions from the audience about other ways to respond to discrimination.

 

Activity 3: Learn About Community Efforts to Improve Race Relations

In communities across the world, people are working to improve race relations through discussion groups, cultural exchanges, education programs, and other activities. Use your library or other community resource to find the names of groups that are working on such projects in your community. Interview someone from the organization about their work. Suggested questions:

· What are the goals of your work?
· What activities do you carry out to reach these goals?
· Who is involved in your work?
· What kind of impact has the group had?
· How can young people become involved?

 

Activity 4: Become Involved in a Global Network of Young People

The following websites provide ways to communicate and collaborate with students around the world:

· "On Being Myself" and "Voices of Youth: "On Being Myself" is a UN project that uses interviews to tell the experiences of ten young people living in Denmark as ethnic minorities. (http://www0.un.org/cyberschoolbus/gallery/obm/index.asp)

After reading their stories you can share your own experiences at Voices of Youth, UNICEF's bulletin board for young people. (http://www.unicef.org/voy/speakout/speakout.php)

· For additional links, activities, and resources on racism, visit this UN site: http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/iderd/orglinks.html

· Intercultural E-mail Classroom Connections (IECC): IECC helps classrooms link with partners in other cultures and countries for email pen-pal exchanges and other projects. (http://www.iecc.org)

· International Education and Resource Network (iEARN): The vision and purpose of iEARN is to enable young people to undertake projects designed to make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people. Schools must join the iEARN network to take part in the projects, which are described on its website. (http://www.iearn.org)

 


Activity 5: Learn About Efforts to Create a Racism-Free Society at the International Level.
You will do this activity in three steps, labeled a., b., and c.


a. Review policies created by the United Nations

The United Nations has developed several documents to address racial discrimination, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/d_icerd.htm). This Convention was adopted by the General Assembly 21 December 1965, and put into force 4 January 1969.

Read this excerpt from the Convention (Article 5, section d), which outlines civil rights guaranteed to everyone regardless of race:

· The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State;
· The right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country;
· The right to nationality;
· The right to marriage and choice of spouse;
· The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;
· The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
· The right to freedom of opinion and expression;
· The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;


b. Illustrate one of these rights

Choose one of the rights listed in the Convention and draw an illustration of this right in action. For example, what would it look like if people of all races were free to own property or to choose a spouse, regardless of race?

After you are done, you can put everyone's pictures together to create a gallery of a racism-free world.

If you developed drawings about racism from a previous activity, you can expand your gallery to include these pictures, too. One side of the gallery can show pictures of institutional racism, while the other shows a racism-free world. In addition, you can add text, writings, poems, and other works to your gallery.


c. Find out if your country has ratified this Convention.

A United Nations Convention is similar to a treaty: Member nations of the UN sign the treaty, but must bring it to their home governments for ratification (formal approval). Once a country ratified the Convention, it is bound to carry out the provisions in it.

Consult the Status of Ratifications of the Principal International Human Rights Treaties (http://www.unhchr.ch/pdf/report.pdf) to find out if your country has ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). (Note: You will need a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader (to open this file. If this program has not been installed on your computer you can download it from the Internet. Check with your teacher first.) (http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html)

This website gives an overview of all UN human rights conventions and tells whether each member nation of the UN has ratified them. The first page of the document lists all the UN conventions and their abbreviations. Subsequent pages list countries alphabetically, and show the ratification status of each treaty within each country. The information is set up in an easy-to-read table format with the abbreviations for the treaties at the top.


· If your country has ratified the treaty, when did this happen? What actions is your country taking to uphold it?

· If your country has not signed it, contact a member of your government to find out why.

 

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