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LESSON ON DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE
(2-1/2 to 4 hours)



- Lesson Overview (goals, skills, time, etc.)

- Materials and Preparation (allow 10 minutes)

- Directions:

Section A: Introduction to Race (30-40 minutes)
Section B: Racial Discrimination: Influences and Impacts (74-150 minutes; optional homework)
Section C: Positive Steps Against Racial Discrimination (45 minutes plus additional time for projects)


 

 

 

 

LESSON OVERVIEW

Description

This lesson explores discrimination based on race. The lesson is in three sections, each framed by guiding questions:

A. Introduction to Race (What is race? What are my beliefs about racial differences?)

B. Racial Discrimination: Influences and Impacts (What are some of the causes and impacts of racial discrimination?)

C. Positive Steps Against Racial Discrimination
(What is being done to address Racial discrimination? What can I do?)

Section A begins with an experiential activity to help students reach a common definition of race. Students then reflect on their beliefs about racial differences and the sources of these beliefs. These activities reinforce the concepts of stereotypes and biases presented in Lesson 1. In Section B, students explore some of the causes and impacts of racial discrimination. First, students examine the historical use of stereotypes to support racist beliefs. Next, students investigate institutional racism by creating an illustrated timeline of apartheid in South Africa and/or an illustrated timeline of the Holocaust in Europe. Section C presents ways to combat racial discrimination at the international, local, and individual levels. A variety of activities and project ideas are provided.

Objectives. After this lesson, students will be able to…

· articulate their beliefs about racial differences.

· define race and its significance as a social group.

· describe the link between racist beliefs and actions using historical examples.

· define institutional racism and provide examples of how it is supported through economic, political, social, and cultural means.

· provide examples of positive actions to combat racial discrimination at the individual, community, and international levels

· plan, carry out, and evaluate their own actions to combat racial discrimination
 
Assessment

· A journal rubric is provided to assess students' journal responses throughout the lesson. You can give the rubric to students ahead of time if desired.

· The activities in Section B yield discussion questions, a timeline, and other products for evaluation. Group work can be evaluated using the Groupwork Observation Checklist.

· The activities in Section C provide opportunities for evaluation through exhibit or portfolio.

Opportunities for student self-assessment are also included.
Concepts

race; institutional racism; discrimination through economic, cultural, and political means; scapegoating; dehumanization; apartheid; segregation; oppression; resistance; boycott; civil rights; civil disobedience; Holocaust; genocide
 
Consider students' previous knowledge

Students may believe that racism is limited to individual actions; they may be unfamiliar with the concept of institutional racism which occurs when racism is supported by governmental policies and laws. In addition, students may not realize that people of all colors have worked to dismantle racism. This lesson will clarify the institutional nature of racism and ways people organize for change.
Skills

discussing; active listening; respecting others; working in small groups; self-evaluation; document analysis; planning, implementing, and evaluating actions

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MATERIALS AND PREPARATION

Print and make one copy of these handouts for each student

· Students will need their journals and the handout of definitions. They may already have these from previous lessons.
· the handouts for Introduction to Race (used in Section A)
· the handout Beliefs Underlying Racism (Used in Section B)
· the handout Introduction to Apartheid and/or the handout Introduction to the Holocaust (used in Section B)
· the handout Positive Steps Against Racial Discrimination (used in Section C.)

· the handout Apartheid Timeline and/or the handout Holocaust Timeline. Cut them apart as directed.

 
Additional Preparations and Materials

· If possible, gather additional resources about apartheid and the Holocaust. Look for resources that contain pictures as well as information about how people resisted institutional racism in these instances. Books in your school library or the websites below may be helpful.
· a globe or map of the world· materials for drawing: unlined paper, crayons, colored pencils, etc.
· If possible, gather census data on the racial make-up of your community, region, or country.
 

Selected websites on racial discrimination

· A set of links on racial discrimination.
· International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
· A list of documents and treaties developed by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.
· An overview of different types of discrimination and international efforts to combat it.
· Primary source documents on Africa.
· Documents from the African National Congress.
· Documents of the UN in the struggle against Apartheid.
· Overview of South African history.
· UN historical images of Apartheid in South Africa.
·
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust: An overview of the people and events of the Holocaust through photographs, documents, art, music, movies, and literature.
·   Holocaust Learning Center and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies
Prepared by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
· YIVO Institute for Jewish Research -- Some photos from YIVO's vast archive of Holocaust images.
· iEARN's Holocaust/Genocide Project: The Holocaust/Genocide Project is an international, nonprofit, Internet project focusing on the study of the Holocaust and other genocides.
· The History Place (Holocaust Timeline): Created and maintained by The History Place, this timeline summarizes the major events of the Holocaust and is an effort to be "a complete chronicle of Nazi persecution of the Jews with over 150 photos and text."
· Holocaust & Jewish Studies Sites
· We Are Family: Educating our Children for a Safer World --Prepared by Court TV. The resource guide offers classroom activities and tools for teaching and learning about the critical issues of diversity and acceptance.
· Voices of the Holocaust
This web resource consists of oral history testimonies gathered from Jewish men and women who came to live in Britain. These testimonies are personal, individual, true stories, which describe life during the Holocaust.
 

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DIRECTIONS
(Note: It is highly recommended that you do the activities in the order listed.)

Section A: Exploring Race (30-45 minutes; optional extension) Guiding questions: What is race? What are my beliefs about racial differences?

Before you begin: Establish a safe climate. Race is a highly charged topic, and students may feel some reluctance to discuss it openly. To help establish a safe climate, ask the students what they need to feel comfortable. The classroom guidelines provide a basic list of suggested behaviours that you can use to establish a framework for discussing this topic. Students can add their own ideas on how to create a safe environment for discussing these issues. Or, if you have already used these guidelines in other lessons, review them again before beginning this lesson.
 

1. Defining Race (10 mins)
Note: In this activity, students will be asked to group themselves by arbitrary physical categories you read (i.e., people with long fingernails/people with short fingernails). Before you begin, clear a large space in the room for students to move around and change groups.

· Distribute the Introduction to Race handout and have students complete the question at the top (How would you define race?).

· Have students verbally share their definitions of race. Write main ideas on the board. Point out similarities and differences. Explain that you want to come to a common understanding of race to use throughout the lesson.

· Clear space in the class. Have half the class stand on one side and half on the other. The students should be in a line facing each other.

· As you read the following pairs of characteristics, instruct students to move to the right side of the room if the first trait best describes them, and to the left side of the room if the second trait best describes them:

-people with long fingernails/people with short fingernails
- people with hair lighter than a paper bag; people with hair darker than a paper bag- people who are double
-jointed; people who are not double-jointed
- people who are taller than 5'5''; people who are shorter than that
- people who can bend over and touch their toes; people who can't(You can add other categories if desired.)

· Have students to return to their seats. Ask them what they think the point of the activity was. (Possible response: It had no point.) Ask if the categories mentioned are a logical way to group people. (Students will likely respond that they aren't.)

· Further emphasize the senselessness by asking what it would be like if society discriminated against people based on these categories. What if, for example, people who could not touch their toes were deemed less intelligent than those who could? Or if people with long fingernails were prohibited from owning property? Would it be fair? Would there be any justification?

· Direct students' attention back to the Introduction to Race handout. As a class, read the definition of race and accompanying paragraphs. Points to emphasize:

- Race refers to differences in skin tone, hair texture, and facial features. Racial differences are a normal and natural part of humanity that contribute to our uniqueness.
- Because people can be grouped by any number of physical differences (such as the ones in the category), race is an arbitrary and invented way to group people.
- Throughout history, people have used racial differences as the basis of discrimination.

(Note: Some of ideas are also presented in Lesson 1 in the reading "Understanding Discrimination." You may wish to review this reading with the class at this time.)

· If desired, continue with the next activity, which has students articulate the messages they have received about race from the media, their families, and other sources. This activity will reinforce the concept of stereotypes from Lesson 1.

 

2. Students reflect on their beliefs about race and the sources of these beliefs (20-30 minutes) Note: For this activity, students will continue working with the "Introduction to Race" handout from Activity 1.

· Direct students' attention to Activity 2 on the handout. As noted, have students work individually to complete the table. (They are to list images that come to mind when then think about people of their race and other races, the associated values or judgments, and the sources of their beliefs. Some students may feel more comfortable talking about beliefs in the third person; for example, "What do people think about this group?" Modify as you see fit.). Allow 3-5 minutes to fill out the handout.

· Depending on the level of trust and safety in the class, you can adjust the ensuing discussion for different levels of personal disclosure as described below:

For a higher level of personal disclosure: After students complete the table individually, have them share responses in groups of three. Review the discussion guidelines provided. (Students should use "I" statements; to speak honestly; to consider the impacts of their words; and to listen without asking questions or denying another students' experiences.) Emphasize that the point of the exercise is to bear witness to others' experiences, not to discuss and debate them. After students share in groups, rejoin the class as a whole and have volunteers share key insights.

For a lower level of personal disclosure: Students can use the third person to talk about this topic instead of using "I" statements (e.g., "What do people think about this group?") Or lead a class discussion on students' responses to column c. only - the sources of their beliefs.

Regardless of the discussion option you choose, place special emphasis on column c., the sources of beliefs. Have the class generate a list of these sources (ex: the media, school, peers, family, personal experience). Through the discussion, emphasize the following points: (Note: These points are covered in the Understanding Discrimination reading from Lesson 1. If desired, you can have students review this reading in class or as homework.)

- We are not born with any beliefs about racial differences. Everything we think or believe is learned throughout our lifetime.
- Sources of our beliefs about racial groups include the media, school, peers, family, and our own experiences. These sources are powerful influences on how we think about race.
- None of these sources provides a complete and accurate knowledge of other people. Some sources may provide stereotypes and negative images.
- Learning more about other people is one of the best ways to dismantle stereotypes. (Explain that this will be covered more later in the lesson.)

· As noted on the handout, have students reflect on what they have learned, and ask them to generate their thoughts or feelings about the learning process. Emphasize the following points:

- Race is a complicated topic and can bring up many kinds of feelings, including anger, guilt, fear, and confusion.
- Learning about race is a journey. The road can be difficult at times.
- Learning about why racism happens and what to do about it can help turn negative feelings into empowerment and positive action.

· Ask students for suggestions on how to support each other during the journey. Re-emphasize the classroom guidelines.

· Close the section by thanking the students for their work. Explain that the next section will help students deepen their understanding of racial discrimination. Then continue to Section B.

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SECTION B: Racial Discrimination: Influences and Impacts

(90-120 minutes) Guiding questions: What are some of the causes
and impacts of racial discrimination?
 

1. Students explore the beliefs that underlie racism (15-20 minutes)

· Distribute the handout Beliefs Underlying Racism. Direct students' attention to the two sets of pictures at the top. As noted, have students study the examples and respond (orally or in writing) to the questions provided. The questions and responses are provided below:

1. What comparisons are being made? (Ex. 1 compares Africans to apes; Ex. 2 compares Jews to rats.)
2. Are the comparisons favourable or unfavourable? (unfavourable)
3. What do you think is the purpose of making these comparisons? (To dehumanize people. By portraying Jews and Africans as less than human, the creators of the images also send the message that they are superior.)
4. Look at the year each example was created. What was going on at the time that may help explain the purpose of the image? (Ex. 1 was created during time when Europe was colonizing Africa and the US was engaged in slavery. Ex. 2 was created during the Nazi era. These images help justify the exploitation of Africans and Jews during these periods.)

· After discussing the questions, read the paragraphs under the images (up under Activity 2). These paragraphs provide more background on the use of imagery to dehumanize others. Emphasize the following:

- A false belief in the superiority on one's own race is the cornerstone of racism.
- Everyone is hurt by racism. Dehumanizing others can only happen if we shut down part of our own humanity. Maintaining a hateful attitude toward others is destructive to everyone.

· To end the activity, have students respond to the reflection questions at the bottom of the handout. You can use the questions for a discussion, have students respond in their journals, or both.

 

2. Exploring Institutional Racism: The case of apartheid and the Holocaust (60- 90 minutes per case study)
Note: This activity requires two handouts for each case study. Each case study includes an Introduction and Timeline. Before class, print and make one copy of the appropriate introduction(s) and timeline(s) for each student. Cut the Timeline(s) you are using as instructed on the handout.

Directions for using Apartheid handouts

· Begin the activity by circulating pictures from the apartheid era (in books or from the websites listed). Ask students to describe what they see, and if they know when and where the pictures are from.

· Distribute the handout Introduction to Apartheid. As a class, read the introduction. Have students generate any previous knowledge they may have about South Africa or apartheid.

· Ask students if they can think of other examples of racial segregation (e.g., ghettos in Nazi Germany; the removal of Native Americans from their homelands to reservations.) Emphasize that apartheid in South Africa is an example of a minority group (whites) dominating the majority (Africans, Asians, and people of mixed backgrounds.)

· Break students into eight groups. Give each group one of the eight selections of the Apartheid Timeline. (The directions for the timeline activity are on the Introduction to Apartheid handout. Make sure students keep this handy.)

· Explain that each selection describes different events in the history of apartheid. Together, the selections create a timeline spanning almost 400 years. Have students pass their selection around in their groups and identify the years covered.

· Tell students that their selection may describe examples of discrimination, examples of resistance, or both. Choose a student to read aloud a paragraph from his/her selection. Ask the class to identify whether the paragraph describes an example of discrimination, resistance, or both. (Acts of resistance that failed or were prevented are also relevant.) As you discuss the example, use words students will encounter in their reading: oppress, protest, persecute, dominate, resist. Clarify vocabulary as needed (for example "Act" meaning law).

· Direct students' attention to the "Directions for the Timeline" on the "Introduction" handout. Review the directions (summarized here): Working within their groups, students take turns reading passages from their selection, and identify examples of discrimination and/or resistance. Students then create at least two illustrations of the events described on their selection and write a summary incorporating key information. The goal is for students to become experts on their selection in order to present their drawings and summaries to the class.

· Allow at least 30 minutes for groups to work. Circulate to provide assistance as needed. Make sure groups have identified and are illustrating examples of discrimination and/or resistance, including acts of resistance that failed or were prevented due to repression.

· When groups are done, have them present their work chronologically, from the earliest to the most recent events. In their presentations, have students discuss examples of discrimination and how people resisted. Have students take questions from the class. Ask additional questions or provide additional commentary as necessary. Allow about 3 minutes for each group to keep the process running.

· When the timeline is complete, lead a discussion focusing on the systematic nature of racism and the methods people use to resist it. Use the "analysis and discussion" questions on the "Introduction to Apartheid" handout to guide the discussion. (Students can complete these for homework if desired.) These questions are provided here:

- Give examples of discrimination carried out through economic, social, and political institutions.
- What prevented the early resistance efforts of Africans from being effective?
- Describe some key acts of resistance against apartheid.
- Describe the role of the international community in ending apartheid.
- Describe some of the economic tactics used to protest apartheid.

· Emphasize the following points during the discussion:

- Apartheid used economic, social, and political institutions as tools of discrimination. Institutional racism is systematic and influences every aspect of society. Individual acts of discrimination merely support larger patterns of exclusion.
- Efforts to resist discrimination are more difficult when people are denied access to representation, education, political power, respect, etc.
- People of all colors from all over the world worked to end apartheid. In South Africa, black and white students opposed it. Around the world, many countries used boycotts and other economic strategies to protest it.
- International organizations, including the UN, also had a role.
- Use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to describe the rights that were violated by apartheid.

· To end the activity, have students write in their journal about how their understanding of racism has changed.

Directions for using Holocaust handouts

· Begin the activity by circulating pictures from the Holocaust era (in books or from the websites listed). Ask students to describe what they see, and if they know when and where the pictures are from.

· Distribute the handout Introduction to the Holocaust. As a class, read the introduction. Have students generate any previous knowledge they may have about the Holocaust or antisemitism.

· Ask students if they can think of other examples of racial segregation (e.g., apartheid; the removal of Native Americans from their homelands to reservations.)

· Break students into eight groups. Give each group one of the eight selections of the Holocaust Timeline. (The directions for the timeline activity are on the Introduction to the Holocaust handout. Make sure students keep this handy.)

· Explain that each selection describes different events in the history of the Holocaust. Together, the selections create a timeline spanning almost 1700 years. Have students pass their selection around in their groups and identify the years covered.

· Tell students that their selection may describe examples of discrimination, examples of resistance, or both. Choose a student to read aloud a paragraph from his/her selection. Ask the class to identify whether the paragraph describes an example of discrimination, resistance, or both. (Acts of resistance that failed or were prevented are also relevant.) As you discuss the example, use words students will encounter in their reading: e.g., antisemitism, Holocaust, genocide. Clarify vocabulary as needed.

· Direct students' attention to the "Directions for the Timeline" on the "Introduction" handout. Review the directions (summarized here): Working within their groups, students take turns reading passages from their selection, and identify examples of discrimination and/or resistance. Students then create at least two illustrations of the events described on their selection and write a summary incorporating key information. The goal is for students to become experts on their selection in order to present their drawings and summaries to the class.

· Allow at least 30 minutes for groups to work. Circulate to provide assistance as needed. Make sure groups have identified and are illustrating examples of discrimination and/or resistance, including acts of resistance that failed or were prevented due to repression.

· When groups are done, have them present their work chronologically, from the earliest to the most recent events. In their presentations, have students discuss examples of discrimination and how people resisted. Have students take questions from the class. Ask additional questions or provide additional commentary as necessary. Allow about 3 minutes for each group to keep the process running.

· When the timeline is complete, lead a discussion focusing on the systematic nature of racism and the methods people use to resist it.
(Learn more about the resistance from testimonies collected by the British Library.) Use the "analysis and discussion" questions on the "Introduction to the Holocaust" handout to guide the discussion. (Students can complete these for homework if desired.) These questions are provided here:

- Give examples of discrimination carried out through economic, social, and political institutions.
- Describe some key acts of resistance against the Nazis.
- What prevented the resistance efforts from being more effective?
- Give examples of scapegoating and explain why you think it was directed at the Jews?

- Use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to describe the rights that were violated by the Nazis.

· Emphasize the following points during the discussion:

- The Nazis used economic, social, and political institutions as tools of discrimination. Institutional racism is systematic and influences every aspect of society. Individual acts of discrimination merely support larger patterns of exclusion.
- Efforts to resist persecution and discrimination are more difficult when people are denied civil, economic, and social rights.
- In opening remarks to a seminar on antisemitism, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that "the United Nations emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust" and that "this genocide was the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" that was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948.
-
A report issued by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia titled Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003 documented a serious increase in acts of antisemitism in some parts of Europe. While not limited to Europe, antisemitism is still a global problem that needs to be addressed.

· To end the activity, have students write in their journal about how their understanding of racism has changed.

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SECTION C: Positive Steps Against Racial Discrimination (45 minutes; optional projects) Guiding questions: What is being done to combat racial discrimination? What can I do?

This section provides ways for students to combat against racial discrimination at three levels: 1. personal, 2. community, and 3. international. The activities are described below; clicking on each will take you to the relevant student handouts. The directions for the activities are self-explanatory and are provided on the students' handouts, as are websites for on-line projects.
 

Activity 1: Personal Actions: Students identify personal steps they can take to address racial discrimination. Sample ideas are provided.

Activity 2: Using Skits to practise Responding to Racist Remarks: Students write and perform skits to demonstrate positive ways to respond to discriminatory remarks.

Activity 3: Learning About Community Efforts to Improve Race Relations:
Students interview a representative from a community organization involved in anti-racism work.

Activity 4: Becoming Involved in a Global Network of Young People: Students can participate in on-line projects with classrooms around the world. Websites are provided.

Activity 5: Creating a Racism-Free Society at the International Level:
To help answer the question, "What would a racism-free society look like?", students illustrate excerpts from the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Students then conduct research to identify if their country has ratified and/or implemented the Convention.

 

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