Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege
- They will not be lectured or told what to believe.
- This is not an indoctrination.
- This is a participatory workshop that is intended to help guide all participants to better understanding and to address difficult issues.
What Is Social Justice? Setting a Stage for Discussion
- The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.
- A set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes a group of individuals or an institution or organization.
- Distinguishing characteristics.
- The condition of being the same with something described or asserted.
Everyone Has Many Identities
- An agent group has the power to define and name reality, and determine what is normal, real and correct.
- Differential and unequal treatment is institutionalized and systematic.
- Psychological colonization of the target group occurs through socializing the oppressed to internalize their oppressed condition.
- The target group’s culture, language and history is misrepresented, discounted or eradicated, and the dominant group culture is imposed.
- Oppression (the “ism’s”) happens at all levels, reinforced by societal norms, institutional biases, interpersonal interactions and individual beliefs.
- Individual — feelings, beliefs, values.
- Interpersonal — actions, behaviors and language.
- Institutional — legal system, education system, public policy, hiring practices, media images.
- Societal/Cultural — collective ideas about what is “right.”
- Most individuals are both a target and an agent of oppression, due to:
- Internalized subordination.
- Internalized domination.
- Because of these internalized factors, individuals have “unearned privilege.”
- Respect. Though this term is used widely, “respect” means different things to different people. Facilitators should ask their team what respect means to them.
- “I” Statements. It is critical to draw a line between individual experience and communal experience to prevent alienating someone whose experience may be different. When a member of the community speaks of personal experience or feelings, it is of utmost importance that he/she uses the “I” statement. Facilitators should encourage the participant to take responsibility for his/her own experience rather than projecting it onto fellow participants.
- One voice, all ears. When one person speaks, everyone else listens.
- Confidentiality. Each participant within the community needs to feel that he/she can trust that what is shared with peers will not be shared outside of the group. Though participants are encouraged to discuss what they have learned and share reflections on conversations, it is important to keep names and individual experiences private.
Icebreaker: Respect Activity
- The “Golden Rule.”
- Looking people in the eyes.
- Accepting/appreciating someone’s ideas, even when you don’t agree with them.
- Does everyone really want to be treated the same way you want to be treated?
- Is eye contact during conversation respectful in every culture?
- If someone’s ideas are oppressive, should we still respect them?
Activity One: Introduction Identity
- Who gave you your name? Why that name?
- Do you know the ethnic origin of your name?
- Do you have any nicknames? If so, how did you get them?
- What is your preferred name?
- Some individuals will include personal information in their stories and may be reticent to read them. Sometimes it is most effective for facilitators to share their stories first — making yourself vulnerable will make others more comfortable doing the same.
- Allow time for every participant to share (whether it be with the whole group or with their small group).
Activity Two: Understanding Privilege and Systems of Power
Activity Three: Gender and Sexuality
- How do the changes in the words’ structures change the connotation?
- How does familiarity affect our perception of a word’s correctness? For example, do we think the words “teachman” or “runman” are more correct than “teacher” or “runner”?
Activity Four: Race and Ethnicity
Activity Five: Intersectional Identity and Privilege
- I am a woman.
- I am a man.
- I identify as transgender.
- I am close with most of my family.
- I identify myself as Jewish.
- I identify myself as Buddhist.
- I identify myself as Christian.
- I identify myself as Muslim.
- I identify myself as Hindu, Sikh.
- I identify myself as Mormon.
- I identify myself as Baha’i’.
- I identify myself as agnostic or atheist.
- I identify myself as spiritual, but not religious.
- I have attended a religious or spiritual service that is not of my own religious and spiritual identity.
- I identify as a citizen.
- I identify as an immigrant.
- I identify as undocumented or have a close family member who is.
- I had “enough” growing up as a child (however you define “enough”).
- I had “more than enough” growing up as a child (however you define “enough”).
- I had “less than enough” growing up as a child (however you define “enough”).
- I have felt guilty by the amount of money my family has or by the size of my house or by what resources or belongings my family has (either too much or too little).
- I have experienced the death of a close family member or close friend.
- I have or someone in my family has a physical disability.
- I have a hidden disability (physical or learning).
- I am comfortable with my body.
- I have felt ashamed of myself because of my body, my intellect or education, or my family.
- I identify myself as Black or African-American.
- I identify myself as Asian or Asian-American.
- I identify myself as white or European.
- I identify myself as Pacific Islander.
- I identify myself as biracial, triracial, mixed-race or of combined heritage.
- I have had to check “other” on forms that ask my race or ethnicity.
- I have a close friend who is a person of color.
- I feel comfortable talking about race and ethnicity with people who are not of my race.
- Someone in my extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) lives in my house with my family.
- I or someone in my family is LGBTQ.
- I know someone who is LGBTQ.
- I am an ally to LGBTQ people.
- I or someone in my family has had a problem with alcoholism or drug abuse.
- I have felt discriminated against on the basis of my gender; race or ethnicity; religion; ability or disability; sexual orientation; or socio-economic status.
- I have felt guilt because of my gender; race or ethnicity; religion; ability or disability; sexual orientation; or socioeconomic status.
- What was your reaction to this exercise? How did you feel afterward?
- What did it feel like to step into the circle? What was it like not to be in the circle?
- What did you discover about those around you?
- Were you surprised about anything? Did anyone break a stereotype for you?
- Were there questions you were hoping would not be asked? Any you wish had been asked?
- How might such issues/factors affect your relationships?
- What did you learn about yourself or what did you think about that you’ve never thought about before?
- What role does privilege play in this? What role do pride and shame play?
Activity Six: Recap and Closing Activity
- WorldTrust Workshop Formats
- “When the Rules are Fair, but the Game Isn’t,” (PDF, 177 KB) by Muktha Jost, Edward L. Whitfield and Mark Jost
- “Black Males and Racism: Improving the Schooling and Life Chances of African Americans,” by University of Southern California School of Social Work Professor Terence Fitzgerald
- “Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future,” by USC Professor Manuel Pastor
- Grand Challenge: Achieve Equal Opportunities and Justice
- Peculiar Benefits