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Activity to Examine the Impact of Stereotypes

(30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the group)

Purpose of activity:
This activity will help your group start thinking about how stereotypes affect how you think
about each other and work together.

To allow participants to self identify racially/ethnically/culturally and reflect on how stereotypes

affect them and others

To give participants an opportunity to start talking about stereotypes

Materials needed:



Chart paper (1 piece)


This is a brief introductory activity about race that leads to deeper conversations. This activity
helps participants reflect on how stereotypes affect them and allows them to hear how
stereotypes affect others.

Think about how you and your co-facilitator will model your three words for how you describe
your group and your three words for how others describe your group.

On a flip chart, draw a vertical line. On one side write, You and on the other side write,

Part 1: Group activity (10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the group)
1. Give each participant two post-its and a pen/pencil.
2. Ask a few people to explain what stereotypes are. Then read the definition: Stereotypes are
images, beliefs, or assumptions about a group of people without taking into consideration a
persons individual differences.

You can also write the definition on a piece of chart paper and hang it up where everyone
can see it.
3. Model the exercise slowly, step-by-step for the participants before you ask them to do it. Use
your own identity and descriptions when modeling the exercise. Ask them to put their racial,
ethnic, or cultural group at the top of both post-its. Its however they define themselves. (For
example, I consider myself _Latina__.)
a. On one post-it, write three words you would use to describe your group. (For example, I
consider myself _Latina_. Three words I would use to describe my group are _proud_,
_family-oriented_, and _hard-working_.)
b. On the other post-it, write three words others might use to describe your group. (For
example, others describe my group as _illegal_, _uneducated_, and _have lots of
c. Let everyone know that whatever words come to their mind are okay. People can use
positive words or negative words if they think those words best sum up their thoughts.
4. After everyone has had time to write their answers, go around the room and ask people to read
their answers one at a time. First have them share how they self-identified, then how they view
their group and then how others view their group. As they read their answers, participants should
get up and tape their post-its to the chart paper on the appropriate sides. Participants can continue
reading their post-its even when someone is getting up to put theirs on the chart paper.
Part 2: Debrief (20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the group)
As a large group have a conversation using these questions:
1. How did you feel answering the questions? Was it hard? Was it easy?
2. What did you notice as people shared? Were there any similarities or differences?
3. How have other peoples stereotypes about your racial or ethnic group impacted you during your
4. What will you do in the future to try to avoid using stereotypes about other people? What can we
do as a team?