To take notice of the diversity in the room, or of the diversity not in the room
To find that they have connections with everyone in the room, no matter how similar or how different they may have thought they were.
Inform that this is a silent exercise, no talking what-so-ever, even if you do not understand the question. The leader has a list of statements, such as:
- I play a musical instrument
- I’m the oldest in the family
- I have traveled to another country
- I am artistic
- I am the only child
- I am of Latino decent
- I’m the youngest in the family
- I come from a blended family
- I am of European decent
- I am an activist
The leader reads some of the statements, one at a time. At the end of each statement pause. Instruct that if the statement is true for an individual, they should step forward into the circle. Take a moment to have each participant look around who is in the circle with them and who is not. Then step back into the circle to listen for the next statement. When all of the questions have been read, invite the participants to add, one at a time, a statement that is true for you that hasn’t been mentioned already.
- What was this exercise like for you?
- What did you like about it?
- What didn’t you like about it?
- Was there anything that surprised you?
- What was it like to be the only one in the middle?
- What was it like to not have anyone go in the middle.
- What did folks notice about how people are classified just in the categorization of questions asked (race, gender, social grouping, etc.).
We have connections with everyone in the room, no matter how similar or how different they may have thought they were. It is both scary and empowering to be the only one who is different. Sometimes we don’t understand the ways in which people identify themselves. Our diversity is our richness. We can learn from each other in our differences. We shouldn’t be scared of differences, although sometimes it is unsettling to think we don’t have anything in common with a person, because inevitably, we do have something in common. We are all more similar than we think. When we classify people, we often put them in a “box” (they hang with stoners, they must do drugs and be a bad person). (Process note: you might have to clarify what you mean by “box”. A box is referring to a place where we might put someone that does not leave space for anything but our classification or interpretation of who they are.)