Difference, intercultural communication. Through this activity, participants explore their reactions when faced with behaviours and characteristics different from their own. This activity can serve as a great icebreaker too.
- Pinnies, or other material, of the colours corresponding with the Culture Cards; enough per participant
You can also explain that racism is a sensitive issue and needs to be dealt with by an audience that is willing to do all the things that enabled them to untangle the circle, otherwise your work will lead the group to get frustrated and confused.
- Divide the group into 6 smaller groups and hand out the coloured cardboard/name-tags and the photocopies with instructions for each culture. (If you have few participants, you may want to cut down the number of cultures and therefore the number of small groups.) Give each group time to go over their cultural instructions. Warn participants that the groups are not allowed to tell others about their cultural characteristics!
- Once everyone is ready, ask all participants to walk around the room and communicate with the members of the other cultures according to the instructions they have been given.
- After 10 minutes, or whatever time feels appropriate, ask everyone to stop.
- If the interaction/mixing exercise goes on too long, participants may get bored. If you see that the group gets the idea and are showing signs of slowing down, ask them to stop and initiate the discussion right away. Also, if rubbing noses is too intimate for the group, or certain members of the group, choose another salutation for the Yellow culture.
- There are no foreseeable safety concerns for this activity.
Initiate a discussion with the whole group using lead-in questions:
- What did you think about the game?
- How did you feel towards the members of the other cultures?
- Were you frustrated at any time? Why?
- Was there one culture in particular which was easy to communicate with?
- Was there one that was difficult to communicate with?
- What methods could you have used to allow you to better understand the members of the other cultures?
To wrap it up, you may want to say something like the following — in your own words: When faced with something we don’t know, we often tend to feel afraid or frustrated because we feel misunderstood within that specific situation. With this game for example, we were easily frustrated by the behaviour of others. We often experience similar situations at school or in our surroundings when we interact with people of different backgrounds than ours. Our challenge as youth is to find ways of communicating with each other instead of reacting negatively to each other and nourishing stereotypes and divisions.
Adapted from: The Kit: A Manual by Youth to Combat Racism Through Education. eXchange by YouthREX. https://exchange.youthrex.com/toolkit/kit-manual-youth-combat-racism-through-education
Originally published by UNA-Canada’s The Whole World…My World: Racism and Youth. Facilitator’s Guide to Workshops and Activities, Ottawa, 1998.