Featured Activity Kit: What Stands Between Us: Diversity Conversation Flashcards

These conversation cards are designed to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions. What Stands Between Us: Diversity Conversation Flashcards probe into the experiences of racialized and non-racialized individuals by asking questions that many might be afraid to ask or acknowledge in relation to race, discrimination, and privilege. They spark important and timely conversations, expanding students’ engagement with issues that are often addressed during Black History Month by fostering meaningful reflection on these issues as they manifest in students’ own lives.

The flashcards are divided into four categories: Questions by EuroAmericans for People of Colour, Questions by People of Colour for EuroAmericans, Questions that EuroAmericans Would Like to be Asked, and Questions that People of Colour Would Like to be Asked.

A classroom activity involving these flashcards might divide the class into two groups; as these groups face each other, they take turns drawing cards and posing the questions on the cards to the other group. Members of that other group then try to answer, with individuals identifying as either a Person of Colour or a EuroAmerican answering the questions as respectively directed. The class can then share their thoughts and feelings more broadly in response to these questions and answers, generating a greater awareness of the issues and emotions that are faced and experienced by individuals within these differently racialized groups.

Sample questions for individuals identifying as a Person of Colour include:

  • “What have you been through?”
  • “Have you ever felt uncomfortable because of your colour or ethnicity?”
  • “What are you most proud of about your ethnicity?”

Questions for EuroAmerican-identifying individuals include:

  • “What does it mean to you when you hear the word ‘racist’?”
  • “How do you feel about being with people who are different from you?”
  • “Do you realize the power you have and what you are doing with it?”

The conversations sparked by these cards will be deep and emotionally impactful; as such, this activity is recommended for older students. Many questions in this set are provocative and responses may be emotionally charged. Recognizing the inability for issues of race to be treated with neutrality is a part of this challenging learning activity, and care should be taken to exercise this activity with mindfulness and sensitivity. Teaching support can be found in many related academic and pedagogical books found in the OISE Library, including Deconstructing Privilege: Teaching and Learning as Allies in the Classroom edited by Kim A. Case, and  Promoting Diversity and Social Justice [electronic resource], by Diane J. Goodman. More research into these issues can be found in titles like Educators on Diversity, Social Justice, and Schooling: A Reader, edited by Sonya E. Singer and Mary Jane Harkins.

The What Stands Between Us: Diversity Conversation Flashcards kit comes with one guide and 338 question cards. It is currently on display on the third floor Display and Play area of the OISE Library. For more diversity-based activities, look through the OISE K-12 Manipulative Database or browse the third floor of the library.

About Chelsea Humphries

Graduate Student Library Assistant | Master of Information (LIS) 2020, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
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