Related human rights
Freedom of religion, sensitive social groups, freedom of self-expression, discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, etc.
The peer educator must be well-prepared for the facilitation of this activity – read a lot about the construction of stereotypes, be able to react to the audience’s opinions.
During the first 10 minutes the peer educator reminds the audience what critical thinking means, i.e. that it is thinking about one’s own thinking, a systematic effort to disclose imposed generalizations and stereotypes on who are ‘we’ and who are ‘they’, what is ‘normal’, what is ‘abnormal’, what makes ‘them’ what ‘they’ are and why ‘they’ are the way ‘they’ are. The peer educator emphasizes that our understanding of what is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ is shaped, supported and preserved by the media. You may show an example of media construction (a photo and a headline actively constructs the ‘other’ (‘us’ and ‘them’).
Study: The World Is Worried that the Number of Immigrants is Too High
This construction is particularly stigmatizing with regards to the sensitive groups of the society, decreasing their possibilities of participating in the society’s life as equals. In order to resist stereotype construction, it is necessary to deconstruct them. How do we do that? Divide the participants into 4 groups. Each of the group is given a task – to search reliable sources online to deny stereotypes about
THE ROMA PEOPLE
PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES
The participants are given 20 min for this exercise. In the remaining 30 minutes, the participants must introduce the stereotypes and debunk them using reliable resources.
The facilitator, commenting the task is given a responsible role to highlight important stereotypes and help deconstruct them. Sometimes participants replace negative stereotypes with positives ones (e.g. ‘Gay people are creative’, ‘Roma people are singers and dancers’, ‘Jewish children are exceptionally talented’), so it is necessary to be ready to talk about stereotypes as a whole, explaining that stereotypes simplify the reality, making it not as comprehensive and rich, which may bring negative outcome.
● What sources have you used to search for information to disprove stereotypes?
● Have you encountered these stereotypes before?
Further suggestions, additional material
It may be useful to include stereotypes about other groups of the society, such as REFUGEES, JEWS, PEOPLE OF DARKER COMPLEXION, etc.
Other ways of using the material by peer educators
This task can be continued by searching for the construction of the ‘other’, ‘alien’, ‘not us’ social groups in the media headlines.