AFRICAN STEREOTYPES - LET'S BE FAIR
Author: David Turner
Grade Level: Early Elementary
1. The students will see that stereotypes are unfair and will contribute to a bulletin board encouraging the stopping of stereotypes.
2. The students will be able to evaluate pictures and statements about Africa as "fair" and "unfair."
1. Statements (created by teacher) about living in Utah (or state of residence) that shows life from one person's point of view. For example, "This is where Utahns live."- captioning a picture of your home; "This is where Utahns work." - with a picture of one type of workplace, etc.
2. Pictures of Africa showing all different aspects of life in Africa.
1. Anticipatory Set: Write on the board, in capital letters, the following statements:
GIRLS ARE BETTER READERS AND WRITERS THAN BOYS.
GIRLS ARE CLEANER THAN BOYS.
GIRLS LISTEN BETTER THAN BOYS.
GIRLS ARE FUN TO BE AROUND.
BOYS ARE BETTER AT MATH THAN GIRLS.
BOYS CAN RUN FASTER THAN GIRLS.
BOYS ARE TALLER THAN GIRLS.
BOYS ARE FUN TO BE AROUND.
Discuss these statements as a class. Ask the students if they think they are fair statements. Ask them if they think they are always true. Point out examples that show that each statement has exceptions.
2. Define stereotypes: Statements about a group of people that are unfair and don't tell the whole truth.
3. "Let's see how fair you think these statements are about someone growing up in Utah." Share some one-sided statements about Utah. For example, "Everyone in Utah lives in a two bedroom apartment with a big tree and swing set out in front." "Everyone in Utah likes to eat at Burger King." "Everyone in Utah walks to school." "Everyone in Utah has red hair and glasses." "Everyone in Utah wears Nike shoes everyday." (You might even bring pictures of your own home and family to show what Utahns are like.) Discuss how harmful it can be to talk about an entire group of people by using one person's point of view. Emphasize how unfair it would be if somebody learned about Utah from these statements/pictures alone. "We all know about Utah because we live her. How can we learn about other places in the world; places that we may never see in person?"
4. "What do you think we would see if we went to Africa?" Allow response from students and record on chalkboard. Refer back to "Utah" discussion to prompt ideas for discussion.
5. Look back at list of Africa and ask, "Do you think that's true about everybody in Africa?"
6. Show pictures of Africa that show all parts of Africa and life there.
See background information including stop words and their substitutes so that we as educators do not perpetuate the use of stereotypes regarding Africa and its people.
7. Show pictures of Africa and make up a statement for each one. Have the students respond 'thumbs up' for fair representation and 'thumbs down' for unfair representation. For example, show a picture of a person in ceremonial clothes and state, "All people in Africa dress like this," or, show a picture of a house in Africa and state, "Some people live in homes made of clay and grass."
8. Have the students contribute to a class bulletin board titled, Just say "NO" to Stereotypes. Each child will contribute one idea to the board by writing it in a circle shape with a slash through it. For example, "Africa is one big jungle," or "Girls are better leaders."
1. Assess contributions to the bulletin board.
2. Assess responses to #7 above.
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