Stand Up For Diversity

GOAL: To highlight how some people have benefited from and others have been hurt by discrimination in our culture.

TIME REQUIRED: At least twenty minutes for this activity. It should be used as a part of a larger workshop on diversity, racism, or multiculturalism.


PHYSICAL SETTING: A room where people can both sit and stand comfortably.

PROCESS: This exercise can be somewhat threatening and is, therefore, best with a group that has had a lot of exposure to the topic of diversity or in which there is a high degree of safety.

Instructions. This exercise will be used to highlight some of the different experiences that each of us have had. It will point out differences in our cultural backgrounds as well as different experiences with discrimination. It will also point out that some of us have benefited from discrimination, whereas others have been hurt by discrimination.

As I read the following statements, I will ask you to stand up if the statement is true for you. If you are physically unable to stand, please identify that this is true for you in some other way. As people stand I would like you to remain silent but to look around and to see how many people in the group are standing and how many are sitting. As you look around silently, I would like you to pay attention to how you are feeling and to make note of your feelings in response to different statements.

Please stand up if...

Processing Questions

1. What were your feelings during this exercise?

2. Were there times when you felt good about standing up? Were there times when you felt uncomfortable when you stood up?

3. Were there times when it was difficult to stand up or when you chose not to stand when you could have?

4. Were there particular statements that affected you in a strong, personal way?

SOURCE: This exercise is a modified version of an exercise called Whites Stand Up presented by Paul Kivel and Victor Lewis of the Oakland Men's Project at the 17th National Conference on Men and Masculinity, July 1992, Chicago, IL. This exercise is also described in Men's Work, a book written by Paul Kivel (1992) and published by Hazelden Press / Ballentine. This outline was written by Jeff E. Brooks-Harris, Ph.D., Counseling and Student Development Center, University of Hawai'i at Manoa.