Overview:This experiential activity explores exclusion and discrimination and can be adapted for use in many different contexts ex. schools, workplaces, and community organizations.
Share thoughts and feelings about exclusion and discrimination
Describe the relationship between exclusion and discrimination
Discuss the impacts of exclusion and discrimination for the given context
Discuss the impacts of exclusion and discrimination in society
Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes depending on the number of participants
This activity works best with 10-20 participants but can be done with more. Participants each receive a colored dot that is placed on their backs without them knowing the color of the dot they received. They are then instructed to form groups based on the color of their dot. They are not allowed to talk when forming their groups, but they can use gestures, pointing etc. As they do not know the color of the dot that they have been given, the formation of the groups requires that they work together. Once the groups have formed, there will be one or two participants standing alone as they do not have a dot that is the same color as anyone else. The facilitator then asks questions to debrief the activity.
Open area large enough to accommodate the participants; small adhesive dots of various colors with the non-stick backing intact, cut into individual dots.
This activity works best if there are a minimum 3 participants in each different color group as well as 1 or 2 other participants who have colors different from each of the groups. For example, if you have 10 participants use 3-blue, 3-green, 3-yellow and 1-white dot. Adjust the number of dots and groups depending on the number of participants but always have a minimum 3 participants per group and 1 participant that does not belong to a group. Try to avoid using both red and green dots to accommodate those who may be color blind.
1.Give each participant a colored dot with instructions not to show it to anyone. This can be done while they are seated around a table or standing in the open area. If you know participants well enough give some thought to which participants could be left out of a group as they should be capable of coping with exercise and articulating feelings of being “excluded”.
2. If seated, ask participants to peel the backing off the dot and place it on the back of the person to their left without showing it to them. If standing, ask them to put the dot on the back of someone standing close to them.
3.Tell the participants to form into groups based on the color of their dot WITHOUT SPEAKING. Gestures, signals and other forms of movement are permitted. Usually there are some helpful participants that assist in forming the groups by moving participants with the same colored dots together or apart.
4.Groups will form in a variety of ways. Some will mime by pointing to a dot and an item that is the same color. Some participants will physically move someone into their group or prevent others from entering the group. The groups will form fairly quickly.
5.Allow everyone time to observe the picture of several groups and one or two individuals who are all alone (or perhaps standing together).
6.Ask the participants the following debrief questions:
a.What happened and what do you see?
b.For those in a group:
i. How did you find your group?
ii. How did it feel when someone helped you find your group?
iii. How do you feel about being part of a group?
c.For those who aren’t in a group:
i. What are your thoughts and feelings of not being in a group?
ii. How do you feel about those who are part of a group?
d.For those who are in a group:
i. How do you feel about those who aren’t part of a group?
e.What does this activity tell us about exclusion and discrimination in__________? (the workplace, at school etc.)