Responding to a Prejudiced Comment

Scott Plous, the developer of the invaluable, shares his 2000 publication of a successful classroom exercise to help students critically think about successful responses to combat prejudiced statements while adeptly encouraging them to practice such responses through a role-playing exercise.

Students interact in small groups of three or four, taking turns playing different roles as they address specific scenarios. Each student has the opportunity to play the role of someone making a prejudiced remark, of responding to a prejudice remark, and of observing the interaction and providing critical reflection on the effectiveness of the response.

Plous encourages facilitators to develop scenarios that will be effective for their groups, yet he offers to share his list of scenarios with those who contact him.

Within the exercise, the scenarios are offered as initial material. Participants are encouraged to develop new scenarios.

In the article linked above, Plous offers detailed instructions for how to introduce the activity and suggestions for leading a thoughtful class discussion following the activity.

Plous’s Understanding Prejudice website is highly recommended for it’s resources, including suggested reading and activities.

Plous, S. (2000). Responding to overt displays of prejudice: A role-playing exercise. Teaching of Psychology, 27, 198-200.