An activity that highlights racial microaggressions using a short satirical video and then discussion

Materials & Media Required:

Set Up Required:

  • Set up the video and do a visual/sound check

Goals & Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will be able to identify and describe at least one type of racial microaggression
  • Participants will be able to discuss at least three ways that Asian Americans are often stereotyped and discussed within the context of race and racism
  • Participants will be able to identify one reason why folks often perpetuate microaggressions
  • Participants may be able to identify the ways that their racial group or groups perceive or stereotype the Asian American community

Framing:

  • this activity is about microaggressions and the ways that Asian American individuals are stereotyped and perceived
  • we will start with a sketch comedy clip
  • from there, we will be having a short discussion about different elements in the clip
  • we encourage you to take notes on what you notice or what stands out to you in the clip

Process Steps & Talking Points:

  1. Watch the Youtube video.
  2. Lead a discussion (suggested discussion questions below) after finishing the clip.  The discussion could have many different focal points, and not all need to be covered in order for participants to get a lot out of the activity—so pick and choose what questions resonate with you or would resonate with the group.

Discussion Questions:

General

What are the first things that struck you about the clip?

Have you heard some of these types of interactions happen between folks before?

What is going on in the video?

What are the things that you heard that you felt were problematic or possibly racist?

Why do you think the man made the comments that he made? What was he trying to accomplish?

Do you think that connecting with others or wanting to relate is often behind microaggressions?

How do these microaggressions perpetuate or not perpetuate racism?

Asian American

What things did you hear that you feel were related specifically to how Asian Americans are perceived and stereotyped?

Do you think this is different than how we often talk about race or racism?

Are there other populations that face similar stories and assumptions made about them?

How does your racial community perceive Asian Americans? Is this perception different or similar to the dominant White lens used in this video?

Wrap Up:

As we move forward with the workshop (and also in our daily experiences), it is important for us to continue to consider how our small actions and assumptions of folks can impact them.  It is also important for us to consider that when we talk about race and racism, particularly within the US, that the conversation often centers around Whiteness and blackness and that it is important to consider how other people of color are also affected by racism.

Co-Facilitator Notes:

If you are going to be facilitating different sets of questions, it might be good to trade off with your co-facilitator on who facilitates what section.

Bring Your Style:

Since this activity can go in a lot of different directions, be choosy about what direction you bring, especially if you are time restricted.

Challenges & Tips:

When asking folks to talk about the biases of their racial group towards Asian Americans, this may be challenging. Some people might feel that they need to represent the ideas of their entire group.  Be tactful in how you present this and be able to explain why it is important to highlight the fact that different racial groups view each other differently.  It should be clearly communicated that no one person should be seen as a representative of their entire racial group.  Additionally, different racial groups may have different sets of assumptions or biases against each other.