Misinformation and disinformation has become a deciding factor on how we manage to tolerate other individuals. Often false information is shared with the aim of stirring intolerance, and these actions of intolerance become root-causes for violence.
The objective of this activity is to encourage participants to reflect on how stereotypes can accelerate the spread of misinformation and disinformation. It also provides an opportunity for participants to challenge stereotypes by providing space for others to share their views and perspectives.
- Prepare blank index cards/piece of papers and distribute one card per participant.
- Request the participant to write their name on top of the index card.
- Ask participants to think individually about the cultural/social group or groups to which they belong. Each person may belong to multiple groups. Encourage them to think about the groups they belong to based on ethnicity, religion, gender, social class, language, etc.
- Instruct participants to write the names of the groups which they associate with, on the provided index card.
- The facilitator should then collect these cards and post them on a wall around the room to create a “Word Picture” of the group’s diversity.
- Give about three minutes for participants to walk around and go through what others have written.
- Divide the participants into groups of four.
- Request each participant to think individually about one group that they strongly associate with, or that they feel has a great influence on them.
- Ask them to reflect on the three questions listed below:
- What is a strength that you have gained from being a part of the group you identified?
- What is one thing about your group that you would like to change?
- What is one thing that you never want to hear said again about your group?
- In small groups, ask participants to share with their subgroup their responses to these questions, taking no more than five minutes per person.
- Remind participants that they have the right to ‘pass’ or not speak if they choose.
- Move into plenary for the discussion session.
- What was your reaction to this activity? Was it comfortable or uncomfortable for you?
- Did you learn anything new or surprising about members of various groups (e.g. ethnic, religious, cultural, gender, etc.)?
- Optional: What are some of the common stereotypes about various groups that others hold? How might some of the stereotypes you discussed contribute to spread of misinformation or disinformation about those groups?
- Optional: Does misinformation and disinformation create more stereotypes?
- How are these stereotypes causing intolerance towards those groups?