One of These Things is Not Not Like the Other

One of the assignments for my Introduction to Reconciliation class is what my co-professor and I call Experiential Dislocation.

It is important for students to increase their experiential knowledge of diversity by interacting with those who are different from themselves. Some people experience life as the minority on a daily basis. Therefore, to gain a greater sensitivity to how this feels, our students are required to attend one event during the quarter where the majority of people in attendance are different from them.

This could include (but is not limited to) activities such as:

  • Attending a church with a congregation of a predominately different racial or ethnic background.
  • Attending a Gay Pride parade, event, or rally.
  • Attending an event hosted by one of the multi-ethnic clubs on campus, such as International
  • Attend a concert, lecture, movie, play or other public forum featuring performers or speakers

After attending the event, students are required to write a 2-3 page paper describing their experience.  Students have to explain the event and then describe their experience by answering questions like: “How did you feel being in the minority?  What things both internally and externally contributed to you feeling this way?  In what ways were you caused to be aware of your difference?  Were there other people at the event you could identify with? How did they impact your experience? What have you learned about reconciliation as a result of this experience?”

What do you think of this exercise?  Have you ever done something like this?  What was it like for you?