In class last Wednesday, we had the privilege of working with Mohammed Bey, the Director of Multicultural Education at Quinnipiac. We had an exercise that had us standing in someone else’s place, physically and mentally.
There were sheets of paper on the ground one for each person, and one empty one in the middle. The class was split in half, and faced each other while standing on the squares. We had to make it to the other side, but there was a catch. Some people could not talk, and a few people had to keep their head down the whole time. I had to keep my head down, and it was extremely difficult. I wanted to help people, but since I couldn’t lift my head, it was hard to look around to see what move to make next. In all, there were only a few people who were completely able to say and do what they wanted, and they pretty much took over the show. However, we could not successfully complete the task as a team, fully demonstration how difficult it is to try and communicate, and make it by when there is something obviously in the way.
I thought that this was an effective way to portray how diversity can set aside different people. The people who couldn’t talk represented people in the past who never had a voice. Although they could physically speak, their voice was never heard. That made it hard to have anything change in society.
I feel that would be so frustrating to have an idea or an opinion that you felt strong about where you couldn’t voice your opinion. In this exercise, the people who couldn’t put their head up also had trouble. I felt that if I had to put my head down every time I ran into someone that I shouldn’t it was so hard to communicate without lifting my head.
We learned that in South Africa during apartheid, if someone who wasn’t white passed someone white on the streets, they couldn’t look at them. I think that this is very ineffective for anything in society. Why would it matter if you looked at someone? It is just a way of transportation, so that you can see where you are going. I think that this exercise helped us to see how different diversities and races were treated and even still are treated.