As you open class today, ask your students to close their eyes and think about the people who surround them on a daily basis. As you ask them to picture different groups, pause to give them time to refocus per your instructions.
First, picture in your mind your family members (pause for 5 seconds), your neighbors (pause), people you pass on your way to school (pause). Now think about your school environment. Create a mental picture of the teachers you interact with (pause), and the students who surround you in your various classes (pause).
After a few moments, ask your teens to open their eyes, think about their close circle of friends, and then discuss the following:
- Are your close friends similar to you in age and ethnicity, or do you hang out with a diverse group of friends? What do you think contributes to that? (Answers will vary. Ask your students to list other factors that play into those decisions—similar likes/dislikes, etc.)
Let’s say that you are walking down a hallway at school and someone near you drops a book or a folder filled with loose papers.
- Do you think you might stop to help them, or would you ignore the situation and keep on walking? (Answers may vary. At this point, students may indicate that it would be more a matter of whether they were due in class or had the time to help. Don’t try to influence the responses one way or the other.)
- What do you think might influence your decision? (Encourage your students to talk about biases that may or may not have an effect on their choice.)
- What emotions come into play when you must decide quickly whether or not to respond to someone in need? (Surprise, fear, embarrassment, pride, genders, etc.)
See what you think about this CNN report about subconscious racial bias in children, and we’ll talk about it afterward.
Share the following video [3:54]:
Subconscious racial bias in children
Following the video, encourage teens to share their thoughts and insights. Resist offering commentary based on your own opinions, but be sure your teens discuss the findings that racial bias was found across the board in all ethnicities.
Jesus had to make hard choices regarding the diverse groups of people that He encountered as He was traveling through the areas in and around His home turf in Nazareth. You may be surprised by how He handled all of that. Let’s get into God’s Word and check it out.