High School

Pouncing on Prejudice!

Lesson 4 

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Spring 2019

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By: Paula Yingst 

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March 24, 2019

Lesson Focus:

Jesus confronts prejudice.

Bible Basis:

Luke 9:51-56; John 4:3-4, 39-42

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Teens will explore bias and personal prejudices and be challenged to follow Jesus’ example of working toward positive change.

Memory Verse:

God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
—Acts 10:34b-35

Step 1:

Teens will explore bias and personal prejudices and be challenged to follow Jesus’ example of working toward positive change.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

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.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Whiteboard and marker
  • Index cards
  • Pens/pencils

We’ve talked about different kinds of discrimination today. Let’s list on the whiteboard some of those specifics and their possible origins. (Hand the marker to one of your students and ask them to write a type of bias on the whiteboard. Continue this with other volunteers until ideas have been exhausted. These may include race, ethnicity [country of origin], age, special needs, annoying personalities, height, weight, fashion preferences, tendencies toward mood swings, anger issues, fear for personal safety, eccentric passions [like “geeks” and “Goths”], and if a person is new or unfamiliar and has no friends.)

Now that you’ve become aware of these biases, let’s think back to the CNN report that we viewed at the beginning of the lesson.

  • Is it possible to honestly examine your own actions and words for traces of bias? Explain. (Encourage open-minded discussion.)
  • Is it possible to make changes in the responses that are usually decided by your sin nature?

Ask the Lord to help you be prepared for the next time you notice someone who seems different from you is in need of help. Ask Him for a prompt to respond in a Christlike way rather than a response brought about by habit, subconscious prejudice, or your sin nature. If—at the moment you noticed someone in need—you could immediately imagine Jesus standing next to you, your response might be very different.

Hand out index cards and pens. Ask teens to look at the bias tendencies and possible causes written on the board and silently identify those that may apply to themselves. Then have students write on their card any of the specifics that they would like to work on during the coming week. When everyone has finished, erase the whiteboard and write the memory verse. Suggest that teens copy the verse onto the reverse side of their index card.

Close with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to make His presence known in the daily lives of your students and to infuse each individual with courage and integrity to do the right thing.

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