Tried the self-identifying exercise again. I ask my students to write down 5 words/phrases which they use to identify themselves. Then they write down 3 stereotypes associated with each identifier (positive or negative). Then we discuss where those ideas came from in the first place. As I’ve mentioned before: students say the darndest things.
Student: One of my identifying words is “farmer.” I grew up on a tree farm and I worked the last 2 summers on a dairy farm.
Me: Oh, wow, how cool!
Student: No, not cool. Miserable.
Me: Oh….um, what kind of trees did you have on your farm?
Student: We had 42 different varieties. (student begins listing all 42 varieties)
Me: (Interrupting) Okay, well, nice, how was the dairy farm?
Student: A little better. Did a lot of tipping.
Me: Cow tipping?! You actually went cow tipping?! I heard that’s bad for the cows!
Student: Nah. Also, it’s not actually “tipping”; you can’t push a cow. They’re enormous. Instead you sneak up behind them and blow a horn in their ear. They get so surprised that they fall over.
Me: Can they get back up?!
Student: Yeah. They bounce right back. After a while.