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.

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