Activity 3: Racism

Activity 3: Racism
Activity 3: Racism

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Photocopy Handout 3, "Poem for the Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could Believe in the War between the Races , one for each participant.

Description of Activity

Distribute Handout 3, "Poem for the Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could Believe in the War between the Races." Ask two or more volunteers to read it aloud, pausing for thirty seconds between readings and after the last reading. Then lead a "What do we have here?" discussion, using these questions:
  • What is the story of the poem?
  • What words or references confound or confuse you?
  • What do we know about the speaker's life from the poem?

Use these questions to lead a "What's the big idea?" discussion:

  • How is the theme of freedom played out in this poem?
  • Is the theme of death present in the poem? Is this death a spiritual death, a physical death, or both? Explain.
  • Find the places where the poet contradicts herself. What effect do these contradictions have on the tone and mood of the poem?
  • Does the speaker believe in a war between the races?

Invite participants to spend about three minutes journaling about this poem. The journal entry could include their thoughts about the discussion with the group, or it could be about a time in their lives when they encountered or witnessed racism.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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