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Personal Resistance Today - Actions

  1. Ask your students:
    Think about a time when something bad was happening to you or to someone you know and you felt powerless to help; or think about a time when you saw or found out about something upsetting that went against your core values. (Possible responses might include: you're in the cafeteria and someone tells an ethnic/racial/homophobic joke; you're on the bus and someone uses an ethnic/racial/homophobic slur when talking to or about another student; something related to a local issue in your community).
  2. Now think about a time when you stood up for someone's feelings or rights in a small way – or thought about what you could do. What are some examples of things you have done? Let’s make a list on the board/chart paper. (Possible responses might include: say something when you hear an ethnic/racial/homophobic joke or slur, write something in the school paper about a rule that you think isn't just, etc.)
  3. After making the list of situations choose one or two and for each one ask your students the following questions:
    • How would you feel if you were the person being "oppressed" by this situation?
    • What would you want someone else to do to help?
    • What could you do as an act of personal resistance if you were a "witness" to this situation?
  4. Break your class into small groups. Have each group choose a situation from the class list, or come up with a different situation, and develop a skit showing the situation and the act of personal resistance.
  5. Have each group present their skit. Discuss as a class the types of personal resistance presented in the skits, what makes these acts difficult in real life, what other actions could be taken.
  6. If you have time, have students reflect, either in pairs or in their journals, about conscience, risk-taking, and resistance. Ask students to respond to one of the following questions:
    • What does my conscience tell me to do?
    • What causes motivate me?
    • What risks am I willing to take on behalf of others?
    • When is a time that I resisted?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Personal Resistance Today - Actions." (Viewed on July 31, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/11795>.

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