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For Teachers

The downloadable teacher guide is designed for high school social studies and/or language arts teachers to use in close conjunction with the film. The activities are suggested for grades 10 and 11 with adaptations for grades 9 and 12. The guide includes general discussion questions and four classroom activities as well as suggestions for promoting "active listening."

View a PDF version of the teacher guide.


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Going Deeper…Discussion Questions

These questions are provided for classroom discussion based on the film. Discussion can be an effective way for students to increase their awareness and understanding of the many issues addressed in the film. Consult the Active Listening tips and share them with your students before beginning classroom discussion.

  1. "Racism is not just between colors, but within colors…" What does this quote from the film mean? Do you have direct experience with this statement?

  2. The film deals with the topic of reconciliation. In the cases of slave trading in Senegal, apartheid in South Africa, and slavery in the United States, what are appropriate acts of apology and reconciliation? How possible is it to adequately address historic crimes? What role does fear play in stopping the dominant group from giving up or sharing power?

  3. Compare the function and success of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United States’ Affirmative Action program.

  4. How can art (music, visual art, dance) be used to improve understanding between races? What examples did you see in the film?

  5. Tutu and Franklin have a wealth of experience to offer the young people assembled in Senegal. In what ways are the racial problems different now than when John Hope Franklin was a young man? In what ways are they the same? What were Tutu and Franklin’s main concerns when they were your age? In what ways did their early experiences shape their career paths?

  6. Archbishop Tutu says that poverty is the greatest threat to racial progress. Do you think economic inequalities pose the biggest problem? Why? If not, what do you think is the greatest threat to racial peace? Who has economic power in the United States? Is there a connection between economic wealth and societal acceptance? Are educational and professional opportunities distributed evenly across economic brackets

  7. Currently, the United States Census uses the following categories to determine a person’s race: Spanish/Hispanic/Latino (Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Other Spanish), White, Black, African American or Negro, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Guanamian or Chamorro, Samoan, and Other Pacific Islander. Are these categories sufficient to accurately assess the racial composition of society in the United States? As America becomes a more multiracial society, what is the purpose behind assigning categories to people? How would you assign categories?

Note: As an additional activity, assign students the task of looking for definitions of race and ethnicity using the dictionary and/or other resources. Discuss the different definitions in class. What is the purpose of having definitions of these terms? Is the concept of race changing?

Active Listening Tips

In any classroom discussion, and particularly those in which emotions may run high, it is important to engage with others in ways that ensure everybody has the opportunity both to speak and to be listened to. It is advised that you set guidelines or norms for ways to "actively listen" in advance of classroom discussions. Here are some suggestions for you and your students to consider:

Techniques for Active Listening

Ask how the person feels. Be careful not to assume that you know how the person feels.

Communication Blockers Communication Enhancers
Blaming and attacking Asking for more information and problem solving together
Being distracted or using other body language that is non-attentive Making eye contact, leaning toward the other person, giving full attention
Dismissing or making light of someone’s problem Showing empathy, validating the other person’s feelings
Interrupting Staying silent until the person is finished speaking
Lecturing/moralizing Withholding judgment
"Yes…but" statements "Yes…and" statements
Adapted from Media Education Consultants handout © 1999
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