Contributor: Klodiana Kolomitro, Queen’s University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ingredients: A pinch of enthusiasm, a dash of open-mindedness, and a spoonful of sharing
Method (what you do): Reaching for the same snack (a.k.a Crossing the line) gives people a chance to think about their values, beliefs, experiences and share some of those with others. It is a great activity to get in touch with your feelings and to explore diversity. The activity itself is quite simple but the reflections and discussion afterwards can be really powerful. You can think of an imaginary line (or put a line of tape) down the centre of the room. Everyone gathers on one side of the room/line and faces the centre. The facilitator reads a statement and asks that all of those to whom this applies, walk to the other side of the room/line. Once there, they need to turn and face the crowd.
Some examples could be: I feel good about how my identified culture is portrayed by the media; I have judged someone before getting to know them; I have had comments on my teaching evaluation forms on aspects that I cannot change (outside of my control); I have felt guilty at some point because of my gender, religion, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status; I have not crossed the line when I should have at some point in this activity.
As a facilitator, you can encourage participants to be aware of their own feelings, and those of the people on both sides. Whoever crosses to the other side is then asked to return back to the side where they started. Then you proceed with another statement, and so on until time permits. Participants need to be reminded that if they don’t feel comfortable crossing the line they don’t have to. When the activity is over you can follow up with personal reflections or a discussion on the process (how they felt, or what they learned about themselves and others).
Some questions you might consider asking: Which statements were challenging to pick a side for? For which statements did you feel uncomfortable (or you could change this to proud) to stand on the side you did?
Special Notes: This is particularly useful to build diversity awareness within a group. That being said, it is most effective when trust and respect have already been established in the group, as the questions can be very personal. People might need to be reminded about confidentiality.
Acknowledgements: This is certainly not something that I invented but I remember playing it in different settings.
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