The theme is: “Challenging Stereotypes: Embracing Uniqueness in Today’s World”
When planning your submissions, try to think about the following keywords and questions related to the theme. Please note that the keywords and questions are meant to help you start thinking on the theme. However, they shouldn’t limit your thoughts as the theme is broader than just those elements. Therefore, when composing your work, feel free to be creative. Just remember you want to present your ideas in a way that will inspire the reader and viewer to think and become aware of the importance of the theme.
Take a look at this highly popular and influential TED talk by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story. She speaks of the ways in which a single story told over and over can come to define a particular people or community.
Marginalization: or social exclusion, is the process by which individuals or groups are pushed to the margins of society and blocked from accessing rights, opportunities, and resources (like health care, housing, education, employment) and can lead to alienation or disenfranchisement.
Diversity: at its core, diversity refers to space for multiple identities or views. These can be within the framework of cultures, political views, faiths, body type or skin colour, genders, or sexual orientations, etc.
Inclusivity: tied to diversity and marginalization, inclusivity deals with actively including individuals or groups who are marginalized.
Prejudice: an unjustified or incorrect attitude (usually negative) towards an individual based solely on the individual’s membership of a social group.
Discrimination: the unjust treatment of individuals or groups on the grounds of prejudice, race, age, or sex in particular.
Intersectionality: as “intersectional oppression [that] arises out of the combination of various oppressions which, together, produce something unique and distinct from any one form of discrimination standing alone….”
Equity: Equity has to do with everyone having access to fair and equal treatment under the law, regardless of race, social class or gender. (https://www.shoreline.edu/esj/)
- Think about how stereotypes can lead to marginalization and stigmas. Have you experienced this path or know someone who has? What about the different populations in your school or community, do you think a single story has been written about some of them unfairly?
- Think of the ways in which you have challenged stereotypes that you held or that others held. Which ways of challenging these stereotypes were the most influential?
- How do you think power dynamics play into stereotypes?
- How does the media play into bias coverage of different groups, whether they are cultural, faith, political, social, socio-economic, or race groups?
- The Model Minority is a concept that a visible minority has achieved higher success than the average. In what ways do you think this representation could be harmful to a select group or population? What about groups within these minorities who are facing greater challenges than the rest—how are they affected by marginalization and exclusion?
- When the internet first grew in the 1990s, there was a perception that with online anonymity, differences and prejudices would disappear, but that has not been the case. In what ways have you experienced or seen negative stereotypes online?
- What can we do to make online spaces and social media safer and more inclusive to different views and people? What about the aspect of the internet as an echo chambers and a reinforcer of stereotypes. Think of doxing and online harassment, or a specific example like the #GamerGate controversy.
- If we take the case of the movie Crazy Rich Asians (2018), then we see that the question of stereotypes is not clear cut. There is more representation for Asians on screen, but there is a stereotypical portrayal that in fact causes more harm than good in some places (https://www.flare.com/tv-movies/crazy-rich-asians-racism-vancouver/), but at the same time there is a character that breaks with this stereotype. Have you noted instances where on-screen portrayals of certain groups have created, inflated, or contributed to stereotypes in the past, present, and possible future examples?
- Do you think media coverage and on-screen representation has become more inclusive in recent years? Think of #OscarsSoWhite and #AskHerMore, or the controversies surrounding actors who take minority roles when they themselves are not.
- What do you think is the interplay between pressing social issues (such as a lack of affordable housing and precarious work) and negative stereotypes, particularly when it comes to scapegoating certain groups as convenient targets? Think of the false claim that “immigrants steal jobs”.
- What about the other side of stereotyping, specifically when speaking about cultural sensitivity? For example, if we know a certain culture has specific customs, how do we then stay sensitive to someone’s culture without falling into narrow thinking and stereotyping?
- What do you think is the best way to approach stereotypes? Is there ever a situation where a stereotype can be neutral or beneficial? Can we use them responsibly?
- What role do you think cognitive bias plays in stereotyping? How can we be aware of this and prevent it?
Danger of Stereotypes
How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do – Claude Steele
Facing History and Ourselves
Prejudice & Discrimination: Crash Course Psychology #39