#mm: Like in Real Life

Raising Awareness of everyday Discrimination

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Goal ** Increase the visibility of everyday discrimination ** Experience these situations for another person’s perspective                       ** Encourage sensitisation and self reflection  

Brief Description

The “like in real life” method highlights the varying range of disadvantages in different parts of life. The participants slip into predetermined roles and experience how certain attributes and attributions (such as gender, origin, age, educational experience etc.) influence their development opportunities and in turn strengthen, restrict or even lead to social sanctions.  

Procedure

All participants line up next to each other, receive one role card per person and have three minutes to ask any questions and adjust themselves to the role. The coaches explain that they will now ask a series of questions, to which the participants must consider whether they will respond with “yes” or “no” depending on their role.  If they answer with a  “yes” they make a clear step forward and if they respond with a “no” they stay standing. With this, the focus is on one’s own assessment and not about being factually correct. After the first round, some of the participants are asked why they took a step forward or why they stayed where they were. Not all participants will be asked, but after the first four questions, everyone should have a chance to speak. When being asked a question for the first time, the participants should explain which role they embody.  

(Possible) Role Cards 

  • Daniel Kretschman 39; heterosexual; 3 children; married; CEO; stay-at-home wife  
  • Susanne Hergenrot 35; heterosexual; 2 children; married; a full-time employee at an advertising agency; husband full-time employed 
  • Helmut Kofler 40; heterosexual; married; 4 children; primary school teacher; wife employed 
  • Süngül Sezgin 31; heterosexual; not married; 1 child; Ingenieurin; wife employed 
  • Christian Ziegler 29; heterosexual; married; 2 children; part-time job as a painter; wife works part-time; Kindergarten costs 260 Euros per child per month 
  • Marisa Mekablera 25; heterosexual; single; no qualifications; works at a fast-food restaurant 
  • Henriette Wagner 27; lesbian; shared apartment with her partner; scientific assistant at the University (20 h/per week) 
  • Teribur Okenga 17; heterosexual, single; asylum seeker; no secondary-school diploma; no work permit 
  • Fabian Mayer 20; gay; trainee carpenter; boyfriend comes from Ghana 
  • Janis Winkler 22; bisexual; single; single mother; 2 children; has qualifications but no work 
  • Mario Kähler 30; heterosexual; single; heroin addict; without a permanent residence 
  • Verena Leitner 37; heterosexual, single; paraplegic after an accident; no work; 2 qualifications (office clerk, tax clerk)  
  • Marion Reiter 75; bisexual; widowed; pensioner 
  • Theodor Strasser 82; heterosexual; married; pensioner; wife has never been employed 
  • Fjodor Pjotrowski 55; heterosexual; married; unemployed; wife works as a cleaner for 400 euros; Resettlers from Ukraine 
  • Mira Schneider 19; heterosexual; high-school graduate; wants to study Psychology; would like to get married, have children and stay employed 

It is also possible to integrate other role cards. Depending on the composition of the seminar, there are different variations. The method is particularly interesting when there is at least one role card that corresponds with the majority of the seminar (e.g. metal technician or industry clerk in seminars with a lot of participants from the metal industry)  

Possible Questions 

  • Can you move freely? E.g. go on a spontaneous excursion or travel (free movement)  
  • Do you have enough money to pay for necessities, such as groceries etc.? (basic material security) 
  • Can you walk down the street without being asked for your ID or residence permit? (racism experiences) 
  • Do you have a place to live and stay? (living) 
  • Do you have a job or occupation that you truly enjoy and are you recognised by others? (job) 
  • Do you have health insurance and can you get medical help at any time?  
  • Could you walk hand in hand with a loved one without the fear of receiving negative reactions? (visibility/recognition) 
  • Can you walk alone at night without fear? (feeling of personal security)  
  • Can you vote and be elected in the next election? (political participation)  
  • If something happens to you, can you call the police for help without worrying that they will treat you badly? (state protection) 
  • Do television and magazines give a (reasonably) satisfactory, differentiated picture of the life that people like you live? (Media representations) 
  • Can you do what you want in your free time (i.e. not being restricted by caring for others)? (Commitments) 
  • Do you have someone that covers your back and relieves you of everyday commitments? (support) 
  • If you felt like it, could you just go shopping for a day? (wealth/luxury) 
  • Do you have access to educational opportunities and other options to develop your knowledge and skills? (Education) 
  • Can you have a professional career because your partner takes care of everything at home? (Support) 

Evaluation

The participants remain where they are standing, staying in their roles and are interviewed by the coaches. Possible questions could be: 

  • How did you feel in your role? 
  • What is it like to be the first at the goal? 
  • What is it like when you can not move from the spot? 
  • Which questions do you remember in particular?  
  • With which questions did you (not) make any progress?  

After this, the participants leave their roles and come together again in the plenum (e.g. the chair circle) The following questions could be used for the reflection:  

  • How were you limited in your actions in your respective roles? 
  • What have you learned about the living conditions of different social groups? 
  • What was unclear to you? 
  • Why do some people get ahead and others don’t? 
  • What options do the different groups have for changing their situation? 
  • What do you no influence on? What should change? What can we do about it? 

Planning details

Time: about 60min Space: Enough space so that all participants can line up and go forward at least eight meters, possibly outdoors. Participants: min. 6 Material: One prepared role card per participant 

Variant

In groups in which there is already a good basis of trust between the participants, the role cards can be left out. In this case, you can work with the participants own biographies.   However, a prerequisite is a group composition that is as heterogeneous as possible with a wide variety of social backgrounds – only in this way can diversity become visible. 

The method comes from the folder: Geschlechterreflektierende Bildungsarbeit. (K)eine Anleitung. Hintergründe Haltungen Methoden. Hrsg: Autor_innenkollektiv; DGB-Jugend NDS-HB-SAN.

Author: Jonas Weber Translation: Fred Taucher

Read original article in German.

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