By: Raymond Chin
I have been a part of the A/PIA community at the
Rationale and Criteria:
Even though the list is ranked, it does not mean that workshop number one should be the first one done. The #1 ranked workshop is easy to facilitate and easy to engage large crowds. It is actively engaging and it does not require a lot about A/PIA issues. In this list, there are a variety of workshops that are meant to challenge participants. There are a few criteria that are required to be looked at. My list for Top 10 Workshops for Teaching About A/PIAs seeks to:
- Address a wide variety of A/PIA issues
- Have different group sizes
- Target different age ranges
- Require little to no previous knowledge about A/PIA issues or history
Top 10 Workshops for Teaching About A/PIAs
- Privilege Walk
- Multiple Identities
Activity Peanut Butter River
- Web of Oppression
- Feast of Resistance
- Cups of Unity
- Role Playing Domestic Violence
- Mapping our history/herstory
- A/PIA History Timeline
1. Privilege Walk
Any number of participants can be involved and this activity fits for any age group. Several variations of this activity exist.
The facilitator hands out an index card to each participant with assigned “privileges” and “costs”. A few examples can be “music prodigy”, “scholarships awarded”, “pursuing higher education”, to “working multiple jobs to sustain family”, “lives in poor neighborhood”, and “has an accent”.
After everyone is given an index card, everyone lines up shoulder to shoulder and is looking towards the goal line. A “narrator” at the goal line (at opposite end of room) calls out a certain number of steps forward or backwards according to your “privileges” or “costs”. For example, the narrator would say “take one step forward if you are from a middle class family”. Another example might explore gender. So, “If you are male, take one step forward and if you are female take one step back”.
The person with the most “privileges” will be closest to the narrator. At the end, the narrator will have a bag of candy at hand and say “Now, grab this bag of candy”. The people closest to the candy have the greatest chance of winning.
The Bag of Candy: The rewards and opportunities in life. The most privileged people will have the most access to the candy. Everyone near the back can barely hear the narrator after a while and will not bother running up to get the bag of candy. For the people near the starting line, the bag of candy represents an ideal or something that is not even thought of because of all the real life limitations. How can one think of obtaining a job of high status when they have to take care of the family business, take care of siblings, and attend high school?
Possible Questions for Discussion:
- Point out who was at the front of the line, what benefits they had. The most privileged person will usually include: is a male, musically gifted, comes from an affluent background, loving parents, parents who graduated from Ivy League schools, and so on.
- Then point out the person who is at the back of the line. The least privileged person will usually include: is a female, speaks no English, has divorced parents, is a teenage parent, forced to work at two jobs, and so on.
- Ask what people at various positions thought at different times. Was it fair for people in the back to not have a chance at getting the candy? What were they thinking when the person grabbed the candy?
- Ask the person who took the bag of candy if sharing was at the top of their list once they got it.
Variations of this exercise:
- Instead of assigning each participant with an index card, let participants use their own real life experiences and privileges.
- Have the narrator call out many more “negative” privileges so participants keep walking backwards, ending up further and further from the goal line. This shows the dream that once seemed reasonable only got harder and harder to obtain.
I would attribute this workshop to the program of Intergroup Relations (IGR)
Best performed in small groups and can be done with any age group.
Assign a large portion of the room into a rectangular “city”. Divide that rectangle into four uneven sections.
The facilitator is the Mayor and it is the job of the citizens (participants) to build the most magnificent structures out of paper and other resources. It is suggested that another facilitator acts as the Secretary of the Mayor and enforces the laws of the land.
- Each group assigned to a plot of land must stay on their plot of land.
- If they step out of the boundaries, they are sent to “jail” (a separate corner of the room), or removed from the game.
- No group may interfere with another group’s plot of land.
- The Mayor and Secretary have omnipotent powers and can sabotage or aid any Group at any time.
Distribution of Resources among Groups:
- Most time to build city
- Most space to build
- Most resources
Can speak to Mayor directly – Can get unlimited amount of resources
- Secretary is very lenient about group members stepping outside of boundaries.
- 5 minutes less to build than previous group
- Good amount of space to build city
- Fewer resources than Group 1
- Often gets permission from Secretary to speak with Mayor
- 5 minutes less to build than previous group
- Decent amount of space to build city
- No pens/markers – no ability to label necessary buildings
- If any group member steps outside of city boundaries, group member is forced to go to “jail”
- Requests are often ignored by Secretary
- 5 minutes less to build than previous group
- Barely enough space to fit several group members standing
- No resources – no pens/markers, paper to build a city
- Completely ignored by Secretary and Mayor
- Harsh penalties if anyone in this group steps outside of city boundaries
Build the greatest city out of given supplies and win the Mayor’s favor.
Let Group 1 start the activity. Instruct them to build the greatest city they can. Tell them to use as many resources at their disposal. They are excited to build lavish hotels, airports, monuments, parks, residential districts, police stations, fire stations, schools, universities, hospitals, and other essentials of a city. The combination of paper and a writing utensil is the basis of constructing their buildings.
After 5 minutes, call in Group 2 and assign second largest section of land. They will work similarly to Group 1
Another 5 minutes, call in Group 3 and assign third largest section of land. With no pen to label their buildings, they need to request supplies from the Secretary. Often ignored, the Mayor will finally give in. Just to spite Group 3, the Mayor can give more materials to either of the other groups.
After another 5 minutes, call in Group 4. They will barely have enough space to stand and their major concern is not falling out of the city’s boundaries. They will have no chance of winning the Mayor’s favor. The Mayor has abilities to destroy Group 3’s building with floods and other “natural disasters” (representation will be explained later).
End the activity when the major aspects of each group are easily highlighted. Due to the subjectivity of the Mayor, the Mayor will say Group 1 won the activity because they have the nicest buildings.
The time difference for each group represents different waves of immigration. Obviously Group 1 had the most time to construct nice buildings so they win by default.
Group 2 is still fairly privileged whereas most of the unfortunate events happen to Group 3. Group 3 gets ignored when they need to speak to the Mayor. This represents how often times people of color get their voices ignored. As for a “natural disaster” occurring to Group 3, they inhabited a poor plot of land and hence constructed a poor neighborhood.
Group 4 has nothing. They are the bottom of the rung as far as class. Their concern is not building a pretty city, but rather trying to stay in the game by not stepping outside their tight boundaries.
Possible Questions for Discussion:
- What does this activity represent? What does each Group represent?
- How did each Group feel watching the others succeed/fail?
- Did the very privileged Group 1 think about sharing their resources?
3. Multiple Identities
Any number of people can participate in this activity. The more participants, the better.
Have a large poster or piece of paper with separate identities. This includes race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical ability, education, citizenship, and any other categories that you feel are relevant.
All participants should have 3 of each colored sticker. How many different colored stickers depends on how many questions you ask.
Before the activity starts, the facilitator should explain all the boxes of categories.
Ask the following questions one at a time allowing each participant to place stickers on the top three categories.
For example, the facilitator will say “Place a blue sticker on the top three categories that you are most proud of”
All participants finish placing their stickers in their favored categories.
Second Statement, the facilitator can say “Place a green sticker on the top three categories that you feel are most prominent on your life”
Third Statement, “Place a red sticker on the three categories that you are embarrassed of”
Fourth Statement “Place a yellow sticker on the three categories that you think other people judge you on”
Other possible statements: categories that you feel negatively impact you, impact you in general, shaped who you are today, are most visible, wish to improve upon, have most control over, and any other statements that you may want to include.
Questions for Discussion (can be discussed in smaller groups):
- Ask for common trends. Where do people see a lot of the same colored dots? An example might be, with statement 4, why is it that you feel others judge us on categories that are mostly physical?
- If we were to take this activity outside of this environment, will we get the same results? If we went to a different group of color, do you think their concerns will be the same? If we went to a different age group, will their concerns be the same?
As facilitator, explain that as a participant, there are people with similar concerns as you. It is also important to stress that each person is an individual and everyone has unique experiences and categories that shape who they are.
I would like to attribute this activity to the Yuri Kochiyama Mentorship Program
The origins of the name of this activity are a bit unknown but it is a workshop designed to demonstrate the struggles of immigration.
Activity best done in smaller groups and any age group can get involved.
First, the facilitators need to research instances of legislation that discriminated against or benefited certain Asian ethnic groups.
A few examples:
- The Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 limited distribution of passports to Japanese
- The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 negatively impacted Filipino immigration.
- The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act negatively impacted mainly the Chinese
- The repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 positively impacted Chinese immigration
- The 1965 Nationality and Immigration Act helped all ethnicities.
Each group is assigned a certain ethnic group/country. So usually Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, and Indian are the common ones. Korean, Vietnamese, and other ethnic groups can be added if there are a large number of participants.
Each team is given approximately 1 paper plate per team member.
The team to get from one side of the room and back is the winner!
- No body part is allowed to touch the floor. They must utilize the paper plates as “stepping stones”.
- No sliding paper plates across the ground.
- When the facilitators call “Stop!” everyone must freeze in place. This is the time when a piece of legislation is being enacted. If a facilitator mentions a piece of legislation that negatively impacts a group, they take away a plate (or two!) from the ethnic group it affects. Likewise, if an Act benefits an ethnic group, facilitators give plates to that team.
- Optional Rule: Facilitators have the option to take away plates that are not protected/not being stepped on the floor.
Questions for Discussion:
- Get general reaction. It is a difficult activity that requires lots of teamwork to move from one side of the room to another while only stepping on paper plates.
- Did they notice a trend? It was very hard to immigrate to the
in the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s. With the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act and 1965 Nationality Act, immigrating got a lot easier (more paper plates awarded). U.S.
- Ask if people know of difficult immigration stories. They may know of family members that are still trying to enter the
but have to wait several years before being able to. U.S.
5. Web of Oppression
I would like to thank the program of Intergroup Relations (IGR) for this workshop.
This activity is best done in small to medium sized groups and perhaps with college level or above audiences.
Have participants stand in a circle. The facilitator will pass a ball of yarn to one participant and that person then passes the ball of yarn across to another participant. Now when there is enough string to go to each participant in the circle at least twice (each hand holding a piece of the string), have the facilitator attach pieces of information.
The pieces of information are examples of oppression. It can be a definition of for example, the model minority myth and when it was strongly perpetuated. It can be discriminatory legislation, examples of hate crimes, racist incidents in history, stereotypes, and such.
Have participants closest to that fact read it out loud and comment about it. It can be their reaction to it or if they have a story relevant to the fact, it only adds to the discussion.
After all the facts are read, the facilitator will ask participants to drop the Web of Oppression (the web created by all the yarn).
- Get general reactions from participants after hearing all the negativity coming from the facts. Were people angered? Are participants feeling empowered to fight against more incidents from happening?
- What does dropping the Web of Oppression represent? Is it a relief? What about its presence on the floor? It is still there even though we may not notice it as much after dropping it. However, things like stereotypes still affect us.
6. Feast of Resistance
Can be done with any number of people, preferably medium sized groups.
Have a bag of items that have a historical significance to Asian Americans. Some items include: the Bing cherry, donuts, shrimp flavored chips, a pineapple, sugar cane. Note: items do not have to be limited to food items.
Have participants either guess what is in the bag that Asian Americans have contributed to or have each participant pick an item randomly. When an item is taken out of the bag, the facilitator asks what the item’s significance to Asian American history is. If no one knows, the facilitator should explain the significance.
- Often times, participants do not know the historical significance of the items in the bag. Perhaps people do not necessarily attach the contribution to an Asian American. Perhaps it is a sense of history that is lost.
- Mention that simple things like pineapples have a huge role in Asian American history.
7. Cups of Unity (not official name)
I would like to thank UAAO for coming up with this workshop this year.
This activity can be done with any number of people, preferably with large groups and any age group.
Divide participants into about 4 even groups and separate them into different parts of the room.
The fastest team to stack 21 cups into a pyramid-like tower wins. However, the facilitators have foam balls that can be thrown to wreck teams from forming the tower. Prizes can be given out as an incentive.
The goal is to have as many towers from the four teams standing when time is called. Mention that the more towers that are left standing, the greater the reward. Strategies include coming together in unity and having all the towers in the center. Then have an outer ring of people to protect the towers from any foam balls hitting the towers.
Round 3 (optional):
If not all towers were standing by the end of round 2, challenge the participants once again and see if they can get all towers to stand by the end of this round.
- What does this activity try to make a point of? Standing in solidarity proves strength. Coalition building is important and common together for a common cause is necessary.
- Can give examples in A/PIA history where coalition building meant change. An example is the strike for ethnic studies in the 1970’s by the Third World Liberation Front.
- Discuss the difference between Round 1 and the later rounds. In round 1, group members might try to sabotage other groups from winning. Participants might have taken the foam balls thrown at their team and purposely throw it in the direction of another team in hopes of knocking down their tower. Then in Round 2, enemies became friends since the reward was greater.
8. Choose Your Adventure Domestic Violence
This is not the official name of this workshop. It was inspired by the “choose your adventure” books where you would choose a path and flip to that page.
Divide participants into different groups. Activity best done with small to medium sized groups. Age group is preferred to be of college level or above.
Have different places set up at different parts of the room. For example, “Home”, “Friend’s House”, “Church”, “Court”, and so on.
At each of these places, have colored index cards that each group would pick up according to what “path” they chose previously.
Group 1 might start at “Home” and the story goes that they are a wife that comes home to a drunk and violent husband. What do you do? Go to the “police” and call for help, go to your “Friend’s House” for comfort, or go to “Church” and talk about your problem.
Group 2 would have a different starting path and slightly different story, perhaps a more or less severe case of domestic violence. Different paths work for different groups.
The same would happen to however many stories/groups the facilitator decides to create.
- Different groups will get different results. Groups may end up going back home and get beaten to death by the husband. Groups may end up getting legal actions taken.
- Facilitator should mention statistics of domestic violence which is fairly prevalent in South Asian households. Mention how domestic violence is a problem and people think that by going to a friend’s house or by going to church, it will solve the problem. Getting comfort temporarily does help but through the activity, the cycle keeps going unless legal advice is taken. Even when some groups seek legal advice, there are language barriers that limit one from getting help. Also, the legal system may take a while before the person can get help, so they return home only to get beaten further.
9. Mapping Our History/Herstory
Activity can be done with any group size, preferably a medium sized one.
Get a set of pins, string, and a gigantic world map.
Ask participants to tell their family’s immigration story, how and why their family came to
Place string along each participant’s immigration path and put a pin at each stop during their journey.
- Were there common reasons for coming to the
? Was it to escape war, persecution, pursue education, etc. United States
- Are there common places where participant’s families resided? Are the East and West coasts heavily populated?
10. A/PIA History Timeline
Different variations of this activity exist.
Any number of people can be involved in this activity. Facilitator can divide larger crowds into smaller groups.
In each group, have prominent events in A/PIA history and a detailed description.
Some examples are:
- The Third World Liberation Front is formed in 1968
- Executive Order 9066
- Strike at the International Hotel in 1968
- The death of Vincent Chin
Have nice pictures demonstrating each event if possible
The facilitator has the option to exclude the dates and try to have groups identify the right order of events. Groups can use clues given in the detailed description about the event or clues in the pictures.
- Explain the importance of each event, the results of each if they are not already put in the descriptions. It is important to contextualize the events and demonstrate how these series of events make up A/PIA history. Without hotel strikes and the civil rights movement happening at the time, things like ethnic studies would cease to exist.
- Without learning about A/PIA history, it is very difficult to know the exact dates and it might be difficult to get the order correct. Mention that in high school, we have probably never read about these events. The absence of A/PIA history in textbooks says something, that perhaps A/PIA history is devalued or not worth teaching.