"Do Now" : Have students define the words: "race" and "racism."

(Students should be given two minutes to define these terms and they should be encouraged to provide multiple definitions that are as detailed and specific as they can make them.)

Activities:

  1. Before discussing the definitions, play the song "Everyone's a Little Bit Racism" from the musical Avenue Q. Instruct students to only listen to the song and not to worry about taking notes.
  2. After the song ends, do not given students a chance to comment; instead, explain that you will be playing the song a second time where students need to take notes in their notebooks on the elements of the song they find to be true, absurd, and any additional thoughts or reactions they have to the song.
  3. When the song concludes for a second time, give students an opportunity to adjust their definitions of "race" and "racism" based on what they heard in the song.
  4. Share, discuss, and analyze the students' definitions of "race" and "racism." Compile a list of the definitions on the board, and once students have shared at least five or six definitions of each word, begin to compare and contrast similarities and differences between definitions.
  5. Discuss students' reactions to "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," and use the student definitions of "race" and "racism" to analyze whether the statements made in the song are true or not.
  6. Ask students to share personal experiences that either support or refute statements made about racism in America in the song.
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