Cultural Safety Module 2: Peoples Experiences of Oppression




Activities

1. Private Reflection — An Example of "Power-over"

Take five minutes to write about, or reflect on, an experience you've had or witnessed in which one person/group's behaviour was unfair or marginalizing to another person/group. This is a private reflection that no one else need see or know about. This event might have happened during your work or your everyday life, to you, or to someone else. Or, you may have been the person who acted in a power-over way. Perhaps it was a discriminatory act, because of a person's age or ability, or a racist act. Perhaps you can think of many such incidences, or none at all. What does your reflection tell you about how we view difference in Canadian culture? How might this incident relate to power and privilege?

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2. What is This Thing Called Culture?

The goal of this activity is to stretch your personal trajectory back through past generations of your family.

Pick six to eight photos from your photo albums that are most representative of who you are "culturally."

Then, consider the following questions:

  1. Who are the significant people in each photo? If there's no one but you in a photo, what is significant about it; for example, is it the place? the time? Who or what is missing?
  2. Who are you in each photo? Who or what had the most influence in your life when the photo was taken?
  3. Which of your life's social, political, historical, and economic realities have shaped who you are and what you do today? Consider the language(s) you speak, the food you eat, what you read, how you vote, where you are most comfortable, how you spend your money, what you spend most of your time doing, what meaning you make of illness and health, etc.? Why is this the case?

If you do not have a photo album, choose points in time (perhaps special events) or objects you "treasure" (e.g., if you opened your purse or dresser drawer, what would you consider valuable there). Then, consider the following questions.

  1. What is significant about these particular events or the objects you treasure?
  2. Who were you at these particular points in time or why do you consider a particular object a treasure? What events didn't you feature or what objects do you not treasure? Why?
  3. Which of your life's social, political, historical, and economic realities have shaped who you are and what you do today? Consider the language(s) you speak, the food you eat, what you read, how you vote, where you are most comfortable, how you spend your money, what you spend most of your time doing, what meaning you make of illness and health, etc.? Why is this the case?

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3. Flower of Power

The Flower of Power is intended to get us thinking about dominant groups in society and our individual places of privilege.

Click to open Flower of Power activity (opens in a new window). Click on flower petals that reflect your social location. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are most of your petals on the inside?
  2. Are most of your petals on the outside?
  3. Are your petals evenly mixed across inside and outside?
  4. Which petals do you think reflect the experience of most people in our society?
  5. Which petals do you think reflect marginalization or oppression?

This activity requires Flash player; please see the Technical Requirements page if you have difficulty viewing the Flower of Power graphic.

This version of the Flower of Power exercise is adapted from
Bishop A. (2002). Becoming an ally: Breaking the cycle of oppression in people (p. 129-130). Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

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4. Reflection on Discrimination

Take five minutes to write about a situation where you may have:

  1. witnessed discrimination or racism against someone else
  2. been discriminated against yourself
  3. discriminated against or had a racist thought about someone else.

You will revisit this reflection in Module 3.

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5. Reflection on Racialization

Go to a mall and watch people to see if you racialize them. In other words, what do you notice about them first?

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