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(Don't) Guess My Race

location_on United States

How can young people discuss sensitive and complex topics related to race and other categories of identity in more informed and respectful ways?

(Don’t) Guess My Race makes learning about race and identity fun, educational and meaningful to everyday life while also increasing inclusion at school and sparking courageous conversations.

HundrED 2019
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018

2010

Established

300K

Children/users

1

Countries
Organisation
For-profit
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
It is so important that we give young people everywhere the tools to think deeply and talk productively about complex issues facing our world today - issues like race and ethnicity, inequality, immigration, and identity more broadly. (Don’t) Guess My Race tries to do that by making the underlying social science not only engaging and relatable but also inspiring!
Michael Baran, President, Interactive Diversity Solutions

About the innovation

What is Interactive Diversity?

In our increasingly globalised world, students need the tools to think critically about identity and equality; they need to be able to engage with others around sensitive topics, and they need to be able to interact in a way that fosters inclusive spaces of learning.  

However in schools, sensitive topics like race, sexuality, and other axes of identity are often left undiscussed because teachers find them difficult to talk about.  

To overcome these barriers, Interactive Diversity Solutions has created the (Don’t) Guess My Race web-based program to support the teaching of diversity issues. (Don’t) Guess My Race is an interactive digital program aimed at teenagers to help them think critically about race and other axes of identity.

The program engages students with stunning photos and interesting quotes from real people while also presenting fascinating insights from a wide range of social sciences. The learning outcomes of the (Don’t) Guess My Race program are based on principles that have been scientifically shown to reduce bias and stereotyping.

Users are shown photographs and are asked to guess how the people in the photographs might have self-identified when asked the question, “What race are you?”. Seeing how people self-identify and reading quotes from interviews with those people opens a window into the complexity of identity and breaks up stereotypes.  

 

 

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

The topics of race and identity are often neglected in classroom discussions. This program allows students to approach the topic in an engaging way that is also educational. The game allows for individual play in safe spaces and also allows for group discussions in order to build more common understanding and respectful dialogue.

Impact

Based on downloads and tracking of the web based program, more than 100 000 people have used (Don't) Guess My Race. The program creates an inclusive culture, reduces bias, encourages deep critical thinking and stimulates discussion.

Scalability

The social science behind the learning about identity, culture, and cognition is universal and interesting for use in different countries. Even though the people in the program were interviewed in the United States, many of them were from other places in the world. This gives the program more global relevance and appeal.

Media

Steps

Make a plan
Brainstorm how you want to use the program.

(Don’t) Guess My Race is an interactive digital program designed by cultural anthropologist and Diversity & Inclusion expert, Dr. Michael Baran. The program is designed to open up new ways of thinking and talking about issues related to race, ethnicity, religion, language, and culture.

Some common uses include:

  • Teacher capacity building. All teachers play through the program and discuss how to incorporate diversity and inclusion lessons into their classes or the school at large.

 

  • School diversity and inclusion events. After an event designed to make students think about diversity and inclusion issues, have students play the program as follow up. Optionally, this could include small discussions.

 

  • Individual classes. Teachers can assign the program as an assignment, perhaps combined with a reaction paper type writing assignment or maybe just to stimulate discussion. Be creative with how you think about using the program, and don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Baran with questions.
Tally numbers and email Interactive Diversity
Based on how you are going to use the program, tally up how many total people need access.

Email Dr. Baran at mbaran@interactivediversityconsulting.com with the information from about how you are going to use the program and how many people need access. Also tell him whether your students all have school email addresses. If they do, this will facilitate them getting access. No personal student information is ever collected, so do not worry about security. Dr. Baran will set up your access and give you instructions.

Explain the activity clearly
Students will need to know and understand the program - how it's designed, how it works and the purpose behind the learning.

Getting students using the program is straightforward. We have a brief paragraph explanation that can be provided to explain it to users. Also, you’ll want to make sure that users understand how to access the program. In most cases, it’s as simple as visiting www.dontguessmyrace.com, clicking LOGIN and entering your email address.

After logging on to the site, you can watch the 3-minute explainer video and then start playing. You’ll see pictures of real people that Dr. Baran interviewed, and you’ll be asked to guess how the person in the picture answered the question, “What race are you?”

It's important to discuss the intended learning of the program. You may feel uncomfortable, knowing you aren’t supposed to be labeling people. You’re certainly right about that! But in this case, you won’t be assigning a label, you’ll just be guessing how that person might have self-identified. ​​​​​This guessing exercise can make you even more aware of your own biases, since we’re all unconsciously categorizing people we meet all the time.

The program makes it difficult to guess correctly, and thereby demonstrates how we cannot know how someone self-identifies just by looking at them. 

You’ll also notice that the categories are not the typical categories you see on a race questionnaire. They are designed to raise questions and to make you think about the complexity and multiplicity of identity. After you do guess, you’ll see how the person self-identified and you’ll get to read more about how that person thinks about their identity or their experiences.  At that point, the program will take that individual person’s words and link them to a wider societal point based on the research behind diversity and inclusion issues. The program is intended to provide a foundation for thinking more deeply and critically about these important issues in our school and in our world.

Implement!
Start using the program and delving into meaningful discussions about identity.

Take your time playing through the program and taking the assessment. Think deeply, talk about everything that people find surprising, interesting, infuriating.

Teachers may worry about having these sensitive conversations if they are not used to it. Teachers should understand that they do not have to have all the answers – that just thinking more critically and having discussions is productive. In addition, Interactive Diversity Solutions can provide a discussion guide for class discussions.

Talk about it all! And if you can, document what happens. What revelations did people have? What questions were brought up? Email us and let us know. We love to hear success stories and we are happy to work with you on challenges.

 

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