These modules have been carefully crafted to assist families grappling with the topic of race. Progress through the topics as you see fit for you and your family. If any of you have further questions or topic suggestions for future modules we’d love to hear them.
BYSTANDER VS. UPSTANDER – STARTING THE DIALOGUE
Here are some videos to consider as teaching tools to focus on being an Upstander, rather than a bystander. The first video is made more for a younger child, as it features Sesame Street characters. The other videos may be more appealing for older children, such as middle and high schoolers. We recommend that you view these videos before starting this process with your child to ensure that you are comfortable with the content and to know which video might be best for you and your child! Talk with your child about the terms Bystander, Aggressor, Upstander, and Victim, so that you both understand what they mean. Using one or more of these videos can help to create a dialogue with your child about how to become an Upstander!
Upstander: A person who witnesses bullying or harassment and chooses to get involved by being a friend to the victim, speaking up, and asking for help.
Bystander: A person who witnesses bullying or harassment but chooses not to get involved.
Aggressor: A person who bullies or harasses another person.
Victim: The person being bullied or harassed.
Video For Early Elementary School
Videos for Upper Elementary School, Middle, High School
The following questions and prompts can be used with all videos:
First, what is happening in the video…what is the situation?
Next, let’s identify the key people in the video:
Who is the Aggressor?
Who is the Bystander?
Who is the Victim?
Who is the Upstander? If there is no Upstander, discuss who could have stepped in and why they should have or maybe discuss why they couldn’t or chose not to do anything at that time?
Now, talk about what the Bystander could say or do, in order to become an Upstander?
How did the victim feel to be picked on?
How did the Bystander feel watching what was happening? Discuss what an Uh-Oh feeling is (Something wrong is happening here). When they saw or heard someone saying something mean or scary, like in the video, where did they feel their “Uh-Ohs?” Discuss with your child a time in their life when they had an Uh-Oh feeling.
Video to show at the end to encourage “Upstanding” behavior.
Now that you have viewed the videos and had a discussion with your children, put it into action! Here are some suggestions based on your child’s age:
Have your child/ren color the “Captain Upstander” badge or design their own badge for Captain Upstander. Act out parts of the Sesame Street video. Model being the upstander before giving your child a chance to be the Upstander. You can act it out with dolls, stuffed animals, or puppets. Talk about situations in your home, your community, or in books or videos where your child could be “Captain Upstander." Play-act (Role play) situations where your child has a chance to act as Captain Upstander.
Upper Elementary/Middle School/High School
Have your child/ren think of a scenario where someone witnesses a scene and can either choose to become a Bystander or an Upstander. They may have been in a situation themselves, seen/heard of other situations with friends/peers, or have an idea from news stories. Have them create a stop motion video showing the scenario with the character choosing to be an Upstander.
If your child is having trouble coming up with a scenario, here are some suggested scenarios they could use.
Some Muslim students are observing Ramadan and are fasting from sunup to sundown. At lunch, several other students begin to mock the fact that the Muslim students aren’t eating, and poking fun at their religion. The Upstander provides support for the Muslim students by going to sit next to them in a quieter place. They learn that Ramadan is more than just fast from food, but rather about it’s about self-reflection, self-control and refraining from anger or bad behavior. The next day, the Upstander and many other friends continue to support the Muslim students by remaining with them in the “calm room" at lunchtime.
Walking home from school, a group of teens are talking about how Covid has changed their lives. One student states “I’m so sick of the China virus. I’m annoyed that ‘those people’ had to cause a sickness that’s changing my life forever,” The Upstander points out that this statement is hurtful, racist and not okay and provides questions/discussion on how to change the wording.
On the baseball team, there is a boy who never has the right bat or glove, and he always has to borrow things from the coach. His teammates notice that he has old, worn-out shoes and that he seldom has any snacks to eat during practice. Many of his teammates make fun of him and call him “gross,” or “poor kid.” The coach steps in and helps the boy’s family to get support from a local organization and the boy is able to get new shoes and equipment. The coach talks with the other boys about how teammates always help each other and never tease or bully each other. And that the value of a human being is universal and not defined by economics.
A group of Latina students is hanging out before school in the commons area and chatting about life in their native Spanish. A few other students walk by and comment “We are in America. We speak English here. If you don’t want to speak in English so that the rest of us know what you are saying, just go home to your own country. You don’t belong here.” The Upstander speaks up to state that English is a very difficult language to learn and that everyone has their own way of communicating. The Upstander then encourages the group of Latinas to enjoy their conversation and asks about maybe joining them sometime to practice the Spanish skills she has learned in her Spanish class and learn to be a better Spanish speaker.
An orthodox Jewish boy is standing around wearing a traditional yarmulkes or head covering. A group of kids come by and yell derogatory slurs and make the Hitler salute. A Bystander stands between them and tells the kids to scram, that he is human being with feelings like anyone else before telling the boy he is sorry that he had to experience the ignorant and belittling comments and actions of these boys. He asks the boy if he could please educate him on the significance of the head covering.
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