Prejudice about Ethnic/National Groups


Flipchart paper, markers


Exercise description

Step One (prejudice about your own group): The participants split into groups according to ethnicity. Each group should write on the wall newspaper what they have heard about their ethnic group in their environment (to be clear, it does not have to be what they themselves believe), or answer the question: What are [Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Albanians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, etc.] like?

Step Two (prejudice about other groups): Participants pick an ethnic group they do not belong to (from among the ethnic groups that at least one of the other participants belongs to). It is important that each group has roughly the same number of participants. They write on the wall newspaper what they have heard that ethnic group is like.

The wall newspapers from Step One are presented, then from Step Two, followed by a discussion in the plenary.

Discussion in the plenary

Suggested questions: What do you think about this? How does it make you feel? How often do you encounter these prejudices in everyday life? What can be done about them?


Type of exercise:


45-90 min


It is very important to carefully introduce this exercise and give precise instructions. The task is to write down opinions you know exist, not your personal opinion. There will often be participants who do not want to define themselves in terms of ethnic belonging and will therefore not want to participate in an exercise that puts them in such a position. This is another reason why it is important to clarify the purpose of this exercise. In our contexts, often nobody asks us what ethnic (or other) group we belong to, they simply classify us whether we like it or not, without regard for how we feel about it. You can suggest to those who do not want to identify themselves in terms of ethnic belonging that they pick the group they are most often categorised as by others. Some may decide to form a new group in protest and call it “extraterrestrials” or “cosmopolitans”, which should be allowed, although it does deviate from the topic. There may also be self-censorship, because “it’s not nice to write such things about someone”. It should be clarified that the purpose is to map existing prejudices (that may not necessarily be ones we subscribe to ourselves, but are something we heard said around us), and then think about how to deal with them. One approach is denying their existence, but that is unlikely to do much to dispel them. Bear in mind that this exercise is often difficult for people because it is the first time they are put into a situation where they have to tell those “others” what kind of prejudice exists about them. However, if the exercise is conducted carefully it can actually lead to building mutual trust.

Possible difficulties:

Related Workshops:

Prejudice and discrimination

Workshop example:

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