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Table of Contents
About CRU Institute………………………………………………………...1
The Mediation Process………………………………………………………4
Setting up the Program………………………………………………………6
Changes: Annotated Transcript of Mediation Session….......................…..10
Questions for Discussion……………………………………...……………27
ABOUT CRU INSTITUTE ________________________________________________
The mission of CRU Institute is to teach young people effective, peaceful ways to resolve conflict and to develop understanding, respect, and the ability to cooperate with others in a multicultural world. CRU Institute was founded for the purpose of helping young people learn and use alternative dispute resolution skills at school, at home and throughout their lives.
Experience and training make CRU a unique organization. Since 1987, our trainers have conducted Student Mediation Training Programs at more than one hundred schools throughout the United States. Today, the majority of these schools train their own students and continue the Student Mediation Program.
CRU trainers are professional mediators who have conducted mediation training since 1980 for attorneys, mental health professionals, educators, and business people. They developed the School Mediation Program curriculum as an interesting, exciting way to teach young people the sophisticated mediation techniques used by adult mediators.
CRU will continue to promote mediation as a conflict resolution skill with universal applicability. The ability to effectively deal with conflict is a life skill that everyone should posses. It is our goal to bring an understanding of the mediation process and techniques to as many young people as possible.
Changes is a multi-dimensional project. It presents a clear picture of the structure and process of mediation. However, Changes is much more than an instructional mediation DVD/video. It illustrates and inspires dialog about a serious problem among many young people of color: ‘Acting White’.
What does ‘Acting White’ mean? To some in the African American and other communities of color, it means speaking proper English, taking advanced placement or honors classes, or striving to advance oneself intellectually. For many, the ridicule, taunting, and put-downs by friends and others have created a frustrating and depressing situation. The result is that many bright, high achievers decide it is better to pretend they are mediocre students in order to maintain social status.
Consider the words of Barack Obama:
“Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.” …Barack Obama, Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, 2004
Changes acts as a catalyst for discussion about ‘Acting White’. It is our hope that these discussions will become part of the very complicated process of eradicating ‘the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white’. These attitudes have taken years to develop and will not dissipate immediately. We must begin now. Too many young people have given up on their goals because they are bombarded by put-downs and harassment from those around them. Too many have decided to identify with rappers rather than readers, to choose balls rather than books. It is time for an open discussion about CHANGE. And that’s what Changes is about.
Changes presents a clear and well thought out example of the mediation process illustrating the three phases of mediation and numerous techniques. In addition to showing the full dramatization, you may wish to show your students the annotated version of the video and the section of the video illustrating specific mediation techniques. The section of this leader’s guide entitled, Questions for Discussion, serves to facilitate a meaningful and important discussion going far beyond the mediation itself. The discussion will afford students the opportunity to address the issue of ‘Acting White’. They will begin to evaluate the impact that harassment and put-downs toward those who choose to achieve have had on African American youth as well as on other people of color.
The video/DVD may be used in a variety of ways. You may wish to show it to your students and then discuss the content and issues it addresses. (See ‘Questions for Discussion’ section of this manual) It might be effective to begin a discussion of the issue of ‘Acting White’ (perhaps using some of the questions in the ‘Questions for Discussion’ section.) and then show the video/DVD. Further discussion will, most likely, be inspired by show..
Changes is not just an example of the mediation process and techniques. It offers students the opportunity to consider and discuss a topic that has had a destructive impact on communities of color. We understand that this is a sensitive and provocative topic. Much effort has been made to produce the DVD/video and the leader’s guide. We solicit and welcome your comments.
ANNOTATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE MEDIATION SESSION The shaded, boxed sections of this transcript indicate the numerous mediation techniques demonstrated in the session. You may wish to stop the program from time to time and discuss what the mediators are doing and why.
NOTE: THIS EXCERPT BEGINS IN THE PART OF THE MEDIATION WHERE MEDIATORS HELP DISPUTANTS DEFINE THE PROBLEM.
THE MEDIATORS AKS THE DISPUTANTS TO SIGN THE CONTRACT SAYING THAT THEY AGREE TO THE RULES. THIS MAKES THE DISPUTANTS’ COMMITMENT STRONGER AND GIVES THE MEDIATORS MORE AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE THE RULES.
So Kayla, can you describe the problem?
NOW THE MEDIATORS BEGIN TO FIND OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.
THE MEDIATOR ENFORCES THE RULES, A TECHNIQUE THAT EMPHASIZES THE STRUCTURED NATURE OF THE MEDIATION PROCESS.
Kayla smiles at him in a "gotch ya" way.
Isiah is angry but her mean attitude is also slightly comic;
he shakes his head slowly, seeing the humor in their
(summarizing Kayla's points)
So, Isiah changed when he started taking
Kayla gestures yes.
Speaking differently, and hanging out
with some Honors students. You say he's
acting like he's better than you and
other folks from the hood.
THE MEDIATOR RESTATES THE FIRST DISPUTANT’S DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM. RESTATING IS DONE SO THAT THE MEDIATOR CAN CHECK OUT WHAT HE IS HEARING, SO THAT THE DISPUTANT WHO MADE THE STATEMENT KNOWS HE IS LISTENING, AND SO THAT THE OTHER DISPUTANT HEARS THE STATEMENT. NOTE: THE OTHER DISPUTANT MAY NOT BE LISTENING TO THE FIRST DISPUTANT AS THEY ARE IN CONFLICT.
Ah huh, he tries to talk just like them.
It's messed up. Actin' white.
Kayla turns her head away, looking towards the window.
INT. H.S. HALLWAY/HONORS ENGLISH CLASS -DAY
INT MEDIATION ROOM - DAY
THE PRESENT. Kayla is only half-listening to Simone.
Isiah, so tell us what's been goin' on.
THE MEDIATOR GIVES THE SECOND DISPUTANT AN EQUAL CHANCE TO SAY WHAT HAPPENED. THIS HELPS KEEP THE PROCESS NEUTRAL.
All I hear from Kayla is that I'm acting
white just because I want to study and do
well in school.
He looks at Kayla.
Sorry. I want to be a doctor. My bad.
He looks at the mediators.
Just talk to me now, not Kayla?
THE MEDIATION PROCESS IS STRUCTURED. ONE WAY TO DO THIS IS TO HAVE THE DISPUTANTS SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE MEDIATORS IN THE BEGINNING OF THE MEDIATION. AS THE MEDIATION PROGRESSES, THE DISPUTANTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO ONE ANOTHER SO THAT COMMUNICATION IS INCREASED AND SO THAT THEY CAN SOLVE THE PROBLEM TOGETHER.
THE SECOND MEDIATOR ASKS THE SECOND DISPUTANT TO DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM AS IF NOTHING HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE. THIS IS TO GIVE EACH DISPUTANT AN EQUAL CHANCE TO SAY WHAT THEY THINK HAPPENED AND IT GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF NEUTRALITY BY THE MEDIATORS.
Questions for Discussion
These questions may be used to develop discussion after you have shown the video. However, they may also be used in periodic meetings with your mediators to deal with specific issues. The questions are divided into two groups:
About the Mediation
About ‘Acting White’
Please review all the questions before beginning the discussion.
About the Mediation:
Why did the mediators enforce the rules at the beginning of the mediation?
What techniques did the mediators use to help Isiah and Kayla discuss their situation?
Why did the mediator ask Isiah to speak directly to her in the beginning of the mediation when he was describing the problem?
When the mediators found out that Nona and others were involved in this dispute, should they have asked them to join the mediation? What might have happened if the other girls had been included?
Is it okay to allow and possibly encourage the disputants to talk to each other during the mediation? When?
When did the mediators ask the disputants to restate each other? What effect did this have on the disputants?
Should you ask the disputants to restate very negative things said by the other disputant? What effect might that have?
Questions for Discussion (Continued)
About ‘Acting White’ Prior to beginning this discussion, review these questions and decide which are appropriate for your students. As the discussion progresses, you may decide to use certain questions to encourage the students to deal with issues that have been raised.
Why did Kayla and Isiah have a conflict?
What does ‘acting white’ mean?
Where did concern about achieving in school or ‘acting white’ come from?
Discuss the multiple causes (Here are some examples)
Slavery (living in the ‘big house’ vs. being a field worker)
The Civil Rights Movement (separating from the white population)
The influence of the media.
What effect does being accused of ‘acting white’ have on people?
Is being smart, taking honors classes, and achieving in school respected by some people? Why?
Are certain groups of people more likely to respect school achievement than other groups?
Give some examples.
How did these people feel?
What was the outcome?
If people in your school or in your group of friends disrespect others for achieving, what could you do about it?
Selected Role Plays
The following role plays are included in this Leader’s Guide as examples of situations that deal with issues of race and racial relations. You may wish to have students practice mediation skills by participating in the role plays using the mediation structure outlined in this Guide. Students will also be able to use mediation skills and techniques from Changes as pointed out in the annotated script and in the techniques chapters of the DVD/video. Set up the role plays by giving each disputant their role, a name tag and by giving only the information in the box to the mediators. Debrief each role play asking the mediators, the disputants, and observers to discuss the process, techniques and issues raised in the mediation. Grades or Fun: Choose One Two black girls are in a conflict. They have been good friends for many years, but now they only argue with each other. One of the girls named Diva requested a mediation, and she and her friend, Tanya agree to meet with mediators.
DIVA You are a black, tenth grade girl. You are very smart and always get good grades. Lately your friend, Tanya has been hanging with cool kids. Sure they are cool, but they never study, and they get terrible grades.
Yesterday, Tanya told you she was going to a party this weekend. You know the kinds of kids who go to these parties, and you asked her why she wanted to hang with them. She just blew you off and said, “They are my real friends now.”
You know that next week is finals. Tanya will not keep up her 3.8 grade point if she doesn’t study this weekend. You requested a mediation to talk things out with her.
TANYA You are a very smart, black girl, and you always get good grades. You are in tenth grade. This year kids in school have been teasing you calling you ‘nerd’ and saying that you are “acting white” because you are studying so much. They say you do nothing but study and worry too much about grades—not having fun.
Lately you decided that maybe being popular is more important than grades. (Until this year you had a 3.8 GPA) You decided to have some fun, go to parties, hang with cool kids. Now
your friend, Diva is upset with you and you both are going to mediation.
What’s Important? Two girls, both Hispanic are referred to mediation. They are both very beautiful and smart. They have been friends for a long time.
CARLA You are a 13 year old Hispanic girl. You are very beautiful and you have always had many friends. Angela and you have been friends for many years. In the last few months, Angela has been putting you down for studying too much. She calls you Miss Brainiac. She says you will never have a boyfriend if you do nothing but read books.
You thought that maybe you should just pretend to be dumb. If your grades went down, more people would like you. But you talked to one of your teachers and she said, “You are a beautiful and a smart young woman. Be yourself!”
You are sad to lose Angela as a friend, but if she keeps saying these things, you will not be her friend any longer. Maybe mediation will help.
ANGELA You are a 13 year old Hispanic girl. Your friend, Carla thinks she is ‘all that’. She studies all the time and wants to get all ‘A’s’ in school. Lately you have been telling her that she needs to have some fun. Maybe you could go to the dances, meet some boys and go to parties. Studying is not really that important.
Carla doesn’t want to do anything fun. She’s a weirdo brainiac who studies all the time. You don’t know hardly anyone who goes to college. Why does she want to be different?
Your Mom makes you take care of your little sister and you miss school many days. Your grades are not very good—but who cares? You are more popular with bad grades.
Well maybe talking things out in mediation will save your friendship with Carla.
Some Cool Guys Read Two black boys are referred to mediation. They almost got into a fight but decided to go to mediation to talk things out. The boys have been friends for a long time.
Bryant You are black and 15 and very cool. You listen to rap music, you have more girls than you need, and you have at least ten pairs of shoes—all cool.
Studying is stupid. No one cool reads books. Only nerds and white kids study. Yesterday as you and your friend, Marcus were leaving football practice, you asked Marcus to hang with you and some girls. Marcus said, “No. I have to study. Got a big test in history tomorrow. Need to read the book.”
You said, “You nerd. You’re a sell out. You acting white!”
Next thing you knew, Marcus was threatening to beat you up. Someone mentioned mediation. You said okay, but you really don’t know what mediation is.
MARCUS You are black and 15 and really into being cool. Lately you have decided that you need to keep up your grades because you don’t really think you can count on a football scholarship. Studying is different, and you have to spend time catching up with the other kids.
Your friends are teasing you about ‘acting white’, being nerdy, having four eyes (you need to wear glasses). Today, your friend Bryant started saying these things, and you exploded. You tried to tell him you had to read the history book for your test tomorrow and he just kept on calling you names. You almost hit him, and then someone mentioned talking things out in mediation.