The types of questions you pose to the group to stimulate discussion will depend largely on your goals. Such goals might include (1) increased participant self-awareness, (2) increased empathy and understanding with the experiences of others, (3) creating strategies or goals for change (personal or institutional), (4) learning more about how to be allies (for white students) across race and (for students of color) how to work with whites toward change. These goals will determine different directions for the discussion and ways of facilitating discussions, as well as the selection and ordering of the questions themselves. To move people from talking about the film to talking about their own experiences and building understanding with others in the group, start with questions about the film, then move to questions about the participants. Move from “low risk” to “high risk” questions, from thoughts to personal disclosure.
Examples of such questions might be:
- What stands out for you most right now about the film?
- Whom did you most identify with in the film?
- Whom did you have the most difficulty relating to? Why?
- What feelings did the film bring up for you, and why?
- Where did you see people change over the weekend covered in the film?
- Who changed and in what ways?
And, moving from focus on the film to focus on personal experiences
- What has been your experience with racism?
- Can you think of a time that you did something to interrupt racism?
- For Whites: What does it mean to be an ally to People of Color? For
People of Color: What has been your experience of working in coalition
End the discussion with a move towards action or next steps,
on a personal, community or institutional level
- What does this film (or discussion) make you want to do? What is a
next step you feel ready to take for ending racism, within your sphere
of influence? What will you need to meet that goal?
Before the group adjourns assess the supports and the challenges they might encounter in taking these next steps. Brainstorm action strategies and encourage participants to build support networks for working against racism. (See the follow up strategies listed in this guide.)