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Activity: Defining Diversity Concepts

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  1. Define key terms related to race and diversity.
  2. Explore the fluidity of these constructs as it relates to social context.
  3. Discuss why having common terms is important for discussion.

Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: Five envelopes and five flashcards per envelope (25 total).

"Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day." — Author unknown

Facilitator Instructions:

  1. Write one concept on each envelope: gender, race, ethnicity, identity and diversity.
  2. Place five blank flashcards in each of the labeled envelopes.
    • Divide the participants into five groups.
    • Distribute one envelope to each group and give them 90 seconds to discuss and write on one of the flashcards the ways in which the concept they have can be defined.
    • At the end of 90-second period, ask the group to put their flashcard in the back of the stack in the envelope and to pass their envelope to a new group.
    • Each group now has a new concept. Ask them to take a blank flashcard out of the envelope without looking at the other group's card and define the new concept. Provide 90 seconds.
    • Repeat this process twice more (four times total).
    • In the fifth round (each group should have four cards with definitions generated by the other groups), ask the group to review the four flashcards that the other groups have written on, then discuss the ideas and use the blank card to write their definition of the concept. Provide three to five minutes to complete this task.
    • Finally, call on one member from each group to share the definition their group wrote.
    • Challenge the participants by asking probing questions based on the definitions listed.
    • Conclude by discussing that many of these concepts are socially defined. Accordingly, they may change over time and across contexts. Ensure the concept definitions are shared with the group if they didn't come to these conclusions on their own.

Concept Definitions:

  1. Identity is the "the fact of being who or what a person or thing is" - Oxford Dictionary. Also it is linked to how people may feel about themselves (i.e. I may be proud of my identity or ashamed of it).
  2. Diversity is "the fact or quality of being diverse; difference. A point or respect in which things differ" - Oxford Dictionary.
  3. Race is a social construction usually used to categorize people based on how they appear (traits such as color of skin and eyes, hair type, etc.).
  4. Ethnicity is a categorization used to refer to groups with distinct cultural practices and patterns of behavior.
  5. Gender typically means "the behavioral, social and psychological aspects of being male and female" - Pryzgoda & Chrisler, 2000. It is a term used interchangeably with sex, which refers to the biological aspects of being male and female. This definition indicates that while gender is related to the sex that one has at birth, it transcends biology and involves psychological, societal and behavioral norms and patterns of behavior.

Next Steps: Take the following actions after completing the activity with your team.

  1. Share photos on social media and tag/mention RISE.
    • Facebook: @RISEtoWIN
    • Instagram: @RISEtoWIN
    • Twitter: @RISEtoWIN
    • Snapchat: @RISEtoWIN
  2. Discuss your experience with students, athletes, coaches, athletic department staff and other organization members. Identify ways you and your school/organization can help lead the way in improving race relations and driving social progress.


RISE welcomes feedback as we seek to continually improve our tools and resources. We encourage allparticipants to share their feedback by completing an online survey at bit.ly/risetools. Our Leadership &Education Programs team can be reached at education@RISEtoWIN.org.



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