Ensemble/Community – Stereotype
They say we all have a little bit of stereotyping/prejudice in us and I am no exception. Recently, I was at a conference of multicultural schools in Germany. While there, I worked with teachers and students from many different countries and cultures. As our ensembles formed, I noticed a student who fit the Non-Team player mold to a tea. On the first day, she had the Goth persona, attitude that reminded me of a cult band and the energy of a slug. We’ll call her Cowboy for the sake of a name. Cowboy became the token outcast within minutes of our first rehearsal. She was avoided, ignored and as a result pulled herself out of the group’s work and into her own world.
It took the next day to see this student in her true light. The ensemble was responsible to create and perform an original theatre piece by the end of the day. As the pressure began to set in, the group’s focus and over all commitment began to fracture. Then all of sudden, when the task at hand required a leader to step up and give the group the confidence to push through the obstacle… It was Cowboy. Cowboy stood up and took the risk of caring and let the group know this by trying herself and succeeding at the task. None of us expected this from her . As I watched, I started to understand my own stereotyping and prejudice. As a leader of this group, what a horrible example I must have been, showing that kind of energy and small mindedness. Thankfully Cowboy and I ended up with a very strong connection. I came to rely on her heavily. I look forward to working with her again.
1. When and where was the last time you surprised by your own stereotyping?
2. Can you share an example of where stereotype got in the way of your work or play?
3. Do you put yourself into a mold or stereotype? And if so, why?