Embracing Diversity

Exercises and Assignments

by Katarina Mijatovic

Part 1: Reading

I. Read the article, "Cultural Diversity: Towards A Whole Society"

II. Highlight new vocabulary and phrases that you think are idiomatic.

III. Answer the following comprehension questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the article?

  2. List the four sections of the article and the main idea of each one:

  3. What is the meaning of multiculturalism?

  4. According to the author, why is stereotyping bad? What is ironic about negative stereotyping?

  5. What are the benefits of a tolerant society?

  6. How is a hate crime different from other kinds of crime?

  7. Why is it necessary to teach tolerance to children?

IV. Reread the article and make notes on the following discussion topics:

  1. What is the meaning of the quote by Reverend Martin Niemoller on page one?
  2. Explain the analogy between biological diversity and cultural diversity.
  3. Dr. Samuel Batances said that education universalizes the human spirit and makes us feel more comfortable in other worlds. Do you agree? In your opinion, does education promote cultural diversity or destroy it?
  4. Research shows that people of lower social status are more prejudiced, but people of the lowest social status are less prejudiced. Why do you think this is true?
  5. What is the meaning of the Paul Kurtz quote on page three?
  6. Is it possible to be proud of your culture and not be ethnocentric?


Part 2: Vocabulary – group work

Discuss the following words from the article "Cultural Diversity" with the members of your group and write a brief definition for each. Don’t use a dictionary unless you really have to!

  1. bigot, bigotry
  2. to resent, resentment
  3. to counter
  4. to assimilate, assimilation
  5. ethnocentrism, ethnocentric
  6. to belittle, belittling
  7. to perpetrate, perpetrator
  8. scapegoat
  9. to degrade, degrading
  10. obstinate, obstinately
  11. engender
  12. insofar as
  13. hypocrite, hypocrisy
  14. duplicity
  15. dogmatic, dogmatism
  16. pragmatic
  17. extermination
  18. harass
  19. pervasive
  20. seemingly


Part 3: Homework Assignment

Vocabulary Exercise

ethnocentrism assimilate pervasive belittle
pragmatic bigots engender scapegoat
perpetrators insofar as degrading seemingly
  1. To say that one ethnic group is particularly good at math is a __________________ positive statement; however, it is still a form of prejudice.

  2. Although racial and ethnic stereotyping is found in every society, it is much more __________________ in societies that are intolerant.

  3. Hate sites on the Internet are created by __________________ who wish to spread their hatred by using propaganda.

  4. When people __________________ completely into a new culture, they lose their old traditions and language.

  5. __________________ we are willing to ignore the dangers of cultural intolerance, we are participating in its continuation.

  6. In addition to humanitarian reasons for accepting people of all backgrounds as out equals, there are certain __________________ reasons as well. It will lead to a healthier and more prosperous society.

  7. __________________ of hate crimes can expect particularly severe penalties in most states in the USA.

  8. It is terribly __________________ to be the object of someone’s prejudice because it places you in a position of helplessness.

  9. It is the parents’ job to __________________ respect and tolerance toward others in their children.

  10. __________________ promotes prejudice because it allows us to believe that our ethnic group is categorically better than others.

  11. If you hear one of your friends or relatives __________________ another ethnic group in a conversation or joke, what should you say?

  12. Even today, many governments in the world use a minority group as a __________________, on whom they blame political or economic problems.

Part 4: Grammar - using past participles in modifying phrases


What do the following sentences have in common?

  1. Given an opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds at an early age, children develop a tolerance for cultural differences.
  2. Established in 1989 by a group of civil rights activists, Hate Watch monitors publications and web sites with racist and violent messages.
  3. Allowed to continue, intolerance can turn to powerful hatred.


Change each sentence so that it has two clauses instead of a participial phrase.





Complete the following sentences in your own words using information or ideas from the article:

  1. Left unrestrained, bigotry ...

  3. Learned at an early age, prejudice...

  5. Founded upon the idea that all cultures in America have something to contribute to society, multiculturalism...

  7. Persecuted in Europe for many centuries, the Jews...

  9. Considered by many sociologists to be the root of prejudice, ignorance...

  11. Defined as a generalization about the traits or characteristics of all members of a particular group, a stereotype...


Part 5: Follow-up Activity

  1. Surf through some of the following web sites. Choose one of them and make a brief report of what you found there. Tell how the theme of the site relates to cultural diversity, multiculturalism or tolerance. Why you would recommend this site to other students?

Anti-Defamation League - http://www.adl.org/default.htm

Hatewatch - http://www.hatewatch.org/

Precious Children, Diversity in the Classroom - http://www.pbs.org/kcts/preciouschildren/diversity/index.html

Council for Secular Humanism - The Limits of Tolerance http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/kurtz_16_1.2.html

Prejudice and Discrimination, Conflict Research Consortium, Univ. of Colorado - http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/problem/prejdisc.htm

Ellis Island Virtual Tour - http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/tour/

Media Awareness Network: stereotyping in the media - http://mediasmarts.ca/diversity-media

Seattle Times - the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/mlk/

The Smithsonian - the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII http://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/experience/index.html

Americans with Disabilities Act: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm

Facing History.org http://www.facinghistory.org

PBS Global Cafe http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/globalcafe/peacecorps/index.html

Part 6: Writing Assignment

Chose one of the following topics and write an expository essay with a clearly stated thesis. You may use supporting materials from online sources, but make sure you cite all quotes correctly. Remember to focus on supporting the thesis no matter how tempting it is to wander off the topic.

  1. Every country’s history includes some form of intolerance. Do some research on the persecution of a minority in your native country. What was the cause of the problem? Was the problem resolved? Does this persecution continue today? In what form?
  2. Locate one of the hate sites listed in the article, "Cultural Diversity," and see if you can analyze its origin and its message. Try to find a web site that targets your own ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Consider the following:
    1. Who wrote the material on the site? Do you think it came from a group or an individual?
    2. To whom is it directed? Who would believe its message?
    3. What makes its presentation effective? How does it attract an audience?
    4. Is it intimidating? Does it frighten you? How does it make you feel? Why?
  1. What is multiculturalism? Are you a multiculturalist? In your opinion, is multiculturalism really possible? Is it desirable? How can it be achieved?
  2. Analyze the quotation by Reverend Matin Niemoller at the beginning of the article, "Cultural Diversity." Although the context is that of the Nazi Holocaust, his message is universal. What is he saying about the responsibility of people who witness persecution? What is his message to you about your responsibility?

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