Diversity and Inclusion Team Activity: I Am, But I Am Not

Guest Blogger: Diana Gurwicz

Are you preparing to facilitate a Diversity and Inclusion workshop or discussion?

“I Am, But I Am Not” is an inclusion team activity that breaks down misconceptions and stereotypes by allowing individuals to report on how they identify themselves.  Another benefit is that the exercise allows them to address the stereotypes behind these identifying factors.

This icebreaker can be facilitated in person or virtually, making it adaptable to many situations.

Instructions for the team activity:

  1. Ask each participant to fold a piece of paper in half to create two separate columns.
  2. In the first column, instruct the participants to write “I Am” and in the second column, write “I Am Not”. (see example below)
  3. In between these two columns, instruct them to write the word “But”. The final phrase will read “I am _____, but I am not _____.” (see example below)
  4. Give the participants 1 minute to fill in the first blank with their choice of common identifiers, such as their race, religion, gender, etc., and the second with a common stereotype about that group which is not true of them (whether the stereotype is positive or negative). Ex: “I am Asian, but I am not good at math.”
  5. Allow up to 4 minutes for everyone to write 3 to 4 statements.
  6. Invite them to share their statements with the group to begin an open and respectful discourse on stereotypes. Here are some examples:

“I am a social person, but I am not an extrovert.”

“I am in my 50’s, but I’m not technologically challenged.”

“I am from New York, but I am not a Giants fan.”

Diversity and Inclusion in Team Activities

About the Author

Diana Gurwicz is a Certified Master Facilitator with over 20 years of experience in consulting, facilitating, coaching, and teaching.  Diana has helped leaders in all stages of their careers develop strategic plans, restructure their organizations, leverage effective communication strategies, launch products, and lead technology roll-outs.  Diana obtained her B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University and her MBA from the Wharton School of Finance and Economics.  Diana lives in New Jersey with her 2 teenage children and her dog and donates her time to various community initiatives, including teaching the stock market to middle school children and helping high school students fulfill their dreams in the college application process.

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