Racial/Cultural Assumptions, Revised Behavior, and Cultural Imperatives


Diversity and DifferenceIdentity and CommunityRace, Ethnicity and Culture


Local Communities





Big Questions

How do we learn to have dialogue across difference? What does it look like?What assumptions do we make about others?Why is difference sometimes threatening?How do we define who we are?What do people gain or lose from joining a group or a community?How does my race, culture or ethnicity shape who I am?How does race affect our relations to others?What assumptions do we make about people from different races, ethnicities and cultures?

Opening Activity

Think of a time when someone made an assumption about you based on your appearance. What was the assumption? How did you become aware of that assumption? How did it impact your interaction? 

Discussion Questions

  1. What does Toure mean when he says that he thought of spanking as a "black cultural imperative"?
  2. Why are both Toure and the hostess "shocked and indignant"? Why exactly does the temperature rise between them?
  3. How does Toure decide not to spank his children? Is he betraying a cultural imperative he ought to obey?
  4. What do you think the story of this encounter means for Toure and for the hostess?

Closing Activity

Try to identify two to three "cultural imperatives" in your own culture. Do you follow them? Why or why not? 

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