Scenarios for Role Plays

These scenarios were generated from real life stories that happened to us or people we know. We use these scenarios to practice role playing and confronting racism in conversation

Also – You can generate Scenarios from the Yo, is this Racist?  People call in with questions that would be really easy to turn into role play scenarios. The Yo, is this Racist? podcast goes into deeper discussion then the blog roll.


You are at your parents house, and you overhear your mom talking with a friend about the N word. Your mom, who is a white woman says, “I don’t understand why they all can use that word. It’s a foul word. I don’t think they should use it. I mean if they don’t want us to use it, why do they use it?” Practice what you might say after she gets off the phone.

You are getting lunch with a coworker, Suzie, that you have worked with for many years, but haven’t spent a lot of time with.  Suzie opens up to you about her dilemma of putting her daughter in public or private school.  Private school is expensive but  about public school, she says, “you know, those black boys, they just don’t know how to stop.” How do you respond?

Your cousin is visiting from Florida. She is white. You only see her a couple times a year, and like to hang out with her when she’s in town.  She’s tells you the story of how on her honeymoon her sailboat collapsed and she got picked up by a boat driven by black people, and how when she got to shore people were probably wondering what she was doing on that boat, and she laughs loudly. When she says the word black, she whispers it. How do you respond to her story?

You are driving with a friend and her young daughter who are both white. Your friend is talking about how a few of the Asian children in her daughter’s class do not come to birthday parties of the white children. She says that she thinks the parents of the Asian children are prejudiced, and too strict. How do you respond?

You work with Jess, a 40 year old woman who has worked for the company you work for 20 years. Jess was up for a promotion and felt confident she would get it because she had devoted a lot of time and care to the company. You have run into Jess in the break room and she tells you that a 25 year old Indian women got the promotion. She tells you how she feels that she was derailed because of affirmative action and “Indians have no right to take her job.” How do you respond?

You are at a casual going away dinner at a friend’s house. You are having a casual conversation with Billy, a 14 year old boy, about your trip to Mexico next week. Billy says loudly to the room, “Mexicans are stealing all of our jobs!” You get the impression that he is simply repeating something that he’s heard before. How do you respond?

You are in your front yard and your elderly neighbor, Dorothy, who you’ve lived next to for 10 years, comes over to say hello. You’re chatting about the house for sale next door and the changing neighborhood and Dorothy says, “I sure hope a black doesn’t move in there. When blacks come in the whole neighborhood goes to hell.” Dorothy continues to tell you why the value of your home will be affected. What do you do?You work in a multiracial office for an organization who advocates for tenants rights. You are a close knit, dedicated group of activist and friends.  You work at the front desk, which sits next to your co-workers work stations.  You are the only white person in the office and you care a lot about what your coworkers of color think.  A white woman comes up to the front desk and  you begin asking her questions about a case.  During the conversation she says, “That landlord is such an indian giver, ripping off those tenants after they signed a lease.” How would you respond?

Your waiting to be seated in a restaurant and the man in front of you, a tall older white man,  begins signalling to the hostess, who is Asian.  The hostess approaches and the man says very loudly and harshly, “I NEED A MENU. MENU…” He is mouthing his words in an exaggerated way and opening and closing his hands to mimic a menu.  The hostess walks away to get a menu for the man and he turns to his date and says, “Why can’t they just speak English?” How would you respond to this situation?

You’re at a bus stop and people you don’t know are talking about airport security and how necessary it is for our safety.  There is a group of 4 people or so, all strangers, engaging and agreeing with the necessity of profiling for security. One person, who has been fueling the conversation is getting very emotional and turns to you and says, “I mean, wouldn’t YOU want arab people to be searched?” How do you respond?

An acquaintance asked you what you were up to this weekend.  You said, “Oh, i’m going to this salon to practice talking about racism.”  She looked startled  and said, “Interesting.  I wouldn’t need that.  I’m colorblind. I don’t see race, only the human race.”  What do you say?

You are at a meeting that has ended and people are milling around chatting afterwards.  You begin talking to a middle aged Peace activist about camping now that the weather is nice.  She tells you that she like camping because she thinks it’s beautiful to sleep outside and likes to because the Native Americans did. What would you want to say to her?

It’s Halloween and you’re passing out candy with your neighbors. A father and his son, who is dressed like spider man come to your door. The father and son are black.  After they leave, your neighbor, who is white, says, addressing spider man,  “Well, there goes a little Tupac!” You get the impression he says this to be clever and make conversation.  How do you respond?
Your talking politics with and a queer white friend says, “I don’t understand why black people are always complaining that they are not represented, I mean they are a smaller percentage of the population.” This feels frustrating because the friend is always complaining about how marginalized and excluded they feel as a queer person.You are teaching a community art class with young children who often come with their parents.  Two of the participants are of Asian descent, a grama and small child. Out of nowhere, the woman who owns the building and is also participating says to the elder, “We don’t eat dogs in this country.”

Your queer white friend supports sharon needles, a local white drag queen, who is notorious for doing blatenly racist performances, dressing up as hitler, wearing black face, using the “n” word on stage. Your friend says it’s freedom of speech, it’s art. How do you respond?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s