3.0 - Scattered Numbers

3.0 – Warm-up – Scattered Numbers (10 minutes)

Materials needed: Number chart handout. Pencils or pens.

Purpose of piece: To demonstrate that it is much harder to navigate a system when you don’t know the rules. To make the point that being able to recognize a system in operation is valuable.

Say to group: This exercise is not new, but we’re going to use it to make a point. It is modified from something Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. has done with groups when he gives presentations. To start, take a look at this sheet of scattered numbers. In the next couple of minutes, we want to find out how quickly you can locate all numbers in order, from 1 to 80. Use a pen or pencil to circle each number as you find it. Remember not to skip any numbers.

Facilitator’s Note: Give the participants about 40 seconds to search (or until some people are about half way finished). The idea is to stop the group midway so that they can experience continued searching after learning about the hidden structure on the page.

Say to group: Let me interrupt you for a moment. I’d like to tell you something I didn’t mention earlier. Take a moment to notice that the number 1 appears in the upper left quadrant. The number 2 then appears in the upper right. Search in the lower left quadrant for number 3, and follow the pattern from there. I’ll now give you a final minute to finish this activity. (5 minutes)

Large group discussion: (5 minutes)

  1. What did you notice about searching before the hint was given versus afterward?
  2. How might this relate to our lives in general?
  3. How might this illustrate how oppression works in our society?

Wrap Up: If the rules of the game are already set up for us and our life experiences teach us how to maneuver the system, we are advantaged by the rules. People who live in communities that follow different rules or are not taught the rules explicitly are disadvantaged by them. In order for us to become more effective in moving people toward anti-racism, it is important that we become cognizant of the systematic nature of oppression (how things function without our awareness) and how to help others become cognizant of how it affects people’s lives.