Diversity & Anti-Oppression

Mainstream & Margin

We invented this in response to trainers asking us: what do you do with a group that is genuinely clueless about its racism (sexism/homophobia/ etc.)? We found it works with low-consciousness groups and has tremendous value for experienced activist groups, too.

Where Your Name Comes From

The simplest tool for cultural difference you'll ever lead! It's almost too simple to be it's own tool, but it works. The exercise: do a go-around where each person shares their full name and where it comes from. In a group from many countries and with wide cultural difference this inevitably opens up a whole field of difference. It's an easy, low-risk tool. Yet it can be powerful.

Culture Sharing: 3 strengths and 1 concern

In cross-cultural groups (like multinational or multigeographical groups) we find it useful to bring that cultural diversity into the room as a resource. This tool can be an early tool to help acknowledge that cultural diversity.

Facing Attack Challenge

Group stuck in defensiveness or self-judgement? This tool can help loosen them up by giving them a chance to practice handling attacks -- making visible the invisible process of judgementalism and offering a chance to work with it openly. This tool unsticks a group from the patterns that make it hard to learn anti-oppression and offers new behaviors to help out.

Fishbowl, Panel and Speak-Outs: Three Listening Exercises

Three related tools to help any group interact with its own margin. A good workshop provides opportunities for mainstream people to get new information about margins, in a way that goes below the surface and involves the emotional learning channel. The expectation is that, by highlighting the experience of a few margins in a dramatic way, participants will learn that they need to become pro-active in order to be fair with people on the margins. Similarly, the experience of powerfully speaking often increases the margins' self-confidence and clarity.

Tape on the Forehead

An activity to help groups look at mainstream/margin dynamics. This simple tool can uncover a deeper level of understanding of how mainstream/margin operates in that group.

Power Shuffle

A diversity exercise also called Step Forward/Step Back, this tool can go fairly deep considering it doesn't take much time. When placed well in a workshop, this can be a powerful exercise to help participants understand their rank and privilege or lack of it.

Step With Me

A physical exercise to help participants stand up for themselves -- literally. It's a great way to help margins stand up for themselves and mainstreams become more conscious and less stuck in shame.

Diversity Interviews

How to assist a marginalized individual or subgroup in your workshop to become integrated into the group, and also how to assist the mainstream in your workshop to learn more deeply about difference. This one is best done if you first of all experience it as a participant in a TFC workshop or with another qualified trainer.

Walking Across the Room

This diversity exercise, also called "Crossing the Line" is geared to increase the group's awareness of difference that exists within the group as well as increase individuals awareness of their own issues with difference.

The Bag Exercise

This tool is designed to give participants a quick experience of rank and privilege- especially economic and class privilege.

Bienvenida de la diversidad

This is a welcoming tool in in the style of Process-Oriented Psychology (WorldWork) This opening tool is very adaptable to the group. We've used it successfully in India, for example, where we named every ethnic group in the room (over 30 groups!). The point is to name the range of diversity and welcome it -- there's power in naming.

Fishbowl Observation Challenge

A tool to assist people to notice more in the midst of conflict. Great practice for training observers, protestors, and anyone wanting to help people practice staying aware in the middle of conflicts.


This tool is designed to provide a group challenge and give participants a shared experience of unequal conditions that can be used to extrapolate larger lessons about structural inequality and other experiences with oppression.