In late August 2014, eleven University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students participated in a three-day digital storytelling workshop in which each student crafted a personal three-minute digital story related to some aspect of race and ethnicity, relating this to his/her own life. A description of the stories is followed by tips on how to use these in class or in other situations to foster discussion on topics of race, ethnicity, and identity.
A Diamond in the Rough A foster mother as a buffer in an uncertain world, and the difficulties in growing up in a neighborhood where expectations were low.
Against All Odds A story of racial stereotyping in high school, and the role of a professional mother in that difficult situation and as a life model.
Family/La Familia—My Story The importance of family growing up and becoming an adult.
I Will Be Ready An undocumented student’s story about succeeding in a country that does not yet fully accept her.
Kéet The impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act early in the story creator’s life and the importance of ethnic/tribal identity as a college student.
Love for Another Culture An appreciation of student teaching in another country and culture, both the appreciation of the experience and the learning from it.
Overcoming Oppression Growing up in a neighborhood with more dangers than supports, the journey of discovering strategies to resist societal oppression and thrive.
Playing for Keeps Discovering how an African-American woman can be successful in a Fortune 500 company.
Taking a Chance A story about coming from a working-class family where college was not seen as necessary, a first unsatisfactory try at college, and finding a sense of “home” after transferring.
The Generational Gap Between First Generation Hmong Children and their Parents A personal story about generational divide and family.
HOW TO USE THE STORIES
For instructors and others wishing to use the stories to spark discussion, I would recommend watching the stories that seem to fit into a topic or subject. The stories are short, none more than 3.5 minutes.
When you have selected the story to use, prime the listeners with questions to pay attention to in watching the story AND also ask them to think about ways in which they identify with the person telling the story or some aspect of the story. You can ask: “What are two reasons why this person was feeling this way about the life situation or experience?” and this often leads to good discussions.As different people often react to different aspects of a story, it is also good to have open-ended questions such as:
• What emotional reactions did you have watching the story?
• What part of the story spoke to you the most?
If you wish to discuss more about using the stories, please contact me: Jim Winship at firstname.lastname@example.org.