For You, The Teacher . . iv
List of Discoveries . . vii
Workbook Evaluation Form . . xi
Evaluation Form for Adults . . xiv
Lesson 1: What Is Prejudice? . . 1
Lesson 2: What I’m Taught to Believe! . . 17
Lesson 3: I Have a Mechanical Brain! . . 27
Lesson 4: When We’re Asleep, We Can’t See . . 40
Lesson 5: The Bells and Knots of Conditioning . . 55
Lesson 6: Elements of Knot-Like Thinking . . 69
Lesson 7: Concepts that Numb the Brain . . 77
Lesson 8: More Brain-Numbing Concepts . . 97
Lesson 9: The Problem with Perfection . . 123
Lesson 10: The Anatomy of Prejudice! . . 129
Lesson 11: Getting Free of Prejudice . . 143
Lesson 12: Prejudice Is a Decision . . 166
Lesson 13: Thinking in New Ways . . 179
Everyone is guilty of some prejudice. It's difficult to live in the world today and not be prejudiced in one way or another. Still, there is a stigma attached to being opinionated, biased, or intolerant; and students may be hesitant to admit that they have prejudiced thoughts or feelings.
Before starting with the lesson plans, explain generally to students about prejudice. Tell them they will embark on a journey that will help them understand the roots of conflict. Do your best to impart an air of mystery and excitement to evoke their sense of adventure. Even though the implications of prejudiced thinking can be dangerous and have created tremendous suffering, one should approach the subject with young people in a way that is intriguing and thought-provoking so their minds are ready to face new possibilities.
The following warning opens students! minds to new thinking. Use it and find out what happens. You may even want to enlarge it and make a poster that can be displayed.
Thank you for caring enough to want to help your students resolve conflict peacefully. Bullying is a serious affair. I personally suffered from it in my younger years. I think that's why I was so interested in studying the martial arts.
Before I learned the martial arts, I had one option: to run away. That's what I did, and although it often saved me from being bullied, running away gave me no confidence in myself and caused me emotional pain. I was also caught and beaten up. Once I learned physical self-defense, I then had another option: to fight. What I was taught in those days was to defend myself physically against a bully who bothered me. This has a certain logic. We do have the right to defend ourselves against being violated. Physical self-defense has a place.
But in my preadolescent and adolescent years, the limited options of fighting or running away were not successful in helping me cope with bullying. As I grew older, I thought there must be a better way. What concerned me then, and still does today, is that practicing only physical self-defense doesn't stop conflict; it merely creates another on top of the one that exists.
Today our young people face far greater threats. Bullying has escalated to homicide. Guns are now the weapons of choice for settling disputes. Physical self-defense, by itself, has become ineffectual in defending us from bullying. The media have conditioned young people to think that using weapons to resolve conflicts is the justifiable — and even honorable — thing to do. Our children have grown up in a tremendously violent culture fed by violent movies, TV programs, video games, magazines and comics.Since 1956 more than 1,500 studies have shown that violence in the media (especially television) does affect young people's behavior in a negative way. In other words, we've taught our children to be junior Rambos, to resolve their problems of relationship by extreme and violent means.
As our young people face more violence, we adults are challenged to come up with ways they can resolve conflicts nonviolently. We parents are overwhelmed with making ends meet in this economically unstable time. We teachers are overworked trying to educate young people academically, to give them the intellectual skills they need to go after their chosen vocations. So who's going to help our children understand and resolve the problems they have with people around them? Who's going to teach them the skills to cope with bullies, conflict and violence?
Character development has an incredible potential for helping to bring about peaceful and humane relationships between people. I want to help young people fulfill their physical, mental, emotional, and social needs so they can lead healthier, happier lives — so they can be kind, courteous and intelligent human beings.
The greatest gift we have to offer young people is character development, which infuses students with values that create a capable and responsible citizen of the world. This is our intent — and it must be taught in a practical, fun and humane way. Where we begin is to teach that one of the highest goals in life is to understand and resolve conflict peacefully — and that prejudice is one of the main contributors to conflict. We can learn to STOP conflict — mentally — before it becomes a physical conflict. This is what this curriculum is all about — to create a new type of education that teaches mental self-defense. Mental self-defense skills give the student the ability to resolve conflict before it becomes physical.
When young people learn how to defend themselves mentally, as well as physically, then they begin to understand themselves and see that all humankind shares the same emotions and reactions that create conflict — fear, hurt and defensiveness. When students begin to be AWARE of these reactions — come into direct contact with themselves — they have the opportunity to understand and resolve conflict peacefully.
Bullying is the state of mind that creates violence — individually and globally. When would-be bullies become AWARE of how and why they bully, they begin to practice mental self-defense — a skill necessary to cope with our gun-wielding society. Young people today cannot rely on defending themselves with physical skills alone. Mental self-defense can offer strong solutions.
If you have questions about the curriculum, or how to implement it, please feel free to contact me. I also offer teacher-training courses to train people in conflict resolution using this and my other Character Development curriculums. Thank you again for selecting these materials for your school. I hope they live up to your expectations and, most importantly, that they help your young students understand and resolve conflict peacefully — by becoming aware of their prejudices and willing to see the world in a new way.
Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle
P.S. What's written here may be new to your students. There's a chance that they may not understand some of it. They and you may have to go over certain sections a few times before really understanding the meaning of the concepts. Feel free to change or modify certain words that may not fit the current vocabulary of your young students. Understanding prejudice, which creates so much conflict in the world, is “mental self-defense.”
Thanks for taking this journey with me into the roots of prejudice! If you need help in understanding anything in this book, ask a trusting adult.