"SaY" it with a Story: challenging prejudice and developing empathy through storytelling
With the "SaY" magazine, educators can:
Motivate reluctant and struggling young writers to express themselves—either for the magazine or as regular bloggers for the website
Challenge your students to create their best work for possible publication
Build an understanding of genre and audience through reading real, published works
Provide examples of exemplary poems, stories, and book reviews—all written by their peers
Show students who struggle with grammar they can turn this weakness into a unique, expressive strength
Connect students to a community of other young creators
If you follow the news at all, then you know that today (in 2020) there is a big rise in prejudice all around the world. In our schools, and on our streets, there is increasing intolerance for people born in other countries, or whose parents were born in other countries, especially if their skin tone is not of the same colour as the majorities. And also an increase in prejudice against people of different faiths.
It is very easy to write an essay that talks about why prejudice against others is bad. But essays rarely convince people. Fiction can be a more effective way of arguing for things you believe in. Empathy, the ability to share and imagine the feelings of others is one of the most powerful human emotions. Empathy is what makes it possible for a writer to create convincing fictional characters. Your job as an author highlighting how it feels to be discriminated against is to make your readers identify with the character so that they can imagine what it would be like for this to happen to them.
In this writing activity we want you to write a story from the viewpoint of a person who is thought of as an “outsider”.
Write about what it feels like to have to fight for acceptance because of something you have no control over:
where you were born, or
where your parents were born, or
because of the colour of your skin.
Perhaps you have had personal experiences of prejudice of these kinds - I have.
It has been ten years since I was in Europe and was de-boarded from a bus for no fault of mine on a cold winter night. I remember walking through inches of snow and minus temperatures for 2 hours to get back home. This memory is fresh, like it happened yesterday. Think about your own experiences and the feelings you had at the time, and try to imagine them happening to someone else.
What does it feel like to be mocked, teased, excluded, or worse, because you are not seen as a person by other students? This is a story, so show us what it feels like.
Please send us your writing, artwork, illustrations or photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Voice. Their Imagination.