Respecting Differences Essays

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

If you are using the video, ask the first question before viewing.

1.  Agree or disagree: It's okay to insult or make fun of people as long as they don't hear it.

2.  What are some common signs of disrespect that you see in people here at school? How do you feel about that?

3.  What do you dislike most about the way people treat each other here at school? What do you like the most? Why do you feel that way?

4.  Are there a lot of put-downs here at school? Are put-downs a sign of disrespect? How, in what way?

5.  Is there a difference between a put-down and an insult? What's the difference?

6.  Do you have to like a person in order to be respectful, or can you be respectful to someone even if you don't particularly care for him or her?

7.  When you're with a group of kids, what things might other people do or say that make you feel good? What things make you feel bad?

8.  Do you think there is racism here at school? How is it expressed? How does that make you feel?

9.  Have you, personally, ever experienced racism or some other type of prejudice? What happened? How did it make you feel?

10.  Do the kids in your school tend to stay within their own racial and ethnic groups, or do they mix. Why do you think that happens here?

11.  Several of the kids in the video commented that they feel pressure to stay with their own kind rather than mixing. Do you find the same pressures here at your school?

12.  Do you think people are afraid of differences sometimes? Can you give some examples? Why do you think that's true?

13.  Is it harder to respect someone who is very different from us? Why?

14.  What are the benefits of having friends who are different from us?

15.  Have you ever learned something new about a different culture from a friend?

16.  How well do you kids know each other? What things stand in the way of getting to know people better?

17.  What responsibilities do you feel you have toward your classmates?

18.  Is it ever okay to treat another person with disrespect?

19.  What are the benefits of treating people with respect?

20.  The kids in this video said they think everybody is entitled to be treated with respect. Do you agree?

21.  What was most meaningful to you in this video?

22.  Did anybody in this video say anything you disagree with? What would you say to that person?

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It is important to respect differences because if we didn’t, each and every person with a life changing disease or a different skin tone, wouldn’t be treated for who they are, but for what they are. Its also important because each person--no matter their differences--has feelings. Feelings like any ‘normal’ human- being and discouraging or putting them down for your own selfish pleasure, is wrong. “Flowers for Algernon” and Remember the Titans, are two great examples of how exactly to accept each other, and respect differences.
One example of how These two selections compare would be that in “Flowers for Algernon”, the main character is Charlie Gordon. Charlie-like many other Americans-suffers from Mental Retardation. Because of his disease, he is not accepted as a friend. In Remember the Titans , the main focus is on a high school football team. This Team was one of the first desegregated high school teams in their time. While their   two schools were becoming intermixed, the people of color felt out of place and were not accepted as friends by the whites because of the color of their skin.   As you can probably tell every person with a different race at that high school, felt unwanted and unworthy, just like Charlie!
An example of a contrast would be that in “Flowers for Algernon” Charlie is a 37 year old man with mental retardation. Charlie then has the chance to become smarter. He took his chances and underwent this life changing surgery. It was a success! His intelligence skyrocketed above his doctors and teachers, and his respect was gained. But in Remember the Titans , unlike Charlie, the colored teammates could not undergo a surgery that would make them a different skin tone. So in this way they embraced who they were and blocked out anyone else’s negative feelings.
Another example of a contrast would be that in “Flowers for Algernon” Charlie only becomes respected because he was ‘normal’. He was not really who he used to be anymore, and because of...

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