Racism and the Box

9, 10, 11, 12

Students will describe the role that racism plays in self-betrayal and self-deception. They will reflect on how historic racist actions led to the disintegration of society.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Fifty-Five Minute Class Period

The learners will:

  • explain how racism leads to self-betrayal and self-deception.
  • analyze the effect of racism on society.
  • Self-Deception (Attachment One), project or make a handout for students.
  • Student copies of Racism and Self-Deception (Attachment Two)
  • Projected image of Bus Driver’s Self-Justifying Views (Attachment Three)
  • Reflecting on Racism and the Box (Attachment Four)
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Have parent(s) read over finished paragraph and discuss with the student. Have students type the paragraph for homework.


Arbinger Institute. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box. The Arbinger Institute (Editor). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000. ISBN: 1576750949



  1. Anticipatory Set:Have two volunteers act out a situation where one person drops his/her pencil and the other person considers picking up the pencil but then does nothing. Discuss as a class:

  2. how the person who did nothing might justify doing nothing, such as, how he/she might see himself/herself and how he/she might see the person who dropped the pencil.

  3. how the person who dropped the pencil might react to the other person.

  4. how feelings between the two might have been different if the second person picked up the pencil.

  5. Present and discuss Self-Deception (Attachment One), given either with transparencies or as a handout for students.

  6. Distribute Racism and Self-Deception (Attachment Two) and read through the instructions with the class. Allow students time to work on the handout alone. When students have filled in the chart, put students in groups of two or three and have them share and discuss their answers.

  7. Display the overhead of Bus Driver’s Self-Justifying Views (Attachment Three). Have volunteers go to the overhead and write words and phrases from their handouts under the two columns. Discuss the words and phrases as a class. Ask students to analyze how the intolerance shown in the example contributed to society’s disintegration.

  8. Distribute Reflecting on Racism and the Box (Attachment Four). Read the assignment with the students, take questions, allow time for writing the reflection paragraph and check progress.


Teacher observation of class work, discussion and interactive participation in order to measure understanding of concepts of self-betrayal, self-deception and racism. Evaluation of written reflection using form and content grading rubric (Attachment Four).

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give examples from history of how intolerance of ideas, religion, and minorities contributed to social disintegration.