English esl video lesson Discrimination

Practice speaking about discrimination and racism using vocabulary from the talk show video and do the interactive listening exercises.

Discrimination and racism questions

  • What is discrimination? Have you experienced it? In what spheres of life?
  • What is racism?
  • Are there strong laws in your country to prevent discrimination?
  • Where does discrimination come from?

Key video vocabulary

the audience can’t relate to you

..unless you get a plastic surgery

I look more alert

Discrimination video exercises

Watch the video. Why couldn’t Julie get an anchor job?

Practice listening with a gap-fill exercise, click on the picture:

English video interactive gap-fill exercise on discrimination

Video discussion questions

  • What would you do in Julie’s position? Would you get a plastic surgery?
  • Can you relate to the community of the area where you live in?
  • Are people of some ethnicities have limited career options in your country?
  • How can a person be discriminated during a job interview?
  • Will such a discrimination exist in the future? Why?

Learn more with a video lesson on cultural inequality, racism and respect and an audio lesson on racism

Additional listening and reading about discrimination and prejudice

The text is below

Be serious

I’ve changed something. I’ve got a special lesson today. It says prejudice in English. And this is the no prejudices zones. Actually I have a bias against math because I’m not very good at it. That’s why I chose English. And it’s not very good to hold such a silly prejudice, you know. I mean well, you know, I’m kind of ignorant about the subject so I don’t study it. Now I’ve used three words. I’m gonna try and help you learn what these words mean and there’s a reason for it. So I’m going to be serious for a second. I’ve been very fortunate that I get to teach people from all over the world. And it’s one of the greatest privileges you can have really helping people learn and introducing the world to them because once you want to learn a language not just English but any language, you open up the world to yourself.

We all live in a bubble

But I have to be honest, once you open up to the world the world sometimes is a little different than what you think because when you live in your area, you have what’s called a bubble. And you live in that bubble like a fish swimming in water. And every once in a while when you go into the bigger ocean, you notice there are some other things and some are good and some are bad. So this particular lesson, I hope, will be useful to you because even if you stay in your own village or city and you never leave the country. By learning English you’re going to be talking to people who also speak English. And they may not look like you or may not be from the same place as you. And if you travel and you speak English well, definitely you’ll find people of different cultures not to speak English. So I’m going to speak maybe a bit slower in this one because I want you to clearly get this one. So in prejudice we’re gonna learn about what it means because it’s in the lesson.

Deal with generalizations

There’ll be five words now all of these deal with what’s called generalization, to make general. when you make something general, you take the highest and the lowest and you just say, you know, what the middle ground is covers everybody now. You already know something’s high and something’s low there’s a difference, they’re not the same. So to put them in the middle and say they’re the same right move them to the middle doesn’t isn’t always going to be true now in life we generalize. That’s what we say. I can’t look at every situation and know exactly what it’s going to be so. I’m just going to make a rule and I’m going to live by that rule. That’s a hundred percent okay as long as you know when you get to a specific situation you put outside the rule and you look at the situation. In this case or these cases people don’t put away the rule they live by the rule no matter what evidence or what proof is in front of them.

It starts with a bias

So let’s start off with the first one because this usually starts it. Now usually people have likes and dislikes. I like you, you like me. You come back and you see Mr. Wormy Mr. E right here. He thinks it’s a mystery why people don’t get along. We’re going to explain it, but usually people start off with something called a bias. A bias is a preference I like chocolate ice cream, you like vanilla ice cream. You are biased for vanilla, I am biased for chocolate. In this case we’re usually actually number three in the definitions. It means a preference for something or against something. It’s not bad it’s just a preference. Sometimes you hear men talk about women and say I’m biased for blondes. All it means is they like women with yellow hair. They don’t hate other women they just like those. That’s their preference. But sometimes what happens when people have preferences they get really really strong on the preference and they won’t change. So imagine holding a marker and you won’t let it go. No matter even if I need a red marker I hold on to the black marker. That helped? That doesn’t help you right because you need red but you only go black. And that’s what happens here. It’s when you show prejudice for or against something unfairly. I mean it’s not even fair. It’s like you like this because you like this and you don’t care what other evidence. Even if this thing is bad you don’t care. It’s unfair alright. So if you’re a blonde woman and I say I have a preference for blondes, the woman with dark hair we call brunettes if it’s brown. So that’s not fair, you didn’t even talk to me she’s not even a nice woman. She doesn’t like cats and you like cats. There you go right. So it’s a silly bias. Now from there people who are biased if they’re biased unfairly. As you can see we got the word unfairly here we’re going to go. We’re going to go down here and you’re gonna find that they do something else. They try and influence other people’s judgement unfairly. So you see there’s a correlation. Correlation means when two things go together or they seem to match up. They start off with the preference which is okay nothing wrong with that. Then they keep the preference and make it a hard rule, which they will not change. And when they finish with that then they go out and try to get other people to believe the same as they do unfairly. That’s the problem with bias. Sometimes you hear North Americans talk about bias and if you listen for context you’ll notice that it’s nothing bad. It’s just like I’m biased against Porsches. I like Mercedes that’s nothing bad. Other times you listen carefully you’re going hold on that seems to be a judgment. That’s not fair or you’re trying to influence me and it’s not fair. Bias. These will be long and I’m sorry but you have to understand them to use them correctly.

Get rid of prejudice

The next one comes down to prejudice. If you notice, up here we talk about prejudice and some of you. I’m sure we’re going what does prejudice mean? Well, prejudice is from Latin and it means pre which means before Judis means judge to judge before. So if you look down here we have prejudice. It is a person who has judged the situation or a person without or before having an experience with it. So they don’t know what the thing is. But they know they don’t like it. A good example is somebody who doesn’t like science books. So I was teaching a class one day and we were looking at Scientific American and I was talking to them about Schrodinger’s cat. And one of my students right away said: “Teacher we not understand we don’t like it’s bad it is bad. ” Okay so then I changed it to make it a story and the same student was like: “That’s so cool can it really be a cat would be alive and dead in a box at the same time.” I went up see because you were prejudiced against science you wouldn’t listen to what I had to say. But when I made a story you liked it. But you judged before you knew you were a prejudice. So prejudiced and you notice how prejudiced it plays a part in being biased because you’re judging before the situation. Now prejudiced a prejudiced man or woman it’s an adjective. To be prejudiced biased there’s also an adjective we have -ED endings now. There is a lesson on -ED an -ING adjective endings go check it out. Now I’m going to come by this is the final one. I think is the root the reason for the rest. But we’re gonna go over here now.

Stop sexism

Once you know, we said bias starts it leads to prejudice. There are two very specific types of prejudice. And we list them as separate because they are very strong in the world. We either have racist or sexist. Well prejudice is to judge. That’s all I said it means to prejudge us. Let’s do the biggest number which is men and women female gender. Well, some people if there are men, they think women are down here and men are up here. Or some women, actually, believe women are up here and men are down here. When you believe that your sex is superior and look at the word super, which means above and another one is inferior below. Then you are sexist another word for sexist or sex is gender. So gender means man or female sex also in North America means a man or woman and MF means man say M man and female right which is woman believes their gender, sex or if they’re male or female is superior to the other. The world is a big place and people have different beliefs and cultures. So I understand this where I am in Canada we believe that men and women are equal. Not the same but they’re equal. So if you believe that women are underneath men, we would say you are sexist. Or if you believe that men are underneath women, you are sexist. And believe me sexism can come from both sides. A lot of women believe men are stupid lazy and other words I won’t use because women are so much better. These women are sexist. So some men think that only men should have jobs and women should stay at home because they’re not smart enough to work. These men are sexist.

Stop racism

Next, here’s my favorite one. Well it’s not my favorite, it’s my least favorite. But it’s one you should look at. Do you remember we said prejudice leads to sexism because you judge before you know? You don’t look at the individual situations, you make a judgement and you just go with it. In this case, you think sex. Men are good women are bad. Woman do it. And racism, you actually look at skin color. And you give attributes which are another word for traits or characteristics to a person depending on their skin color. You don’t get to know them because you’ve already judged them from what you’ve learned in the media. Or what you don’t actually try and get to know them to see if the rules follow in this case. A racist is someone who believes skin color gives benefits to a group whether that be intelligence or more character. Or it takes away from another group intelligence or moral character or physical abilities. And here’s something interesting because Mister E. Hey get out here we’re not paying you in peanuts anyway. Mister E had mentioned something interesting. He was saying some people are actually racist and in a way that’s quite funny. He said you can be racist and not really be racist. Now what do you mean? Well, some people actually believe that another group is better than their group because of their skin color. I thought it was weird and then I thought about it. Weird means strange by the way. And I thought about it is true. Some people actually believe that another group is superior and they are actually racist because they’re separating the races by saying this group is superior because of their color. While my group is inferior because of its color. Now that’s scary. It’s usually not funny. I hope that’s not your view in the world. Because even when it comes down to it, we’re all equal. I like to say we’re all fallible which is fallible human beings we all make mistakes and it makes us all even. Whether the richest man of the poorest man, the smartest woman or not the smartest woman. We all make mistakes and that brings us all to the same place. But anyway that’s just me, so when we look at sexism and racism or a sexist person, a racist person. You know the sexist is an adjective, but a racist can be a noun or an adjective. It’s hard to say you are a sexist. We usually say, you are a sexist man or a sexist woman. I’m gonna say sometimes you know, you could say you are sexist but still adjectives. But a racist can be a noun or an adjective.

Stop being ignorant

So the last one I’m going to do is why does this happen. Then as Freud would say this happens because this subconscious has no concept of. I don’t know Freud. What I want to say is I don’t know .. but Freud is good, it would come from being ignorant. Ignorant is an adjective what is ignorant. It reminds of a person who does not have knowledge of something or somebody. It’s only we live in a great big world and we know that one place is not the same as another. But a lot of people, this is where the generalization comes in. They know just something they don’t stop and think it could be different other places or worse. They don’t know something so they make judgments or guesses on information they don’t have. Once you do that, you’re going to be biased. Well, what I know is this I don’t know that. So I like what I know I don’t like what I don’t know. snd don’t understand. Then you start prejudging things well I don’t know it but I’m gonna guess yes. That is bad or it’s good because it’s similar to what I do know. Then we lead into the sexist and racist thing. Well I’m going to start separating things into these nice categories or groups of things I know and I don’t know. And I’m gonna be biased and there’re gonna be prejudices in them in a blah blah blah. You can see how it grows.

Open your mind

So one of the most wonderful things you’ve done for yourself is opening yourself up to learning English. It is a first step because in doing that you’re starting to learn that the grammar is not the same the vocabulary is not the same. People don’t look the same when they speak. If you go back to engvid.com I’ll write it up you’ll notice that all the teachers look different. But they all speak the same language. How can this be? Well, when you open your mind and you stop being ignorant. You allow yourself the opportunity to get rid of your biases, release your prejudices, stop being sexist and not being racist. And here’s the deal. You can still not like people. No one’s taking that from you. That’s the privilege of being human. I don’t like you, right. But at least you will do it from a position of being knowledgeable. Now I think it’s nicer to say I don’t like you because I know this then I don’t like you because I don’t know you so you must be bad. Or it must be bad, right. It’s kind of cool? Anyway to get some more knowledge because I don’t want you to be ignorant. I want you to learn I appreciate the fact you put in your 10 or 15 minutes. Now go to engvid.com. Now watch, I’m gonna do something different, add another color engvid.com. You can learn this in other subjects. Keep an open mind. World’s a big place. You just might like it.

Key discrimination and racism vocabulary

the audience can’t relate to you
..unless you get a plastic surgery
to look more alert
I have a bias against math.
I’m biased against Porsches.

you were prejudiced against science
I’m kind of ignorant about the subject
in life we generalize
Not the same, but they’re equal
This group is superior because of their color.
My group is inferior because of its color.

Learn more about other global issues with interactive video lessons


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