Breaking the Silence (A): Taboo Topics
(10 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
Students need to practice talking about taboo topics. The ‘A’ case offers background on recent calls to end discrimination (e.g., #MeToo, Black Lives Matter protests) and highlights the struggles business schools, in particular, have faced in dealing with intolerance. It offers an opportunity for students to consider and role play eight mini-cases based on real events. Topics covered include gender, race, diversity/inclusion, socio-economic inequities, harassment, LGBTQ+ issues, white privilege, and ableism. The ‘B’ case asks students to consider similar past interactions in their own lives so they can personalize the process and make plans for how they will deal with such events in the future.
This case can be used effectively in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses or modules on leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, organizational behaviour, communication, or ethics. After working through the cases and assignment questions, students will be able to
- recognize and explore the challenges faced by both individuals and groups that experience intolerance and discrimination;
- experience reduced levels of discomfort when engaging in conversations related to intolerance and discrimination;
- analyze a conversation in order to pinpoint triggers and cues concerning emotional distress;
- develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of varying perspectives; and
- reflect on past interactions to increase readiness for future conversations.
Canada; United States, 2020
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