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Identity Star Activity

The purpose of this activity is to explore the oppressive nature of United States policy regarding race and biological sex. The goals of this activity are to (a) shed light on the historical treatment of racial minorities and women and their struggle for civil rights; (b) introduce discussion of social dominance and the conferral of privilege, and (c) increase awareness of the parallels between discriminatory practices of the past and today.


The purpose of this activity is to highlight instances of prejudice in some United States policies as well as to examine the history of race and gender in the U.S.

Estimated time

30-40 minutes

Group Size

Optimal class size is 12-16 students (3-4 students for each possible star color).  This module can be completed successfully with fewer or more students as long as each star color is equally represented.


Give each student a single 5-pointed star cut out of blue, green, yellow, or red construction paper.  Distribute the star colors as evenly as possible.  Each star color represents a combination of race and gender. Blue = White man, Green = White woman, Yellow = Black man, Red = Black woman.  During the activity, inform the students about the corresponding identity that their star color represents.  You might want to write this information on the stars themselves. Let the students know that it is their prescribed identities need not match their students' actual group membership.
Have students stand in a circle while you read aloud the scenarios listed on the activity page.  When some participants are prompted to tear off or fold over points of their stars depending on the color of their star, they should place their ripped star points in the center of their circle.