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“Unmasking Stereotypes”



Pre-Listening Question

Visual Activity: Image Analysis

  • Provide students with images representing American stereotypes, such as a person holding a fast-food meal or a group of people speaking English.
  • Ask students to analyze the images and discuss in pairs or small groups what stereotypes they think these images represent.
  • Encourage students to consider the accuracy of these stereotypes and how they might be influenced by media or personal experiences.

Auditory Activity: Prediction Exercise

  • Share the title of the interview and briefly discuss the topic of stereotypes.
  • Ask students to predict what stereotypes might be discussed based on the title and topic.
  • Have them write down their predictions and reasons for their choices.
  • After listening to the interview, compare their predictions with the actual stereotypes discussed in the conversation.

Reading Activity: Stereotype Research

  • Assign students to research and read about common stereotypes associated with Americans before listening to the interview.
  • In class, have students share their findings in small groups, discussing the prevalence and accuracy of these stereotypes.

Kinesthetic Activity: Role Play

  • Divide the class into pairs or small groups and assign each group a specific stereotype mentioned in the interview (e.g., “All Americans are rich,” “Americans only speak English,” etc.).
  • Ask each group to create a short role-play skit depicting a scenario related to the assigned stereotype.
  • After the role plays, have a class discussion about the stereotypes presented, allowing students to share their insights and challenge preconceptions.

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

stereotype (noun): a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
Stereotypes can lead to negative views of other groups and cultures, so be sure to be open to new information that can help you understand others better.

relative (adjective): considered in relation or in proportion to something else.
The cost of living in different cities is relative; what may seem expensive in one place could be considered quite reasonable in another.

entitled (adjective): believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
– There is the stereotype that all Americans are loud and feel entitled, but this generalization certainly doesn’t apply to the majority of people.

dismantle (verb): to take apart or pull down; to destroy the integrity or functioning of.
– People should engage in conversations that dismantle stereotypes rather than perpetuating them through simplistic references or anecdotes.

prevalence (noun): the fact or condition of being widespread or common.
– The students discussed the prevalence of certain stereotypes associated with North Americans, and many of these are simply not true for the majority of people.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In this video, Aubrey, Let us talk about stereotypes. And I think what many people see the world, for example, through the lenses of their own experience, maybe the things that they know about another culture come from media, from TV, and so forth. I’m going to read some different stereotypes, and I want you to let me know whether you think these are true or not true about the United States. And again, we’re making some broad generalizations as well, but just tell me what you think. Uh, first of all, and these are some of the things I found on the internet or talking with my own students. Uh, number one, all Americans are rich.

Aubrey: I mean, I guess that’s a relative term. But I mean, there’s definitely poverty problems in the United States. Right? We’ve got a huge wage gap here. Um, you know, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, and there’s not a lot of middle class anymore. So no.

Randall: And I think right from the beginning, you said a lot of times this depends . . .  It’s all relative because in comparison to, you know, to what? To what other countries? To what they have and so forth . . . I think it’s important because, uh, I think there’s a certain level of perspective that you need on that particular question. All right. Here’s the next one. Americans only speak English. And when I speak let me go back here for a minute. When I’m speaking of Americans, we’re speaking of North Americans in the United States. I think that’s important to frame it that way. What about that?

Aubrey: Yeah, that one’s pretty true. A lot of people only speak English.

Randall: And, and, uh, speak it poorly at best at times.

Aubrey: Yeah.

Randall: I think, I think that’s true. Uh, how about this one? All Americans are ignorant about the world.

Aubrey: I wouldn’t say all Americans, but yeah, along with that whole “only speaking English” thing, like we’re not taught a lot about the world in school.

Randall: Yeah. So I think, uh, I think, yeah, sometimes our knowledge is limited. How about this one? Every American owns a gun.

Aubrey: That’s not true, although sometimes it feels like it.

Randall: Okay, so. In our house, how many guns do we have?

Aubrey: None. As far as I’m aware, we don’t have any.

Randall: And maybe I shouldn’t publicize this, uh, but . . .

Aubrey: Yeah. Yeah. Didn’t we talk about home security in a different video? Come on.

Randall: I DO have a dog.

Aubrey: Uh, yeah, my chihuahua won’t get you . . .

Randall: But, yeah, I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think, uh, you know, Americans. Every American has a gun. I, I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s . . .

Aubrey: And it depends on where you are, too. Like, if you’re going somewhere like Texas, you’re there’s a larger majority of the population owns a gun.

Randall: I do have bear spray at home.

Aubrey: Oh, yeah, you do, don’t you?

Randall: All right. How about this one? Americans are obsessed with fast food. I mean, that’s just all Americans eat fast food.

Aubrey: I don’t know if “obsessed” is the right term, but yeah, most of us do eat fast food. I don’t partake in it very often because I have some food sensitivities. Uh, but before I was diagnosed with that, yeah, I would eat fast food quite frequently. Um, it’s just easy, and it’s cheap. [It’s] not good for you.

Randall: Uh, how about this one? All Americans are loud and feel entitled.

Aubrey: Not all Americans, but yeah, if we were going to generalize, we have that problem.

Randall: And I think if we went down, I think there’s a very long list of stereotypical attitudes and feelings. And I think the best thing for people to do is really to talk with people. I think by just looking at simplistic references on the Internet or listening to your Uncle Bob, who spent three weeks in [the] United States traveling or abroad. What happens in listening to those stories, sometimes those engender more stereotypes than rather than dismantling them, and I think we just need to be careful no matter where we go.

Aubrey: Yeah, absolutely.

Randall: All right. Well, thank you very much for discussing some common stereotypes.

Conversation Questions


1. What are some common stereotypes about Americans discussed in the interview?

2. How does Aubrey respond to the stereotype that all Americans speak English poorly?

3. Why does Randall mention having bear spray at home, and how does it connect to the discussion?


4. Randall suggests engaging in conversations to dismantle stereotypes. How do you think open conversations can contribute to breaking down stereotypes? Share examples.

5. Reflect on Aubrey’s statement, “We’re not taught a lot about the world in school [in schools in North America].” How might limited education about the world contribute to stereotypes?


6. Evaluate Randall’s point about the danger of simplistic references and anecdotes in perpetuating stereotypes. Can you think of real-world examples where this might have occurred, and what consequences may arise?

7. Discuss the intersectionality of stereotypes, considering factors like socioeconomic status, education, and regional differences within the United States. How do these factors complicate or challenge stereotypes?

8. Aubrey mentions that some Americans may struggle with English. Explore the implications of language proficiency as a stereotype and its impact on individuals and communities.

ChatGPT was used collaboratively to prepare some of the discussion questions for this lesson.
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