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Class dismantles cultural, generational stereotypes: Together all students can succeed!



It was a regular class day recently for Prime Time members as they waited for their presenter, Marwa Almusawi, and a panel of eight young women to arrive and share their experiences as Muslim women. Prime Time is a Green River program for active, mature adults ages 55+ (many in their seventies and eighties).

 

And then it happened: Two cultures, two generations came together and ended up learning from each other.

 

Marwa is the assistant director from the College's Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion and welcomed the opportunity to present to the class, because Muslim women are often portrayed inaccurately due to stereotypes.

 

At the start of class, students wrote down words that came to mind with the phrase ''Muslim women.'' They wrote words like ''oppression'' and ''submissive'' based on what they saw in the media and movies.

 

A vital and dynamic conversation ensued that was truly transformative for both groups. After two hours, the earlier activity was repeated. Words this time changed to ''empowered,' ''intelligent'' and ''liberated.'' According to Marwa, ''There was something inspiring that through conversations, we were able to dismantle stereotypes of Muslim women.'

Afterward, the Muslim women expressed their view of the class experience. They had walked into the room and saw a group of ''older white folks'' and had the preconceived notion that ''we were not going to change the outlook and mindset of this specific group of people.'

However, this stereotype of the older generation was also inaccurate. As one said, ''The experience with Prime Time was both eye-opening and heartfelt.'