Ism Prism Handout

The Socialization And Ism Prism

  • Family influences

  • Personal experiences

  • Educational experiences

  • Peer influences

  • Community influences

  • Religion/Faith/Spiritual influences

  • Media influences

  • Critical incidents


The prism allows participants to explore and understand their biases and where they learned them. It is not easy to look inside and name what you find, especially when what you find may be ugly. However, it is critical to self-awareness to look inside deeply and honestly and to discover what attitudes you bring to your classroom, workplace or relationships generally.

Use the question: How do I feel about . . . ? to look at your life influences (this is the prism). What comes out the other side is how these influences have affected you.

Question: How do I feel about . . . . . .?

Family influences

  • What were my parents' attitudes towards......?

  • What about my other relatives' attitudes towards.......?

  • What were my parents' or guardians' behaviours towards.....?

  • What were my other relatives' behaviours towards.....?

Personal experiences

  • Did I know any ..... growing up?

  • Did I experience any negative views towards ..... growing up?

  • Did I have any personal experiences + or - with ..... growing up?

Educational Experiences

  • What did I learn in school about .....?

  • Did I experience teachers, materials, books with positive models of .....?

  • What were educators' attitudes and behaviours towards ..... children in school?

Peer experiences

  • What were my friends' attitudes and behaviours toward .....?

  • What did our play/games tell us about .....?

Community experiences

  • What diverse groups/individuals were in my community growing up?

  • What jokes and stories were commonly told in my community? And about .....?

Religious/Faith/Spiritual influences

  • What did you own religion/faith/spirituality tell you about other religions/faiths?

  • What images did you see of major religious/faith/spiritual beings/personages?

Media influences

  • What roles/images did I see on TV or in books and magazines which influenced my perception of .....?

  • What toys/costumes/music/advertising impacted me?

Employment and Career

  • What career models did I have growing up?

  • How did my parents' or guardians' employment (or lack of employment) influence me?

  • What jobs did I see ..... doing?

Critical incidents

  • What critical incidents happened during my life that might have affected or changed my perception of .....?

Prism results

  • And now, how do I view (what are my attitudes, opinions, beliefs, emotions).....?

  • How do I behave towards .....?

  • What do I say about .....?

  • What do I not say about .....?

Prism impact

  • How can all of the above impact my work or relationships with ......?

  • What will I change or do differently in order to work effectively or build relationships with people who are .....?