Using a ‘ricebreaker’ to start a conversation about cultural identity

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How rice is made at home is a simple question that leads to bigger discussions in Dr. Amber Spry’s class in identity politics. Photo by Nik Sharma.

Dr. Amber Spry is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Politics at Brandeis University. Each semester she begins her “Identity Politics in the United States” class with a sort of icebreaker asking, “How does your family cook rice?” Answers vary widely, with the lesson being that background can shape perspectives, causing students to think about the vast range of relationships to experience. Dr. Spry views identity politics as a lens through which social categories affect who gets what, when, and how.



Evan Kleiman