Diversity – Discussion Starter 1


Author unknown

The second-grade school teacher posed a simple enough problem to the class. “There are four blackbirds sitting in a tree. You take a slingshot and shoot one of them. How many are left?”

“Three,” answered the first 7-year-old boy with certainty. “One subtracted from four leaves three.”

“Zero,” answered the second 7-year-old boy with equal certainty. “If you shoot one bird, the others will fly away.”


The problem, as it turns out, was not so simple after all. In some ways it gets to the very heart of what the fuss is all about regarding cultural diversity and the need to recognize, understand, value, and, finally, manage it.


Pretend you were in the class in the story. How would you have answered the teacher’s question?

Why do you think the two 7-year-old students answered the question the way they did?

Take a moment to think about what diversity means to you. Do you think it means the same thing to other people? 

What’s the correct answer? Is there only one way to answer the question? 

How do people’s perspectives play a role in how they may answer the teacher’s question?

Why do you suppose the first child answered, “Three,” while the second child answered, “Zero”?

The author of this vignette illustrates the viewpoints of children who grew up in different environments. What is the lesson the author is trying to present?

Reflect on the story. Do you think birds can be compared to human situations? Why or why not?

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I am a walking dichotomy. The line of beauty, or serpentine line, that connects the yin and yang. I live in this space freely and welcome all of me.

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