Earlier this month, Point Made Learning (PML) partnered with WeWork to organize a community-wide event related to our newest initiatives – the I’m Not Racist… Am I? Digital Course and “The American Dream” Life-Size Game Experience. Read on to learn more about the program and to hear from participants about the game’s impact.
Livin’ the Dream
The American Dream Life-Size Game features 12 different “characters” from diverse racial and socioeconomic demographics and backgrounds. The characters roll giant dice and advance along the game board to try and reach “success” — but there’s a catch: After each player’s turn, a facilitator reads a Chance Card aloud. Taken from real life scenarios, each card affects one or more groups in society differently than others, and some players have to move back spaces or lose turns, while others take extra steps ahead. The idea is to give players a sense of how the path toward achieving the American Dream is easier for some than others.
On WeWork Penn Station’s “community floor,” we rolled out the giant life-size American Dream game floor board and invited WeWork members to play. Point Made’s Catherine Wigginton Greene and Lenny Walker took the lead in hosting the game, and helping guide the ongoing discussions among players. Two different groups played the game during the 2+ hour event, but they were far from the only people involved; the majority of the spectators assembled for the Happy Hour received hand-out “fans” which assigned audience members to be on the same team as one of the characters in the game. By the end of the night, everyone had learned something — and they had a good time doing it.
The people who played the American Dream game had nothing but positive things to say about it, as did those who set up the event.
“It actually made me think about things from someone else’s perspective, things I wouldn’t have thought of before,” said Pepper Jefferson, a WeWork member who played the game as the character Isabella — a woman who has emigrated from Mexico to the U.S.
“It’s weird because, for the first time, I really did experience my privilege as a U.S. citizen,” Jefferson said. “And it’s sad, because in real life, so many people know that they’re not going to be able to attain the American Dream because there’s so many setbacks.”
Taurean Casey played the game as well, and he felt it did a great job of delving into controversial topics without making people feel judged, attacked, or afraid to speak freely. He also said the game increased the players’ self-awareness:
“It’s so deep and so real that you are forced to question some of your own viewpoints.”
Casey said that role-playing as one of the characters helps players develop “a sense of self” with that character, “so when you’re going through the game, it’s easier to identify with the real-life version of that character, what that person might go through, and to gain an understanding of how people are affected by things they have no control over.” He added:
[tweetshareinline tweet=”It was one of the easiest experiences that I’ve had to deal with such difficult topics.” username=”PM_Learn”]
And, according to Bianca Rae Hernandez, WeWork Penn Station’s Front Desk Associate who helped organize the activities, “It was super collaborative, and it was great to see that people wanted to participate.” Hernandez called PML’s team members “humble, amazing people to work with.” (No arguments here!)
Jefferson said she “would recommend The American Dream game to everyone, older and younger, because it really is fun.”
And, Hernandez added, “It was a great event. We would definitely do it again, hands-down.”
If you are interested in scheduling your own American Dream experience, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Point Made Learning is the consulting and programming extension of Point Made Films, a production company focused on telling stories about the many layers of American identity. We use documentary film to facilitate productive discussions around the most uncomfortable topics we face in American society – starting with racism. We’ve taken an innovative approach to raising awareness and organizing communities through our unique combination of storytelling, real talk, and digital tools. We tell true stories and teach powerful lessons about issues that matter.