JET Logo

  The Journal of Effective Teaching
an online journal devoted to teaching excellence


Journal of Effective Teaching, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2011  

Waren, W. (2011). Using Monopoly to Introduce Concepts of Race and Ethnic Relations. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 11(1), 28-35. [Full Text]


In this paper I suggest a technique which uses the familiar Parker Brotherís game Monopoly to introduce core concepts of race and ethnic relations. I offer anecdotes from my classes where an abbreviated version of the game is used as an analog to highlight the sociological concepts of direct institutional discrimination, the legacy of discrimination, colorblind racism, affirmative action, and reparations. I describe how, after playing the game, the participants spend a short amount of time debriefing in order to express their emotions and examine their motivations. Later, in a broader class discussion, I invite both participants and observers to explain the motivations, attitudes, and behaviors of all players and connect these explanations to theoretical concepts in sociology. After debriefing and discussion, I refer to the shared experiences of the students from the game in subsequent lectures and readings.


Keywords: Teaching race, simulation, monopoly, symbolic racism, colorblind racism.