Anne Frank in the World, 1929 - 1945 Teacher Workbook

John's Dilemma

What Would You Do?
Although public schools have been desegregated for over 25 years and integration has made the public school system racially diverse, there are still widespread race relation problems facing students today.

John is the same race you are. He is the quarterback of the football team and is very good friend with one of his teammates named Thomas. Thomas is of another race. The two often joke with one another at practice and talk on the bus while traveling to away games. However the boys never talk to one another during school hours or spend time together outside of school, because being friends with persons of another race is socially unacceptable at Lincoln High School.

One night, John was leaving football practice later than usual, and Thomas had left about fifteen minutes earlier. When John walked outside to the parking lot, he saw three persons of his race, who he frequently socializes with during and outside of school, beating up Thomas and yelling racial slurs. John's "friends" saw him in the parking lot and invited him to join them in the 'fun.' John has to make a decision quickly.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What values come into conflict in this story?
  2. What is peer pressure? Do you experience peer pressure at school?
  3. As quarterback of the football team, John's opinions and actions are respected by the student body of Lincoln High School. What is his responsibility to Thomas? What is his responsibility to his other "friends"? What is his responsibility as a leader of the student body?
  4. What actions should John take at the time of the situation? What long term decision should John make? What actions should follow this decision?
  5. Evaluate the following statement:
    People will always follow a good example: be the one to set a good example. then it won't be long before others follow...everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway...and you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!
    How does this quote by Anne Frank relate to John's dilemma?