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Stand and Deliver for Justice and Diversity

Learners explore and share their attitudes about diversity and issues of justice and kindness. The learners brainstorm ways that they can promote the common good by working to eliminate stereotyping, intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice. Students also explore these issues and have time for introspective reflection.
Stand and Deliver for Justice and Diversity
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PrintOne 50-Minute Class Period with optional extensions

The learners will:

  • define stereotyping, intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice.
  • explore their own personal attitudes as related to stereotyping, intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice.
  • gain awareness about the value of diversity and apply it toward making a stronger community.
  • develop a personal action plan.
  • student copies of handout: What’s the Attitude? (Attitude Survey) and Respect for Diversity Action Plan 
  • teacher copy of handout Stand and Deliver Activity
  • (Optional Extension) copies of handout: Racial Identity Journal Reflection 

Prior to class, write the following quote on the display board:

“Let us rise up tonight with a great readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be.” –Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anticipatory Set: Give each student a copy of The Herman Grid (see Materials list) and have them share their impressions of what they see. Most people can see gray dots at the white intersections between the boxes. Ask them if the gray dots are actually there or if the appearance is deceiving.

Challenge the learners to apply this activity to other areas in life. Ask some of the following discussion starters:

  1. Are there times when we think we see something but it’s not really there or when we deceive ourselves by failing to see a situation or a person and/or a group of people as they truly are?
  2. Why is it easy to get trapped in our own little boxes and fail to see that other possibilities/realities exist?
  3. How might the Herman Grid be an example of the way individuals, schools, and /or communities perceive and/or are perceived?

Place the following words on the display board and discuss and define together:

  1. stereotype,
  2. intolerance,
  3. discrimination, and
  4. prejudice.
  • A stereotype is a generalized interpretation of a whole set based on information about a small subset.
  • Intolerance is an unwillingness to accept individuals/groups or situations other than those one already has chosen to accept.
  • Discrimination is a prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment of another.
  • Prejudice is a preconceived judgment formed without sufficient knowledge.

Discuss the relationships between these concepts. Ask students to give examples of each concept, and antonyms for each concept.

To open a discussion about the judgments we subconsciously make about others who have different characteristics than our own, distribute a copy of the handout: What’s the Attitude? (Attitude Survey) to each learner and have them take about ten minutes to complete.

Ask students to reflect for a couple minutes on how things we might feel deep down can influence how we treat others. Discuss how these questions and unconscious biases relate to the terms

  1. stereotype,
  2. intolerance,
  3. discrimination, and
  4. prejudice.

Complete the activity on handout: Stand and Deliver. (Teacher Note: In order for this activity to be effective, it is important to stress that what they are about to do requires silence, honesty, and respect for others. Use your judgment on which items to use; you don’t need to read all statements.)

Following the group activity, debrief student reactions by asking the following questions:

  • What are some feelings that came up for you during this activity?
  • What was the hardest part for you?
  • What did you learn about yourself? About others?
  • What was your biggest surprise during this experience?
  • What did this activity show you about discrimination?
  • How does a diverse group add strength to a community?
  • How can learning others’ stories counteract unconscious (and conscious) bias?

Now direct the learners’ attention to the quote written on the display board. Read the quote aloud and tell the learners that Dr. Martin Luther King made this statement on the night before his assassination.

Ask the learners to consider what he was hoping to accomplish by making this statement? (The Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum as African Americans rally behind this quote in their struggles to promote the common good by peaceful means.) Discuss how it is relevant today.

Conclude this lesson by having the learners share what they have learned or have been reminded of in this lesson. Ask the learners to participate in developing an action plan using handout: Respect for Diversity Action Plan.

Brainstorm ways to get involved in a service event, working to promote and advocate for justice and kindness in the school, community, and/or world.

Give the following phrase to students to look up at home and discuss with their families (Google the most current version): “If the World Were 100 People.” Teachers can further expand upon the sociological and geopolitical lessons found in this information.

Brainstorm ways to promote and advocate for justice and kindness in the school, community, and/or world.

  • If the World Were a Village of 100 People []

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