In a set of five 20″ x 30″ posters, the Center features the “Spiral of Injustice” as a companion piece to our “Be an Upstander” program. We are educating each student to be an upstander and interrupt the spiral when he/she witnesses injustice in words or actions.
The devolution of injustice begins with language; it’s why words matter. When words are used to target or diminish “the other” in our community, when our speech pits “us” against “them,” and when we decry “moral correctness” as being too politically correct, our words have become weapons used to diminish another’s life experience and dignity.
It’s why we encourage students to A.C.T. as an upstander. (A is Ask: When you said that, did you intend to be hurtful? C is Choose: Make the choice to speak up when others are being picked on or ridiculed. T is Teach: Serve as an example for others.) It’s why we encourage businesses to cultivate a culture of inclusion.
Whether the “Spiral of Injustice” is used as a graphic to discuss the Holocaust or as a tool for examining contemporary issues and patterns, educators are telling us that their students “get it.” But “getting it” isn’t enough. The lesson must also include the importance of interrupting “it.”
Doing or saying nothing sends a message that injustice is acceptable. It isn’t.