Schools today recognize more than ever the power of words on its students. Technology has made accessible a tremendous platform for words while allowing the voices behind those words to remain largely anonymous.
With student population in schools rapidly increasing in diversity, it is essential that we teach our children to recognize the strength of words whether they are spoken or written. Words can make someone’s day, or end a life. They can build self-esteem, or tear apart a friendship.
Below are two categories of words. One points out groups of words that unite. The other recognizes groups of words that divide. Encourage your students to focus their words on those that welcome and bring people together rather than those that divide.
Challenge your students to look at the two categories of words below, and list examples for each (examples are in parentheses). Then challenge them to use words that unite.
Words that Unite:
- Words that praise (you’re good at that)
- Words that don’t label (everyone)
- Words that encourage (nice job)
- Words that show gratitude (thank you)
- Words that show affection (love)
- Words that show understanding (I felt that way too)
- Words that show respect (please)
Words that Divide:
- Words that label or place people into groups (race, gender, culture, religion, etc.)
- Words that expect a side to be chosen (prejudice, bias)
- Words that eliminate or leave out people(exclusion)
- Words that put down (diminish)
- Words that show unkindness
- Words that show disrespect
Explore the many lessons and videos on our RaceBridges sites that celebrate words that unite, while identifying the often unchallenged words that divide.
**Also check out these other websites for additional information: