Introduction to Core Concepts

Sharon Raz

Before we dive into exploring and discussing different social justice topics, it is important that everyone have a basic understanding of some core concepts related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. The following terminology is commonly used in conversations regarding social justice, diversity, and equity. The resources and chapters linked on this page are meant to be a starting point for engaging in open and honest conversation by offering a shared language of understanding.

Please note, this terminology is not exhaustive and the meaning of these words may change and evolve based on context.

This collection of resources offers a quick glance at some of the core concepts of social justice today. Language is an important part of society and how it metes out justice. It is wrapped up in the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how we view the rest of the world. To become aware of injustice in our world, we must become aware of the words we use, how we use them and the meanings we assigned to them. In many ways, the way we use language is completely unconscious. Because our language use is mostly invisible, we sometimes unknowingly continue to reinforce stereotypes, biases, and norms that create barriers for others to overcome. You can find a summary of the core social justice concepts in part 1 of Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (2016):

  • Chapter 1 (pages 3-16) sets the theoretical foundations for social justice education.
  • Chapter 4 (pages 95-130) presents core concepts for social justice education.

In addition, you can refer to the LWTECH EDI glossary for some common core topics and their definitions, or find ideas and lesson plans in Teaching Tolerance.

 

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