Race and Culture

Reading List (link)


Race and Culture Hybrid Course

This course is unique, but hardly original, being built on the works and geniuses of those before me who have committed to teaching the oft-taboo subjects of race, culture, and human rights. The list is long.

The course was developed while I was HS Principal at The American School in London, and taught as a social studies elective during the fall semesters of 2010, 2011, and 2012. I revised and truncated the curriculum when I moved to the International Schools Group in Saudi Arabia, where I serve as Superintendent. It was offered as a “hybrid” social studies elective in the fall semester of 2016.

Below, you will find the text of the course expectations, class scripts, and the digital story project assessment. Open source. Spread the gospel.

Course Expectations, Class Scripts, and Digital Story Project

Race, Culture and Human Rights

Dr. Richards
DHS Hybrid Learning Course
Semester 1, 2016

Course Expectations

The Journey We Will Take Together

This course is designed to take students on a “journey of discovery”. It will explore social topics that are challenging to talk about, such as privilege, prejudice, racism, and our differences. Students will come to appreciate how culture is humanity’s greatest legacy. You will reflect on your own perspective and also learn to understand the perspectives of others. In doing so, you will become empowered to contribute to a more just world. Empathy, communication, and other 21st century skills will help participants become global citizens. Finally, knowledge and skills will be applied to real-life experiences and issues (e.g. racial tension in the U.S. over discriminatory police tactics).

The Unique Format of This Course

This course is different in that it is an example of hybrid learning, a trend in education in which students do significant exploration and learning outside of the traditional classroom—e.g. using online resources—but also have the opportunity for in-person class discussions. Eligible grade 11 &12 students will do roughly half of the course online through Google Classroom (requiring self-motivation and maturity). There will be several distinct lessons. On average twice per DHS cycle during the year, the class will meet with Dr. Richards to discuss the big ideas of the lessons. This course is an elective in the social studies department.

What You Should To Do To Be Successful

It need not be a secret what to do to be successful in this course. First and foremost, be present. This means engage fully in the online activities and in-class discussions. The course is designed to maximize your learning and growth, which is the ultimate goal of this experience. Act with integrity, be open-minded in your thinking, and be respectful to yourself and to others—these behaviors exhibit the maturity this course demands. Check Google Classroom regularly, and be diligent with your blogging (in this course, what you write is more important than what you say). Finally, ask for help when you need it. I am easy to reach over e-mail (superintendent@isg.edu.sa), or in person (Dhahran Administration building).

Grading Scheme

  • √ Presence – Contributing to online forum & in-class participation (10%)
  • √ Journaling (30%)
  • √ First Assessment (30%)
  • √ Digital Culture Unit Project (30%)


Unexcused late work may or may not be accepted; it will be at my discretion.

The Blog

Journaling is a key strategy to help you learn and grow in this course, and allow me, the teacher, to gauge your understanding of the material. It will be done electronically. Journal writing provides a forum for “safe writing”, where you can express your thoughts privately and beyond the scrutiny of your classmates (though if you want to publish to the world, that is fine with me). Journal writing helps focus attention on the most important issues and questions. It also helps you develop a closer relationship with your teacher.

Journaling will be worth 30% of your overall grade. Journals will not be graded on content (e.g. whether I agree with what you write). Rather, journals will be graded on how much thought and care you put into your entries. You may add to your journal at any time you feel the desire to, but there will be times throughout the course where you will be required to submit an entry.

Journaling will be kept via an electronic platform of your choice (e.g. Blogger, Google +, WordPress, etc.). You will need to open an account for the course and give me access (you can add friends and family if you choose, but it’s not required). I will read your postings after each Unit closes, so keep them up-to-date. Journaling (even online!) should have proper grammar and be full of complete sentences (no Twitter or Facebook style of communication).

The Google + Community

We’ll use Google + to post interesting items relating to race, culture and human rights, as well as communicate routine announcements. It is my expectation that you will both check in with this community, and occasionally respond to posts of others. These actions will be part of your Presence grade.

The Big Ideas for the Course

This course is centered on nine enduring understandings. Learning objectives and activities will be tailored to these “Big Ideas”:

  1. Race is a social concept and has no basis in biology.
  2. Prejudice and racism work to dehumanize and oppress.
  3. People with privilege benefit unknowingly from this invisible system of dominance.
  4. Culture is humanity’s greatest legacy.
  5. Our identity is interdependent with others.
  6. Cultural awareness and respect offer the greatest hope for peace and prosperity.
  7. Human rights provide a framework for challenging injustice.
  8. When injustice occurs people make a choice to resist or be complicit.
  9. There are effective, non-violent ways to fight injustice.



Race and Culture

First Class

Script (August 23)


Learning Objectives

  • Understand the course expectations and how to get established in this course
  • Set behavioral norms for this course
  • Develop a baseline for one’s own racial and cultural attitudes


Name Tents, Easel paper, markers


(9:39)             Housekeeping & Attendance

Welcome, Attendance, Name Tents, etc.

(9:45)             Introduction

Q) Why does this course exist?
Q) Aren’t we post-racial?

           Solicit responses from students

Under the surface…until a conflict erupts or a collision happens (Show a Brexit and Trump examples)

“Ethnicity” versus “race”

Explain how people are “raced” in the U.S. (Chinese, Mexican, African, Arab)

Racism today (underground): “We do race and ethnicity — all of us, every day.”

Q) What are your hopes for this course?

Our goal is to learn a lot, and to have fun and not get overly serious (take the topics seriously, but not ourselves). Goal is to change your thinking, to change the way you view the world.

“The question is not whether we should deal with difference, but rather how we address the differences we encounter. What differences are noted? Which differences are valued? Who decides?” (Moya/Markus)

(10:15)  Silent Paper Protocol

Have students put up questions about race, privilege, prejudice, affirmative action, etc., on an easel sheet or whiteboard. Review.

My questions to add:

  • Is noticing or referring to race the same as being racist?
  • Are we responsible for the actions of people who are long dead or share our race or ethnicity?
  • Do we get to choose our race or ethnicity (or even identity)?
  • Who is allowed to say what about race?

(10:25)  Course Management

Review Getting Started in this Course, including Course Expectations (Homework, etc)

How can we best use Classroom?

Attendance: Class meeting dates; Review of topics and texts

(10:45)  Do Racial Attitudes Survey

(11:03)  Dismiss


Lesson 1


Script (August 25)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how whites (males especially) are overprivileged and other groups are less advantaged
  • Understand how I have invisible systems conferring dominance on my group and protecting me from oppressions
  • Understand the myth of pure meritocracy

Big Idea

★ People with privilege benefit unknowingly from this invisible system of dominance.


Privilege Prompts, Name Tents


(9:39)             Housekeeping, Attendance, and Norming

Welcome new students, Learning Objectives, Big Idea,

Reverse Norms activity – “It drives me crazy when…”

(9:50)             Introduction

Write Countries on Whiteboard.

Project Corruption Perceptions IndexHave students pre-rank the following: “World Average”, Russia, United States, Switzerland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, China. Then, have them look it up on the list.

Wealth Distribution ListHave students pre-rank the above list. Then, have them look it up on the list.

Life Expectancy ChartDitto above

Have students define meritocracy

Fist to Five on the degree you believe a meritocracy exists in high school, at university, in Western society, in Saudi Arabia…

Fist to Five on these quotes:

  • “It helps to have skills, and intellect, but it also helps to have white skin.” (Anonymous)
  • “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” (Voltaire)

(10:10)  Activity

Find an open space. Do the Privilege Exercise. Reflect on prompts as like-groups.

(10:30)  Reflection & Discussion

Pass out paper copy of Daily Effects of Privilege list. Ask each of them to identify three that they hadn’t really thought of, but think are true.

Fist to Five on meritocracy questions.

110 People on an Island

Discuss in small groups Q) What can we do about our privilege? (See p.222 of Excellent Sheep)

(10:50)  Inter-class work for next class – August 31

  • Read Fears of White People
  • Read Unpacking the Knapsack of Privilege
  • Research the Occupy movement
  • Blog assignment – “If we are not to feel guilty about our privilege (you shouldn’t), what can we do then (with knowing about our invisible privileges) so that our actions make the world a better place?” Explain in the context of why corruption and unequal wealth distribution is a problem.

(11:03)  Dismiss

Lesson 2

The Biology of Race

Script (August 31 & Sept 6)


Learning Objectives

  • Create a working definition of race.
  • Understand the environment’s influence on skin color.
  • Understand the genetics of human variation.
  • Understand the history of using biology to separate races.
  • Debunk the biological argument for separate races.

Key Questions

  • How do we explain the differences we see?
  • How did we come to look so different?
  • How different are we, biologically?
  • Where did the concept of race originate?

Big Idea

❖ Race is a social concept and has no grounding in biology.


✓ Easel sheets, blank map handout, ruler, math compass


Day One

(9:57) Housekeeping

Feedback on handling of inter-class session (blogs)

Mobile phones & technology

Norms followup

(10:05) Introduction & Pre-activity

Show video–Race: Power of an Illusion, Ep 1–0:00-2:00.

Ask class to contribute their questions about race on a Padlet link. Include the Key Questions (above). Review, once finished.

Stand up. Take ruler and compass, walk around the classroom, and measure size and slope of foreheads. Ask students what they think I’m doing. Have students look up Craniometry (display Wikipedia page).

(10:15)  Our physical differences – hypothesizing and discussion on a scientific theory

Pass out blank map. Ask students, as individuals, to estimate average skin color across the globe. Explain “biogeographical ancestry groups”. Show actual skin color map.

Ask students, in small groups, to hypothesize why there are such differences in skin color, hair texture, nose shape, etc. (show same images from opening segment).

Report out.

Show Environmental & Migration map

Explain “human variation”.

Have students take quiz?

Present DNA evidence (notes).

Power of Illusion video, Ep 1: 2:00 – 5:00, 22:00 – 25:00, 45:18 – 49:22

Implications for Africa?

Review Padlet questions in light of new context.

(10:45)  Boom

Pass out Coates books. Ask them to put names in, and to mark it up!

Have students read pgs 5-8 from Ta-nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me on “those who believe themselves to be white”. Discuss as a whole class.

(11:00)  Last Thought

Have students open Google Ngram Viewer. Reset date range from 1600 to 2000. Put in words associated with “Race”, and observe the results that you get.

(11:10)  Inter-class work for next class – September 6

  • Blog assignment – Answer the questions,
  1. Do you view “whiteness” differently today than you may have in the past? Why or why not?
  2. “If race is not biological (i.e. we cannot separate people into groups based on skin color or other physical differences), and the concept is relatively recent (last few hundred years), then where and when did the social concept of race become a big deal?” (i.e. explain the historical reasons why race is such a big topic)

(11:14) Dismiss

Day Two


  • ✓ Tea, paper copy of article for homework

(10:45) Housekeeping

Feedback on handling of inter-class session; blog feedback over Eid

(10:50)  Discussion of Coates’ passage

Have students comment on pgs 5-8 from Ta-nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me on “those who believe themselves to be white” and other provocative statements. Discuss as a whole class. Show class how I marked up the book.

(11:10) Discussion of Blog Question

In assigned, small groups, students to explain their reasoning for the social construct of race. Each group to report out to whole class.

Declaration of Independence: America created a convenient “story”.

Show 0:00-5:34 of Power of Illusion, Episode 2, on social construct.

(time permitting) Have students, as individuals, research on Internet the question: “How does the media perpetuate minorities or women as inferior?” Students post on Google +. Show additional examples. Killing Us Softly 4 trailer.

(11:30)  Take a Stand protocol

Write this question on the Whiteboard: Should we be colorblind?

  • Take a stand with “yes” or “no” (students to vote with hands)
  • Divide into “Yes” and “No” groups
  • Make them argue the other side
  • Discuss as a whole class    

(11:40)  Inter-class work for next class – September 19, in LRC

  1. After reading the 10 Things You Should Know About Race document, respond to the prompt: “What has been the hardest concept to come to grips with (because of your upbringing)?”
  2. Also respond to, “What is one (or more) thing that you changed your thinking about from this lesson?” (I used to think that, now I think this.)


Lesson 3


Script (Sept 19, Sept 25 & Sept 27)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand that we all carry prejudice at an unconscious level.
  • Understand prejudice through contemporary examples.
  • Understand the strength of our unconscious preferences.
  • Understand how implicit attitudes affect behavior.
  • Create a working definition of stereotype.
  • Understand that myths are a form of prejudice.
  • Understand how stereotyping can affect behavior, performance, and esteem.

 Key Questions

  • Are we born with prejudices? Where do prejudices come from?
  • What is an “implicit attitude”, and how does it affect my behavior?
  • What is a stereotype? Where do they come from?
  • What is “stereotype threat” and how does it affect people?

Big Idea

★ Prejudice and racism work to dehumanize and oppress.


Day One (LRC Harkness Table)


  • Harkness Map

(9:39) Housekeeping

(9:45) Team Dynamics: Holding Breath exercise.

First, ask students to hold breath, and raise hands when they need to breathe. Stop at one minute, count number who still held their breath. Next, tell students you’ll time for one minute, with 15 sec intervals and counting down the last ten seconds. (You’ll find many more will do better the second time, when they know the goal. This activity shows the value of setting a goal together.)

(9:50)  Harkness Discussion on “Black men and public space” by Brett Staples

Explain Harkness method. Discuss Brett Staples article. Map and review.

(10:25) What is prejudice?

Have students generate a working definition (as individuals). Share out to create a shared definition. Search for examples (put attention on Arab and Western prejudices, such as profiling at airports; visas for post-college stays in US). Have students identify sources of prejudice. Show Benetton ad…. Killing me Softly trailerChris Rock selfies.

“A prejudice is a prejudgment, making an assumption about someone without prior knowledge or understanding; based on appearance or other noticeable factors.”

(10:40)  Take a Stand protocol: Banning of burkini on French beaches

Set the issue (link). Put students into groups of three, and assign a “yes”, “no”, or “compromise” stance. Groups share argument with whole class. Explain Abercrombie case. Ask, Is this different?

(11:00)  Inter-class Assignment

Read pgs. 5 – 71 (Section 1) of Between the World and Me. Take notes in margins of book.

(11:03)  Dismiss.

Laptops for next class, or signout a lab downstairs.

Day 2: Sept. 26


  • Gladwell tests

(9:39) Housekeeping


(9:45) The Warren Harding Effect

Explain the aspects of the theory. Search images of presidential candidates. Share stats on height and pay.

(9:55) Implicit Attitudes

Ask students to pre-rate themselves on bias toward skin color and one other category.

Give Gladwell paper tests.

Go to IAT site. Using instructions prompt, save students take IAT test on race, and record their results. Have students do one other test.

(10:45) Discussion

Show country-wide results.

Explain how it works. Ask, “Where could these attitudes have come from? What can I do about it if I don’t like the results?”

What if blacks show a preference for blacks? What about for whites?

(11:00) Wrap-up

Blogging assignment: What was your result on the Race IAT? Do you think it is accurate? Why or why not? How did it make you feel? What about the other test?

Day 3: Sept 28

(9:57)  Housekeeping

Recap of past two lessons

(10:00) A stumper: Black superiority in track and field

Show the men’s 100m final from Brazil 2016. What explains the racial/ethnic demographics of the participants? (Have students draw on human variation science. What would it say about the number of slow blacks?)

(10:10)  “A Class Divided” video and Backchanneling protocol

Cue up video. Create Backchanneling URL through Todays Meet. Show parts 1 & 2 (link), with pause for Backchanneling between.

Discuss reactions. 

(10:50) Stereotype threat

Explain concept. Ask, “Is this an issue today?” (Students to connect to women in science or advanced math.) Share SAT example.

Time permitting, formulate a way to break down a stereotype. (see notes)

(11:05)  Wrap-up

Watch Goodness Gracious Me’s “Go for an English”.

Reading/Blogging: Ta-Nehisi Coates article on Black Incarceration; write a 100-200 word summary of the key points.


Lesson 4


Script (October 3, 9, 13, 18, 24)

Learning Objectives

  • Construct a definition of race using the doing concept
  • Identify examples of “doing race”
  • Understand the components of institutional racism.
  • Understand how institutions can discriminate on the basis of race and the obstacles they can set up to keep individuals from exercising their right to citizenship.
  • Understand that racial epithets are a powerful form of racism.

Big Idea

❖ Prejudice and racism work to dehumanize and oppress.

Essential Questions

  • What is racism? How does it differ from prejudice?
  • Am I a racist if I have opinions about race?
  • What are individual and institutional discriminatory practices that negatively affect individuals of minority groups?
  • Is the criminal justice system in the United States facilitating a modern caste system?
  • What is the potential impact of social justice social media movements? What are its limitations?
  • What role does the media play in social justice causes?
  • Has political correctness gone too far?


Day One – Definition of Racism; US Incarceration


Easel Sheets, Harkness Oval, Prejudice Easel Sheet

(9:39) Housekeeping

Journal entries

Objectives of this six-part unit

(9:45) Constructing a framework definition for “Racism” (link to notes)

Students, in groups of four, to construct a definition of “racism”, so that it’s a useable framework for identifying it, and that it is different than “prejudice”. Put up definition of prejudice. Ensure students make it active. Put the final definition up on an Easel sheet.

In small groups, generate examples, and put into Prejudice or Racism categories.

(10:25)  Discussions on race

Move to Harkness Table

Michelle Alexander quote; The New Jim Crow

Harkness Discussion on Coates’ The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Map. Start with, “More Black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.” (Michelle Alexander)

At End, student to read Langston Hughes’ “I, too, America”.

(11:00)  Wrap-up and Homework

Finish Coates’ Between the World and Me


Day Two (Oct 10) – Institutional Racism


Easel sheets; Harkness Oval

(9:39) Housekeeping

(9:45)  Making this course real for you

Discuss the content of this course. Get feedback.

(9:55)  Racism Review

Revisit definition.

Revisit starred questions raised at start of the course (on easel)

(10:05)  Institutional Racism today

Ask: How could you define “Institutional Racism”?

Institutional racism is a pattern of social institutions— such as governmental organizations, schools, banks, and courts of law — giving negative treatment to a group of people based on their race.

Have students, in 6 small groups and in an assigned area, predict the situation in the areas of housing, banks, schooling, medicine, media stories, justice/law.

Share the Dante & David Williams Upworthy case video.

(10:30)  Discussion of Between the World and Me (Coates)

Move to Harkness Table

(11:00)  Wrap-up

Read, for homework, “The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence”.

In blog, make your notes on salient points.

Next class: Wednesday, Oct. 12

(11:03)  Dismiss


Day Three (Oct 12) – Police Brutality (Pt 1) – Ronnie Caldwell

(9:57) Housekeeping & hook video (“Run the Jewels”)

(10:05)  Video analysis via writing and then discussion

Reading and Discussion of The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence”.

US Police Force, and the menacing appearance of police

Policing: prejudice or racism, or both?

Intro to Michael Brown case

Imagery: Role-play as police officer

(11:05)  Wrap-up

(11:13)  Dismiss


Day Four (Oct 18) – Police Brutality (Pt 2); the Media

(9:39)  Housekeeping; check-in on presence, rigor defn, and preparation

(9:45)  Takeaways from last week’s discussion on policing (e.g. militarization)

(9:55)  Michael Brown case, Ferguson, MO

Share basic facts about Ferguson, MO. Students to analyze different witness perspectives. Use handout to make notes.

Dorian Johnson’s account.

Officer Derron Wilson’s account.


Have students examine Killed by Police website. Ask, What do you notice about demographics?

(10:25) The Media

“Established media”: Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman reporting

The long road to publicity…basic facts

Ask, “How can the media be manipulated for “your” agenda?” As law enforcement? As family of a victim? As a third-party? Who would have the upper hand?


Which Photo? Or this? Which Race?

The “Social media”: Mapping the media coverage

Ask, “How could you manipulate social media for “your” agenda?” As law enforcement? As family of a victim? As a third-party? Who would have the upper hand?


Change.org petition

Am I suspicious?

(10:55) Homework: Building a better system of policing:

  1. In your blog, what fixes would you make to the policing system in the United States, so as to reduce the number of police shooting of unarmed citizens?
  2. Read The Atlantic article: “Microaggressions Matter”. Make notes in your blog.

Next class: Monday, Oct. 24

(11:03)  Dismiss


Day Five (Oct 24) – Political Correctness, Microaggressions, and Trigger Words

(9:39) Housekeeping

How to be a student in this class (your responsibility: to own your learning; my responsibility: to help you be a learner).

(9:45)  Consolidation: Ideas on how to reform policing

(9:55)  Trigger Warnings and Microaggressions

Give a sample Trigger Warning

List Microagressions on WB:

“Your English is really good.” (toward non-native English speaker)

“Aren’t you supposed to be good at math?” (toward Asian student)

“I’m colorblind. I don’t see race.” (toward students of color)

“America is the land of opportunity.”

“I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

Ask students fist to five whether they find each word uncomfortable.

(10:00) Case Study

Describe a Microaggressions case: Hump day (commercial) (p.11) . Discuss.

(10:10) Harkness Discussion on the articles “Microaggressions Matter” & How Trigger Warnings are Hurting Mental Health on Campus

Suggested Prompts & Prep Time (5)

Discussion (20)

Debrief (5)

(10:40) Balancing political correctness (sensitivity) with intellectual freedom (free speech)

University of Chicago decision

Students, in small groups, to create a proposal for undergraduate classrooms

(11:00) Wrap-up and next class (Sun, Oct 30): free choice

(11:03) Dismiss


Lesson 5


Script (November 16, 22)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the differences between superficial culture and deep culture.
  • Identify aspects of one’s own deep culture.
  • Understand some root causes of disenfranchisement.

Big Ideas

❖ Culture is humanity’s greatest legacy.
❖ Our identity is interdependent with others.
❖ Cultural awareness and respect offer the greatest hope for peace and prosperity.

Essential Questions

  • What are the Five F’s of culture?
  • How do cultural norms influence our decisions and actions?
  • How does a good person become disenfranchised and resort to extremism?
  • What is a Third Culture Kid (TCK)?


Day 1 (Nov. 16)


Iceberg handout – double sided with notes on back; Geography of Me handout

9:45    Discussion of hypotheticals relating to racial jokes

Students to discuss hypothetical case.

10:15   Cultural Landmines

Dinner scene from Joy Luck Club. Men beware!

HBSC Eel scene (& other cultural ads)

25 Cultural Faux Pas while traveling

10:25   Big ideas and essential questions

The Five F’s: banned from this class! See if students can guess them.

10:30  Cultural Iceberg

Surface culture vs Deep culture

Ask students to define “culture”, and to give examples of culture beyond the Five Fs

 The Geography of Me activity

Students to fill out worksheet

Cultural Iceberg

Students to transfer Geography of Me items to Iceberg, and to augment the Iceberg with other items from the sample Iceberg

10:50  Sharing out

11:00  Homework:

Finish Iceberg (to hand in next class)

Watch Wade Davis lecture on ancient cultures. Blog…

Next class on Tuesday


Day 2 (Nov. 22)


Erika’s Story (on Classroom); Identity Charting (handout)

9:39    Start

9:45    Intro

Story/Example from Lewis book: Hiking Snowdonia (pg. xi)

Stories from the World Before Yesterday

Two strangers meet on a path

A man runs down a girl on a bicycle

Ask students to take out Iceberg, and share one thing with group

Ask students to pass in Cultural iceberg for inspection

10:05     Third-culture kids

Erika’s story – Ask students to do Jigsaw protocol in groups of three

“Home” activity (on whiteboard) – three columns:

                                    Where my parents call home

Where I’ve lived

Where I call home

10:30              Cultural Influences on Identity

Show Jesus Colon video: Little Things are Big – stop at 2:10 and ask class to predict what will happen. Show the rest, and ask students to talk about bystander effect.

Ask students to describe themselves to a neighbor in 60 seconds. Ask, “Which parts of our identity capture our attention first?”

Identity charting – Students to fill in three parts. “In America, you are raced, whether you like it or not.” (Barak Obama)

Talk about Culture Project.

11:00              Pass out book and dismiss

Hmk: Read Chapter 2, pgs 47-81. Write in blog:

  1. How does Islam influence your day-to-day behavior (as a Muslim or a non-Muslim living in Saudi Arabia)?
  2. In reference to the passages on pg 59, “… context plays a central role in the determination of law and the application of commandments.” and pg. 61, “… when a Shariah law is shaped by context, and the context changes, the law may change.”, how do you interpret this concept as it relates to Muslims living in non-Muslim countries?


Lesson 6

Human Rights and Justice

Script (November 24, 28; Dec 4 & 6)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the universality of human rights.
  • Understand the difference between a right and a responsibility.
  • Understand the complexity of the concept of justice.
  • Understand the three foundational philosophies of justice.
  • Apply the principle arguments of justice to contemporary right v right dilemmas.

Big Ideas

❖ Human rights provide a framework for challenging injustice.

Essential Questions

  • What rights do all humans deserve?
  • What is the the difference between a right and a responsibility?
  • What is fair (just) in any given situation?
  • What frameworks can I use to make difficult decisions?


Day 1 (Nov. 24) – Human Rights


Easel paper, Moral Matrix handout

9:39    Start

Thanksgiving – different meanings to different peoples (official v “peoples”)

9:45    The Moral Matrix

Pass out handout

Across religions, what behavior is the most frowned upon?

What surprises did you find?

Which behavior has the most disagreement?

10:00  Shariah in America

Harkness discussion

School rules Shariah compliant?

Saudi’s restrictions: Cultural norms, or Islamic law?

Islam in the West (blog question); Non-muslims in the GCC

10:30  Human Rights

Play Peter Tosh’s “Equal Rights” audio file

What is a right?

What are the 3 most important rights in the high school?

You are starting a new country, what are the 3 most important rights for this new country?

Rose George’s statistic and passages from Intro of book:

“2,600,000,000 people in the world do not have access to a toilet.”

“For the vast majority of the world, there is first a basic struggle for dignity and survival.”

Document Analysis

In pairs, assign a document to each from this folder. Students are to list the most important rights in that document. Have a scribe write on Easel paper the rights that are suggested.

* How do these align with the 6 Rights of all Human Beings Under Shariah? (p. 54: life, religion, mind, property, family, and dignity)

* What is our responsibility under Shariah? (p. 55)

Homework: none


Day 2 (Nov. 30) – Justice


Easel paper, Justice book (Michael Sandel)

9:57    Start

Right v Right decisions: “Traveling Through the Dark” dilemma (p. 70 of Kidder book)

How do you define justice?

Where do our opinions come from?

10:05  Getting the Blog set up

Title, Dilemma, Principle, Taking a Stand (Utilitarianism, Libertarianism, Common Good, Your Viewpoint). Show Easel Sheet

10:10  Justice Scenario 1: Price Gouging

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:20  Justice Scenario 2: Trolley

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:40  Justice Scenario 3: Afghan Goatherds

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:50  Foundational Philosophy #1: Utilitarianism (The Greatest Happiness Principle)

See notes

Go back and fill out the “U” sections in the Flipchart

11:10  Homework: Complete blog posts

Next Class: Sunday


Day 3 (Dec. 4) – Justice


Easel paper

9:57    Start

Recap of Utilitarianism Principle

10:05  Justice Scenario 4: City of Happiness

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:15  Justice Scenario 5: Hampsterdam

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:25  Justice Scenario 6: The Price of a Human

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:35  Foundational Philosophy #2: Libertarianism (Live Free or Die Principle)

See notes

Go back and fill out the “L” sections in the Flipchart

10:50  Justice Scenario 7: Selling of a Kidney

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

11:10  Homework: Complete blog posts

Next Class: Tuesday


Day 4 (Dec. 6) – Justice


Easel paper

9:39    Start

Consensual Cannibalism (p. 73)

Recap of the two Principles

10:05  Justice Scenario 7: Is Torture Justified?

Fill out Flipchart. Have students take notes, debate in small groups, and then enter their opinion into their blog/notes.

10:15  Foundational Philosophy #3: Common Good

See notes

Kant – what matters is the motive

Go back and fill out the “CG” sections in the Flipchart

10:25  Core Values Survey

Students to fill out survey. Look at results, and see if the top five meet the “ethical” definition.

10:40  Making Saudi Arabia a better place

Students, in pairs, are to choose one “issue” of social justice, and create a law that would improve the situation for a disaffected group. Start with Why….

11:00  Homework: Complete blog posts

Next Class: Tuesday (12:00 – 14:00)


Race and Culture                                                        

Dr. Richards

Final Assessment

Culture Project

Digital Storytelling


Through this project, you will exhibit:

  • Your identity, values, and deep cultural influences.
  • Your interdependency on others, with at least one example of someone other than a family member, friend or relative.
  • Your proficiency with technology and storytelling.

You will keep in mind the unit’s three Big Ideas:

  1. Culture is humanity’s greatest legacy.
  2. Identity is interdependent with others.
  3. Cultural awareness and respect offer the greatest hope for peace and prosperity.

What makes a good digital story?

  • There is a narrative (i.e. a spoken or visual account of connected events, ideas, history, facts, etc.). It can be narrated by its creator, or someone else can do it.
  • There is a trigger or dilemma that creates the story line for the audience, and then it weaves us through the components or events in your story, and finally, it brings us to an ending or concluding point (i.e. idea, moral, or thoughtful question). (i.e. the story is designed and scripted to be compelling and have a message, and to show the wisdom or personal growth you experienced.)
  • There is intrigue or tension around a situation that is posed at the beginning and then resolved at the end, with possible twists in between.
  • It is personable (i.e. it reflects YOU and other people in your life), and told in the first person.
  • The story is crafted, using technological effects to illuminate the story.
  • There is a performance voice, and not just a reading or recitation.
  • It is a team effort, where other voices can be brought into the story as “guest voices”.

Consider checking out these resources:

Where you will draw the content for your digital story:

  • Your Cultural Iceberg and Geography of Me documents
  • Your opinions from the Justice scenarios
  • Your experiences, your friends, your family, and others who influence who you are (it would be a good idea to interview them)


To assist you, I suggest you should respond to the following Prompt:

“Share a story that reveals an understanding of identity, values and deep culture influences in your own life, showing your interdependency with others.”

The Script:

The script is critical, as it sets you up for success. The script is both your game-plan and also your story’s content. I suggest you consider doing the following:

  1. Brainstorm some ideas for the Prompt.
  2. Brainstorm some ideas for Trigger, the Concluding Point, and any Twists that might occur in the storyline.
  3. Write an Outline. How do you want to start the story? What are the key Scenes or Events that take place, and in which order? Choose your best ideas from Steps 1 & 2.
  4. Edit the Outline into a Script that you can then perform.

The Recording:

Your edited Script will be ready to perform. This is different than a reading. However, you can start by reading the script aloud, recording it, and listening to how it flows. Make adjustments to the script accordingly. Make some notes on your script about where you might want to change your tone, or add audio or other special effects.  Then, you are ready to record. It will be difficult to get it right in one straight go of it. So, if you record in chunks, you can edit it together at the end. If you need technical help, please let me know.

You will choose a “vehicle” in the realm of digital technology to tell your story, in which you can add photos, videos, audio clips, etc.:

  • Examples of appropriate technologies*:
    • iMovie
    • WeVideo (link) – web-based editing platform
    • audio-based story via Garage Band or other software

*   you cannot use PowerPoint, Sheets, or other mind-numbing technologies

Can I collaborate with a classmate on my digital story?

Yes, but you do not need to. You may share ideas and resources, but you must give credit to any ideas that are not your own, or to any help you received. Each student must submit a digital culture story project. (i.e. you cannot submit one project for two or more people.)

How long should the digital culture story be?

  • Audio or video content cannot exceed 5 minutes in total.

When is this assignment due?

  • You will upload two items onto Google Classroom or share on Drive by Sunday, Jan. 15:
  1. your Digital Culture Story (audio or video file)
  2. your Script to your digital culture story

You will start this project in the class period on December 13, but you will need to manage your time carefully, doing most of the work outside of class.

The project is worth up to 30% of your overall grade for the course.

Rubric for the Digital Culture Story


Maximal points



  • Creative, striking narrative, that includes a trigger and a concluding point (as evidenced through the script)
  • The story is personable
  • The bulk of the cultural items can be found below the surface of the cultural iceberg



  • Story is performed, with effective voice and presence; it captures the listener
  • Technology is used effectively to communicate the story (i.e. no glitches or gaps of silence)
  • The story presents within the time limit


Moderate to Minimal points



  • Lacks creativity, a narrative that captures interest, and does not include a trigger and a concluding point (as evidenced through the script)
  • The story is not personable
  • The bulk of the cultural items can be found at the surface of the cultural iceberg



  • Story is read as if it is coming from a reading of a document. The tone of voice is not able to capture the listener
  • Technology is used effectively, but there are some gaps or glitches to the communication
  • The story presents over the time limit, or is too short to tell the story properly