We see symbols every day in all aspects of our lives. Symbols are used to convey ideas, qualities, emotions, material objects/products, opinions and beliefs. Unfortunately, symbols are also used to convey hate and bias. Lately, we have seen a lot of hate symbol graffiti in public spaces and specifically the swastika, which in most circumstances is understood as an expression of anti-Semitism. While 2016 data is not yet available, there has reportedly been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, including the display of swastikas on school and college campuses, sidewalks, places of worship, online, on doors, buildings, dorm rooms, buses, school and public bathrooms, vehicles and other places. The proliferation of other hate symbols is also of increasing concern.
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the importance of symbols in our society, understand more about specific hate symbols, and identify strategies for responding to and eliminating hate symbols.