Are You a Dignifier? A Checklist

by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace educator-linguist from Recife, Brazil


Dignity is one of the foundational concepts in the History of Humankind. It underlies important universal traditions, such as Human Rights and it is intertwined with Justice and Peace. Interestingly, Dignity appears in written English from 1175. The verb dignify made its visual debut in that language from 1375 and the adjective dignified appears in written form from 1660. Readers are asked to research the word history for dignity in other languages, so that a crosscultural-linguistic perspective could be cultivated. As a peace linguist, I would like to make a case for an addition to the dignif- word family, by suggesting dignifier, on the analogy of humanizer ( brief text Are you a humanizer? downloadable from Google).

The Checklist below, the outcome of individual brainstorming, is aimed at providing members of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network with a tool for identifying some distinctive features characterizing the attitudes and actions of dignifiers. In such spirit, you are asked to add to the list, improve it, and above all, deepen it. Please check the items which best apply to you and ask yourself:If YES, to what extent , how, and why.

A checklist: I can consider myself a dignifier because I believe

  1. in the worth inherent in the human being
  2. that dignity is one of the foundations for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
  3. that dignity subsumes respect for the self and for other human beings, animals, and the environment
  4. that humiliation is a serious violation of human dignity
  5. that dignity should be respected universally
  6. that all forms of discrimination should be reduced, and if possible, eliminated
  7. that, as a planetary citizen, I am co-responsible for global dignity
  8. that Humankind is seeking new, effective ways to dignify the sharing of the Earth
  9. that dignity is a multidimensional concept (for example: communicative, cultural, economic, educational, environmentgal, political, social)
  10. that dignity studies be included in all curricula as an indispensable component of the humanizing preparation of students (at different points of the educational continuum)
  11. that dignity should be researched intra, inter, and transdisciplinarily
  12. that I should reflect on my duties as a dignifier, for the good of Humankind

(received September 16, 2010)

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