Have you seen this image before? Many presenters at events hosted by the foundation where I work have used several variations to help describe what equity versus equality might look like. Some are pixilated, some are done themselves, some are stick figures, and some detailed like the one below.
Wearing my communications hat, I am often asked who created these images and/or if I will forward them to participants at our events. Being the recovering academic that I am, I have already scoured the net looking for attribution and for better quality versions long before people ask, but to no avail. I find the images, but they always lead to twitter or pinterest and have no attribution.
Early on I came across a version that included a third panel. The first time I saw it I had to take a second look, and let it sink in. Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Who put the fence there in the first place, and why doesn’t anyone look at the structural upstream barriers that are put in place by our society? If we would start making some real systems change maybe our talk of accommodations to overcome these barriers wouldn’t be needed in the first place.
Well yesterday I was noodling/doodling around online at the #NMKidsCount conference, prompted by the usual two panel equality/equity image that came up in a presentation or two. I think I may have found the source of my favorite version of this illustration. And if that weren’t enough, it came along with a great bonus of a 4th blank box!
The Center for Story-based Strategy and the Interaction Institute for Social Change teamed up to do some Imaginaction work that they are calling #The4thBox. I think it’s a great exercise to just look at the image and consider each scenario and what each element in the image might represent, and how we might rewrite the story.
The thing is that the team who created these panels have also made available a great paper-doll image/kit that you and your group can use to work through your own rewriting process. Be sure to download and use their image/kit in your work “to spark conversations. Use it to discuss the importance of not just telling a different version of the same story, but of actually changing the story (by challenging assumptions).”
What other story could be revealed in this setting?
What other “psychic break” could you make up?
What other underlying assumption here could you challenge?
Who built that wall in the first place and/or who took it away?
If you or anyone you know uses this kit be sure to have them share here, tag their new stories with the #The4thBox hashtag, and share New Mexico specific stories with the #The4thBoxNM hashtag. I would love to see what people come up with, and the team that developed the kit would like to see the new stories too.
While you are there, be sure to check out the Center for Story-based Strategy’s other great materials. I am enjoying diving into their great theory, strategy, case studies, values, and principles. As I make my foray into Medium to see what it can do and if it’s right for the foundation, I may pull out some pieces from the Center for Story-based Strategy’s site that stand out. Stay tuned.
Remember, share ideas here or by using #The4thBox or #The4thBoxNM