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The Dignity Index is designed to prevent violence, ease divisions, and solve problems

“The Dignity Index scores distinct phrases along an eight-point scale from contempt to dignity. Lower scores (1-4) reflect divisive language while higher scores (5-8) reflect language grounded in dignity. In its pilot season, a trained group of students supported by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Hinckley Institute of Politics scored selections from candidate speeches, debates, fundraising outreach, social media posts, and campaign ads in Utah’s federal congressional races. By focusing on the speech and not the speaker, the Dignity Index is designed to draw our attention away from the biases of partisan politics and toward the power we each have to heal our country and each other.” Read the Pilot Report by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute →

  • If you’re tired of insult-slinging and debates that go in circles, you’re not alone.
  • A stunning 85% of Americans — of all ages and viewpoints — say the tone and nature of political debate has gotten worse over the last several years, according to Pew Research Center.
  • Flashback: The inaugural edition of Finish Line zoomed in on the new silent majority — the overwhelming share of Americans who never tweet or watch cable news.
  • Now, an organization of activists, professors and consultants is appealing to that majority by leaning into a disappearing quality — treating others with dignity.
  • UNITE, a group founded by Special Olympics chair Timothy Shriver is getting buzz with its “Dignity Index,” which scores tweets, cable news segments, debates and speeches on a scale of 1 to 8.
  • For example, speech that earns a score of 1 is calling for violence against those who disagree with you. Speech that earns a perfect 8 puts yourself in the other person’s shoes.How it works: “It’s not our disagreements that cause division,” says Tom Rosshirt, chief strategist at UNITE and lead author of the index. “It’s contempt that causes division.”
  • “The trouble with politics today is that the benefits of contempt outweigh the costs,” he says. “You can use it to raise money; you can use it to get on television.”
  • “We know that treating people with contempt in our family will cause our family to fall apart. What we don’t yet know is that treating each other with contempt will tear our country apart.” Zoom in: UNITE rolled out the Index in Utah ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and invited a panel of Utahns to get together and score political speech…”

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