bystander | Racism. It Stops With Me

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Racism in schools or universities provides a unique set of challenges – but schools and universities also provide useful structures and opportunities for addressing racism. It’s often a place where good responses can be modelled in a safe setting.

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People are often unsure about how to respond to racism in the workplace because they worry about how it might affect their relationships with co-workers or their career prospects. Power imbalances can also come into play.

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Hearing racist comments in social situations can be awkward – especially if they come from family or friends.

Speaking up to the people closest to you, whether in response to a single incident or an ongoing pattern, is a unique challenge. Social dynamics, and the nature of peoples’ relationships come into play, and these can affect how comfortable we feel about speaking up.

Calling out racism does not need to be confrontational. Here are some ideas about how you can engage with people productively.

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Racism often occurs online, particularly on social media. Perpetrators sometimes feel more emboldened than they would in real-world settings, but the impacts of online racism can be just as real.

If you witness racism on social media or elsewhere online:

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SUPPORT

If you see someone being racially targeted in public, a powerful symbol of support is to go and sit or stand next to them and check if they’re ok. This also sends a message to the perpetrator that their actions are not acceptable.

You can say something to the perpetrator if it feels safe. This doesn’t have to be aggressive – in fact it’s much better if you stay calm. It could be as simple: “Why don’t you leave him/her alone?”

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