Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Katana_Geldar on April 18, 2013, 10:35:36 PM

Title: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 18, 2013, 10:35:36 PM
I'm ashamed of it myself, but public racist attacks have been popping up more and more on the medial, so I'd like E Hell's opinion on what to do when faced with it oneself, or is a witness to one.

This is not the place to debate on whether something is racist or hateful, but what to when one is faced with the situation.

Personally, I ink such people are a waste of space of they go about abusing absolute strangers in public. What also ashames me is people just doing nothing while someone is made the target of warranted abuse, or other bystanders joining in.

I would like to say that I would hand by a person being attacked as such, but I'm not as I haven't been in the situation. Also, there's a personal risk yourself if this happens.

So what are your suggestions?
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Slartibartfast on April 18, 2013, 10:52:37 PM
Depends on whether the attack is directed at you, at someone else nearby, or is just a racist/hateful person's rant at the world.

I tend to ignore hateful rants unless it's someone who might actually care about my opinion.  If it's a friend or a relative, I try for some variant on "Hey dude, that's not cool, and it's not true either" (vary for the situation, of course!) - I don't expect it will change their mind, but it might make them more aware that not everyone agrees with them.  I'm happy to say I've only had to do this a few times, though.

Right now, my usual comment starts with "Wow, what century are you IN?" and includes a point or two they probably would rather ignore (most illegal immigrants were legal when they came here / women can be scientists too now, did you know? / gay people are parents too / black men aren't criminals for having bad taste in urban fashion any more than white men are / etc).

99% of the time, whatever it is I felt I needed to speak up about was something mild, insinuated, or otherwise not particularly blatant, though.  In those cases I try to just focus on the comment at hand - "I'm glad you approve, but you do realize that 'Christian' isn't a synonym for 'moral,' right?" and then try to move on.  Usually it's a racist/bigoted/hateful comment from a non-racist/bigoted/hateful person, and I see no need to vilify them for it.  I know I've said some stupid stuff too (both things I've said out of ignorance and things I've said without thinking it through or realizing how it would sound).
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: snowdragon on April 18, 2013, 10:53:25 PM
I have stood by people getting abused. I will do it again. I do not expect anyone to stick up for me, because we all have our comfort level. I would hope that if it got bad enough, that someone would call the police rather than pulling out their cell phones and recording it.
  What you should do - is assess the situation, see if you think you are safe saying something, if it would be better to to let them know you object or if this would put the both of you in further danger. If you feel that the later - call someone in authority.
  If you feel safe saying something, perhaps a hand on the person being abused's shoulder and a simple "they're wrong." might help.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: cicero on April 18, 2013, 11:09:07 PM
Racists are simply stupid bullies who believe they are operating  under some 'set of values'. I have, and I will, strand up and protect myself or others  if someone is being verbally attacked. If it is a physical attack, I will assess the situation before I step in. I would not hesitate if out were my child being attacked, but I would hesitateif it were a total stranger.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: nuit93 on April 19, 2013, 12:42:35 AM
I didn't say anything when I was a teenager and the racism was coming from extended family members.  I would now, but I don't talk to those people anymore.

Now?  I'd call people on it unless it felt directly unsafe, in which case I'd leave the situation.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Twik on April 19, 2013, 09:15:00 AM
Well, there's hope if they stopped and thought about it.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Zilla on April 19, 2013, 09:25:04 AM
If it's directed at me as in, "all you people..." then I walk away.  No reaction, just walk away.  They aren't worth any breath you take in defending yourself. 


If a comment is made not realizing you are part of that group/culture etc, then I would say tersely, "I don't know if you are aware but I am part of that.." and if they said yes then I would walk away.  If they say no and is open to an honest discussion then I might talk with them a bit to disabuse of any nonsensical notions.


If it's a comment made in my earshot but they are unaware of me, I don't engage.  Life is too short to be angry and hysterical.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Twik on April 19, 2013, 09:32:06 AM
It depends on what the attack is. Is it general (some just spouting off that Oranges are awful people), directed at me, directed at someone else (but likely non-physical), or a physical confrontation?

For the last, the best response would likely be to tell the victim, "I'm calling 911 now!"
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: sweetonsno on April 19, 2013, 11:45:53 AM
For me, it depends a bit on who is making the comments and what they are.

If it's someone who is simply unaware that they've used a term that used to be okay and now is considered inappropriate, I'll usually just ignore it. If it's someone that is close to me, I might correct them. "Mrs. Green, these days, 'Oriental' isn't used to describe people any more. It's not considered polite and you might hurt someone's feelings." However, I know that old habits die hard and someone who has been using a particular term for the last twenty years will likely have some trouble adjusting to a new one.

If it's a nasty generalization about a group of people (like those who are members of a particular religion), my response is usually thoroughly organic. Eyes wide + "Wow." It's my natural reaction, and it gets my point across quite well.

If someone is using a slur, I'll usually say "What the bleep?!" and step away from whoever just said it. If someone says something like that to a person I am with, I say "What the bleep" to them and then "What a butt muffin" to my friend.

I guess the general formula for intentionally unkind comments for me is to verbally acknowledge that what they said was wrong/inappropriate and then distance myself from them. Because really, who wants to be associated with a racist jerk?
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 11:59:55 AM
Totally depends on the situation.

My 90 year old aunt making derogatory remarks about local politicians or how the neighborhood is "going downhill" - beandip.  She will be dead soon, and we have had that conversation 100 times.  It's like the Mark Twain remark about trying to teach a pig to dance: "It just wears you out and annoys the pig".

Co workers making insensitive/coy and "veiled" jokes - say "Oh, really?" and never eat lunch with/hang out with them again.

More open bigoted remarks in a social setting: "You know that is offensive, right?"

I have never encountered outright or targeted hostility/namecalling.  I would probably focus on checking to make sure the recipient/victim was OK, and deal with the aggressor later.  I think it would be especially important in a situation like that, to reinforce the humanity and significance of the person being targetted, rather than giving attention to the aggressor.

In a violent situation I would naturally summon the police, unless it was so minor of a situation I could easily stop it myself.  If someone was being physically attacked I can't imagine treating a "hate" attack any differently than any other physical attack, how could you?

Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 19, 2013, 12:18:31 PM
It depends, really.  If it's something they said based on misinformation, I might gently correct them.  I've had luck with that when discussing some things with my MIL when it comes to GLBT and she hadn't said anything particularly hateful, just that she was uncomfortable because of misinformation.  We had a respectful talk about it and she said "Oh! I didn't know that.  Okay."

Generally if it's a spoken comment I'll say something about it, but if it's violence on someone else, I'd whip out my phone and call the police. 

I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve so I honestly wouldn't be able to hide surprise or disgust very well.  One woman I used to work with once said "Oh I don't like gypsies, they're all thieves."  I pointed out calmly that just like any other race/ethnicity, the Roma might have thieves but that doesn't make them all criminals. 

Another time I was working with a group of AA women and one of them said to me something about my ancestors being slaveowners.  I laughed and informed her that my ancestors didn't have slaves as some of them were poor Irish farmers and some were even servants themselves, and my Italian relatives didn't come to the states until 1921. 

She looked at me with surprise and said "Oh, really? That's cool!"
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Auntie Mame on April 19, 2013, 02:07:39 PM
I have "held space" for a person being harassed.  Meaning, if someone is being scary and beligerent, I won't engage the crazy but I will go and stand next to the person.   This will often prompt others to follow suit and by sheer force up numbers you can intimidate the harasser into backing down.

If it is someone I know, I will call them out on it.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 02:10:44 PM
I have "held space" for a person being harassed.  Meaning, if someone is being scary and beligerent, I won't engage the crazy but I will go and stand next to the person.   This will often prompt others to follow suit and by sheer force up numbers you can intimidate the harasser into backing down.

If it is someone I know, I will call them out on it.

I like that.  It reminds me of the bikers protecting military funerals.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: bah12 on April 19, 2013, 02:21:39 PM
I think that it depends on where this is happening and exactly what is happening.  For example, I might not be interested in possibly elevating a contentious situation when my daughter is around (for her safety), or if I feel that someone is going to turn physical vs. just verbal for my own and others. However, that doesn't mean I don't do anything.  In a situation that is so disturbing, I would fear for my own safety if I said something, I would seek help elsewhere (authorities, management/security if in a public space, etc.)

Generally, if I hear someone say something hateful, I don't feel bad calling them out and sticking up for whoever their hate is aimed at.  I might not say the exact horrible words going through my brain out loud, but I will say something.  For example, many years ago I was in a nightclub and standing at the bar when I heard a guy harrassing another woman.  Calling her offensive names because she didn't accept his advances on her.  I finally turned around and said something along the lines of "Yeah, I don't know what she's thinking not wanting to hook up with someone that calls her *!*@.  But, I bet you would probably have more luck if you were actually nice to women, especially ones you are interested in.  Being that everyone here already heard you acting like a jerk (used another word I'm sure), you'd be better off leaving and coming back when you've grown up."  Then another guy standing nearby jumped in and took it from there.  I, my friends, and this other woman, all walked away at that point. 
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: RebeccainGA on April 19, 2013, 02:49:41 PM
I've spoken up, when it was bad - a coworker making inappropriate comments, or someone saying something blatantly awful to someone I know.

However, I have a couple of Facebook friends, people I was close to in High School, who make really awful remarks as part of an 'I'm such a good X that I can say that people who are Z are awful, and people that are Y are practically roasting in hell". I correct obvious flaws, but it's like the whole teaching a pig to dance thing - it tires me, and just annoys the pig.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: reflection5 on April 19, 2013, 03:11:49 PM
ok so we all know that unless you are a person of said descent/rapper you can't use the "N" word,   that's a given (although even then i think it's a weird thing to do!)


i was on a bus in london and a group of young men of african descent got on and started hassling an older lady trying to get her to move seats,  and they were saying "look at that honky white witch" etc etc,   i lent over to one and said quietly, "how is that not racist but if she was to call you a colour based name it would be?  whats the difference?" 
he looked surprised and they started trying to explain why it wasn't, with the best line i ever heard, "but i is black so i can't be racist" .... as my stop was coming up i asked on last question "how is it not racist if you are judging her based on the colour of her skin?" 

i left it there and they had all gone quiet, as i got off the bus i got a nod and a wink form the conductor.

???

No, “we” do not all know that, and No, it is not a “given”.  Those are assumptions and generalizations – which is one of the problems about racism.

Many (most) people of color do not use the N word, and find it affensive.

I think you handled yourself appropriately on the bus.  However, your experience with the young man/men on the bus does not mean all members of his race agree with him.  Again - a generalization and a racist stereotype.

As far as some other comments, racism is wrong and it does not "depend on the situation".
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 19, 2013, 03:15:12 PM
I don't think that's what posters are meaning by "depends on the situation." Yes, it's always wrong, but the situation dictates how they'd deal with it.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: reflection5 on April 19, 2013, 03:28:47 PM
I don't think that's what posters are meaning by "depends on the situation." Yes, it's always wrong, but the situation dictates how they'd deal with it.
Yes, of course.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Betelnut on April 19, 2013, 03:32:05 PM
In general, I would say something directly to the person making the comments.  I like the idea of simply standing by the person too.  Silent but active.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: mmswm on April 19, 2013, 03:33:32 PM
I was raised to be very proactive about racism/genderism issues.  My grandmother was an airplane mechanic in a regular unit if the Army Air Corps (back before the Air Force officially became a separate entity from the Army).  After she retired from military service, she became very involved in racial equality issues.  She was an officer in a local chapter of the NAACP.  In the deep south.  In the 1950's and 60's.  I learned from my grandmother and my father that one does not sit idly by while somebody is being mistreated because of race or gender issues, or really any other issue that's not something a person has any choice over.  While she may have made some stupid decisions regarding her own personal safety, I learned that it's always okay to stand up for a person being attacked.  Sometimes that means standing next to them and confronting a person who's being verbally attacked and sometimes that means calling the police.  My father actually sustained some serious injuries after a HS football game when he came to the defense of a kid being attacked because of his race.  The small town police tried to charge dad, but his bat-poo crazy mother wasn't scared of anybody and ripped open the good ole boys network and got the other kids charged instead.  This is the history we feel like we have to live up to.

My mother's FOO, on the other hand, is very racist.  Mom tries hard to overcome some very deep-seeded "lessons" she learned as a kid, but it hasn't always been easy.

If I'm faced with a situation like this, I will never hesitate to tell the offending person that their behavior is not okay.  When I worked restaurant management, I would not hesitate to kick out offensive customers.  I will not hesitate to call the police if I feel that somebody's physical safety is endangered.  I will also not hesitate to involve myself physically if I feel that somebody's life is in danger and the police can't get there fast enough.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 03:54:08 PM
I don't think that's what posters are meaning by "depends on the situation." Yes, it's always wrong, but the situation dictates how they'd deal with it.

Yes, racism/bigotry  is always wrong but it would also be wrong (not to mention ridiculous) to treat my 90 year old aunt, bedridden and on oxygen, the same as a beer-swilling hooligan yelling epithets in a parking lot. 
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Sedorna on April 19, 2013, 06:49:32 PM
I was raised to be very proactive about racism/genderism issues.  My grandmother was an airplane mechanic in a regular unit if the Army Air Corps (back before the Air Force officially became a separate entity from the Army).  After she retired from military service, she became very involved in racial equality issues.  She was an officer in a local chapter of the NAACP.  In the deep south.  In the 1950's and 60's.  I learned from my grandmother and my father that one does not sit idly by while somebody is being mistreated because of race or gender issues, or really any other issue that's not something a person has any choice over.  While she may have made some stupid decisions regarding her own personal safety, I learned that it's always okay to stand up for a person being attacked.  Sometimes that means standing next to them and confronting a person who's being verbally attacked and sometimes that means calling the police.  My father actually sustained some serious injuries after a HS football game when he came to the defense of a kid being attacked because of his race.  The small town police tried to charge dad, but his bat-poo crazy mother wasn't scared of anybody and ripped open the good ole boys network and got the other kids charged instead.  This is the history we feel like we have to live up to.

My mother's FOO, on the other hand, is very racist.  Mom tries hard to overcome some very deep-seeded "lessons" she learned as a kid, but it hasn't always been easy.

If I'm faced with a situation like this, I will never hesitate to tell the offending person that their behavior is not okay.  When I worked restaurant management, I would not hesitate to kick out offensive customers.  I will not hesitate to call the police if I feel that somebody's physical safety is endangered.  I will also not hesitate to involve myself physically if I feel that somebody's life is in danger and the police can't get there fast enough.

OT, but what's FOO?

Oh, and your paternal grandmother absolutely rocks. Your father was really fortunate to have a mother like her.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: mmswm on April 19, 2013, 07:00:52 PM
FOO = Family of Origin.

And yes, my grandmother was an incredible woman.  She wasn't a very nice person, but considering what positions she placed herself in, she kinda had to be that way.  She was very harsh, but she couldn't have been any other way to knock down gender and racial barriers the way she did.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Jocelyn on April 20, 2013, 10:11:30 AM
My favorite tactic, when someone offers a 'isn't that racial group awful' sort of insult, is to look puzzled, then let the lightbulb go on, and say, 'OH! You said that to me because you think I'm white! People assume that all the time, because I look sort of white.' Then I bean dip as hard and fast as I can. >:D
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: nayberry on April 20, 2013, 01:45:11 PM
ok so we all know that unless you are a person of said descent/rapper you can't use the "N" word,   that's a given (although even then i think it's a weird thing to do!)


i was on a bus in london and a group of young men of african descent got on and started hassling an older lady trying to get her to move seats,  and they were saying "look at that honky white witch" etc etc,   i lent over to one and said quietly, "how is that not racist but if she was to call you a colour based name it would be?  whats the difference?" 
he looked surprised and they started trying to explain why it wasn't, with the best line i ever heard, "but i is black so i can't be racist" .... as my stop was coming up i asked on last question "how is it not racist if you are judging her based on the colour of her skin?" 

i left it there and they had all gone quiet, as i got off the bus i got a nod and a wink form the conductor.

???

No, “we” do not all know that, and No, it is not a “given”.  Those are assumptions and generalizations – which is one of the problems about racism.

Many (most) people of color do not use the N word, and find it affensive.

I think you handled yourself appropriately on the bus.  However, your experience with the young man/men on the bus does not mean all members of his race agree with him.  Again - a generalization and a racist stereotype.

As far as some other comments, racism is wrong and it does not "depend on the situation".



Really?  so you would use it?  because unless you want to get your butt kicked no-one of european/asian/other origin (unless doing it in a racist fashion) uses that word wherever i've lived, and thats up and down the UK and across Australia.   

i said it was a given as i feel that unless you are of a race ie from pakistan, you don't use the derogatory term - (in the UK "paki" is offensive, however i have friends from there who are using it in a "we is paki's" way, trying to reclaim it, turning it into an identity thing rather than a nasty term.)

i never said that all do act like or agree with him, i was sharing one of my experiences where i witnessed racism and acted.

i don't see how i stereotyped, i spoke having witnessed different situations and having been involved.   black, white, yellow or green with pink polka dots, doesn't matter, you treat everyone equally.

would you have commented if i said i saw an elderly African lady being harassed by white youths and spoke to them?
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 20, 2013, 04:34:51 PM
OP here, please try and remember we're not looking at what constitutes as racist. That's a topic for somewhere else and could get the thread locked.

I agree though, there is a difference how'd you'd react to a stranger as opposed to a family member. Has anyone seen the film Giant? It'a very interesting to the changing attitudes if the main character towards the Hispanic community.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: reflection5 on April 20, 2013, 04:39:05 PM
nayberry -
1) I don't know any green with polka dot people.  If you do, and treat them equally, that's commendable.
2) You do not know what race I am, and you do not know whether I would be the butt kicker or the kickee or even if any butt kicking would take place.
3) Your last question is  ???, well, never mind.

But, as I said before, "we" don't know any such thing (re: what you said) and no, it is NOT a given.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: reflection5 on April 20, 2013, 04:41:20 PM
OP here, please try and remember we're not looking at what constitutes as racist. That's a topic for somewhere else and could get the thread locked.

I agree though, there is a difference how'd you'd react to a stranger as opposed to a family member. Has anyone seen the film Giant? It'a very interesting to the changing attitudes if the main character towards the Hispanic community.

Yes, great movie (Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean).  And you are right on target.

And I understand we are not trying to determine what is racist.  Most people already know - and if they don't they should.
Title: Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
Post by: Julian on April 20, 2013, 05:19:45 PM
The situation the OP is referring to have been very much in the news media here (Aus) lately.  The specific ones I recall have occurred on public transport, where somebody has attacked somebody else of a different race, a total stranger, with loud, aggressive and very racist language, in rants loaded with f-bombs.  Some people have joined in, some have tried to defend the victim, and in each case somebody has recorded the attack on their phone and gone public with it.

The whole situation is totally shameful, it makes me embarrassed for our whole country. 

So, what do you do?