Author Topic: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?  (Read 4255 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« on: April 18, 2013, 11:35:36 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?

Slartibartfast

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 11:52:37 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).

snowdragon

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 11:53:25 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.

cicero

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 12:09:07 AM »
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.

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nuit93

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 01:42:35 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.

Twik

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 10:15:00 AM »
Well, there's hope if they stopped and thought about it.
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Zilla

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 10:25:04 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.

Twik

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 10:32:06 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!"
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

sweetonsno

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 12:45:53 PM »
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?

EllenS

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 12:59:55 PM »
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?

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Piratelvr1121

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 01:18:31 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!"
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Auntie Mame

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2013, 03:07:39 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.
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EllenS

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2013, 03:10:44 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.
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bah12

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 03:21:39 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. 

RebeccainGA

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Re: What to do when faced with a racist or hateful attack?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2013, 03:49:41 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.