Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Allies, Silence, & Talk -- 3 Ways to Address Bigotry Among Friends & Workmates

Cultures and faiths blend everyday among friends and workmates. It's easy to make a simple comments that are, in fact, insensitive to another's difference. How do we handle that? Here's more from the original piece about ways to speak up against everyday bigotry.

Among Friends & Colleagues

Friends are our comfort zones, where we lay down our guards and can simply be ourselves. Casual conversation is a mainstay of these relationships. But when bias is interjected into everyday moments with friends, relationships can feel markedly uncomfortable. How then can you reconnect?

Approach friends as allies.  When our friend makes a harmful comment or poses an offensive question remember that you’re friends with this person for a reason; something special brought you two together drawing on that bond, explain how the comment offended you.

Respond with silence. When a friend poses a question that feels hurtful, let protracted silence do the work for you, say nothing and wait for the speaker to respond with an open ended question like “What’s Up?”  Then describe the comments from your point of view.

Talk about differences. When we have friendships across culture groups it’s natural to focus on what we have in common rather than our differences. Yet our differences matter. Strive to open up the conversation: ” We’ve been friends for years and I value our relationship very much. One thing we never really talked about is my experience with racism. I’d like to do that now.”

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