What do you do when faced with racism? 3 ways to defuse the situation or be an ally

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Handling a racist attack

It can be hard to know what to do when someone is being racist. This could be in different forms. For example, someone could hit someone else. Or, they could say something mean. It could even be graffiti, like writing something offensive on a wall.

In many cases, it is best to ignore racism. This is especially true if your safety is at risk. We all want to go about our day without any trouble.

But, it’s important to remember that not doing anything can be a problem too. It can make the racist think that their behavior is okay.

If you experience or witness a racist attack, here are some ways to respond:

  1. Stay calm

    People who say racist things are trying to get attention. Don’t respond with hate. Focus on the issue, not the person.

  2. Discourage the behavior

    If you’re a bystander, say “Stop it. This is not OK.” Don’t engage the attacker. If you’re uncomfortable, ask someone else for help.

  3. Focus on the person being attacked

    Make sure they are safe. Ask them to go to a place where they feel safer. Talk to them and ask if they’re okay. Make sure to guard your own safety too. Move near people who are supportive. Tell the police if needed.

    If you are in danger, call 9-1-1 right away. Just saying that you are calling the police can sometimes stop the attacker.

    • If you don’t feel comfortable calling the police, you can ask a friend or a bystander to do it for you.
    • If you are on a bus, you can also ask the driver for help. They can call the police for you.

Should you take a video?

It can be helpful for police investigations. But, your first priority should be to stop the attack and keep yourself and the victim safe. Only document when it is safe to do so.

  • Be careful not to be too focused on the camera. You don’t want to miss other potential dangers. Make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings.

Be careful and stay safe.

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