How to intervene in situations of discrimination? Check out 4 tips

More than allying with diversity, it is often necessary to take a stand in situations of discrimination. Check out 4 ways to intervene to protect other people.

Even if you are not part of minority or minoritized groups, being a ally or ally of diversity is essential to make the workplace, university and other spaces increasingly inclusive.

But, often, respecting and including is not enough — it may be necessary to act more actively in some situations, such as in cases of discrimination. Do you want to know what you can do when you witness an act like this? Journalist Sara Reardon, from Nature, lists 4 points that must be taken into account when it is necessary to intervene:

Is the environment safe?

First, it is important to consider the safety of acting where you are. Busy environments, such as university corridors, are safer than more isolated contexts, such as a room where only you, the person who caused the attack and the person who suffered the attack are present. 

It is also essential that you evaluate the possible dangers that the situation presents. If the intervention could cause physical risk to you, or harm your professional careers, perhaps the best way to help is to tell an authority what happened.

You know this person?

Take into account whether you know the person who is committing discrimination, whether you have a relationship with them. Think about this to direct the action with a more direct and impersonal conversation (if you don't know her) or with a more complete and explanatory dialogue if you already have a relationship.

Is the person willing to listen?

Still in this sense of proximity, try to understand whether the person is willing to listen and understand the situation or whether they are someone who tends to react by arguing. In both cases, avoid confrontation without first trying to understand the intentions of that comment or action, so as not to cause an immediate shock.

Then, explain the reasons that led you to intervene and why it represents aggression. It is important to emphasize: try to criticize the behavior, not the person directly.

After that, will you meet?

Don't forget to think that, after the intervention, you will still have to live in that environment. Therefore, establish strategies to communicate your positioning in the best possible way. One option is to remember the importance of professionalism in the workplace or at university, where it is everyone's duty to promote a welcoming atmosphere. 

If you prefer, it's also worth changing the direction of the conversation, asking about another topic or making a joke. Whichever method is chosen, it is good to keep in mind that the main objective is to avoid an embarrassing situation for the person being the victim of the attack.

Acting against discrimination is very important, but it is always worth remembering that effective forms of intervention in certain situations may not work in others. If in doubt, talk to someone you trust and try to understand together the best way to proceed.

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