How To Live Your Best Life as An Advocate

It’s impossible to ignore the rising heat of political discussions that divide the country on what seems like issue after issue, and while there’s always room in American discussion for disagreement, there is never a place for discrimination and bigotry.

Speaking out against discrimination isn’t always as easy as it might seem, whether you struggle to stay calm in the face of an offensive comment or don’t feel comfortable calling out family and friends. Luckily, there’s still ways for you to be an advocate without putting yourself in uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations. 

 

Interrupt when someone makes an offensive/discriminatory comment or joke.

Let them know that what they said is not acceptable but rather hurtful. By speaking up in the middle of a conversation, it gives them an opportunity to apologize and may result in them thinking in the future before saying offensive comments.

 

Question what made them make such a hateful or hurtful comment.

By asking someone why they thought a specific joke or comment was funny or appropriate, you're forcing them to truly think through what they're saying and hopefully showing them that their line of thought was incorrect. If you understand the context or reason that the comment was made in the first place, you can figure out the best way to address the situation. The comment might have been made out of hate, or could have also been made out of ignorance. 

 

Educate people on how their remarks/behaviors can be hurtful and/or offensive.

People don’t always understand the offense behind certain words, phrases, or actions and might not necessarily intend to spread hate. Take the opportunity to educate them and give them a new perspective.

 

Mirror others who stand up against discrimination.

The saying that there is strength in numbers is true; if you ever see or hear someone take a stand and speak out against discrimination, back them up and let them know you support them. They’ll feel more confident speaking up in the future, and two voices are more powerful than one.

 

For more information on advocacy and getting involved, check out Understanding Prejudice and Teaching Tolerance.

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