You're walking down the street, and witness an act of racism. How do you respond?
One of our Not In Our Town Facebook fans posted this question to our Wall, and an honest, thoughtful conversation followed.
Here are highlights from the discussion -- read the full post and share your thoughts on the NIOT Facebook page.
"I get involved if I think I can do some good to dissolve the situation. If I think someone, including myself, could get hurt or violent, I call the cops. Silence is usually not an option." (Briana)"It's not always easy to prosecute bias crimes if witnesses do not come forward and agree to testify. If you can intervene safely and help calm it down, please do." (Kitty)"Every time when I witness some kind of violence I call 911, no matter what. I'm not a supergirl but I have a peaceful mind. For me hate is violence and both are crime. If I want the world to be a better place this is the way I contribute." (Mirnajudith)It depends on the perpetrator of the altercation. Most bigots know what they are doing is wrong and will stop if overheard or confronted. It's best to appear to be paying attention in that case. On the other hand, there are those who are clueless (and may feel everyone else feels the way they do). They are tougher. These folks need to be told they are out-of-line in a tone that is rational and to-the-point." (Laura)"I think that one question to ask in these situations, is 'who could I have positively affected, and what would it have taken to accomplish this effect?'" (Paul)
Another fan, Mary, shared what happened when she and her son witnessed discrimination at a video store:
"...[A]t one video store a patron (and incidentally; a person of color in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood) asked to use the phone due to car trouble; his cell had died and there were no pay phones in the immediate area. The store refused him, stating it was policy. My son witnessed this and gave the man his cell phone to use. Not that it should matter, but the victim of discrimination in this case was dressed well in a business suit andvery eloquent and polite. The store owner, upon witnessing my son's offer of the use of his cell phone, called the police. The police came and interrogated this man right there in public for over 30 minutes. My son stayed against several instances wherein the officers told him to leave. He just continued to say, 'I think not, it's probably better I stay right here.' Finally after what could only be termed verbal harassment the officers allowed the man to return to his vehicle and wait for assistance from the call he had made to the towing company. The manager of the videostore told my son he was no longer welcome there and directed a few rude and disparaging remarks his way. My son and several others filed complaints with the police dept and the store's owner. Most persons said he should not have become involved when they heard of the instance. I found that disheartening."
What do you do if you see an incident of everyday racism and discrimination? If you have been a victim of racism, have you seen people speak up or take action? Join our Facebook conversation, or add your story in the comments below.