Challenging Discrimination Essay

508 WordsMay 26, 20143 Pages
CHALLENGING DISCRIMINATION There is much debate about a number of issues in EDR, but most participants agree that it is very important to challenge discriminatory and inappropriate behavior. By chipping away at the block we can hope to make a change – even though this may be slow! Unfortunately discrimination is not something that will disappear within a short timeframe. It can be very difficult to challenge discrimination, especially where you fear the response of the person you challenge. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to someone who is bigoted or prejudiced. Here are four handy hints to help you find that courage. 1. A CHALLENGE SHOULD BE AN INVITATION, NOT AN ATTACK Very few people think of themselves as prejudiced. People are unlikely to respond positively to an accusation that they are! Start by acknowledging that people with racist, sectarian, sexist, homophobic etc. attitudes may be as much victims of their social background and personal circumstances as anyone else. They may be isolated and have limited experience of other cultures and lifestyles. Remember that this is not their fault. If you challenge their attitude with an accusation such as “you are a racist” they may respond by defending their attitude instead of questioning and changing it. If you say “stop being so homophobic” they are likely to think of you as a victim and target you instead of questioning and changing their attitude. 2. DON’T EXPECT THE WORLD You are unlikely to change a person’s attitude from one challenge. What you can hope to do is raise their awareness that there is an issue. The first person to make someone question their racist attitude may not achieve much, but by the fifth person to challenge them may make them start to examine their attitude. Remember: you may not be the first person to challenge. 3. ADDRESS BEHAVIOUR AND ASSUMPTIONS – DO NOT

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