Copyright CEMO - 2013
Our everyday silence
We are often in a situation when we feel: we should not remain silent. But how should we react and does it make any sense? It usually does. Because situation when somebody given his/her respected and powerful position, treats with disrespect and discriminates the Other because of his/her language, gender, age or religion are not war crimes but they are attitudes that humiliate people and violate human rights.
We shall not go away from these situations and think about the fact that "I should have said something"., because these are the situations that define our everydays and color them dark. We should prepare for these situations and be aware that silence has its price.
The price of silence:
6 steps to speak up
Being prepared gives us confidence, and supports our making smart, well thought-out decisions. Here are six steps to consider when making the choice to confront everyday bias.
1. Be ready. You know another moment like this will happen, so prepare yourself for it. Think of yourself as the one who will speak up. Promise yourself not to remain silent.
2. Identify the behavior. Sometimes, pointing out the behavior candidly helps someone hear what they're really saying. When identifying behavior, however, avoid labeling, name-calling, or the use of loaded terms. Describe the behavior; don't label the person.
3. Appeal to principles. If the speaker is someone you have a relationship with - a sister, friend, or co-worker, for example - call on their higher principles.
4. Set limits. You cannot control another person, but you can say, "Don't tell racist jokes in my presence anymore. "Then follow through. The point is to draw the line.
5. Find an ally/Be an ally. When frustrated in your own campaign against everyday bigotry, seek out like-minded people and ask them to support you in whatever ways they can. And don't forget to return the favor.
6. Be vigilant. Remember: Change happens slowly. People make small steps, typically, not large ones. Stay prepared, and keep speaking up. Don't risk silence.