A few weeks ago I went to a thought-provoking workshop titled Diversity 2.0, and during one of the discussions the topic of how to ‘call-out’ those in positions of power came up. It can be incredibly uncomfortable to ‘call-out’ someone you know who’s being racist or sexist, but it’s also one of the most important and immediate ways that changes culture.

As a White person, I believe it’s important to speak to one another about these issues. For POC (people of color) this conversation is one they can’t avoid, and it can get exhausting. It is not only up to POC (or any marginalized group) to change the world all on their own.

We’re not generally taught about how to have these difficult conversations, especially when it needs to happen with someone of particular importance such as a family member, or a higher-up at work. Uneven power dynamics can make broaching the subject even more of an uphill climb, but you can’t let that stop you. Having a commitment to Social Justice can’t just be when it’s “easy.”

It’s human nature to want to avoid being ostracized, so when it becomes unacceptable to say certain offensive ways, the only indicator of that is when

Here are 5 Tips to help you set the conversation up for success

  1. There’s a time and a place – it’s rare that public humiliation drives positive change. So calling out bad behavior can best be done, especially to start with, by speaking privately with the person. If they’ve said. However, there are times when it’s best to call it out on the spot.
  2. Be aware of your tone of voice & body language- the way something is said often makes more of an impact that then words used. When you become aware of how your tone of voice changes your message you’ll be able to have much more effective conversations with others.
  3. Make it about helping, not criticizing – It’s easy for people to feel attacked when being criticized. Of course we can’t control how someone responds, we can do our best to frame the conversation in a positive way. This means; no name calling,
  4. Try not to use absolutes – This is another one about keeping the tone helpful. When phrases like “you always” and “don’t ever” the personal hearing you might be more focused on the tone than the words and that’s not helpful.
  5. Be prepared for it to not go as planned

Like The Daily Muse says..

“It’s not easy to call your boss out on bad behavior, but sometimes it’s your only choice.”

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