What Is Bystander Anti Racism And What Types Of Action Can Be Taken Info Sheet Jan 2014.doc by lizzy2008


									What is bystander anti-racism?
Bystander anti-racism can be defined as:

Action taken by a person or persons (not directly involved as a target or perpetrator) to speak out about or to seek to
engage others in responding (either directly or indirectly, immediately or at a later time) against interpersonal or systemic

Bystander anti-racism is not necessarily about directly confronting a perpetrator. A range of actions are considered
bystander anti-racism (see ‘What types of action can be taken?’).

Why is bystander action important?
The targets of racism currently carry most of the burden of anti-racism. Bystander anti-racism shifts the burden of anti-
racism away from targets and asks every individual to act when they witness racism. Bystander anti-racism can aim to stop
an incident of racism, ensure that racism does not escalate, and prevent or minimise the physical, psychological and social
harms that may result from an experience of racism. A bigger goal of bystander anti-racism is to change social norms so
that it is widely understood that racist behaviour is unacceptable. While we think of active bystanders as individuals, it is
important to highlight that bystander action takes place within specific social contexts. The power of bystander anti-racism
to influence social norms lies in the fact that it takes place in social contexts like schools and workplaces. Bystander anti-
racism that takes place in these settings may have the outcome of changing institutional culture, policies and practices.

What types of action can be taken?
Bystander anti-racism encompasses a wide range of action, including:

         Reporting the incident to someone in a position of authority (e.g. teacher, supervisor, referee)
         Reporting the incident to police
         Reporting the incident to anti-discrimination agency/authority
         Seeking the help of friends, passersby or colleagues
         Confronting or disagreeing with the perpetrator
         Calling it ‘racism’ or ‘discrimination’ (if it is safe or productive to do so)
         Comforting or supporting the person(s) targeted
         Expressing upset feelings
         Interrupting or distracting the perpetrator
         Using humour or making fun of the perpetrator

The best course of action to take will depend on the specific situation. Bystanders must make an assessment of the safest
and most productive course of action.
What helps people to intervene when witness racism?
Enablers of bystander action
      Knowledge of what constitutes racism
      Awareness of harm caused by racism
      Perception of responsibility to intervene
      Perceived ability to intervene
      Desire to educate a perpetrator
      Emotional responses to racism: empathy, expressing anger, disapproval etc.
      Anti-racist social norms

What stops people from intervening when they witness
Obstacles to bystander action
      Seeing the target of racism as belonging to a different group that you are not responsible for (exclusive group
      Fear of violence or vilification, being targeted by perpetrator
      Perception that action would be ineffective
      Lack of knowledge about how to intervene
      Concern that confrontation would be seen as aggressive or not ‘feminine’ (gender role prescriptions)
      Impression management
      A desire to preserve positive interpersonal relations
      A desire to avoid conflict
      Freedom of speech/anti-political correctness
      Social norms that are tolerant of racism

Source: Nelson, J. K., Dunn, K. M., & Paradies, Y. (2011). Bystander anti-racism: A review of the literature. Analyses of Social
Issues and Public Policy, 11(1), 263-284

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