Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry


What Can I Do Among Family?

How to speak up to the people closest to you, those you love the most, whether in response to a single instance or an ongoing pattern.

Power and history come into play in such moments, affecting how comfortable or unsettling it feels to speak up.

Who holds power in the family? Who sets the tone for family interaction? What roles do elders and children play, and how might their words carry more weight or impact?

And other questions take shape: Was bigotry a part of daily life in the home you grew up in? Do you continue to accept that as the norm? Do you forgive bigotry in some family members more than others? Do the "rules" about what gets said — and what doesn't — change from one home to another? Who shares your views opposing such bigotry? Working together, will you find greater success in speaking out?

Appealing to shared values can be a way to begin discussions at home or with relatives. Try saying, "Our family is too important to let bigotry tear it apart." Or, "Our family always has stood for fairness, and the comments you're making are terribly unfair."

Or, simply, "Is this what our family stands for?"